Phillipsburg 39, Hunterdon Central 14 – Rapid Recap
Despite going into the half tied at 14-14, Phillipsburg’s football team opened the season with a dominant 39-14 win over Hunterdon Central in a Big Central Conference contest on Friday night.
The Stateliners forced a turnover early in the second half and never looked back, scoring 32 unanswered points to win their eighth straight game against the Red Devils.
Turning point: After a first half where Phillipsburg struggled to contain Central’s rushing attack, the Stateliners defense made a big play to steal momentum for the rest of the game.
Central quarterback Frank Lentine lofted a pass on second down over the middle of the field that was too high for any Red Devils receiver and safety Michael Wombald took full advantage. The senior intercepted the attempt and returned it to just outside the Central 20-yard line. Four plays later, Phillipsburg quarterback Matt Garatty punched in a 2-yard touchdown run to put his team ahead.
Wombald made another huge play after the Red Devils went three-and-out and tried to punt. Senior Jalil Terrell rushed in and blocked the punt, sending the ball high into the air. After a scrum, Wombald came up with it and completed the scoop-and score-to put Phillipsburg up 27-14.
Top performers: Garatty had a varsity debut to remember, going 12 of 14 for 155 yards with three touchdowns through the air. He added a score on the ground.
Phillipsburg split the rushing workload between senior Matt Quetel and sophomore Xavier Moore. Quetel rushed for 53 yards and a touchdown, while also hauling in a 23-yard touchdown catch. Moore gained 60 yards on eight carries.
Wombald had a fumble recovery, along with his interception and special teams touchdown, that sparked a Stateliners second half shutout.
What it means: The Stateliners start their season off with a road win and are scheduled to face Montgomery next week. The Cougars will host Phillipsburg after dropping their season opener to Hillsborough 26-6.
Desmond Boyle may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.