Joseph Beneducci scored three touchdowns and had 158 total yards of offense as sixth-seeded Mendham posted the upset of third-seeded Colonia 47-26 in the opening round of the North 2, Group 4 football playoffs Friday night.
Mendham will play West Morris in the sectional semifinals next weekend.
Mendham (5-4-1) used an effective running attack to overpower the Colonia defense, which couldn’t solve the Minutemen’s offense — particularly its ground attack. After opening the game with a three-and-out, Mendham posted touchdowns on seven consecutive drives.
Colonia (6-4) couldn’t deter the three-headed backfield of Chris Jones, Beneducci, and Robert Wetherington, who piled up 231 total yards and accounted for six of Mendham’s seven touchdowns in the game.
Sam Pero was effective with a game-high 122 yards on 23 carries but the Mendham interior defense managed to make key stops to limit Colonia’s scoring chances. Michael Frigo came up with two sacks of Colonia quarterback Tenni Adewusi and Joseph Abramski had a sack and several key stops near the line for Mendham.
The teams had four lead changes in the first half and the score was 14-14 when Colonia’s Pharoah Napoleon out leaped his defender for a 45-yard touchdown grab with 4:08 left in the first half.
Mendham, which has won four of its last five games, surged ahead with a 46-yard run by Weatherington to go up 21-14 with 2:47 left in the first half. That score started a Mendham outburst that Colonia was unable to match.
Colonia fumbled the ball on a handoff exchange at its own 36-yard line as Minutemen defensive lineman Abramski pounced on the loose ball and forced a costly turnover. The Minutemen added another score when Jack Horan found Joseph Beneducci for a 34 yard touchdown strike with 1:41 left in the first half.
Colonia tried to answer, but a seven-play drive fell one-yard short as Tenni Adewusi found Raul Cardona for a 27 yard pass play, but the receiver ended out at the one yard line as time expired.
Jack Horan completed 6-of-7 pass attempts for 136 yards and a touchdown for the Minutemen, while Adewusi was 15-of-20 for 209 yards and three touchdowns for the Patriots.
M-Powers 12 pass from Jones (Coapman kick)
C-Pero 1 run (kick failed)
M-Beneducci 1 run (Coapman kick)
C-Napoleon 45 pass from Adewusi (Adewusi run)
M-Wetherington 46 run (Coapman kick)
M-Beneducci 34 pass from Horan (Coapman kick)
M-Horan 17 run (Coapman kick)
C-Cardona 26 pass from Adewusi (kick failed)
M-Jones 12 run (kick failed)
M-Beneducci 1 run (kick failed)
C-Napoleon 13 pass from Adewusi (pass failed)
RUSHING: M-Jones 19-80, Beneducci 12-73, Wetherington 5-78, Horan 4-50; C-Pero 23-122, Adewusi 14-80.
PASSING: M-Horan 6-7-0-136, Jones 1-1-0-12; C-Adewusi 15-20-0-209.
RECEIVING: M-Beneducci 4-85, Berkinsky 1-51, Powers 1-12; C-Napoleon 6-87, Cardona 5-84, Williams 3-22, Pero 1-16.