Mustangs Host Knights in Battle of the Kennedys Regional Crossover
ISELIN, NJ—On Thursday evening, Big Central Gridiron will be making another trip out to Lou Bartha Stadium in Iselin to see the Mustangs of J.F. Kennedy in action against the Knights of Paterson Kennedy in an NJSIAA Regional Crossover. Both teams enter into the contest with 8 losses, but the Mustangs have a victory with their only win of the season coming last week in a 39-0 rout of J.P. Stevens.
Playing in the Patriot White Division of the Super Football Conference in North Jersey, Paterson Kennedy has lost every game it played, and has been outscored by a margin of 316-59 this season, or an average of 40 to 7 per game. Conversely, the Mustangs have been outscored by a margin of 302 to 139, or an average of 34 to 15 per contest.
The Knights have been shut out twice this season while scoring less than 10 points in four other games. Meanwhile, the Mustangs have been shut out once while being held to single digits on three other occasions. However, the Mustangs also scored 20 points or more on four occasions including a season high of 39 in its win over the Hawks last week. The Mustangs have averaged 33 points per game the past two weeks.
Paterson Kennedy’s highest scoring output of the 2021 season was 18 in a loss to Livingston (35-18) on October 8th. The Knights only scored in double figures one another time in a loss to Passaic (34-12) two weeks later. Perth Amboy defeated Passaic (39-17) at Boverini Stadium in Week 2 back on September 10th. The Mustangs had lost to the Panthers by only three (16-13) in a pre-season scrimmage on August 26th.
Coming into today’s NJSIAA Regional Crossover game, these two schools have never played each other. Paterson Kennedy, which lost all of its games (0-6) in a shortened season due to COVID-19 in 2020, and its final two games of the 2019 season, is looking to snap a 16 game losing streak. The Mustangs, which finished 1-5 last year with a thrilling 27-26 OT win over Colonia on November 13, 2020, snapped a 9 game skid with last week’s win over Stevens.
Leading the way for the Mustangs at QB is Jeremiah Morgan, a transfer from Franklin Township, who has completed 53 of 93 passes for 968 yards and 7 TDs while throwing three interceptions. Morgan has also rushed 28 times for 179 yards and two more TDs. In the rushing game, junior Mike Darkwah leads the Mustangs with 59 carries for 253 yards and 4 TDs while also catching two passes for 16 yards.
The Kennedy Mustangs have a solid receiving core led by senior Isaiah Cherry, who has caught 13 passes for 224 yards and 5 TDs including two in a season opening loss to Linden 33-13. Cherry has also rushed 3 times for 47 yards and another score. Teammate and fellow classmate, Justin Suero is another key target with 16 receptions for 135 yards and a TD while junior Angel Ruiz leads the team in receiving yardage with 9 catches for 299 yards, or a little more than 33 yards per reception.
Entering Thursday’s game, the Mustangs have compiled 992 yards in the air, and 518 yards on the ground for a total of 1510 yards of offense, or just under 168 yards per game. Meanwhile, the Knights are led on offense by QB Jaiden Santisteban, RB Adrian Mouzone, and WR Tahny Moss. The Kennedy Mustangs have been through a lot over the last three seasons. The Mustangs enter today’s game with a 3-22 overall record since the start of the 2019 season.
After reaching the sectional semifinals in back to back years in 2013 and 2014, the Kennedy Mustangs have only been to the playoffs once (in 2016), and last won a regional crossover game at Millburn (28-24) on November 1, 2018. The Mustangs should break that three year drought today with a much more prolific and efficient offense, especially with the weapons Morgan has at his disposal in Darkwah, Cherry, Suero, and Ruiz.
Prediction: J.F. Kennedy wins, 38-10.