Summit simply had too much Badgley, too much Negron, too much Iarussi, too much of everything Friday night for Delaware Valley.
And the unbeaten Hilltoppers needed it.
Summit (8-0) rallied from a 14-0 first-half deficit to extend its regular-season unbeaten streak to 35 games with a 35-21 victory at Tap Webb Field. The Hilltoppers claimed their fourth straight divisional title — this one the Mid-State 38 Raritan after winning the Mountain the last three years. The Hilltoppers haven’t lost a regular-season game since losing to West Essex in 2008 when they were in the Iron Hills Conference.
“We just didn’t stop them when we needed,” said Delaware Valley coach Mike Columbo, whose team won the Raritan title last year before Summit moved in. “But I have no doubt that you’re going to see Summit and Cranford in that sectional final.”
Senior quarterback Mike Badgley and senior back Ky’re Negron were thorns in the sides of the Terriers (5-2). Negron scored on two 16-yard runs in the third quarter and Badgley threw a 26-yard toucdhown to senior wideout Will Shamim that pushed the lead to 35-21 with 4:51 left in regulation.
Badgley was 6-for-7 for 168 yards and senior back A.J. Iarussi also made life difficult, his 33-yard run setting up the Hilltoppers’ last score. All of this despite the Hilltoppers being penalized for 100 yards.
“They are a tough team, they always have been,” said Del Val junior quarterback Andrew Cooper. “We came out and played our hardest. Nothing to be ashamed about.”
They came out very fast, too.
Senior Dion Roman, who earned many hugs from the Hilltoppers after the game, did his best to end Summit’s streak. His 25-yard run triggered the opening drive of the night that was capped by senior Sean Hogan’s eight-yard touchdown run and senior Scott Skripko’s point after for a 7-0 lead. Badgley missed a 34-yard field goal attempt right after.
Del Val befuddled the Hilltoppers with a shift that led to six offside penalties and it helped with both scoring drives. Del Val took a 14-0 lead when Hogan scored from 32 yards out with 9:35 to go in the half with Skripko’s second true kick.
But Negron’s ensuing long kickoff return turned the emotion with Iarussi eventually going in from a yard out with Badgley’s point after cutting the lead in half. Del Val drove to the Summit 24 on its next possession, but Colin Dougherty picked off a Cooper pass. Iarussi ran for 12 before a Negron made a nice catch — coming back for a ball slightly underthrown — then broke a couple of tackles, and outraced the secondary for a 56-yard touchdown play to tie it 14. Summit’s no huddle made the pace of the game one to remember.
“That’s one I would have liked to have had back,” said Columbo of the interception. “I shouldn’t have made that call. I just think not being able to extend the lead after we were up 14-0 was a major factor.”
Roma, who ran for a school record 371 yards last week in a 46-24 win over North Plainfield, ran for more than 200. The Terriers did keep some of their fans in the bleachers when Cooper threw 70 yards to Greg Gares for a score late in the fourth, with Skripko’s third point after making it 35-21. The Terriers then recovered the onside kick, but couldn’t do much thereafter.