The Game At A Glance: After an early stop of East Orange on fourth and goal, Montclair took off to a 28-0 halftime lead, winning 35-7, in a battle of undefeated teams. It also marked a big game for Khalif Herbin, who scored three touchdowns and becoming the all-time leading scorer in Montclair history.
First Half Highlights: After East Orange forced Montclair to punt on the game's opening drive, the punt snap sailed over the punter's head and East Orange recovered on the 21. Two seven-yard runs by Najee Williams gave East Orange a first and goal on the seven. With fourth and goal on the one, Williams was stopped by Donte' Bellamy for no gain and the Mounties took over.
With a second and eleven on its 24, junior quarterback Nate Crutchfield hit Mike Smith in stride for a 76-yard score and the Mounties were up, 7-0. The drive was filled with penalties, a total of five. After forcing a punt, Herbin returned the punt 35 yards to the 19, scoring four plays later from 8 yards out for a 14-0 lead with three minutes left in the quarter.
Montclair began the second quarter in grand fashion, marching 72 yards on eight plays, capping it off when Herbin found wideout Darrin Davis in the left corner of the end zone on the fade for a 16-yard score, putting them up 21-0 with over eight minutes left in the half. East Orange then went twelve plays, but turned it over on downs at the Montclair 37.
Following the turnover, all the Mounties needed was one play, as Herbin scampered right along the sideline and cut left through the East Orange defense for a 63-yard score, making it 28-0 with two and a half minutes to go in the half.
Second Half Highlights: Starting the second half on its 35, East Orange, drove to the 26 on seven plays, but turned it over on downs when Williams was held for no gain on fourth down. Holding Montclair to a three and out, East Orange took over on the Mountie 43. After Justin LaRoda found Tiyahnn Bryant for 32 yards to the 11, the Jaguars moved it to the 3, but a penalty and a screen pass to Shamier Moon was stopped on the 6 by Stephaun Marshall.
East Orange got on the board when LaRoda went three yards with the keeper to make it 28-7, with five and a half minutes to go. It was a two-play drive, set up on a LeRoda to Rousul Douglas pass of 42 yards. Montclair drove and scored on a 21 yard run by Herbin with a minute to go.
Play Of The Game: The fourth and goal tackle short of the goal line by Bellamy in the first quarter. Had East Orange scored, it probably would have been a different game.
Game Balls: Both lines of Montclair, as they set the pace. Herbin rushed for 199 yards on 20 carries, three touchdowns, and threw for another score. He also broke the all-time Montclair scoring record, previously held by Aubrey Lewis and Justin Ashe. He has 50 career touchdowns and he's six short of the single season mark of 29 touchdowns, set by Rikki Cook in 2000. In addition, Bellamy made the key stop on fourth down, early in the game and possibly changed the course of the game.
Montclair head coach John Fiore - "Our kids did a heck of a job. It's a great senior class, led by Stephaun Marshall, Julian Pinnix, Khalif Herbin, and Donte' Bellamy. They kept our kids focused and they just came out and played ball. The game couldn't have started out any worse for us, with snap over the punter's head, giving them a short field, and our defense comes up big. That was a huge play. Everybody talks about our defense, but I'll put our defense up with anybody; and the more times you give Herbin the ball, the better it gets. Nate Crutchfield made the biggest play of the game on the first score. He's our backup quarterback, he only plays a few snaps in a package, and he hits Mike Smith for a long touchdown. Herbin amazes everybody. He's one of the most exciting runners around. People think they have him and they don't. He's done a good year in the weight room and he's breaking tackles this year, too."
Montclair tight end/linebacker Donte' Bellamy - "We always have to focus on the teams coming up, but this game has been in the back of our minds as a big one we wanted to win. This week was probably the most focused week we had all year. Just knowing how big this game was and what it meant to us and Montclair. We had to get it done for the Montclair family. (On the opening stop on fourth down) It was just a regular power. They were running towards our sophomore, Austin Stevens, and they thought they could get him, but he did a beautiful job taking out the lead block and all I had to do was be there, make the tackle, and I made it. I felt I had to make a big play because I made a bad snap that put us in that position, so I had to make a big play and get the momentum back."
Montclair lineman Julian Pinnix-Odrick - "This week it was about focus. The general mood was we had to come out and play. We have to come out and hit people. The goal line stand was a team effort. I'm so proud of my team. We played together and we played hard. This is a great group of guys I'm playing with."
Montclair quarterback Khalif Herbin - "We're just getting started. The goal line stand was huge and changed the momentum. They hit hard, but I'm used to it. I imagined that we would win. I didn't have a clear picture on how it would happen, but I knew we would get the W. This game was unbelievable. I was in the championship last year and that game had nowhere near the atmosphere this game had. We have more big games to play and more things to achieve. As far as the school record, I try not to think about it during the game. When I first came here as a freshman, I wasn't thinking about breaking the record, I just wanted to contribute."