Victories are no longer uncommon for the Watchung Hills High School football team. Dominating victories? The Warriors seem to be getting familiar with that, too.
Watchung Hills (5-2) thumped Scotch Plains-Fanwood 39-6 Saturday in a Mid-State 38 cross over at Perry Field.
The Warriors, entenched as a North 2 Group V qualifier for the second straight year, ran for 447 yards on 35 carries, not throwing one pass. Scotch Plains-Fanwood is 2-5.
Watchung Hills, coming off last Friday’s 25-24 home loss to Montgomery, rebonded spendidly, scoring on its first play of the game on Ryan Cunningham’s 81-yard run. The Warriors held SP-F to 13 yards in total offense in the first half.
“We matched up well with them defensively,” said Watchung Hills’ coach Marc Crisafi.
Cunningham opened the game with a pretty, cut-back 81-yard run to the end zone. He topped the 200-yard mark for the fourth time this season. He had 215 in the first half and finished with 237 and three touchdowns on 13 carries. Cunningham has 1,287 yards and 13 touchdowns for the season.
Junior quarterback Joe Giacomo had 100 yards and a touchdown and also had a long run called back because of a hold. Giacomo nearly had two touchdowns, but after breaking free on a 50-yard run on the second play of the second quarter, he was stripped four yards from the end zone. The ball rolled forward and senior tight end Jake Bloom fell on it for a 12-0 lead.
The Warriors, averaging 330 yards rushing per game, dominated without throwing a single pass out of their single wing.
But as mesmerizing as the Warriors’ offense has been, its defense has been becoming quite the tool. Scotch Plains-Fanwood didn’t score until junior Emendo Thomas scored on a 13-yard run with 4:30 left in regulation.
Watchung Hills junior weakside middle linebacker/fullback Dan Bogiorno is one of the chief parts of its unheralded defense. He transferred from St. Peter Prep, so was unable to play in the Warriors’ first four games. He’s made a big impact in his first three with the Warriors.
Bongiorno, who has played three games after having to sit out the NJSIAA transfer rule after after coming over from St. Peter Prep, had six tackles and two sacks.
“He’s a beast,” said senior two-way lineman Tom Loeffler, who had six tackles and sack.
Senior defensive back Jack Minishak had five tackles. Junior corner Ben Gomes had a fumble recovery and also ran for 81 yards and a touchdown. Senior linebacker Matt Rozmerski had an interception and just missed another.
“I was really hoping that we came out on fire like we did and we definitely did that and we got a big win today, they have a lot of big guys and a lot of talent on that team, so it’s a big win for us, ‘ said Bongiorno. “Their line is big and physical, but we got the job done. I’m happy with the guys.”
Crisafi called Bongiorno a “big time player, who’s getting the opporunity.
“I can’t say anything but great things about him, he is very knoweledgeable, he asks all the right questions,” Crisafi said.
Watchung Hills plays at Mid-State 38 Watchung rival Linden Friday night, while Scotch Plains-Fanwood gets back to Mountain Division play with a game at Warren Hills Friday night in Washington.
WH — Cunningham 81 run (pass failed)
WH — Bloom recovered fumble in end zone (run failed)
WH — Cunningham 39 run (Carbajal kick)
WH — Cunningham 13 run (Carbajal kick)
WH — Gomes 23 run (Carbajal kick)
WH — Giacomo 17 run (kick failed)
SPF — Thomas 9 run (kick failed)
RUSHING: WH: Cunninahm 13-237, Giacomo 9-100, Gomes 5-81, Tekin 1-6, Sibilia 1-3, Ball 3-14, Rozmerski 1-7, Kohler 1-3, Nelson 1-(-3); SP-F: Thomas 15-15,, White 11-68, McQuoid 1-7
PASSING: SP-F: Thomas 1-9-1-1
RECEIVING: SP-F: Jones 1-1