Maroon Raiders Rally to Defeat Canucks in Regional Crossover
NUTLEY, NJ – On Wednesday evening, Big Central Gridiron kicked off its post-season coverage with a trip to Nutley Oval Park and Tangorra Field for an NJSIAA Regional Crossover between the Nutley High School Maroon Raiders and North Plainfield Canucks. Both teams were looking to close out their seasons on a positive note. In a low-scoring, but still very entertaining game, Nutley rallied from behind in the fourth quarter to edge North Plainfield, 13-12.
The Canucks were led in defeat by junior RB and basketball standout, Aaron Potts, who rushed 21 times for 123 yards, or about 5.9 yards per carry. Potts got North Plainfield on the board first with a first-quarter TD for a 6-0 lead. The score remained that way until the fourth quarter when Nutley took advantage of a Canuck miscue and converted it into points. QB Clark Mohrbutter threw an 8-yard TD pass off a rollout to the right to Sean Mcaloon. Erik Thompson then added the point after for a 7-6 lead with 9:23 left.
On its ensuing possession, North Plainfield responded with a scoring drive that lasted 4:22 and was capped by a 39-yard TD strike along the Canuck sideline from QB Mohammad Ahsan to Anthony Penaranda. The Canucks failed to score on the two-point conversion attempt and led 12-7 with 5:01 remaining in the contest. The back-and-forth action continued as Nutley responded with another scoring drive capped by a 12-yard TD run by Mohrbutter with 40 seconds to play.
Nutley threw an incomplete pass on the two-point conversion for a 13-12 edge. North Plainfield received the ensuing kickoff and attempted to move into scoring position with time running out. However, with under 20 seconds to play, Thompson intercepted a Canucks pass attempted, ran upfield and took a knee. Nutley then had Mohrbutter take a knee to run out the closing seconds for the 13-12 victory. Nineteen of the game’s 25 points were scored in the final 9:23 of the contest.
Ahsan finished with 11 of 21 completions for 108 yards along with a TD and two interceptions. Jayden Brea (4 receptions for 34 yards) and Kellan Aurelien (4 catches for 24 yards) led the Canucks with the most receptions while Penaranda had three catches for 50 yards. On defense, Aurelien also intercepted a pass in the second quarter to help preserve the Canucks 6-0 lead at the intermission.
Brea also made a nice contribution on special teams by taking a poor snap on a 2nd quarter punt attempt and running it about 25 yards for a first down at the North Plainfield 48-yard line. Unfortunately, the Canucks were unable to take advantage. For Nutley, Mohrbutter completed 9 of 16 passes for 60 yards along with a TD and an interception. Mohrbutter also led the Maroon Raiders in rushing with 11 carries for 83 yards and a TD.
Mcaloon rushed 16 times for 82 yards while catching two passes for 13 more yards and a score. Thompson also caught two passes, but for 22 yards while Jaylyn Caraballo had two receptions for a team-high 23 yards. Tyler Vonorth also had a catch for 6 yards. Vonroth starred on the defensive side of the ball for Nutley with 10 total tackles including four solos, one for loss, and a sack.
Andrew Santangelo also contributed on defense with 9 total tackles including 3 solos and one for loss. Muhammad Mughal collected Nutley’s other interception. North Plainfield stopped a third-quarter drive when it forced a Nutley fumble deep in the Canucks own end late in the period. With the victory, Nutley concluded its season at 3-7 while North Plainfield dropped to 1-9. The Canucks have one more crossover game scheduled against Metuchen on November 2nd at 6:00 PM.