Written by Mike Drake
The Morristown Colonials opened their football season Sunday afternoon in West Orange against Seton Hall Prep with the goal of getting back to playing what Head Coach Chris Hull calls “Tough Morristown Football”.
The 2013 Colonials did just that by playing an aggressive, tenacious, hard hitting defensive battle against a well-coached and motivated Pirates squad from Seton Hall Prep. Although the Colonials came up short by losing 13-7, they clearly have bounced back from last year’s disappointing 2-7 season that resulted in more than one 40-point loss. With plenty to prove, the 2013 Colonials began their season by displaying the hardnosed type of defensive battle that has been the trademark of the tough Colonials football teams since the 1940s.
Head Coach Chris Hull expected the improvement, “We’re disappointed that we didn’t win, but the guys have worked very hard throughout the offseason and it really showed today on the field. They played a very physical game and they have vastly improved both fundamentally and mentally.”
In the first quarter, the Colonials charged right out of the gate, taking the opening kickoff and driving deep into Pirates territory on nine plays. Junior quarterback, Dallas McCall threw the ball with confidence and accuracy, completing 2 passes for 16 and 13 yards. The Pirates finally stopped the drive on their own 27.
After quickly forcing the Pirates to punt, the Colonials again marched down the field to the Seton Hall Prep 20 yard line. Morristown was powered by the pinpoint passing of McCall, and the fleet footed running of Jordan Powell. Highlighted by a 35 yard reception by senior Nate Brown, the Colonials moved the ball at will before stalling on the SHP 20 yard line. Ethan Bolson then missed wide left with a 37 yard field goal attempt, but the Colonials were moving the ball consistently.
It was at this point in the game that the Pirates offense came alive with some nice passing of their own. Sam Jones caught 3 passes from quarterback Zach Keller, as the Pirates converted twice on clutch 3rd down plays. MJ Mughetto eventually scored on a sprint around the left end and the Pirates took the lead 7-0 at the 5:40 mark in the first half. The Pirates were able to move the ball again in the final minutes of the first half before Colonials’ junior safety, Jordan Powell made an acrobatic interception in the end zone.
After taking the second half kickoff, the Pirates were on move again before Morristown senior captain, Joey Murphy stretched all of his 6’2” frame to leap high for an outstanding interception.
The Pirates defense had effectively bottled up the Colonials and Morristown quickly punted back to the Pirates. This time the Pirates put together an impressive drive of 68 yards. Julian Spain scored on a five yard run off tackle. After missing the extra point, the Pirates led 13-0.
Pirates head coach, John Finnegan credited his defensive coordinator, Mark Smith for the great job the Pirates were doing containing the Colonials’ offense.
The Colonials never gave up and despite only gaining one first down in the second half, they almost came back. Andrew Benvenuto made the play of the game for the Colonials when he blocked a Pirates punt with 1:48 left in the game. Colonials’ senior, Justin Northern jumped on the ball in the end zone and the Colonials trailed 13-7. However, despite the late game heroics, the Pirates’ Donald Stewart was able to put the game away when he fell on the Colonials’ valiant on sides kick attempt.
Although the score registered a loss, the Colonials know they have improved considerably from last year. The 2013 Colonials are back to playing “Morristown Football” and will be a tough team to contend with for the rest of the season.Editor's Note: This piece was written by Mike Drake and submitted. If you would like to submit your sports stories or blog about sports on our site, drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org