Phillipsburg 35, Easton 14 - Rapid Recap
Phillipsburg High School’s football team turned fourth downs into touchdowns on Thanksgiving and left Lafayette College’s Fisher Stadium with a win for the first time since 2014.
Turning point: Phillipsburg led 14-7 at halftime and received the second-half kickoff.
The Stateliners drove to the red zone and eventually moved within a yard of the goal line on a quarterback sneak by sophomore Jett Genovese, but a personal foul after the play set up fourth-and-goal from the 16. After a timeout, Genovese quickly lofted a pass to his right that hung in the air before sophomore Matthew Scerbo Jr. leapt and snagged the ball away from Easton senior JV Johnson in the end zone for a touchdown.
The Red Rovers blocked the extra point to hold Phillipsburg’s lead to 20-7 with 8:06 left in the third quarter, but they failed to move the chains on their next possession. The Stateliners took over at their own 41 and gained 19 yards on seven straight run plays before they faced fourth-and-5 from the Rovers’ 40.
After briefly going into the backfield to adjust senior running back Xavier Moore’s alignment, Genovese took the snap and faked a handoff before rolling to his right and finding fullback Caleb Rivera open in the flat. The junior turned upfield and sprinted down the away sideline for a 40-yard TD.
Phillipsburg elected to go for two and Genovese found Moore on throwback pass to his left to put the Stateliners up 28-7 with 2:08 left in the third quarter.
Easton turned the ball over on downs near midfield on its next possession. Three plays later, Phillipsburg lined up to punt on fourth-and-6 from the Rovers’ 42, but Rivera took the direct snap from the upback spot, cut to his left and had nothing but grass in front of him as he took it the rest of the way. Junior Colin Huey hit the PAT to put Phillipsburg up 35-7 with 7:34 left to play.
Top performers: Moore rushed for 130 yards on 17 carries, including a 73-yard rush in the first quarter, and was named the game’s Offensive Most Valuable Player. Rivera added 72 rushing yards and three total touchdowns.
Genovese completed 4 of 10 passes for 86 yards and three touchdowns, including a 21-yard strike to Kevin Burgess on the Liners’ first drive of the game. The sophomore also rushed for 35 yards on three carries.
Junior Cameron Bohal led Phillipsburg with 11 tackles and was named the game’s Defensive MVP. Phillipsburg senior Qian Walters was recognized as the game’s top lineman.
Easton senior Aidan Hutchison led the way for the Rovers with 190 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries.
What it means: The Stateliners finished the year 11-1 after their first win over Easton since 2014.
Easton ends the season at 3-8. Eliminating 2020′s COVID-altered season, it’s the Red Rovers’ lowest win total since 1997 (2-9).
Easton leads the all-time series history 67-43-5.
Desmond Boyle may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.