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Phillipsburg 35, Warren Hills 7-- Mid-State 38 crossover football -- Rapid Recap

Phillipsburg posted a 21-point second quarter and exploited Warren Hills’ mistakes to capture the first game between the two Warren County rivals since 2009 in front of a big crowd at Maloney Stadium in the season opener for both teams Friday night.

The Stateliners led 27-0 at the half after their huge second quarter, when they scored on a blocked punt and two TD runs by senior Joe Green (2 yards) and senior quarterback Jack Stagaard (11 yards).

“I think we were a completely different team tonight than in our scrimmage last week against Elizabeth,” Stateliner senior lineman Matt Cherry said. “We made up for that tonight.”

Phillipsburg head coach Frank Duffy liked what he saw.

“I loved our kids’ energy tonight,” he said.

Warren Hills struggled in the first half to get out of its own way with penalties (47 yards before the half), turnovers and special teams problems.

“We beat ourselves,” Blue Streak head coach George DiGrande said. “Against a good team like Phillipsburg, you can’t give them more chances than they are going to create themselves.”

Turning point: Warren Hills was hanging tough until the twin Coury brothers special teams act debuted in the second quarter. Bobby blocked a Rob Wassmuth punt at the Blue Streaks’ 20, and then Tommy picked it up at the 16 and rolled into the end zone to put Phillipsburg ahead 14-0 with 10:50 left in the second quarter. The Stateliners then kept the momentum by scoring on their next two possessions to take control of the game. The Courys, by the way, impressed on defense as well, Tommy, a safety, had an first-quarter interception and Bobby, a middle linebacker, was all over the field.

Top Warren Hills performer: Senior defensive back/wide receiver Hayden Van Solkema made some fine plays defending passes and accounted for the Blue Streaks’ longest play from scrimmage on a 20-yard catch from Garrett Koch.

Top Phillipsburg performer: Lots to pick from on a big night all around. But it’s hard to not give the nod to Stagaard, who completed 17 of 26 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown, ran for another score and chalked up a 2-point conversion too.

What it means: A strong start for Phillipsburg which consolidated its claim to local bragging rights. “Not bad overall,” said Duffy, who will like the way his defense smothered the Blue Streaks (68 yards in the first half) and the way (well, most of the time) his new lines handled themselves. Warren Hills, meanwhile, will need to clean up the self-inflicted wounds and prepare for a tough Immaculata team in Somerville next week. “Can’t one (game) beat you twice,” DiGrande said.

Brad Wilson may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @bradwsports. Find Lehigh Valley high school sports on Facebook.

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