Montclair senior Asani Brown (center) catches an interception against Nutley last week.  Brown and the Montclair defense will need to stop the Union City running game on the road on Friday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. if they want to raise their record to 4-0. (EDWARD KENSIK/PHOTO)

The Mounties are coming off a 42-7 win over Nutley and are 3-0 heading into possibly their toughest game so far against the Soaring Eagles (1-1) tonight, September 15,  at 7 p.m. 

In addition to looking to stay undefeated, Montclair is seeking to avenge a 31-7 defeat at the hands of the Soaring Eagles last season, where the Mounties’ defense could not put clamps on the Union City ground game.

Montclair junior quarterback Malachi ‘Bubba’ Lewis, who transferred this season to Montclair from Morris Catholic, knows how those teammates who played in that loss to Union City last season.

“They are hurting,” said Lewis. “They want this one bad.”

Along with staying undefeated and revenge, it is the first game in the Super Football Conference Freedom White Division title race. For the Mounties, it will probably be one of two games that will decide the division winner. The other will be at home against Irvington on October 7.

The contest against Union City will also indicate where Montclair stands in the pecking order of the North Group 5 state section that could have Passaic Tech at the top of the section. The Soaring Eagles fell to Passaic Tech, 13-6, in their season opener, which also took place at Hinchcliffe Stadium in Paterson before the Mounties 24-21 win over West Orange.

Montclair senior running back Yasin Latham (with ball) bulldozes through the Nutley defense. (EDWARD KENSIK/PHOTO)

Montclair is 3-0 for the first time since 2017 and has outscored their opponents 94-43.

Last season, the Eagles had three players tally more than 100 rushing yards, and two of them returned in senior Tyler Koffa and junior Mark Boyd, who collected 130 rushing yards last season against Montclair.

Koffa and Boyd are the top two runners this season in the first two games for Union City. 

The Montclair leaders on defense, seniors Wesley Mathis and Kal Wilson, will have to put a wrap on the likes of Koffa and Boyd and the rest of the Union City running game. Boyd ran up 196 yards on the ground in the Union City win, 40-0, over Livingston on Sept. 8.

And that’s the case on the other side of the ball.

While Union City has their Wing-T offense with running as the focus, the Mounties have a more balanced offense with the passing of Lewis.

But to help the Mounties defense, Montclair will be looking forward to having long drives, which would mean having success on the ground.

In last season’s loss to Union City, the Soaring Eagles’ defense shut down the Mounties’ running game, as Montclair only ran for 52 yards.

If the Mounties can play better with the run from its top backs, junior Ja-Khi Chance, junior Jayden Lee and senior Yasin Latham, it will go a long way to making a statement in the division as well as the North Group 5 state section.

Edward Kensick writes sports, news and features for Montclair Local.

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1 Comment

  1. I’m embarrassed for our high school football team. Three minutes into the second half the kid fumbles the ball. 3 minutes. In a team sport where winning and losing is a team effort. And our adult coach says:

    “That was the freakin’ game,” said Montclair head coach Jermain Johnson about the turnover.

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