by Andrew Garda

NUTLEY — Last week's loss to West Orange left the Montclair Mounties football team in search of its first win for 2019 as well as the school's New Jersey leading 750th win all-time.

The Mounties checked off both boxes with a 49-21 win over Nutley Saturday afternoon.

As was the case early in the game against WO, the Mounties defense stepped up while the offense continued to work out the kinks in its rhythm.  Both Nareece Wright and Jaheim Lowe had fumble recoveries, with Lowe stripping and recovering the ball on his. Lowe also picked off Nutley quarterback Justin Lucia at the two-yard line to stall out a Nutley drive. Jaren Haley-Coley also intercepted a pass.

Of those four turnovers, three came in the red zone when Nutley was driving.

Meanwhile, MHS' offense begun to get going. After quarterback Michael Robinson missed tight end/defensive end Shawn Collins on a route down the middle of the field, stalling out a drive, head coach John Fiore decided the best way to go for Montclair was to run over the Raiders.

It worked. As the first quarter wound down, Fiore gave the Raiders a steady diet of Robinson, along with running backs Jordan Diggs and Jordan Williams. The result was an 80 yard scoring drive capped off by a 1-yard Diggs touchdown and a Robinson scramble for a two-point conversion.

The Mounties didn't let off the gas on the ground either. By the time the clock ticked off to all zeroes, Montclair had accumulated 390 yards on the ground, with Diggs totaling 160 and three scores, Williams getting 121 and a touchdown and Robinson running for 109 and a pair of scores.

While the ground game is now humming along, the passing attack remains a work in progress. Robinson only completed two passes out of ten attempts, but while that doesn't make for a pretty box score, there were flashes of what he is capable of when he's feeling right.

Up 14-0 with just over eight minutes left in the first half, Robinson spied Collins cutting across the end zone. He then made his best throw this season, a frozen rope up above the defenders where only Collins had a chance to make a play.

Collins doesn't have a scholarship to Rutgers University because he's a nice kid, but because he's a tremendous athlete with fantastic hands and a "my ball" mentality.

All that was on display as he made a leaping grab and came down with the ball for a score.

Robinson is young, and is still fairly inexperienced at the Varsity level. While the edges of his play are still rough, you can see the ability on throws like that.

While the offense got rolling though, the defense got a bit sloppy. Nutley changes quarterbacks and while they were never really in the game, every time Montclair got some separation in the second half and seemed to be poised to start a running clock (which occurs when a team is up by 35), the Raiders made a big run or a nice reception and found the end zone.

All of which is to say that despite the victory, Montclair has some things to clean up before they play Bayonne next Saturday at Woodman Field.

For a complete breakdown of the game, including quotes from Fiore, Robinson, Diggs and Lowe, check out next week's edition of the Montclair Local.