The Easton (Penn.) High School seniors will head off from their high school football careers knowing that they never fell to their most heated rivals. But this one was close.
After jumping out to a 31-6 lead at Lafayette College’s Fisher Stadium, Easton was forced to withstand a fierce Phillipsburg (N.J.) High School rally throughout the fourth quarter, eventually emerging with a 31-26 victory. The win was the fourth straight in the series for the the Rovers, who brought a disappointing end to an otherwise terrific season for the Stateliners for a second-straight season.
As noted by Lehigh Valley Live, Easton’s first play from scrimmage was a wild, 68-yard touchdown reception for sophomore Nahjee Adams, who took a screen pass that was well covered and split a seam and eluding tacklers en route to a deflating opening score. And from there the Rovers excelled in all three phases of the game; they scored on a punt return and Adams complimented his game-changing touchdown with an important interception that helped hold off Phillipsburg’s charge.
About that rally: The Stateliners found themselves down 31-6 with just 10:49 remaining when Easton missed a field goal that would have further padded the advantage. Instead, Phillipsburg sprang to life, scoring on a 22-yard scamper from quarterback Jack Stagaard on the ensuing possession, adding another from Stagaard with just 1:16 left to pull within 31-20 (after the two-point conversion).
That’s when things got truly weird. Phillipsburg recovered the ensuing onside kick and scored almost immediately, driving 75 yards on 4 plays in 38 seconds. A missed two-point conversion meant the score was 31-26, but the Stateliners recovered another onside kick to give them life.
Eventually, the entire game came down to Phillipsburg needed to travel 49 yards with just 12 seconds remaining. A final sack of Stagaard who was scrambling to buy time for his receivers ended the 112th State Line game with one of its more exciting — and freezing — finishes.
Phillipsburg will get a chance to salvage some good feelings with a forthcoming appearance in the New Jersey North Group 4 championship against perennial power Wayne Hills. That may or may not make up for a fourth-straight loss against the Rovers, who wrap up the season with a 9-4 final mark.