by Andrew Garda

IRVINGTON — On an evening when the Montclair Mounties needed to have one thing go right, everything went wrong.

First and foremost, the Mounties fell to the Irvington Blue Knights, 31-24. They fell behind early on, trailing 20-7 at the half. Some of that was because of some epic poor officiating, including a pass interference call against Steven Rose when he was shoved down by a wide receiver who then caught a touchdown pass.

More of it was because the Mounties reverted back to playing like they did in the loss to West Orange. Dropped passes, poor decisions, fumbled punts — all the things which had sunk Montclair in the game against the Mountaineers, as well as the loss to Massilon and all of the things which have haunted them and their season since then.

Coming out of the half, the Mounties had the ball and, for a few moments, momentum. Montclair drove down the field, ending up on Irvington's three yard line. A false start penalty set them back five yards, but with two downs to go and a potential first down as well as the end zone in front of them, it still seemed as if they were on the verge of snatching the momentum from the Blue Knights.

Then quarterback Charles Murphy Jr. took a snap, scrambled to his left and saw some open field in front of him. He didn't run however, instead forcing the ball into double coverage in the end zone where it was intercepted.

Irvington took over on their own twenty, marched down the field and scored again. It was a 14-point swing, the Mounties going from gaining a touchdown to losing it and giving one up.

Montclair had chances after that, but was never able to execute a full drive save for one long touchdown run by Murphy.

Now, Montclair waits for news of their playoff seed. Bridgewater-Raritan beat Union, which means they will enter the playoffs, and as a school further north than Union City, send UC to the Mounties' bracket, taking over the top seed.

However, Montclair won't just lose the one seed because of that. The loss to Irvington will hurt their Born Power Index, which could slide them down to seedings even further.

If Montclair is lucky, they'll get one home playoff game. If they aren't, they may have played their last 2018 game at Woodman Field.

For a complete breakdown of the game, complete with quotes, see Thursday's print and digital editions of the Montclair Local.