The Phillipsburg football team’s defense rose to the occasion when it needed to, and the Stateliners improved to 2-0.
Phillipsburg came up with two crucial red-zone stops in the first half against Montgomery on Friday night before its ground game sealed a 28-6 road victory.
Turning point: Trailing 7-0 halfway through the second quarter, the Cougars drove the ball down to the Phillipsburg red zone.
On third-and-goal from the 8, Montgomery quarterback Alex Benitez threw a low pass looking for a receiver on the slant. Phillipsburg senior Jalil Terrell undercut the route, intercepted the pass and sprinted 97 yards for the pick-6.
The Cougars then drove from their own 24 to the Phillipsburg 5-yard line in the last seconds of the first half. On second-and-goal, Benitez had to dive down to recover a low snap and Montgomery had no timeouts remaining to stop the last 10 seconds of the first half from running out, still trailing 14-0.
Top performers: Terrell scored the game’s first touchdown, hauling in a 10-yard pass from Matt Garatty. Garatty later found Tim Pherson on a 20-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter.
Matt Quetel once again spearheaded the Stateliners rushing attack, taking 15 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown.
Mulik Warren was a constant pass-rushing presence for Phillipsburg as the junior hurried Benitez most of the night and came up with a sack. Senior Matt Barna forced and recovered a fumble in the second half.
What it means: Phillipsburg heads into its home opener against Hillsborough (1-0) next week at 2-0. The game, originally scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, may be moved to Saturday night after the Raiders' Week 2 game was delayed.
Desmond Boyle may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.