Phillipsburg 42, Franklin 7 -- Rapid Recap
Phillipsburg High School’s football team has proven it’s filled with road warriors after two dominant trips to start 2019.
Phillipsburg followed up a thumping of Warren Hills in its season opener with a 42-7 win over Franklin to move to 2-0 on Friday night.
The Stateliners moved the ball at will against the Warriors, mixing up their offense for three touchdowns in the air and three touchdowns on the ground.
Phillipsburg played stingy defense for four quarters as well, holding Franklin’s fast attack to just one score and forcing several turnovers.
Turning point: After two early touchdowns from the Stateliners, Franklin took over at its own 30. An interference penalty on Phillipsburg and a nice run from Abdulia Sesay put the Warriors in the red zone.
With first-and-goal at the 9, the Warriors had three short runs before Kevon Gordon dropped back to pass on fourth down. Gordon threw over the middle of the field, but Ray Poremba had good coverage and broke up the pass to force a turnover on downs.
Franklin seemed to lose steam after that missed opportunity and turned the ball over on its next two possessions before going into halftime down 35-7.
Top performers: Quarterback Ben Ries was efficient when he was called upon to lead the offense. The senior finished the game 7-of 11 with 100 yards and three touchdown passes.
While Ries managed the game for the Stateliners, running back Matt Quetel put the bulk of the Phillipsburg offense on his shoulders. The junior took 14 carries for 101 yards and three rushing scores. Quetel also took a screen pass for a 31-yard TD to expand Phillipsburg’s lead just before halftime.
Tight end Tommy Coury was Ries’ main weapon, catching two touchdowns on play-action passes in the first half. Coury finished with three receptions for 45 yards.
On defense, Christian Chiulli wrapped up a dominant performance from the entire unit with a late interception in the fourth quarter.
What it means: Phillipsburg will prepare for its biggest test of the season so far with some momentum. The Stateliners host Hunterdon Central next week and, in all likelihood, must be ready to play with intensity for all four quarters for the first time this season.
Desmond Boyle may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DesJBoyle. Find Lehigh Valley high school sports on Facebook.