Strong rushing effort allows Colonia to top J.P. Stevens

After a hard practice, the 2016 Colonia football team poses for a team picture.

After a hard practice, the 2016 Colonia football team poses for a team picture.

By: Zachary Pereira, Spring Editor and Reporter

On a foggy Friday night, the Colonia Patriots football team traveled to J.P. Stevens to take them on in a fight to stay alive in the playoffs. Colonia defeated the hawks with a final score of 35-12.

The Patriots, coming in with a record of 2-4, were fresh off a win against South Plainfield. It was their first win since week two,  and Colonia would need to keep them going if they wished to make the playoffs. As for J.P. Stevens, with a record of 1-5, were desperate for a spark to turn their season around.

The Hawks would find that spark in the first half when Junior running back, Quian Muse, scored a rushing touchdown. However, they missed the extra point. This burst opened the scoring 6-0  with the Hawks on top. After fighting back and forth, Colonia’s Junior running back,  Luke Pero, ran behind his  offensive line to the end zone. Senior kicker, Branden Ribeiro, made the extra point and the Patriots lead 7-6 going into halftime.

That J.P. Steven’s spark extinguished in the second half when Colonia scored four more times putting J.P. Stevens away. Three of those came from Pero who finished with four touchdowns and  240 yards on the ground. Quarterback Tyler Layton would not go unnoticed, finishing with 124 passing yards including a 70 yard touchdown to receiver Taj Johnson.

Muse would be able to find the end zone for the Hawks once more, but it was not enough for the Hawks to win. When the final whistle sounded, Colonia was happy to walk away with a win after a slow start to the season.  “Once we settled in, I thought we really controlled the line of scrimmage on both offense and defense, and it led to a lot of big plays. It was a totally team effort for win #3 – great job by everyone.” Said Coach Joe LaSala after being asked about his thoughts on the win. This game was the first time the Patriots and Hawks have met since 1997 with J.P. leading the series 16-4-1

J.P. Stevens falls to 1-7 and will attempt to try and turn their season around when they play Woodbridge away. On the upside, Colonia improves to 3-4 and looks for another win as they play JFK home next week. The Patriots need a victory to hang on to any playoff contention. After a heartbreak loss in the state semi-finals last year, Colonia fans and players are eager to handle unfinished business from last season.