East Orange Defeats West Orange, 8-6, in the Orange Bowl


Photo Credits to Larry Washington: Amiyn Hanks #4 and Jahmil St. Pierre #7 of West Orange step onto the field for pregame warm-ups.

Mark Mincolelli

WEST ORANGE, NEW JERSEY– Coach Darnell Grant and the West Orange Mountaineers would host head coach Rae Oliver and the East Orange Jaguars, in a game where emotions would run high. It would be proven early and often, that the rivalry between the 2 teams was very much present. In a highly anticipated match-up, these teams would clash at Suriano Field on the new West Orange turf, fighting for future playoff seeds and school pride.


The Mountaineers, who were obviously dissatisfied with the loss, showed not one bit of frustration or anger towards the opposition as they celebrated on their side of the field, and graciously walked off the field with their heads up high. I asked Coach Darnell Grant just how much this display of class and sportsmanship by his squad speaks to their level of character, and he responded in saying “I commend my team for demonstrating the great character and class of the West Orange football program, as well as the West Orange community as a whole. We have outstanding young men in our program, who not only win on the field but put themselves in positions to win in life.”

Photo Credits to Larry Washington: #2 Dorian Rawls of the Mountaineers endures walk-throughs during the pregame.

From the opening coin toss, the environment on the field at the “Orange Bowl” proved to be chippy. With 3 first half personal foul calls, it was apparent that the rivalry between the 2 teams was still largely present.

Both West Orange 1st quarter drives had ended in a turnover on downs. On their opening possession, the Mountaineers had made an attempt to obtain a 4th down conversion with just 3 yards to gain. However, QB Mason Murdock, could not place the ball in the hands of a receiver. Following an East Orange punt, West Orange would again find themselves in a 4th and short situation, and Coach Grant would order his offense back on the field. The ball was placed inches before the Jaguar 5 yard line, with the Mountaineers needing 2 yards to convert. Unfortunately, Mason Murdock had missed a couple of open receivers, Amiyn Hanks (#4) and Jayson Raines (#8), as the 1st quarter came to a close. The Mountaineers were 0 for 2 on 4th down conversion attempts thus far.


Photo Credits to Larry Washington: Matt Bove looks to hold the Jaguar defense on 3rd down.

The second quarter opened up with a Jaguar fumble, recovered by #5 Jared Massay, forced by #31 Adonis May. May would finish with 5 tackles, 2 tackles for a loss, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble. The Mountaineer offense would get another chance to put points on the board, as they drove all the way down the field to the East Orange 9 yard line, following two unsportsmanlike conduct calls on the Jaguars. West Orange then lost 4 yards on a Shakhi Carson rush attempt, and received a crucial holding call on the play after. Coach Grant would elect to go for it again, sidelining the senior kicker Bryan Reitberger (#16), yet again. On 4th and 26, West Orange would gain 0 yards on an incomplete pass intended for the 6’3 wideout, Jayson Raines. The Mountaineers would receive a Jaguar punt on the following possession, with just 1:02 left in the first half, and a chance to do something special. However, free safety, #1 Ian Brown of East Orange, would step back and earn a devastating interception, with no Mountaineer receivers relatively close to the football. The half would end in a stalemate. 

Photo Credits to Larry Washington: Coach Darnell Grant speaks with his quarterback Mason Murdock, after a called timeout.

The 3rd quarter was one of stagnant offense, and unfortunate injury. The quarter consisted of 5 combined punts on all 5 drives, and 2 major injuries for West Orange. Returnman Aidan Healey #27, had exited the game for the Mountaineers with an apparent head injury, and would later be evaluated for a concussion. Also for the Mountaineers, star quarterback Mason Murdock would exit the game, writhing in pain from a lower leg/ankle injury suffered on a sack West Orange conceded late in the 3rd quarter. Murdock would finish just 7 for 18 for 73 yards and 1 interception. The air was taken out of Suriano Field and all those in attendance. The Mountaineers would be left without their #1 return man, and their starting quarterback, resulting in a next-man-up mentality on the West Orange sideline. Sean Brown #17 would be called on to return punts for the squad, and highly praised sophomore, Zander Lipsey #19, younger brother of senior safety Cade Lipsey #15, would be placed in the quarterback spot.

Photo Credits to Larry Washington: #26 of West Orange, Jalen Rutherford, guards his man.


Zander Lipsey was tasked with guiding his team to victory, and becoming a leader in a clutch moment of the game, the 4th quarter. He would need to execute a win without one of his main targets, #2 Dorian Rawls, who had suffered a serious lower body injury on an awkward tackle earlier in the game. East Orange hit a huge miscue with just 1:07 left in regulation, as quarterback Quadir Scott #13, would miss a wide open receiver streaking downfield on a potential touchdown pass. West Orange survived a huge blow, and looked for a spark in the new punt returner, Sean Brown. Brown would indeed deliver that spark, returning an East Orange punt deep into Jaguar territory, which seemed to be a game saver for the Mountaineers. All hopes were taken away, after it was discovered that there was a holding penalty on the play, cancelling all yardage gained by #17. With the clock running out, this game was headed to overtime. With the odds stacked against West Orange, they looked to end all doubt in extra time.

Photo Credits to Larry Washington: #17 Sean Brown on a critical punt return that would later be called back.

East Orange would receive possession first, getting the ball on the West Orange 25 yard line (incorporated in the new overtime ruling system). The Jaguars did not seem to pose much of a threat, after a 1st play tackle for a loss of 18 yards by #14 of West Orange, Chris Parsons, pushing the offense back to the West Orange 43 yard line. Parsons would finish the day with 7 total tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, and 1 forced fumble. However, Quadir Scott would complete an 18-yard pass on the ensuing play, giving the Jaguars new life. The Mountaineer defense would hold East Orange all the way to a 3rd and 10 try, but the Jaguar quarterback would heave a pass to the back corner of the endzone, where 6‘0, 185-pound wideout, #1 Ian Brown, would catch the games 1st, and most crucial touchdown, giving the Jaguars a lead of 6. In the exact same back corner of the endzone, the Jaguars would complete an epic drive with a mirroring pass, caught by Brown once again, increasing the score to 8-0. West Orange, however, would have the opportunity to answer.

Photo Credits to Marie Brown: The Mountaineers get ready to snap the ball.

West Orange would take over at the Jaguar 25 yard line, with Zander Lipsey as the captain of the ship. Lipsey would dish out a pass to #3 Shakhi Carson on 2nd down. Carson had been relatively quiet all game, going just 57 yards on 25 carries with a rushing touchdown, and 29 yards on 3 receptions. Carson would take his team 11 yards, to the East Orange 14 yard line, in a clutch catch and run that would put his team within striking distance. 2 plays later, Carson would punch in a 1 yard touchdown run, and continue to prove why he is one of the county’s best running backs. The 2 point conversion was underway: Zander Lipsey rolled out right, and threw a dart to wide receiver Amiyn Hanks, who would drop the ball as he landed, and was hit, at the 1 yard line, and the game came to a walk-off fashioned close. Lipsey would finish 3 for 4 and 40 yards. The East Orange Jaguars sprinted across the field to the Mountaineer fan base, shouting and dancing in a frenzy of celebration. The Jaguars would prevail, and improve to 4-1 on the year.


East Orange is set to face Livingston High School next week. West Orange will prepare for their match-up with Passaic County Tech, for a non-league challenge, next Friday, October 18, 2019 at 7:00pm. The Mountaineers will face a 4-2 Bulldogs team coming off a league win over Kennedy, in Paterson, New Jersey.