WOODBRIDGE – Andrew Roberts was looking forward to Halloween but not because of the treats. Rather, he preferred the upcoming trick.
Roberts, a junior quarterback, hauled in a touchdown on a surprising 40-yard halfback toss from receiver Terence Young as J.F. Kennedy defeated Carteret 22-13 in the Greater Middlesex Conference White Division battle Friday night.
“We knew we were going to do that play in the second half,” Roberts said. “We (Terence and I) were looking forward to that all week.”
Roberts scored all three of the Mustangs’ touchdowns in the game but the unlikely reception caught the Ramblers defense off guard. The score allowed J.F. Kennedy (6-2) some breathing room after Carteret (5-3) notched its first score early in the second half.
The Mustangs limited Carteret to just 22 yards in the first half but Carteret running back Ra’keem Bennet more than doubled that yardage output on two runs that included a 31-yard touchdown jaunt for a 9-7 Ramblers deficit. Two offensive series later, the Young to Roberts connection made it a 15-7 J.F. Kennedy lead with 5:32 left in the third quarter.
Roberts’ ran the option offense efficiently, converting 12-of-18 passes for 158 yards and connecting on nine of his first 10 attempts in the game. The junior carried the bulk of the load on the ground as well with a game-high 28 carries and 181 yards for the Mustangs.
The combination of good blocking from the offensive line and patience from Roberts led to 16 runs of five yards or more by the junior signal-caller.
“Andrew is an athlete, and we read that zone read well,” said Kennedy coach Andrew Maurizio, whose team has won four straight games. “Carteret is a tough, physical football game, and our boys came ready to play.”
Both of the Ramblers scores came on good starting field position. Other than those two touchdowns, the Mustangs defense did an effective job of limiting Carteret to only 122 yards in the game. Michael Hogan and Cristian Cardosa each had numerous pressures and a sack of Ramblers quarterback Nelson Baez, who converted 7-of-21 pass attempts for 86 yards with a touchdown and an interception by Ari King.
Young finished with nine catches for 107 yards for the Mustangs, who increased their chances of a home playoff game in the North 2, Group IV section.Bennet paced Carteret with 68 rushing yards and one touchdown. The defeat halted the Ramblers three-game winning steak.
CARTERET (5-3) 0-0-7-6-13
J.F. KENNEDY (6-2) 3-6-6-7-22
J-Scalia 28 FG
J-Roberts 1 run (kick failed)
C-Bennet 31 run (Lopez kick)
J-Roberts 40 pass from Young (pass failed)
J-Roberts 22 run (Scalia kick)
C-Gilder 4 pass from Baez (kick failed)
RUSHING: C-Bennet 15-68, Baez 5-(-31), Irving 1-5, Ellington 1-(-1), Kamara 1-(-7); J-Roberts 28-181, King 9-39, Allen 2-(-1), Mott 1-8.
PASSING: C-Baez 7-21-1-86; J-Roberts 12-28-2-158, Young 1-1-0-40.
RECEIVING: C-Gilder 4-35, Williams 1-18, Bennet 1-18, Chapman 1-15; J-Young 9-107, Oziegbe 3-51, Roberts 1-40.