Phillipsburg 28, North Hunterdon 0 -- Rapid Recap
Despite the lopsided final score, it was a matter of better late than never for the Stateliners who found a way to overcome a slow start and stay unbeaten in a tough road test against North Hunterdon on Friday night.
Phillipsburg committed heavily to the run game in the first half with Matt Quetel taking 15 carries for more than 100 yards in the opening two quarters.
It was Ben Ries’ six-yard play action pass to Ray Poremba with less than 90 seconds remaining in the first half that would open the scoring. A big third quarter for the Stateliners would put the game away.
Turning point: With less than five minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Stateliners lined up to punt leading 7-0 in a defensive slugfest from the Lions 41. Bobby Coury then took the snap from the up-back position and gained 12 yards to pick up a first down.
Six plays later Matt Quetel extended the Stateliner’s lead to 14-0 on a three-yard run. On North’s next drive, the Lions went three and out before Coury would come up with a blocked punt that put Phillipsburg three yards from the goal line.
Ben Ries then took a quarterback keeper for a three-yard touchdown for a 21-0 lead in the final seconds of the third quarter to put the Stateliners in a comfortable position. Quetel would complete the scoring with a five-yard touchdown run in the fourth.
Top performers: Quetel was once again the focal point of the Phillipsburg offense, carrying the ball 29 times for 191 yards and two touchdowns. Despite the heavy workload, the junior managed to average more than 6.5 yards per carry in the game.
Ries was efficient from the quarterback position, finding four different receivers for five completions and 42 yards. Ries finished with one touchdown in the air and one on the ground.
Robert Martin led the Stateliners on defense with a relentless pass rush and had two sacks on North Hunterdon quarterback Christian Solino.
Bobby Coury played an inspired performance on special teams, extending Phillipsburg’s second scoring drive with the fake punt before blocking the Lion’s punt. Coury changed his jersey number for this game from to 22 to 21, the number his brother Tommy normally wears. Tommy was injured earlier in the week and was in the hospital during the game according to Phillipsburg Coach Frank Duffy.
What it means: The Stateliners will move to the home stretch of their season undefeated. Phillipsburg will cap off the season hosting Westfield next week before the North 2 Group 4 playoffs begin.
North will look to rebound with a depleted squad, as both Solino and starting running back Jake Taylor went down injured in the second half. The Lions host Cranford on senior night 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.