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***Following memorable 374 yard and 7 TD performance Butler RB Will Verrico is the latest Sideline Chatter/360 Athlete of the Week!

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***One busy weekend in Union County saw Cranford & Summit among winners while Dayton had to forfeit its game. Check out all the details in "Feature Articles"

***Seton Hall Prep had quite the 2016 baseball season in terms of winning a GNT championship and very coveted Non-Public A state crown, but the success continues as 5 Pirates have now committed to D-1 programs. See "The Buzz"

East Orange Campus second-year head coach Al-Majid Hutchins likes the view a lot more for his Jaguars following an amazing 32-29 victory over previously-undefeated Bloomfield as EOC improved to 4-2 and is more solid in N2G5 picture. (Photo by Mustafa Hooten-D1MediaPro)

East Orange Campus Excited To Be In Hunt
After Late Comeback To Upset Bloomfield
…West Orange Also Stuns Montclair During Whacky Weekend In Essex Football

By Steve Tober

For a young coach like East Orange Campus’ Al-Majid Hutchins it’s a landmark upset victory in a burgeoning career, while for West Orange’s seasoned head mentor Jim Matsakis, there are wins like Saturday’s which indeed can be a signature triumph for a gridiron rprogram.

Either way, whether it was EOC’s amazing come-from-behind 32-29 upset of previously-undefeated Bloomfield, or West Orange’s stunning 29-26 win over county stronghold Montclair, the weekend that was in Essex County football most definitely included two of the more unexpected results of the 2016 season.

Now, both EOC (in North 2, Group 5) and West Orange (in N1G5) see their playoff hopes greatly enhanced with their respective teams’ surprising victories over teams in Bloomfield and Montclair which had been ranked No. 1 and 2 in last week’s Sideline Chatter Essex County Top 10.

“We’re excited to be in the hunt in terms of the playoffs and now our goal is to earn a first-round home game which we haven’t had in several years,” said Hutchins, the second-year EOC head mentor who doesn’t turn 28 until Nov. 23rd yet has already made quite an impact with the way he is coordinating the Jaguars’ promising football program. “We were punched in the face and were like a deer in the headlights against Montclair (55-10 loss on Oct. 8), but then we had a bye week which came at just the right time, and our players and coaches took the time to reflect on things, evaluate our play calling and personnel on the field, and our guys really came back with a good performance against a good Bloomfield team.”

In an absolute whacky but exciting last four minutes against the Bengals (5-1) at Robeson Stadium, which included a 57-yard touchdown pass to Eddie Marshall, a 35-yard fumble return for a score by Rady Rojas and a successful on sides kick followed by a 34-yard TD toss to Marshall, the young Jaguars responded in a very big way in earning by far their biggest win in the Hutchins era.

“We’re young and vulnerable as we showed early in the season against Columbia (34-28 setback to the 1-6 Cougars on Sept. 17), but we also feel that we can compete with anybody if we prepare the kids and the stay focused on what they have to do on the field,” said Hutchins. “We have a solid group of kids in this program and we feel we’re building something very positive for both the present and future here.”

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