North Hunterdon football opens season with win over Linden

North Hunterdon football opens season with win over Linden

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North Hunterdon football opens season with win over Linden

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LINDEN

The storyline to Friday afternoon’s Mid-State 38 Watchung Division football game between Linden and North Hunterdon didn’t take long to take shape.

On the first play from scrimmage, North Hunterdon junior defensive back Luke Fogel intercepted a Dazzmen Johnson pass at the Tigers’ 45. Eight plays later — hurried along by a Mark Monks pass to Mike Magaleski — North Hunterdon took the lead for good on junior Jordan Ditzel’s 1-yard dive.

The Lions went on to an emphatic 20-7 win at Tiger Stadium at the Edward R. Cooper Athletic Field. North Hunterdon opened the season with a 13-12 victory over the Tigers in Clinton last season, a good start to what would end in a 5-5 season.

This wasn’t nearly as tight. Linden coach Deon Candida, whose team beat North Hunterdon in a consolation game two years ago, said the Tigers were fortunate to be down just 14-0 at halftime.

“We played off our defense, we’re really trying to change the culture; the defense set the tone, we lived off them all day,” said North Hunterdon coach John Mattes. “The defense is built around the linebackers.”

Senior linebacker Sam Follansbee had more than 10 tackles and senior linebacker Mike Mastrobattista made a fumble recovery and had a sack. Mastrobattista also stopped a fourth-and-one attempt at the 50 in the first half. Junior Ben Sosidka and seniors Tim Bartlett, Mike Zandanel and Tim Woody were among the linemen that kept the dangerous Tigers in check. Sosidka also had a late-game interception.

“The defense set the tone, that’s been our motto,” said Fogel, who enrolled at Immaculata as a freshman, played in three games last season, and returned to North Hunterdon this year.

Monks was good enough. He and Magaleski hooked up on connections of 13 and 39 yards on North Hunterdon’s second scoring drive before Monks threw a 23-yard pass to Magaleski for a touchdown and a 13-0 lead. Fogel added the second extra point.

“They manhandled us at times and our technique was poor, we missed assignments, we made a lot of mistakes, but they were prepared for us,” Candida said.

Monks ran for 13 yards on a third-and-13 on North Hunterdon’s second drive of the second half, Ditzel then went for six and 13. That led up to Monks sneaking in from a yard out for a 20-0 lead with 3:09 left in the quarter.

The offensive numbers weren’t memorable, but nobody boarding the bus for the long ride back to Clinton cared except the ones that read 20-7, which meant 1-0.

North Hunterdon 7 7 6 0 20
Linden 0 0 0 7 7

First Quarter

NH – Ditzel 1 run (Fogel kick)

Second Quarter

NH – Magaleski 23 pass from Monks (Fogel kick)

Third Quarter

NH – Monks 1 run (kick blocked)

Fourth Quarter

L – Waldron 19 pass from Johnson (Ampey kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — NH: Monks 3-36, Ditzel 15-49, T. Marron 7-19; L: Dolbrice 3-(-8); Johnson 8-(-21); West 1-3;

PASSING — NH: Monks 4-15-2-105; L: Johnson 19-29-2-217

RECEIVING — NH: Magaleski 4-105; L: West 6-86, Phipps 1-5; Ampey 2-34, Waldron 2-18

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