Ground game leads West Morris football to hard-fought win over Mendham

Ground game leads West Morris football to hard-fought win over Mendham

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Ground game leads West Morris football to hard-fought win over Mendham

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MENDHAM TWP.

The last four times West Morris and Mendham have played each other, West Morris has won all four games by a combined score of 103-6.

Friday’s night game was completely different.

West Morris’ ground game proved too much for Mendham in a 28-21 victory.

Javier Murray’s 35-yard run with 52 seconds left in the fourth quarter was the deciding touchdown. Mendham had rallied in the second half from a 21-7 deficit, tying the game at 21 on two touchdowns by Tim Byrne.

Murray took a handoff on a sweep off left tackle, cut back, found a seam, and took it down the West Morris sideline for the game-winning touchdown.

“There was very little time left, and I knew that someone had to make a play,” Murray said. “When the play was called to me, I thought, ‘It had better be me,’ and the line blocked great for me, springing me for the touchdown.

Mendham was unable to answer. The Minutemen’s last drive ended on a fumble by David Berkinsky which was recovered by Connor Thompson.

Last week against Morristown, West Morris found the end zone to be forbidden territory — getting shut out for the first time in more than a year.

Against Mendham on Friday night, if there had been a door in front of the end zone, the Wolfpack would have broken it down. West Morris rushed for 320 yards and four touchdowns.

“We got away from running the football a little too fast against Morristown, so we went back to West Morris football — running the ball,” Wolfpack coach Kevin Hennelly said. “This week we stuck with it, and it worked,”

Last Saturday against Morristown, West Morris was held to only 154 yards of total offense. The Wolfpack tied that number in the first half against Mendham, doing all of the damage on the ground.

Connor Thompson and Javier Murray scored first-half touchdowns to give West Morris a lead going into halftime.

Thompson, who had 53 yards rushing against Morristown last week, topped that in the first half alone against Mendham, rushing for 67 yards on 11 carries. Thompson scored the first touchdown for West Morris on a one-yard run to cap a seven-play, 50-yard drive to give West Morris a 6-0 lead. Thompson finished with 118 yards on 20 carries.

West Morris increased its lead to 14-0 on their next possession as Thompson, Javier Murray and Kevin Hennelly combining for 55 yards on six plays. Murray capped the drive with a 15-yard run.

Mendham answered back on its next possession. Joe Beneducci started the drive with a 53-yard run that moved Mendham to the West Morris 21-yard line. Four plays later, Tim Byrne scored his first touchdown of the night on a 1-yard run to cut the lead to 14-7.

West Morris’ defense continued its stellar play from last week. With Mendham driving deep into West Morris territory late in the first half, the Wolfpack defensive line recorded four sacks of Mendham quarterback Jack Horan. Alex Hughes, John Maciejewski, and Jake Butkus (two sacks) got to Horan to end Mendham’s drive and keep West Morris in front at halftime.

Murray finished the evening with 114 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns. Hennelly added 72 yards on 12 carries before leaving the game with a leg injury.

Byrne led Mendham with 52 yards and three touchdowns on nine carries.

WEST MORRIS 28, MENDHAM 21

West Morris 6-8-7-7-28

Mendham 0-7-7-7-21

WM-Connor Thompson 1 run (Kick failed)

WM- Javier Murray 15 run (Connor Sokolowski pass to Ryan Pruss)

M- Tim Byrne 5 run (Ross Coapman kick)

WM-Javier Murray 10 run (Thomas Stoll kick)

M-Tim Byrne 11 run (Ross Coapman Kick

M-Tim Byrne 14 run (Ross Coapman kick)

WM Javier Murray 35 run (Thomas Stoll kick

Team records: West Morris 3-2, Mendham 2-2-1

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