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Montclair linebacker Ibn Wallace (holding trophy) and the rest of the Mounties let everyone know who's No. 1 after team earned a 33-0 win over Ridgewood in this past Saturday night's North 1, Group 5 playoff championship contest at MetLife Stadium. (Photo by Glenn Kross)
Montclair Seniors 35-1 In Last Three Years
After Resounding N1G5 Championship Win
By Steve Tober
Every high school coach values his seniors, especially when the class is a large and experienced one which has been the case each season for Montclair coach John Fiore in his first four years at the helm.
With this past Saturday night’s resounding 33-0 win over Ridgewood in the North 1, Group 5 playoff championship game at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands, the Mounties could celebrate the continuation of quite a run of success since the start of the 2011 campaign.
“This senior class is 35-1 the last three years and it’s the first group to win back-to-back playoff championships, which is a tremendous accomplishment,” said Fiore, whose team also ended the 2013 campaign with its 24th consecutive victory. “Every year we graduate around 30 seniors and this group was certainly a special one.”
Led by a plethora of talented 12th-graders, including major college recruits Darius Slade and Austin Stevens (Kansas commit) at defensive end, wide receivers Kenny Rosario, Will Kline and Donovan McDonald, and four-year starting center Greg DeFranco, who spearheaded a terrific offensive line, Montclair (12-0) had its best championship showing by far under Fiore following two consecutive nail-biters in 2011 (14-13 upset loss to North Bergen) and last year’s pulsating 16-13 overtime triumph against Bloomfield.
And, while the seniors were outstanding on the 2013 squad, there is also the very positive aspect for Mountie football followers in that the underclassmen are also quite good, led by all-everything junior quarterback Elijah Robinson, who had 28 carries for 203 yards and two touchdowns vs. the Maroons (11-1) on Saturday night, along with completing 3-of-5 passes for 46 yards, including a 25-yard TD toss to Kline. He also hauled in a 43-yard TD pass from McDonald.
“Elijah can do it all and I’m certainly thrilled to know he’ll be back for another season to help lead our team next fall,” said Fiore. “There isn’t anything he can’t do back there to help our team win.”
Another junior, running back Shaquan Oliver (16 carries for 187 yards and a touchdown vs. Ridgewood) had ‘the game’ of his career on Saturday night behind a superb O-Line anchored by DeFranco at center, guards Krys Diaz and Chris Mangrum, tackles Michael Giles and James Geathers and tight ends Stevens and Slade.