Senior RB and Sophomore QB Lead Eagles Down the Field for Winning Score
EDISON, NJ—On This Halloween Eve, more commonly known as Mischief Night, Big Central Gridiron wasn’t tricked, but treated to a very riveting contest between the Summit Hilltoppers of Division 3, and Edison of Division 5B at The Drawl in Edison. Although Summit was in a sort of rebuilding season following a 6-3 season a year ago, and winning the North Jersey Section 2 Group 3 title in 2018, the Hilltoppers gave quite a fight.
Edison entered the contest with a 2-2 on the season, but could have been easily 4-0. The Eagles were coming off a very tough loss at home last week against highly ranked North Brunswick. The Raiders escaped with a 21-20 victory after a last second interception in the end zone by Jelani Devonish-Wynter. The Eagles also suffered a one point, 7-6 loss at Franklin on opening weekend.
Summit, which lost to Rahway at home on opening weekend (40-14), turned in a determined effort against a Somerville team that has been ranked among the top three in the Big Central last Saturday. The Hilltoppers would show why they gave the Pioneers such trouble with another inspired effort against Edison. Led by the efforts of running back, Austin Groce, Summit moved the ball well on the ground, and took a 17-14 lead in the fourth quarter.
However, led by the play of sophomore QB, Matt Yascko, and the running of Dunellen transfer, Qwentin Rose, the Eagles rallied with a 92 yard drive down the field over a span of nearly five and a half minutes. Rose then capped the drive with a TD run for the thrilling 20-17 victory. Yascko used both his arm and his legs on the ultimate drive of the game as he accounted for 52 yards passing.
Yascko, who broke into the starting lineup as a freshman against South Plainfield last season, wound up completing 53 percent of his 34 passing attempts for a touchdown and 191 yards, or about 10.6 yards per completion. Yascko also rushed 9 times for 43 yards, or 4.8 yards per carry. Rose had 8 carries for 73 yards and two scores to average 9.1 yards per carry.
All of Yascko and Rose’s heroics wouldn’t be possible without not only the solid wide receiver corps of the Eagles including Malcolm Stansbury, Jaden Peart, and Zak Nasser, but also the defensive play of Daniel Maurath. In addition to his one catch for 19 yards, Maurath was all over the place on the defensive side of the football for Edison. He racked up 18 tackles including two sacks, and added a forced fumble and recovery.
Stansbury, also a sophomore, caught 5 passes for 95 yards and a touchdown. He averaged 19 yards per catch, and one of those was a touchdown in the second quarter to give the Eagles a 13-0 lead. Jaden Peart tallied 6 receptions for 38 yards, or an average of 6.3 yards per catch. Nasser pulled in 2 catches for 25 yards. In total, Yascko connected with 7 different receivers on the night.
In addition to Maurath’s efforts, Edison’s defense also got solid play from Jordan Laroche (10 tackles and a sack), and Adekunle Shittu (14 tackles and 2 sacks). Terrell Perez added 9 tackles, a sack, and a fumble recovery while Benje Guar and Jordan White also contributed with 8 tackles. Dominick Montaito helped out with 6 tackles and a fumble recovery. Edison’s defense had 6 sacks, 4 fumble recoveries, and 2 forced fumbles on the night.
Groce, who had one rushing touchdown, did what he could to lead Summit in the contest. Not only did he run for 98 yards on 24 carries, or 4.5 yards per rush, but also caught one pass for 9 yards, and led the Hilltoppers defense with 7 tackles. Colin Beatty also contributed to the balanced Summit running game with 87 yards on 13 carries, or an average of 6.7 yards per rush. QB Charlie Schaeffer chipped in by adding 30 yards on 9 carries.
Schaeffer also completed 5 of 8 passing attempts for 93 yards and another touchdown. The TD pass came late in the second quarter when Schaeffer hooked up with Conor St. Amant for 45 yards to put Summit on the board and cut the deficit to 13-7 before the end of the first half. St. Amant finished with 4 catches for 84 yards, or 21 yards per reception on the night.
Helping the Hilltoppers take the lead in the second half was placekicker Brock Froschauer, who converted both of his extra point attempts, and made a 27 yard field goal to give Summit a 17-13 advantage with 6:22 to play in the game. On the other side, Selbin Sabio made 2 of his 3 PATs. At first it looked like Edison was going to roll to an easy victory.
After Summit came out with its running game firing on all four pistons on its opening drive, and forced Edison to call its first timeout of the opening half, Maurath showed great anticipation on defense by jumping on the 3rd down snap, and tackling the Summit player for a loss, and that ultimately halted a promising Hilltopper drive. The Eagles then took over, and put together a scoring drive that was capped by a 24 yard run from Rose for a 6-0 lead despite a blocked extra point with 2:53 left in the first quarter.
Early in the second, Edison had the ball again, and came back up the field and scored on an 18 yard TD pass from Yascko to Stansbury for a 13-0 lead with 8:31 to play in the first half. Apparently down for the count, Summit began to battle back with a scoring drive of its own capped when Schaffer rolled out to his right, and fired a 45 yard strike to St. Amant to cut the deficit in half at 13-7 with 1:23 to go in the second.
Summit would dominate the third and early fourth by scoring the next 10 points for a 17-0 rally. The Hilltoppers put together a solid drive in the third that resulted in a punishing five yard run by Groce for a 14-13 lead with 4:14 left in the frame. The visitors from Union County then made it a four point lead at 17-13 when Froschauer converted from 27 yards out with 9:22 left. The field goal was crucial since it forced the Eagles to have to score a touchdown in order to win.
With its backs to the wall, Edison’s offense responded with a memorable march of nearly the entire length of the field. Besides the passing of Yascko, the Eagles got on the doorstep with 1:01 to play on a run of about 30 yards by Rose. The Dunellen transfer then scored on a one yard run moments later to give Edison a 20-17 lead. Summit had a chance to come back, but the Eagles were able to force a turnover with eight seconds to play to preserve the victory.
Thanks to the win, Edison improved to 3-2 overall on the season while Summit fell to 2-3 overall. Both teams were scheduled to return to action the following week, but due to COVID both teams were forced to quarantine. The Hilltoppers never returned to the field again in 2020 while Edison had to wait all the way until November 20th when it hosted Hillsborough at The Drawl.
The game marked the first ever meeting between the two schools. Edison, which had previously been a member of the Greater Middlesex Conference’s Red and White Division over the years, mostly competed against Middlesex County schools and then Shore Conference teams in crossovers until 2018 when the GMC began to play the Mid-State 38 in crossovers.