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Montclair's Elijah Robinson had 18 carries for 194 yards and 4 touchdowns to lead the Mounties past Seton Hall Prep, 34-28, Saturday afternoon. (Photos by Doug Allen)
Montclair's Shaquan Oliver (45) tries to avoid being knocked out of bounds by Seton Hall Prep's Christian Marini on his way to rushing for 136 yards on 13 carries for MHS.
Montclair cornerback Chanse Riley (right) goes up to knock away pass intended for Seton Hall Prep's Michael Blank in Saturday's game. Blank had 4 catches for 31 yards.
Seton Hall Prep's talented QB Zach Keller completed 25 of 39 passes for 232 yards
Seton Hall Prep's persistent running back Kevin Steward (6) tries to ward off Montclair's defensive tackle Chris Mangrum (50) as Mountie converges on Pirate.
The accurate SHP placekicker Ryan McSherry boots 37-yard field goal vs. Montclair
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While the Pirates had no answers for Robinson or Oliver, the Mounties had quite a bit of trouble dealing with Zeller’s aerial skills as the SHP signal caller wreaked havoc for the Montclair secondary, utilizing seven different receivers, led by senior wide out Vincent Nisivoccia, who had 9 receptions for 64 yards.
“It was definitely hard dealing with multiple receivers, and you had to be ready on every play against Keller,” said Chanse Riley, Montclair’s veteran senior left cornerback. “No. 25 (Nisivoccia) has great hands and runs good routes, but they also have a number of other solid receivers you have to be concerned with as well.
“Our secondary has been giving up just too many passing yards and we also have to find a way to get off the field so our offense can go and score some more points.”
SHP had to settle for a pair of Ryan McSherry field goals of 26 and 37 yards after Pirate drives stalled in the red zone in the second quarter when Montclair took a 14-6 halftime lead.
A 2-yard run by Connor Merklinger (12 carries for 45 yards) capped a 13-play, 73-yard SHP drive that ate up six minutes to open up the second half. A 2-point conversion pass from Keller to Alvarez tied the contest, 14-14, with 5:33 left in the third.
But Montclair answered right away with a quick (5-play) and efficient 64-yard drive that took less than two minutes and was capped by a 7-yard Robinson TD burst up the middle to make it 21-14.
After a failed 4th-and-1 fake punt run by SHP which gave Montclair possession at the SHP 45, the Mounties struck again in just three plays, including a 23-yard Oliver burst, and capped by a 12-yard Robinson run for a 28-14 lead with 30 seconds remaining in the third.
SHP then put together another long (six minute) drive that went 77 yards in 14 plays and was capped by a 1-yard Keller to Alvarez pass to pull the Pirates to within 28-21 with 3:59 left in the fourth quarter.
However, after an on sides kick attempt was gathered up by the Mounties’ Josh Allen, Montclair needed just four plays, including Oliver’s 33-yard burst up the middle, and his subsequent back-breaking 2-yard TD run to take a 34-21 lead with 2:04 left.
Then, even after more Keller heroics, which included four straight completions to move the ball from the SHP 37 to the Montclair 10 – capped by an 11-yard TD pass to Alvarez (6 receptions for 56 yards) – the Mounties still had enough of a lead to come away with their important SEC-American Division win.
“Keller is a good player and fine quarterback, but we have to work on our pass rush, and also improve our coverage,” said Montclair coach John Fiore. “However, it is great to have a nice 1-2 punch in Elijah and Shaquan, and we don’t try to run one more than the other even though Elijah had more carries (18 to 13) today.
“Elijah’s sweeps are all on checks from what he sees they are doing defensively, and he was his usual tremendous self with those big runs for us out there today.”
Montclair has now won four straight against the Pirates and has scored at least 30 points in all six meetings between the two teams since the SEC was formed in 2009.
“Montclair has a nice combo in Robinson and Oliver and they’re two great athletes among a number of good players that they have,” said John Finnegan, SHP’s veteran coach. “Our guys came to play and fought tooth and nail because we wanted it too, but you have to give them credit for making the big runs.”
GAME NOTES- SHP’s McSherry is now 20-for-20 in extra points and 5-for-5 on field goals this season. He tied a single-game school record with two field goals against Montclair equaling what former Pirate kickers Bill Prendeville (2007 vs. Morristown) and Joe Martinez (in 1999 vs. East Orange) also did…SHP’s outstanding tackle Jared Southers (6-5, 285) has a number of college offers from schools including Rutgers, Temple, UConn, UMass, Yale, Fordham, Monmouth and Old Dominion…Montclair’s Riley says he has had interest directed his way from Patriot League schools Lehigh, Lafayette and Bucknell…The Montclair-SHP game will be shown on FIOS Channel 1 on Wednesday, Oct. 22, at 7:30 p.m…Keller has now thrown for 1157 yards and 8 TDs in six games. Nisivoccia has 38 receptions for 588 yards...Montclair now leads the series vs. SHP, 6-4-1. The Pirates' last win in the series was 55-34 in 2010.
MONTCLAIR (4-1, 1-0) 7 7 14 6 -34
SETON HALL PREP (3-3, 1-1)0 6 8 14 -28
M- Elijah Robinson 60 run (Cooper Tubiana kick)
S- Ryan McSherry 26 FG
M- Robinson 6 run (Tubiana kick)
S- McSherry 37 FG
S- Connor Merklinger 2 run (Keller pass to Nick Alvarez)
M- Robinson 7 run (Tubiana kick)
M- Robinson 12 run (Tupiana kick)
S- Alvarez 1 pass from Keller (McSherry kick)
M- Shaquan Oliver 2 run (kick failed)
S- Alvarez 11 pass from Keller (McSherry kick)
Montclair RB Tyler Riley (25, left) picks up 12 yards on this fourth quarter run after fake in punt formation as SHP's cornerback Vincent Nisivoccia prepares to make the tackle.
Seton Hall Prep's Kevin Steward (6) drives ahead to pick up eight yards and first down on a well-executed fake punt run which led to a Ryan McSherry second quarter 26-yard FG.
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