By: Alex Melillo
SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Somerville Pioneers (8-1) will host Ewing High School (4-5) in the first round of the state playoffs this Friday.
The Pioneers are coming off of an electrifying overtime win in the regular season finale against Summit. Somerville overcame a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter, to walk away with the 42-36 win over the Hilltoppers. Duke McDuffie had the game-tying punt return for a touchdown with just a minute and change left on the clock.
Joseph Ciempola had a strong offensive game recording four catches for 124 yards and three touchdowns. The junior also put in a strong shift on the defensive side of the ball recording six tackles and a key pass break up on fourth and goal in overtime, a play which sent the Pioneers back to Somerville with the win.
Ryan Kovacs lead the way for the Pioneers at QB in the regular season finishing with 1,063 yards, 11 touchdowns, and a 65.5 completion percentage.
On the ground, Jahaln Dabney rushed for 734 yards and 14 touchdowns. Robert Fiorentino also added 666 yards and four scores.
Duke McDuffie lead the Pioneers in total receptions with 24 catches 294 yards and two touchdowns. Joseph Ciempola hauled in 13 grabs for 308 yards and five touchdowns, both numbers lead the wide receivers.
On the defense, Senior Ryan Hrabinski set the mark in tackles and sacks, with 42 and seven respectively, on the season. Both Tyjir Williams and Jahaln Dabney tied for second on the team with 40. Marcus Burnside leads the Pioneers in interceptions with four.
Ewing comes to Brooks Field on Friday night on the heels of a 30-15 loss at Hightstown. The loss snapped a two-game winning streak for the Blue Devils during which they outscored their opponents 82-13.
Their run-first approach is spearheaded by Lavinsky Collins, Tyrique Alston and Tywayne Reed. A two-sport athlete, Collins finished the season with 62 carries for 223 yards and one touchdown. Alston finished with 172 yards and three scores. Reed on the other hand, finished with 153 yards and also closed out the season with three touchdowns.
The Blue Devils kicker, Matt Hunkele, finished the season with 5 of 6 made field goals with a season-long of 42-yards.
Somerville (8-1) and Ewing (4-5) battle it out on Friday night at Brooks Field in the first round of the playoffs. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. For up-to-date stats and scores, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@VilleFootball) or visit our website at www.somervillefootball.com.