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November 28, 2013

Montclair headed to final

The Game At A Glance: Montclair jumped off to a lead and held off a resilient Union City squad to win, 40-35. The game featured a 52 yard field goal and three recovered onside kicks by Montclair, plus two kick returns for scores by Union City before they ran an offensive play. Montclair rushed for 361 yards, with Elijah Robinson gaining 209 yards on 26 carries and Shaquan Oliver gaining 104 on 21 carries.

First Half Highlights: Union City's Nawell Rojas took the opening kickoff, went straight up the middle and cut right, going down the sideline and racing all the way for a 96 yard touchdown. Montclair marched right down the field on seven plays and got on the board when Will Kline kicked a 52 yard field goal to make it, 7-3. Montclair then went for the onside kick and Kline recovered his own kick on the 50 yard line. Eight plays later, Elijah Robinson found Kenny Rosario for a three yard score and a 10-7 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Jonathan Castellano returned it 99 yards for the second Union City touchdown of the game on a kick return and the Soaring Eagles were in front again. Robinson, on the following drive, went 62 yards to the seven yard line and Shaquan Oliver ran for the score on the following play for a 17-14 Montclair lead. Montclair successfully converted another onside kick and had the ball, but the Union City defense held their ground and forced a punt.

The Mounties had the ball back after keeping Union City pinned in their own end, forcing a punt, and getting the ball on the 22. The four play drive consisted of four runs, all by Robinson, the last being a three yard score by Robinson. Montclair squibbed the ensuing kickoff and recovered again on their 43, after a scramble for the ball. They added to the lead when Kline kicked a 22 yard field goal to make it 27-14. Ibn Wallace intercepted for Montclair and the Mounties had the ball on the Union City 45 with two minutes left in the half. One play later, Robinson went 45 yards for the score. Union City then drove the field and scored with four seconds left in the half when Renaldy Tavarez connected with Castellano in the end zone for a 17 yard score, making it 34-21.

Second Half Highlights: Montclair opened the half with two first downs, but Daiquan Kelly intercepted on the 4 and went all the way down the field for a 96 yard score and Union City cut the deficit to 34-28. Montclair answered back with a ten play drive, with Will Kline scoring from two yards out. The two point conversion failed and it was 40-28. On Montclair's next drive, Raphael Cartagena recovered a fumble for Union City on the 50. Tavarez then found Rojas 50 yards to the one and Tamaine Boyd scored on the following play, making it 40-35 with four seconds left in the quarter.

Montclair punted and Union City had a quick first down, but Boyd fumbled and Chanse Riley recovered on the 50. The Mounties drove and had a first down on the 14, but Union City held their ground and Kline's field goal attempt hit the top of the right upright, keeping the score the same with 3:47 left. Union City picked up two first downs, including a 21 yard run by Tavarez down the right sideline for a first down on the 44 of Montclair. It was fourth and three on the 37, when Boyd was tackled for a four yard loss. Montclair then ran out the clock for the victory.

Play Of The Game: The sequence of a 52 yard field goal by Kline, followed up by recovering his own onside kick - giving Montclair great momentum in the first quarter.

Game Balls: Montclair's offensive, because their effort gave them 361 yards rushing. Robinson and Oliver for taking advantage: Robinson with 209 yards and Oliver with 104. The Montclair defense also had a strong game, led by Austin Stevens and Darius Slade. Will Kline had a fabulous game as a kicker, with a 52 yard field goal, recovering his onside kick, and scoring an offensive touchdown.


Montclair head coach John Fiore - "The kids now know what it feels like to come close to losing. It's a wakeup call and we had one of those last year against West Orange. That will make us battle tested for the state finals. Offensively, Elijah Robinson does so much for us, throwing the football and running. Our line moved them and Oliver did a great job taking some of the load off Robinson. The first two onside kicks were planned and Will Kline has recovered seventeen of his own onside kicks in three years. The last two kicks that were line drives were not planned, we were just trying to squib kick it and the kid got in the way; we were just fortunate to get one of those. Will Kline is a phenomenal kicker and I would have loved to see him kick a third; that would have made us breathe a little easier."

Montclair kicker Will Kline - "Kicking field goals is something I've worked on for years. I just keep working on it. This game had a lot of ups and downs. That last field goal attempt that hit the upright is something you never want to see happen as a kicker, but you have to forget about it and focus on whatever assignment you have to do. You have to focus on hitting the ball well, keeping your head down, and everything. We had a couple of kicks I kicked to myself and one I aimed for the front, got into the line, and hit off a kid. We have a heck of a special teams coach in Pete Ramiccio. He's a great coach, he game plans all week, and he put in a heck of a game plan today."

Montclair quarterback Elijah Robinson - "The coaches always tell us to get through adversity. When they would score, we would come back with a score. We have a turnover and the defense would have to pick it up. They were a great team and we enjoyed playing them. It was get back to Montclair football, which is ground and pound."

Montclair defensive end/tight end Austin Stevens - "It was long, brutal, and we just stepped up to the plate. The game we lost to North Bergen went through my mind a little, but Greg DeFranco and I looked at each other and 'said not this time.' Our defense was very stout today and we made it happen at the end. I give kudos to Coach Fiore and Coach Ramiccio for doing a great job with our special teams. Going against Steven Gonzalez today really opened my eyes for college. He's a very physical player with very good feet and hands. I applaud him for giving Darius Slade and I a game and we haven't had that all year. They did a lot of pulling, a lot of power, and I took on the blocks a lot, but it was nothing I or anyone else couldn't handle."

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