On its final offensive play of the second quarter Friday night against East Orange Campus (N.J.), Salesianum looked like it might be putting a fitting finish on a miscue-filled first half as running Troy Reeder saw the ball squirt away from him near the Jaguars’ goal line.
Instead, after a long discussion, the play ended up giving the Sals a comfortable working margin over the final two quarters.
Reeder’s 21-yard touchdown run, on which he was ruled to have crossed the goal line with the ball after a long conference by the officials, capped a three-turnover first half on a positive note for the second-ranked Sals, giving them a 15-point halftime lead in their 42-14 win at Baynard Stadium.
“Even though I knew I was in the end zone, sometimes you don’t know what kind of angle the referee had,” said Reeder, who rushed for a game-high 154 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. “There is some worry that they didn’t see the whole play and what actually happened because your body’s shielding the ball, but he made the right call.”
Salesianum (6-0) controlled the play in the first half, totaling 223 yards of offense and limiting the Jaguars (1-4) to 110 yards. But midway through the second quarter, the Sals were ahead by only eight points thanks to a number of mistakes.
Ahead 7-0, Reeder lost a fumble inside the East Orange Campus 5-yard line. Salesianum’s Tyler Marroni muffed a short Jaguars punt to turn the ball over deep in his own territory, and later, an Andrew McClelland fumble was recovered by East Orange Campus.
Six plays later after the Jaguars scored to draw within 14-6 late in the first half, Reeder lost the ball again on a long run but was ruled to have crossed the goal line first.
“Before that, I’d say that they had the momentum,” Reeder said. “It’s pretty big going into the second half with the momentum, so we knew that we needed to get it back.”
After forcing an East Orange Campus three-and-out to open the second half, Salesianum grabbed complete control of the contest when quarterback Matthew Sgro connected with Brian O’Neill on a 54-yard touchdown pass – the Sals first completion and second pass attempt of the game – to move ahead 28-6, essentially sealing the game.
“It was a great win by us,” Salesianum coach Bill DiNardo said. “[East Orange Campus] was a quality team, a lot of talent. For us to win the way we did was good.
“For us to be able to handle their speed the way we did, I was happy. We wanted to play our game, and I think that was the key.”