by Andrew Garda

The Montclair Mounties remained undefeated Saturday afternoon, increasing their record to 5-0 with a 56-21 win over the Morristown Colonials.

While the day was not without its hiccups, the MHS offense totaled 574 yards and looked as good as we have seen it this year — maybe the best we’ve seen it since this senior class took the reins.

Tarrin Earle had another tremendous day under center, going 16 of 21 for 239 yards and three passing touchdowns, while adding 71 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the ground.

“I think Tarrin — we kind of gave him the keys to the Ferrari and let him check us into the right play every time,” head coach John Fiore said after the game. “I think he did a great job. And I thought Willie [Matthews] and Josh [Crawford] did an unbelievable job.”

Despite another game where the dynamic Danny Webb was not available, the ground game dominated with juniors Josh Crawford and Willie Matthews keeping the chains moving and then some.

Crawford in particular had a great day carrying the ball, hauling it 15 times for 147 yards and a touchdown. In the previous few games, Crawford had looked hesitant at times, but the light seemed to go on for the young back, and he ran aggressively and confidently. Crawford also showed a bit of his speed and quickness on several runs.

“Me and Willie knew we had a load on our back because Danny is down, but just because he goes out, nothing drops off,” Crawford said. “We all work the same amount in practice. We all do the same thing. We pick each other up, give each other confidence.

“Whenever Webb comes back it’s going to be even crazier,” Crawford added, “because you’ll have three people you have to stop from the backfield. Nobody can stop us, except for ourselves.”

It certainly seemed that way on Saturday as Matthews played thunder to Crawford’s lightning, hammering the Morristown defensive front and gaining 113 yards and a touchdown himself.

Meanwhile, Earle continued to throw the ball very well, spreading it around to different receivers and taking advantage of a coverage scheme that couldn’t slow down his receivers.

“We saw a lot of stuff we call automatic, things we knew they were going to do,” Earle said as he described what he saw from under center. “So we had a lot of different checks for it, and anything they did was wrong.”

Having a strong run game helped as well, he said, and it helped the offense all come together.

“Josh ran the ball amazingly, the line blocked well, and our receivers were on point all day. So everything just kind of clicked for us.”

It continues to be hard to boil Earle’s quarterback play down to one or two moments worth talking about as he has been playing at such a consistently high level this year.

Perhaps his best throw was his 48-yard touchdown pass to Charles Murphy down the sideline in the middle of the second quarter.

“They went Cover 3,” Earle said as he described the play. “We knew that Murph was going to have a one-on-one shot. We had talked about it all week that we’d have that corner. And I told Murphy before the play ‘hey, it’s coming to you.’ And so I put it out there and he went out and got it.”

Despite the fact that Murphy was lined up against Morristown’s best corner, Earle had no doubt his receiver would come up big.

“We think our receivers are better than any corner we’re going to face. So [Jhamil King] is a good player, but we knew Murph would take advantage and we trusted him [to make the catch].”

Earle added an impressive dart to DJ Williams on a short slant for a touchdown as well, one of two the pair hooked up for.

Meanwhile, Matthews was leading the defense once again, piling up 15 tackles and three sacks, while also scoring on a 95-yard fumble return.

That brings Matthews’ defensive total to 53 total tackles, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery for a touchdown and 6.5 sacks.

“If he’s not [considered] one of the best defensive players in the state of New Jersey, people are nuts,” Fiore said. “Flat-out nuts.”

With this win, the Mounties have secured a spot in the playoffs, but they’re not done yet.

“We’re really confident but we’re not thinking about 5-0,” Earle said. “We’re thinking about West Orange next week and another 1-0 season. We’re trying not to get caught up in the hype around us. We’re staying within ourselves and the coaches are doing a great job helping us.

“We’re not thinking about [being] undefeated. We’re just thinking of the next step.”