Stateliners Defeat Red Rovers for First Time Since 2014
EASTON, PA – Following a disappointing loss to West Orange (28-7) in the 2022 NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2 Group 5 Championship two weeks earlier, Phillipsburg was looking to finish its season on a positive note. Trying to salvage something that could somewhat overcome the bitter defeat in the sectional final. Beating arch rival Easton on Thanksgiving would do just that.
Not only getting the win over the Red Rovers, but also end what had been the longest losing streak in the series. Entering Thanksgiving Day at Lafayette College, the Stateliners had not beaten Easton since 2014. The 2014 season was also the last time Phillipsburg won a sectional title. The Stateliners had defeated Colonia in overtime (28-21) to claim that year’s North Jersey Section 2 Group 4 Championship.
Phillipsburg converted four fourth down plays into TDs as it built up a 28-7 lead in the third quarter. From there, the Stateliners cruised to a 35-14 victory over Easton to snap the Red Rovers six game winning streak. Sophomore QB Jett Genovese completed only 4 of 10 passes for 86 yards, but three of those completions were TDs. Genovese also rushed 4 times for another 33 yards.
Senior running back, Xavier Moore rushed 17 times for 114 yards and a two point conversion while junior RB Caleb Rivera rushed 10 times for 67 yards and 2 TDs. Rivera also caught a 40 yard pass for another score. As a team, Phillipsburg rushed 38 times for 258 yards and 2 TDs. Kevin Burgess and Matthew Scerbo Jr. also caught TD passes for the Stateliners. Burgess also had two punt returns for 18 yards while Scerbo Jr., had two kickoff returns for 40 yards.
On defense, Cameron Bohal led the way for the Stateliners with 9 total tackles including 8 solos. Moore and Patrick Day chipped in with 7 tackles each while Hunter Cleaver recorded Phillipsburg’s only sack. The Stateliness recorded 54 total tackles including 41 solos. Aidan Hutchinson was a bright spot in defeat for Easton with two TD runs of 4 and 5 yards respectively.
With the victory, Phillipsburg concluded its season at 11-1 overall, and finished with the No. 1 ranking in the final Big Central Gridiron poll. The Stateliners were an undefeated 4-0 in the BCC’s American Silver Division, and 8-0 overall in conference play. In addition, Phillipsburg defeated No. 2 North Hunterdon (48-21) in a head to head matchup between the two schools on September 16th.
Meanwhile, Easton ended its season at 3-8, which was the fewest wins the program has had since 1997 when it went 2-9. In 1997, Phillipsburg also defeated Easton (26-6). Although the Red Rovers had its winning streak snapped, they still maintain a 67-43-5 edge in the 115 year series. The victory was only the 7th for Phillipsburg against Easton since 1997.