2022 WOHS Varsity Football Season Recap

Steven Mulvihill

The West Orange Mountaineers end an amazing season this year, not just for them, but for their entire town. The team ended with a 5-3 regular season record, and was able to win their state sectional championship for the first time in school history.

 

Coming in to this season, Coach Darnell Grant and the players were very optimistic about winning since “we had a lot of guys returning, and we were very clear on doing better than we did last year.” 

 

In the opening game for the mountaineers, senior Saboor Karriem had a fantastic game, leading the West Orange charge with two touchdowns, and a 13-7 win for West Orange against Montclair. Junior Zekhi Wimberly also had a great game, racking up 4 sacks. Senior Gensley Auguste had his favorite sack in game 1, saying “…one of our players grabbed his ankles, and I came around and just hit him.” and “He ate some turf.”

 

Game 2 was also very successful, beating Bloomfield 34-7. This game was all about rushing as  senior Jehki Williams and junior Adonis White stood out combining for 199 rushing yards.

 

It was tough loss for West Orange in game 3, as Passaic Tech was able to get a 12-6 victory over the mountaineers. Saboor Karriem scored a late touchdown to try to regain some confidence, but it sadly was not enough. 

 

But West Orange pushed back in game 4, beating Mount Olive in their home turf 28-14. Saboor really stood out this game, having three touchdowns all on 126 receiving yards. Jekhi Williams also got a TD after a 1 yd run. Senior Quran Ali also stood out, passing four touchdowns and finishing with 205 passing yards this game. The defense also combined for a solid 8 sacks, so it was overall a great game for West Orange. 

 

Shown is Coach Darnell Grant and Wide Receiver Saboor Karriem (Steve Hockstein – nj.com)

 

The team kept the train moving blowing out Bayonne 35-0 in game 5. Senior Amir Stewart took the quarterback spot after a Quran Ali injury, and combined for 3 touchdown passes and 212 passing yards. Saboor also had really solid game with 161 receiving yards and knabbing 3 touchdowns in the process. 

 

“It was really exciting, as it was the game back for Amir Stewart after being out from an injury in the preseason.” said Coach Grant in response to the game. “We continued growing as a team from this game.” 

 

Game 6 was West Orange’s Homecoming game, and they sadly took a crushing lost to East Orange. Adonis White stood out for West Orange, having 131 rushing yards for that game. Jehki Willams also had a TD in 4th quarter after a blocked kick, but it just wasn’t enough for this 25-12 loss. Coach Grant said in response to the game “Even though we put in a good effort, we had a lot of injuries that hindered our win.” He also said that “Though we lost the game, it still created potential for the rest of the season.” 

 

But when everyone was down and out from the last game, WO kept on pushing for a game 7 victory, crushing North Bergen 41-7. It was a scoring parade for multiple players including junior Rayel Hunter, Saboor Karriem, Adonis White and sophomore Terrell Wilfong. Even Al-Jahmir Newsome had 6 tackles for the game, so it was a very impressive win for West Orange. According to the Coach, they didn’t see the glue of this team until the game against North Bergen. 

 

In their last game though, West Orange couldn’t prevail losing 27-18 against Irvington. Amir Stewart had a really solid 155 passing yards, and even passed for three touchdowns from Saboor Karriem, Jarvis Jones, and Terrell Wilfong. But even with all this scoring, it just wasn’t enough against the rushing game of the Irvington Knights. 

 

Even with some hard loses, the West Orange Mountaineers still made the playoffs just like last year. The team said going in to this,“We expected a ring. There was never a game given to us, and we just had to execute.”

 

In the Quaterfinal Round of the North Jersey Section 2, Group 5 NJSIAA Tournment, West Orange prevailed at Watchung Hills, beating them 18-10. Jekhi Williams got in a 1 yd run in the 2nd Quarter before sadly leaving with an ankle injury. Senior Matthew Borrino then scored with a 12 yd pass by Amir Stewert. Senior Jarvis Jones also helped spark the fire with a solid 144 yards. Finally, I’yan Gainer capped off the game with a fumble recovery into the endzone in the 4th quarter.

 

Gensley Auguste (55) against Ridgewood on 11/4/22 (Steve Hockstein – nj.com)

 

In the next playoff game, West Orange was able to take a very close victory against Ridgewood in the Semifinal round of Section 2, Group 5. Adonis White picked up two TDs for the mountaineers, with an amazing 152 rushing yards in that game. There was also major scoring from Saboor Karriem, Rayel Hunter and Adonis White. In the 4th quarter, it looked like Ridgewood was running away with this victory, but with a clutch touchdown and 2-point conversion from Adonis White and Saboor Karriem respectively, the game was taken in to overtime 28-28. But after a field goal from Ridgewood, Saboor was able to clutch it up in overtime with a final seconds touchdown to close out the game 34-31 West Orange. 

 

“I was more proud about he we played the game, it wasn’t about me in the moment.”, said Saboor after the overtime catch. “To me, it was more about how everybody else reacted.” he added.

 

West Orange then did the impossible, winning the Sectional title for the first time in school history. They were able to come away with a 28-7 victory against the tough Phillpsburg football program. Amir Stewart was able to score both touchdowns in the 1st quarter, from a 2 yd run from Amir, to a 34 yd pass to Saboor Karriem. Adonis White then got a 5-yd touchdown in the 2nd, and Jarvis Jones was able to close out this historical victory with a interception return in the 4th. The defense also had a very succesful game, with Jarvis Jones knabbing 4 sacks and combining for 9 sacks as a team. Coach Grant said how this was “one of my most memorable moments, and that it was a testament to our town and our school.”

 

This game was also the player’s favorite memories, as it was very emotional for them. Lineman Gensley Auguste said that “I was very emotional after the win, as we never did that before in school history, and we were the first to do it.” Wide receiver Jarvis Jones also said how “Nobody will know how much it took, cause it took a lot to win.” and that “It all felt like a movie!” 

 

Finally, after a grand and very emotional season, West Orange sadly lost their Group 5 semifinals against Passaic Tech. The Moutaineers had a strong fight early, with a touchdown in the first from Saboor Karriem. But the defense just couldn’t stop the rushing game of the PCTI Bulldogs. 

 

“We accomplised what we said we wanted to do, and we just had to act like men, it was our next chapter in life, the next scene of the movie.” said Jarvis in response to the Passaic Tech game. “We got our ring, and we weren’t stressing, we were just enjoying the time left we had with each other!” The day to play the game was also changed, so it “wasn’t really the best time for us” said Coach Grant. “I was a little disappointed we didn’t win, but we knew we squeezed all the juice out of our team, and we had gave everything we had to win this game.”

 

Overall, the West Orange football team had a very spectacular season this year. Just like almost all the fall sports in our school, the team was led by successful coaching and even more successful work from the players. This sucesss on the field was created by the bonds the players created off the field. Saboor and Jarvis talked about how they “grew up together” through football. “We had beef, and we were very competitive” added Jones, which through this beef, a strong relationship was created between them. The boys spend time together, even doing “lifts at lunch” which creates strong bonds off the field to play good on the field. 

Coach Grant said “The bar is set for the next group of guys” and he said to try to replicate this season, its all about “hardwork, brotherhood and dedication.” Even with all the ups and downs the team had, this was still a special group that deserved to win, and officially set the bar for the next West Orange football teams to come.