RANDOLPH – The Roxbury football team simply needed to turn the page.
One week after getting embarrassed by rival Delbarton in what was billed as a showdown of Morris County’s top two teams, the Gaels took out their frustrations on another rival, Randolph, to get back on the winning track by posting a 42-7 victory Friday night.
In addition to being Morris County’s most intense rivalry, the game had postseason implications for both teams in NJSIAA North 1 Group IV. Roxbury entered play as the second seed in the bracket while the Rams needed the upset to have a chance to sneak into the postseason.
The Gaels opened the scoring on their second possession when senior quarterback Grant Dixon, who finished with four touchdown passes, escaped the Rams’ pass rush from his own 14-yard line and hurled an 86-yard touchdown pass to Stephen Loreng, who grabbed the football at midfield and outraced the Randolph secondary to the end zone.
The same combination hooked up for another long touchdown pass early in the second quarter to extend the Gaels’ lead to 14-0. Dixon again stepped up in the pocket away from pressure and found a wide-open Loreng well behind the Rams’ secondary for a 69-yard scoring strike.
While Dixon and Loreng made the highlight reel, it was the Gaels’ defense that closed the door on Randolph early, and allowed their offense to gain its footing.
Roxbury added a third score with 2:41 left in the opening half when Malik Goldberry capped off a 65-yard drive. Dixon again made the big play with his arm, completing passes of 40 and 21 yards to Tucker Voelbel to set up Goldberry’s scoring plunge.
The defense set up the visitors’ final score of the first half when senior lineman James Roberts dropped into coverage and picked off a pass, returning it to the Randolph 8. Two plays later, Dixon found Jack Clevenger on a 5-yard fade in the end zone to up the advantage to 28-0 at the intermission.
The Dixon-Loreng combo struck one more time late in the third quarter, this time on a fourth-and-6 play from the Randolph 33. Loreng found room in the middle of the field and Dixon again was on target, leading his receiver into the end zone for the third time in the game while upping the lead to 35-0.