The Governor Livingston High School football team was going to need something close to a Herculean outing Saturday if it was going to end Summit’s season.
The seventh-seeded Highlanders had great energy from start to finish at Tatlock Field but found what so many others have over the last few years — the defending NJSIAA North 2 Group III champs simply have too much.
Second-seeded Summit, which capped its fifth straight unbeaten regular season last Saturday, won its 22nd overall straight game with a 34-14 playoff victory.
Governor Livingston cut the deficit to 20-14 in the third quarter on senior Ryan Jennings’ short run and Pat Mahoney’s point after, but Summit had an answer. The Hilltoppers scored, forced a three-and-out, then scored again for a 34-14 lead with 9:43 left in the fourth quarter.
“They are disciplined they got some crazy good athletes, success is in their blood,” said GL senior Jensen Butler. “They have always been good, every year they are, they are just a force to be reckoned with and they’ve got an incredible offense, they are pounding teams left and right.”
Summit (10-0) will play host to Cranford next Saturday in the section semifinals. Summit beat Cranford 48-14 in the regular season. Governor Livingston (4-5) will end the season by hosting New Providence Thanksgiving Day at Frey Field.
Summit jumped to a 20-0 second quarter lead, scoring on its first two possessions on Charlie Terry’s short pass to Drew Childers and Terry’s 12-yard run. The third score — Chris Zanelli’s 13-yard run — came after an interception set the Hilltoppers up at their 46. The Highlanders scored right after as junior P.J. Jamolawiz took a bubble screen from junior quarterback John Wills and turned it into a 75-yard touchdown.
“I just caught it, made a move and just saw a lane,” said Jamolawiz, who also had an interception.
The Highlanders went three-and-out to open the second half, but Wills recovered a fumbled punt at the GL 45 and the underdogs took advantage.
“”We needed to make sure to stay consistent on ‘D’ and force turnovers because we have a good offense,” Butler said.
The Highlanders went 12 plays with Jennings scoring from two yards out and Mahoney’s second extra point, making it 20-14. That’s as close as they would get.
Governor Livingston beat Summit in the North 2 Group II semifinals in 2008 and are the last Union County school to beat the Hilltoppers. While Summit has had great success since that loss, the Highlanders were going 11-29.
“This program has struggled the past few years and as seniors we got together and said we had to make a change,” Butler said. “This program hasn’t really seen success in a few of years. We made the playoffs, but that wasn’t our goal, the goal was to go all the way, but unfortunately we got Summit in the first round, but we still played our hearts out.”
S – Childers 9 pass from Terry (kick failed)
S – Terry 12 run (Johnson kick)
S – Zanelli 9 run (Johnson kick)
GL – Jamolawicz 75 pass from Wills (Mahoney kick)
GL – Jennings 2 run ( Mahoney kick)
S – Mullholland 33 pass from Terry (Johnson kick)
S – Zanelli 19 pass from Terry (Johnson kick )
RUSHING: GL — Jennings 23-105, Jamolawicz 6-35, Ragazzo 3-8, Wills 6-24, Mahoney 4-(-13); S –Terry 11-31, Dougherty 14-90, Zanelli 7-57, C. Sink 8-38, Connolly 3-8, Masterfano 2-29, S. Sink 2-9
PASSING: GL — Wills 5-13-1-97, Mahoney 1-6-0-17; S — Terry 9-13-0-155, C. Sink 0-3-1-0
RECEIVING: GL — Jamolawicz 3-75, Jennings 1-17, Longo 1-5, Ragazzo -17, S — Zanelli 3-62, Mullholland 1-33, Masterfano 2-23, Childers 2-19, Helmer 1-18.