Snow, snow and more snow. On a weekend marred by snow, cold weather and power outages, Week 8 of the NJAC football season brought with it an excuse for some of us to forget about our weather related issues and just enjoy some good old fashioned smash mouth football.
This weekend was a big one, for a number of reasons. First, for most teams battling for playoff positioning, this was their last chance to earn some extra power points. But with the pre-Halloween snowstorm, teams were forced to battle the weather in addition to the opposition.
Pequannock Solves Mountain Lakes
In possibly its biggest matchup of 2011, the Pequannock football team was able to do what no other team could through the season's first seven weeks–stop Mountain Lakes.
While both teams struggled to put anything together offensively, thanks in large part to the snowy circumstances, Pequannock's special teams unit stepped up in a big way, blocking an extra point attempt and helping the Golden Eagles to a 7-6 win, according to the Daily Record.
The storm knocked the power out at halftime–leaving the press box dark and the scoreboard blank–but Pequannock’s motor never gave out.
After taking a 7-0 lead in the second quarter, the Golden Eagles held Mountain Lakes scoreless heading into the game's final frame.
After Lakes found the end zone late in the quarter, Pequannock’s Almat Asani and Luke Foukas plowed their way through the offensive line, blocking the extra point attempt and helping Pequannock to what may have been the week’s biggest upset.
With the win, the Golden Eagles improve to 6-2 on the season and moved themselves into contention for a North 1, Group I playoff spot. Mountain Lakes sits at 7-1 and in first place in the Independence Division.
Morristown Won’t Defend Title
Morristown headed into this must-win game with thoughts of defending its state title. But after a 42-13 thrashing at the hands of West Morris Central, the Colonials' playoff hopes were dashed.
For West Morris, the win leads them one step closer to a No. 1 seed in the North 2, Group III playoffs.
Leading the way for the Wolfpack was its dual rushing threat of Jason Mackewicz and Jon Ciccone–who each rushed for two touchdowns–along with quarterback John Gutowski, who threw for two more scores in the win.
While Mackewicz finished the day with 183 yards on 17 carries, Morristown running back Zac Carter–who was chasing the 1,000-yard rushing mark heading into this game–was held to just 47 yards on 18 carries, netting him 967 yards rushing this season.
Roxbury Gets Even
It wasn’t pretty, but in the end the Roxbury Gaels moved to .500 with a 22-0 win over Par Hills in yet another snow-filled adventure.
In a game rife with turnovers–there were 11 fumbles and one interception in the first half alone, according to the Daily Record–there was one star who really emerged, as Donald Panciello carved his way into the end zone three times for Roxbury.
For Roxbury (4-4), a season that once looked like a lost cause has evolved into one that may include at least one playoff game. Par Hills fell to 5-3, but still look set for an invite to the North 2, Group III playoffs.
Top Performer of Week 8
The pre-Haloween nor'easter forced a number of teams into low scoring slugfests, resulting in less than stellar individual numbers around the league. But for some, inches upon inches of snow had no effect on their ability to find footing or make cuts.
One of those athletes was Madison junior Justin Goodwin, who helped his Dodgers to a 38-8 win over Newton, with a fantastic 275-yard rushing performance–in just three quarters of play. In a game ended in the third quarter due to–you guessed it–snow, Goodwin found the end zone three times, scoring twice from 30 yards, and once from 15.
Standings are a combination of Patch records, as well as from NJ.com. Coaches are required by the NJSIAA to submit results to NJ.com in order to be eligible for the postseason, due to a contract between the two.
Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference–American Division
Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference–National Division
Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference–Freedom Division
Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference–Independence Division