25 years ago Randolph experienced a miracle

25 years ago Randolph experienced a miracle

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25 years ago Randolph experienced a miracle

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What been known as 'The greatest high school game ever played' Randolph players scuffed helmets tell the story of their emotional season holding onto a state record win streak and losing their legendary head coach, beating a heavily favored Montclair 22-21 to capture the 1990 Group 4 Section 2 State Championship at Woodman Field in Montclair on Dec, 1, 1990.

What been known as ‘The greatest high school game ever played’ Randolph players scuffed helmets tell the story of their emotional season holding onto a state record win streak and losing their legendary head coach, beating a heavily favored Montclair 22-21 to capture the 1990 Group 4 Section 2 State Championship at Woodman Field in Montclair on Dec, 1, 1990.

Quarterback Mike Groh throws vs. Montclair during the 1990 Group 4 Section 2 State Championship at Woodman Field. Randolph beat heavily favored Montclair 22-21.

Quarterback Mike Groh throws vs. Montclair during the 1990 Group 4 Section 2 State Championship at Woodman Field. Randolph beat heavily favored Montclair 22-21.

In a photo taken November 11, 1990 at John Bauer Sr's last football game, players gather around the coach for a pep talk during a time out. Bauer, the legendary Ram coach for 25 years, passed away 17 days before the championship game vs. Montclair. He was replaced by his son, John Bauer Jr.

In a photo taken November 11, 1990 at John Bauer Sr’s last football game, players gather around the coach for a pep talk during a time out. Bauer, the legendary Ram coach for 25 years, passed away 17 days before the championship game vs. Montclair. He was replaced by his son, John Bauer Jr.

The clock showed 0:00.

The score was 21-19. Randolph’s miracle season and 47-game winning streak looked like it was over.

After four perfect years, there would be no fifth straight championship. The favored Mounties, the No. 1 team in the state would beat No. 2 Randolph.

Seventeen days after the death of their beloved coach John Bauer Sr., the Rams had run out of miracles in the 1990 NJSIAA North 2 Group IV championship game.

Montclair fans rushed the field as the dejected Rams walked to back their sideline.

A legendary coach, Bauer had planned on retiring after the 1990 season but insisted that he wouldn’t quit until the team lost. He said he didn’t want his son, who was an assistant with the team and had been tapped to takeover as head coach when his father retired, to carry the burden of Randolph losing its first game.

The next moments on Dec. 1, 1990 are the things Hollywood movies are made of. It was as if Bauer, who had coached Randolph since 1965, performed a miracle so his Rams dream season wouldn’t end with a loss.

It turned out that the Montclair fans had rushed the field prematurely while there was still some time on the clock so Montclair was whistled for delay-of-game. The fans had to be pushed off the field. Six seconds were put back on the clock and Montclair was forced to punt from inside their own 10-yard-line.

The kick went up, straight up, coming down somewhere around the 20 yard line into the arms of Billy Williams of Randolph who smartly called for the fair catch as he went down to one knee, stopping the clock.

It was then that quarterback Mike Groh stepped back on the field for the last time as a high school star and attempted only his second field goal of the year. With one second left, Eric Schaeb took the snap and Groh took two steps before kicking the football 37 yards through the uprights leaving 12,000 fans in the stadium stunned.

The score was now 22-21, the Randolph Rams were the State Champions, their win streak alive at 48 games.

Daily Record Photographer Bob Karp shot the Randolph vs. Montclair game on Dec. 1, 1990.

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