Plainfield coach Clinton Jones knew little about Kearny, but was sure of one thing.
“I knew there was no way they had the kind of schedule we had,” Jones said.
After going 0-8 against five playoff qualifiers and a schedule of opponents with a collective 51-27 record, the Cardinals had plenty of frustration to release.
Their coach’s sense was correct.
The Cardinals (1-8) ended a 17-game losing streak Friday night with a 40-12 win at Kearny with senior back Steven Jones and junior back Mustafa Harris leading the way. Kearny (1-9) fumbled the first play from scrimmage with junior linebacker James Spann recovering at the Kardinal 31. Harris scored on the next play with Jones scoring the conversion. After a Kearny three-and-out, Jones scored on a 40-yard run with another two-point conversion giving Plainfield a 16-0 lead.
Plainfield made it 22-0 before first quarter’s end as senior Al-Azeez Thorne scored from 31 yards out on a tight end dump pass from senior quarterback Jon Roldan.
Plainfield got the mercy clock running in the second half with Clint Jones racing to get as many players in as possible. He said everybody who made the trip got in.
“It was a great feeling, a relief,” Steven Jones said. “We were all working together.”
Jones scored four touchdowns, ran in two conversions and finished with 265 yards on 18 carries. He’s about 150 yards from 1,000 and will get a chance when the Cardinals play Thanksgiving Day at Westfield. Clinton Jones, who isn’t related to Steven, mused that Plainfield is now 1-0.
“I told our players that there was no comparison – a 1-0 taste in our mouths was much better than that 0-9 taste,” Jones said.
Before Friday night, the Cardinals hadn’t won a game since Thanksgiving 2011 when they stunned Westfield at Kehler Stadium.
“It was very important for our seniors, it’s something to build on and with Westfield-Plainfield you never know,” Clint Jones said. “ll I know is that we’re 1-0 and it feels great.”
Piscataway is one of four Courier News area teams left with the Chiefs and Ridge in the North 2 Group V semis Friday night against Union County schools.
No. 3 seed Piscataway will make its first playoff appearance in Union Friday night against the second-seeded Farmers (7-2). Piscataway is 3-0 vs. Union in the playoffs, beating the Farmers 29-7 in the 2003 North 2 IV title game at old Giants Stadum. The Chiefs beat Union 41-0 at Ciardi Field in a 2004 first-round game and won 27-3 in a home second-round 2008 game, No. 1-ranked Ridge (10-0) will play host Friday night to fifth-seed Linden (6-3), which lost 20-14 in overtime to the Red Devils Sept. 27 in Bernards.
Seventh-seeded Hunterdon Central (6-4) stopped a four-game losing streak Friday night with a 24-0 win at No. 2 Old Bridge in a Central Group V opener. The Red Devils, playing with their lowest seed since 2004 when they had an eighth seed in CJIV, play at sixth-seed and defending section champ South Brunswick (6-3) Friday night in the section semifinal.
Hunterdon Central and South Brunswick scrimmaged in August, now they will play Friday night in a Central Group V semifinal at South. Central’s Matt Perotti and South Brunswick’s Joe Goerge have coached against each other just once. Central beat Franklin 27-2 in 2004 in Perotti’s first season at Central and Goerge’s last with the Warriors. Goerge, who coached Franklin 1992-2004, had a 9-4 record against Central in the old Skyland Conference. The Warriors won the first six games in the series under Goerge. Central and South haven’t played since 2005 when Central won 15-0 after beating the Vikings 31-12 in 2004. Both games were in the regular season.
No. 5 seed New Providence (7-2) heads to top seed and defending champ Hoboken (7-3) Friday night in a North 2 Group I semi. New Providence, which won this section in 2010, is making its fourth straight semifinal appearance. Hoboken’s three losses are to teams still alive – Verona (North 1 Group I), Lincoln (North 2 Group II) and Union City (North 1 Group V).
Consolation win is big for Franklin
Franklin (1-8) got its first win Saturday by beating Barringer 19-6 in Newark. Sophomore Uzzell Nite caught a 53-yard touchdown pass from sophomore QB Darius Gibson and returned a punt 53 yards for a score. Senior Sherrod Middleton had the other TD on 10-yard run. Franklin, which was in danger of becoming the first team in program history to go winless, plays at Piscataway on Thanksgiving Day. Piscataway leads the series 24-21-3 and has won six straight.
North Hunterdon (6-4) clinched its first winning season since 2002 Friday night by beating J.P. Stevens 26-21. Up the road, Voorhees pounded Ridgefield Park to go 6-4, giving the Vikings back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2002-03. Somerville had a halftime lead at 17-14 Saturday at Hillside, but the Comets rallied in the second half to win 36-17. Somerville finishes 0-10, marking the first time since the 1993 team went 0-9 that the Pioneers have gone winless. Somerville will start 2014 with a 12-game winless streak.
Younger Pioneers can take solace that the 1994 team went 8-3 and won a Central Group II title at old Giants Stadium.