Montclair High School football trounces Nutley for new head coach’s first victory
Montclair senior Jahaad Williams was proudly donning the Moose Cap after the Mounties dismantled Nutley on Friday night.
Williams had a couple of sacks and a fumble recovery to help Montclair to a 38-6 victory over the Raiders in Nutley.
The win was the first this season for Montclair and also the first for first-year head coach Jermain Johnson.
"It feels great to get the monkey off our back for the coaches and the players," said Johnson, whose team is now 1-1.
It was the fumble recovery that gave Williams the Moose Cap, awarded to a Montclair player who collects a turnover. The Moose Cap is named for Montclair defensive coordinator Bill Johnson, who has the nickname “Moose.”
For Williams the recovery was a little anticlimactic, but it showed that he was using his head. "I just saw the fumble and the whistle did not blow, so I just jumped on it," he said.
The fumble came in the second quarter and led to senior Gage Hammond’s hitting a 37-yard field goal to make it 31-0 going into halftime for the Mounties.
For the day senior running back Samaj Adams ran for three touchdowns while senior Justin Bernal added a rushing touchdown. Bernal led the rushing game with six carries for 51 yards.
Junior quarterback Drew Pfeifer clicked with junior wide receiver David Thom-Rogers on a 65-yard touchdown strike in the second quarter.
"We wanted to come out and show everybody that we are a good team," Adams said after the game.
The Mounties were looking to erase the previous week's 13-7 loss to rival West Orange at Montclair State University.
In that game Montclair's running attack was stymied by the Mountaineers’ defense.
"We wanted to run the ball and get into the end zone," said Adams, who carried the ball eight times for 40 yards and had the three touchdowns.
The team got the win for senior running back James Valvano, who suffered what appeared to be a serious leg injury late in the game.
"We wanted to win this game for James Valvano," Adams said afterward.
As it turned out, Montclair's opening drive was the difference, as it was capped with Bernal easily going through the middle of the Nutley defense with a 23-yard touchdown run. Hammond kicked the point after, and the Mounties never looked back.
The biggest play came in the second quarter when Pfeifer hit Thom-Rogers at the Nutley 20, and he shook off the Nutley defender and ran into the end zone. Hammond would hit the point after, and Montclair led, 21-0.
But it wasn't only the offense that contributed to the win. The Mounties’ defense, led by Williams along with seniors Richard Fortune and Nelson Claremont on the line, kept Nutley backs like senior Mitchell Mainiero from piling up yards on the ground.
The only negative came late in the third quarter when Nutley junior quarterback Nick Bello hit senior wide receiver Brandon Lucia on a 32-yard touchdown pass.
"We wanted the shutout," said Adams, but most of the Montclair backups were in the game when Nutley scored.
For the next game Montclair finally is at home at Woodman Field. The Saturday, Sept. 17, game against Union City is its first matchup in the North Jersey Super Football Conference Freedom White Division.
It's also the first time the two teams have faced each other since December 2017, when the Mounties defeated Union City, 35-14, to win the state sectional title at MetLife Stadium.
Union City was on the same bill with Montclair on Sept. 2 at Montclair State University. The Eagles lost, 6-3, that night to Passaic Tech.
But last weekend, the Mounties saw what they will face, as Union City defeated Livingston, 66-7, at home. Montclair's defense will have to stop an Eagles’ running game that put up 385 yards and seven touchdowns, including a pair each from Damon Pallatto and Mark Boyd.
Montclair Football Schedule
(Dates and times subject to change)
Sept. 17 Union City, 1 p.m.
Sept. 22 at Livingston, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 1 East Orange, 2 p.m.
Oct. 8 at Irvington, 1 p.m.
Oct. 14 at Ridgewood, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 21 Columbia, 1 p.m.