Football rapid reaction: Montclair High cruises past Union City, 22-7
by ANDREW GARDA
BLOOMFIELD—While this year's 'under the lights' home game was actually played in Bloomfield at Foley Field, the Montclair High School football team made itself right at home in the Bengals' house as they beat the Union City Soaring Eagles 22-7.
This game was one many of the Mounties had circled as a true test of their mettle. The last two seasons have seen UC steal wins from the Mounties and derail good seasons. Would this be a repeat?
As senior quarterback Tarrin Earle hit junior receiver/running back Josh Crawford for a touchdown on the first drive of the game, the answer was obviously a resounding 'no.'
The Mounties knew they had to two two things to beat UC. First, they had to shut down the run game and force Union City to throw, something they do not do well. MHS was able to do that during both of the Eagles' first two drives, nearly picking off passes during on the second UC drive.
The second thing was that MHS had to score early and often.
That first touchdown was a sign that they were determined to do just that.
After the Eagles generated a fumble on the next Mounties drive, then failed to do anything with it, they pinned the Mounties on MHS' own 1-yard line with a tremendous punt.
The Mounties offense responded with two Danny Webb runs, including an 81-yard touchdown dash which saw Webb make a few moves, kick in the afterburners and leave the Union city defense in his dust.
On the Mounties' next possession Earle guided the offense down the field, capping the drive with a long touchdown pass to junior receiver Charles Murphy.
Given the blowout nature of the Mounties wins so far, Earle hasn't had the chance to really strut his stuff, but the first half of this game certainly provided ample opportunity. He ended the first two quarters going 12 for 21, totaling 198 yards and two touchdown throws.
The second touchdown throw, to Murphy, was an incredible example of what the Bucknell commit can do. On the play, Earle couldn't find an open target and felt the pass rush coming up the middle. He dodged one tackler, scrambled to his right, then left, trying to buy time to find a receiver, his eyes downfield the entire time.
While Earle did his best Aaron Rodgers impersonation, Murphy was trying to break free, which he did when the coverage reacted to Earle stepping out of the pocket and towards the line of scrimmage.
Earle saw Murphy all by himself in the end zone and delivered his second touchdown pass of the game.
The Mounties went into halftime with a commanding 22-0 lead.
The second half was a bit shakier. The team struggled to move the ball and there were many bad penalties, including a personal foul with under a minute left which put UC on the doorstep of scoring, which they did.
Despite the second half stumble, though, the Mounties passed their first real test this season with flying colors.
For a complete breakdown of the game, including quotes from players and coaches, check out the October 5 print and digital editions of the Montclair Local.