MOUNTAIN LAKES Mountain Lakes used a rare loss as motivation going forward, taking out pent up frustration in a 41-20 defeat of Newton on Homecoming.
Quarterback Griffin Baker threw for three touchdowns and running back Dylan Gottesman scored two touchdowns, one on a 91-yard kickoff return to start the third quarter. Gottesman, who rushed for 79 yards on 11 carries, acknowledged last week’s loss to Boonton was still on the Herd’s minds when they took the field on Saturday.
“This was a crucial statement game for us, and a catalyst for us for the rest of the season,” Gottesman said. “From here on out, no more losing. There was some anger and fire in us this whole week of practice. We wanted to make a statement with this game for the rest of the season going forward.”
Mountain Lakes’ backfield trio of Gottesman, Jake Spagnola (9-53) and Jordan Kern (10-50) ran for a combined 182 yards and scored four touchdowns. The Herd running game had Newton’s defense backpedaling. When the Braves tried to overcompensate by moving extra players up to the line of scrimmage to stop the run, Baker was able to roll out and find receivers wide open downfield.
Mountain Lakes used the run to set up the pass on its first possession, as 10 running plays led to a 28-yard pass from Baker to Mike Aiello.
“We have been struggling on offense, so to finally go back to throwing touchdowns was a good thing,” Mountain Lakes coach Darrell Fusco said. “You give Baker time he’s capable of doing some big things.”
After Newton tied the game on a 66-yard pass from Luke Young to Will Larsen, Mountain Lakes answered right back on a 64-yard pass from Baker to Spagnola who came out of the backfield, caught the ball at the 50-yard line, broke a tackle, and then ran untouched down the Mountain Lakes sideline.
“This week in practice we really worked on selling the fake, trying to make it look like a running play,” said Baker, who was 7 for 14 for 147 yards and three touchdowns in the air, and also rushed for 36 yards on five carries. “The offensive line held their blocks, the receivers got open, and I did my job.”
Mountain Lakes added to its lead on their next possession. Having been successful rolling Baker out of the pocket on their first two possessions, Fusco saw no reason to change, and it took the Herd only five plays to go 51 yards with Baker finding senior Cade Siddron for a 30-yard touchdown.
It was the first touchdown for Siddron, Mountain Lakes’ long snapper who recently started playing tight end.
“He’s been bouncing around for us, but today he stepped up and did a phenomenal job,” Gottesman said of Siddron. “Look’s like he’s found a spot.”
Newton quarterback Luke Young completed six of 14 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns. Back Chase Cramer rushed for 102 yards on 16 carries, including a 49-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown. Scott Price led the Braves’ defense with 11 tackles.
MOUNTAIN LAKES 41, NEWTON 20
Mountain Lakes 21-7-6-0-41
M-Mike Aiello 28 pass from Griffin Baker (Colin Pond kick)
N-Will Larsen 66 pass from Luke Young (Devin Mager kick)
M-Jake Spagnola 64 pass from Griffin Baker (Pond kick)
M-Cade Siddron 30 pass from Baker (Pond kick)
M-Dylan Gottesman 16 run (Pond kick)
N-Chase Cramer 43 pass from Young (Mager kick)
M-Gottesman 91 kickoff return (Pond kick)
M-Jordan Kern 5 run (Kick failed)
N-Cramer 49 run (Kick failed)
Team records: Mountain Lakes 3-2, Newton 2-3