Phillipsburg 20, Bridgewater 13 -- Rapid Recap
Phillipsburg High School’s football team captured the 700th win in program history on Friday night thanks to not one but two goal-line stands in a 20-13 win over Bridgewater.
The Stateliners got off to a slow start one week removed from a grueling 34-28 double-OT win vs. Ridge. Bridgewater took advantage of good field position to take a 13-0 lead in the first half on short touchdown runs from Alex Fromberg and Gerard Redden.
Phillipsburg’s run game and defense improved from that point and the Stateliners improved to 5-0.
Turning point: The Panthers had a great opportunity to take a three-possession lead when Phillipsburg set up to punt late in the second quarter. Michael Gomez’s punt was blocked by Mickey Wasko and recovered at the Phillipsburg 27.
The Stateliners managed to force a turnover on downs, and the momentum swing was immediate.
Senior quarterback Ben Ries, who had just 6 yards passing with an interception up to that point, marched Phillipsburg down the field with throws of 16 and 12 yards to brothers Bobby and Tommy Coury.
Matt Quetel had a 16-yard dash down the left sideline and three plays later, Ries found Ray Poremba on a 28-yard fade in the end zone to put the Stateliners on the board with 36 seconds before halftime.
Top performers: Quetel averaged close to 6 yards per carry and finished the night with 116 yards on the ground and one touchdown that tied the game at 13 in the third quarter.
Ries added 67 yards passing while scoring one touchdown through the air and on the ground, which came on a 2-yard quarterback sneak to give Phillipsburg a 20-13 lead.
Poremba’s touchdown catch in the first half granted Phillipsburg a bolt of energy that it needed, but the senior’s effort in the secondary may have been more important. The Stateliners defense held Fromberg to just 4 of 13 passing in the second half and forced two incompletions at the goal line to seal the victory in the last seconds of the game.
What it means: Phillipsburg has progressed through what could be considered a “trap game” and is now 5-0. The Stateliners move on from win No. 700 and will host Hillsborough next week.
Desmond Boyle may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DesJBoyle. Find Lehigh Valley high school sports on Facebook.