By: Alex Melillo
SCOTCH-PLAINS, NJ – Pioneers and Raiders got into an old-fashion shootout Saturday afternoon with Somerville taking home the win, 82-46. Both teams lit up the scoreboard in a game that proved to be a battle of the offenses.
Somerville was dealt an early blow on the first drive of the game when starting quarterback Ryan Kovacs was forced from the game. Though appearing not too serious, Kovacs would not return, however, he was an active voice on the sideline for his team.
The Pioneers offense made a seamless transition to Jahaln Dabney, as the junior would go on to put up some unworldly numbers in this one.
The first drive was capped off by a 1-yard run by Dabney putting Somerville up 8-0. Scotch-Plains Fanwood (SPF) answered, scoring on their first drive, tying the score up at 8 aside.
The Pioneers then went on a scoring binge to end the first quarter, getting contributions from seemingly everywhere. Somerville scored 22 unanswered points in the first, highlighted by another touchdown run from Dabney and two touchdown receptions, a 42-yard catch for a touchdown to sophomore Ethan Hilliman and a 12-yard strike to Robbie Fiorentino.
Leading 30-8 to begin the second, the Pioneers scored at the 8:11 mark on a 13-yard run from Duke McDuffie. SPF remained within striking distance after a touchdown of their own made it 38-16.
The teams traded punches the rest of the first half adding one more touchdown apiece, the Pioneers courtesy of another Dabney run. Somerville went into the break with a 44-22 lead over the Raiders.
The scoring would continue in the second half, this time from the defensive side of the ball. Just five seconds into the third quarter, Somerville's Da'Shaun Smith intercepted a pass and took it to the house for the touchdown.
However, the Raiders answered again, punching one into the end zone making the score 52-28 Pioneers with 5:30 left in the third quarter.
Dabney and the Pioneers kept up the scoring barrage, scoring two minutes later on a 39-yard touchdown run from Jahaln Dabney. Pioneers went up 60-28.
SPF wouldn't go away, scoring five seconds into the start of the final frame to make it 60-34. But the Pioneers once again had a response, Hilliman hauling in his second touchdown grab on the game, 66-35 Pioneers.
After a Raiders touchdown made it 66-40 with 5:30 left in the game, SPF attempted an onside kick, which proved successful. Turning the recovery into a touchdown (66-46), the Raiders attempted their third onside kick of the day and again recovered it.
This proved to be all for not as the Raiders could not put further pressure on the Pioneers, failing to score on the most recent onside kick.
In a game where no lead seemed safe, and with Scotch Plains stacking the line of scrimmage with all eleven players, the Pioneers added some much-needed insurance to close out the scoring with Dabney scoring two touchdowns on QB keepers, clinching the win for Somerville.
Final Score: Somerville- 82, Scotch-Plains Fanwood- 46.
Jahaln Dabney was the star on the day for the Pioneers contributing over 500 yards and ten touchdowns in the game. The junior QB/LB rushed for six touchdowns alone, nearly doubling his number of scores on the season. He also completed 4 touchdown passes on the afternoon. Robbie Fiorentino had a strong afternoon as well, adding over 180 yards combined through the air and on the ground.
SPF was led by quarterback Cooper Helsey, who threw for over 300 yards with 4 touchdown passes and rushing for another one, while Alex Oslislo added over 150 yards on the ground including a touchdown.
Next week the Pioneers (7-1) head to Summit High School for a Saturday matchup with the Hilltoppers (6-2). Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. in the regular season finale. For more information and up-to-date stats follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@VilleFootball). Visit us at www.somervillefootball.com