Phillipsburg 35, Easton 14 – Quick recap
The Phillipsburg High School football team converted fourth downs into touchdowns on Thanksgiving to leave Lafayette College’s Fisher Stadium with a win for the first time since 2014.
The Stateliners defeated rival Easton 35-14 Thursday afternoon to put the Red Rovers on a six-game losing streak, the longest such losing streak in the history of the 115-game rivalry.
turning point: Phillipsburg led 14-7 at halftime and earned the second-half opener.
The Stateliners drove into the red zone and eventually moved within a yard of the goal line on a quarterback sneak by sophomore Jett Genovese, but a personal foul after the game set up fourth place and the goal from the 16. After a time-out, Genovese was quick to throw a pass to his right that hung in the air before sophomore Matthew Scerbo Jr. jumped and snatched the ball away from Easton’s senior JV Johnson in the end zone for a touchdown.
The Red Rovers blocked the extra point to keep Phillipsburg’s 8-06 lead in the third quarter at 20-7, but they couldn’t move the chains on their next possession. The Stateliners took over their own 41 and gained 19 yards in seven straight run plays before scoring from the Rovers 40 in fourth and fifth.
After briefly going into the backfield to match senior running back Xavier Moore’s alignment, Genovese took the snap and faked a handoff before rolling to the right and finding fullback Caleb Rivera open on the flat. The junior flipped up and sprinted down the away game sideline for a 40-yard TD.
Phillipsburg went for two and Genovese found Moore with a back pass to his left to give the Stateliners a 28-7 lead at 2:08 in the third quarter.
Easton flipped the ball on drops near midfield on his next possession. Three games later, Phillipsburg lined up to punt fourth- and sixth-place Rovers 42, but Rivera took the direct snap from the upback spot, sliced to the left and had nothing but grass in front of him when he took the rest of the way. Junior Colin Huey hit the PAT to give Phillipsburg a 35-7 lead with 7:34 left.
Top performers: Moore rushed for 130 yards on 17 carries, including a 73-yard rush in the first quarter, and was named the game’s Offensive Most Valuable Player. Rivera added 72 rushing yards and three total touchdowns.
Genovese completed 4 of 10 passes for 86 yards and three touchdowns, including a 21-yard smash into Kevin Burgess on the liners’ first drive of the game. The sophomore also rushed for 35 yards with three carries.
Junior Cameron Bohal led Phillipsburg with 11 tackles and was named the defensive MVP of the game. Phillipsburg senior Qian Walters was recognized as the game’s top lineman.
Easton’s senior Aidan Hutchison led the Rovers with 190 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries.
What it means: The Stateliners ended the year 11-1 after their first win over Easton since 2014.
Easton finishes the season 3-8. After eliminating the COVID-altered 2020 season, it’s the Red Rovers’ lowest win total since 1997 (2-9).
Easton leads the all-time history with 67-43-5.
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Desmond Boyle can be reached at [email protected].