Congratulations to the Roxbury High School football team for beating East Orange Campus earlier today at Giants Stadium! The final score was 14 – 6 in a game that had some high points and low points, but that Roxbury absolutely dominated. Check out the pictures below for a view from the packed Roxbury portion of the stands.
As for some comments on the game…I was obviously glad that Roxbury won, but I had hoped for a more exciting game. Me and the other guys from the 1998 team that I was sitting with kept wondering how EOC was in the state championship game. For the bulk of the game, there wasn’t even any pressure-filled situations where EOC might overtake the Gaels and come back to win. EOC might be a good football team, but I think it’s clear that they’re not at the state championship level.
But I do think it’s necessary to say that EOC is a nice little team and they played GREAT football for about 5 minutes in the fourth quarter. That said, they had the worst special teams that I’ve ever seen on any football team, ever. Ever! If EOC’s punts made it 20 yards (including rolling after the ball landed), then that would be far. The truth is that EOC was outclassed in every possible way today. Granted, I take nothing away from those kids because I know from experience that you have to work very hard to get to the state championship game, but damn – I was absolutely shocked at how substandard their level of play was for most of the game. They weren’t really strong competition for Roxbury at all. It was shocking, really.And the EOC coaches were calling some completely stupid plays, too. I don’t know why they kept going back to the screen pass when it only worked twice. You’d think after the third or fourth time after the play doesn’t work, that the coaches would put it away for a while. Plus, the EOC coaches made the most incredibly stupid call that I’ve ever seen in any football game in my entire life. It was at some point during the first half, EOC was a few feet away from a first down and it was the fourth down of the series. EOC can’t punt the ball and the Roxbury defense was standing tall so they didn’t want to “go for it” and risk turning the ball over on downs. So, the EOC coaches called a time out and went over a fake punt play with their players. Everybody in that entire stadium, including the 80 year old grandmother sitting in front of me, knew that EOC was going to call for a fake punt. In fact, the entire Roxbury sideline and crowd (including the grandmother) was yelling that the fake was coming, but the Roxbury team already knew as they lined up all of their players within 3 yards of the line of scrimmage.
|Roxbury beats East Orange to win North 1 Group 4 NJ HS football final|
And then the fake punt came and went nowhere – Roxbury got the ball back. When the entire stadium knows you’re going to go for a fake, then the surprise effect of the play tends to go away, don’t you think? Horrible play calling; definitely not state championship caliber.
Roxbury, on the other hand, did a good job on both sides of the ball as well as with their play calling. I’m sure that this wasn’t Roxbury’s best game that they’ve ever played, but the team definitely got the job done without question. The crowd was into it, the fans showed up in force, and EOC was an inferior opponent in every way. It was the perfect set up for Roxbury to bring home its second state championship in football! Congratulations to the new state champions – an accomplishment well deserved.
|East Orange (7 – 5)||0||0||0||0||6|
|Roxbury (11 – 1)||7||7||0||0||14|
|RHS – Chris Biank, 1 yard run (John Cosgrove kick)
RHS – Kevin Baker, 7 yard run (Cosgrove kick)
EOC – Malik Walker 45 yard pass from Justin Laroda (PAT blocked)
And an additional congratulations to my friend and former teammate from the 1998 team, Justin, who is now an assistant coach for Roxbury. If I’m not mistaken, Justin is now the only person in Roxbury history to win two state championships in football – one as a player and one as a coach. We’re proud of you, buddy.
Click the pictures below to see a larger image.