Mountain Lakes football extends victory streak with defeat over Pequannock

Mountain Lakes football extends victory streak with defeat over Pequannock


Mountain Lakes football extends victory streak with defeat over Pequannock



Over the past two years, Adam Franklin has carved his niche as one of the premier sprinters in Morris County. The Mountain Lakes senior has collected his fair share of hardware, displaying his blazing speed, winning both the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the Morris County Championships last spring.

Franklin got to show off his fleet feet on the football field on Friday night, making a huge play that turned the tide in the Herd’s 33-0 win over Pequannock.

With the Herd holding onto a 7-0 lead in the second quarter, Pequannock mounted a drive soon after Brian Campo recovered a Mountain Lakes fumble.

The Golden Panthers marched to the Herd 24-yard line, when Franklin put his thumbprint on the game. He recovered a fumble, then turned on the jets, motoring for a 79-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown that really broke the Panthers’ spirits. Franklin took two strides and was gone, some 20 yards ahead of everyone else. It was an impressive explosion not readily seen.

“When I saw the ball, I hoped that it wouldn’t go through my legs,” Franklin said. “I was happy to get it and I thought someone was right behind me. I just wanted to go as fast as I can. It’s definitely a different feeling than winning in track, the atmosphere, everything.”

The gigantic, momentum-swinging play gave Mountain Lakes a 13-0 lead. With the way the Herd was playing defense, there was no comeback in sight.

“We played tremendous defense all night,” Mountain Lakes head coach Darrell Fusco said. “We played physical and tough inside.”

As for Franklin’s play?

“That was a game-turning play,” Fusco said. “It was boom, he got the ball and he was going the other way. He has speed to burn.”

The Herd (3-0) got on the scoreboard first with their second possession of the game. Chris Sammarro broke through the line for a 54-yard touchdown with 6:16 left in the first period. Andrew Letsch added the PAT kick and the Herd were certainly thundering to a 7-0 lead.

Pequannock (1-2) could not sustain any semblance of an offensive attack against the Herd, who were swarming to the ball. Mammoth defensive lineman Zach Kuehm (seven tackles) bottled up the middle of the field and linebacker Brian Olshanski (nine tackles) was all over the field.

The Panthers managed just 50 yards of total offense and two first downs in the first half.

After Franklin’s big score, the Herd added another touchdown right before intermission.

Junior quarterback Brad Smith locked up with Zach Lesko for a 41-yard touchdown connection with 1:33 left in the first half. Lesko managed to snare the ball away from two Pequannock defenders, then sprinted to the far right corner of the end zone for the backbreaking score.

Mountain Lakes held a commanding 20-0 lead at the break.

Pequannock played inspired football after intermission and took the second half kickoff down the field with an impressive drive.

The Panthers marched 76 yards on an astounding 18 plays down to the Mountain Lakes 5-yard line. A.J. Adamczyk (22 carries, 70 yards), who was the workhorse all night long, had eight carries on the drive for 38 yards and one reception for another nine yards.

But the Panthers came up short. On fourth-and-goal from the 5-yard line, Tim Horgan hit Ian Campbell on the right flank, but before he could turn upfield, Sammarro made the hit that kept Campbell out of the end zone. The Panthers kept the ball for 8:34 seconds of the third period and had nothing to show for it.

The Herd then put a capper on the victory with two fourth-quarter scores.

On one drive, John Spagnola did most of the work. The fullback carried the ball five times in a 70-yard drive that also featured a 19-yard pass from Smith to Lesko.

Smith connected with Jake Schuckman for a 6-yard TD that pushed the lead to 26-0 with 7:15 remaining.

On the Herd’s next possession, Jack Palazzi took a sweep around the right side and took it to the house for a 68-yard score, capping the impressive win for the Herd.

Mountain Lakes (3-0) 7-13-0-13-33

Pequannock (1-2) 0-0-0-0–0

ML-Chris Sammarro 54 run (Andrew Letsch kick)

ML-Adam Franklin 79 fumble recovery (kick failed)

ML-Zach Lesko 41 pass from Brad Smith (Andrew Letsch kick)

ML-Jake Schuckman 6 pass from Brad Smith (kick blocked)

ML-Jack Palazzi 68 run (Andrew Letsch kick)


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