Tigers Defeat Warren Hills in Home Opener for First Victory of 2020
SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ—After losing to Somerville (50-12) in the season opener last week, the 2020 South Plainfield Tigers were looking to rebound in the friendly revamped confines of Jost Field as they hosted Warren Hills in the team’s home opener on Friday night. Meanwhile, the Blue Streaks of Warren Hills were also looking to get back on track after falling at home to Mount Olive (41-13) in its season opener.
Something had to give, and in a competitive battle that was decided by a score, the Tigers overcame a 7-0 first quarter deficit with three unanswered touchdowns to take a 21-7 fourth quarter lead en route to a 21-14 victory. Senior fullback, Julian Medina, rushed for 175 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries, or an average of 7.3 yards per rush.
Sophomore running back, Kyon Simonson added another 80 yards on 17 carries, or an average of 4.7 yards per rush while Jacob DelVecchio contributed with 65 yards on 10 carries, or 6.5 yards per rush. Senior quarterback, Tyler Balent, rushed 7 times for 56 yards, or an average of 8 yards per rush along with a score while completing 3 of 5 passes for 15 yards. South Plainfield rushed for 353 yards, or an average of 6.5 yards per carry.
Meanwhile, the Tigers’ defense shut down the Warren Hills rushing attack by limiting the Blue Streaks to just 79 yards on 17 carries, which was only about one fourth of the total rushing yardage that South Plainfield had in the contest. Quarterback Kevin Farrell did keep Warren Hills in the contest with two touchdown passes, but also threw two interceptions while being sacked three times.
Farrell, who completed 4 of 9 passes for 121 yards, opened the scoring in the game with a 40 yard first quarter touchdown pass to Lucas Fritton, who had three receptions for 114 yards, or 38 yards per catch. After being shut out in the first period, South Plainfield rebounded with a score in each of the final three periods. Balent got the Tigers on the board first with a two yard run in the second to knot the score at 7-7 going into the halftime intermission.
Then, Medina, who also came up big on defense with an interception and a sack, helped the Tigers pull away with a 5 yard TD run in the third, and a 3 yard scoring run in the fourth for a 14 point South Plainfield lead. Warren Hills then wrapped up the scoring with a 34 yard TD pass from Farrell to Fritton, who also had a 75 yard run, to close out the scoring in the game.
Brayden Philhower (made both his PATs) and Jorge Leones-Feijoo (made all three of his PATs) combined to make all five extra points in the contest. Eric Wian led Warren Hills with 8 tackles in the contest while teammates Colin Volckmann added 7 tackles and a sack, Brandon Riggs collected 7.5 tackles, and Ashton Sozanski contributed with 7 tackles.
With the victory, South Plainfield evened its record to 1-1 overall and in Division 3 of the Big Central Football Conference while Warren Hills dropped to 0-2 on the season overall including an 0-1 mark in the Big Central’s Division 3. Both teams are scheduled to return to action next week with the Tigers traveling to Tatlock Field in Summit to take on the Hilltoppers on Saturday while Warren Hills hosts highly ranked Somerville at home on Friday night.
Friday night’s game marked the first time that South Plainfield and Warren Hills ever squared off on the football field. South Plainfield, which had previously competed in the Greater Middlesex Conference’s Blue and White Divisions, played mostly Middlesex County Schools with crossovers against the Shore Conference until 2018 when the GMC and Mid-State Conference agreed to play crossovers in a first step in what eventually became the Big Central Conference this season.