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Rockaway, NJ – The Route 46 rivalry of the Morris Knolls Golden Eagles at the home of the Morris Hills Scarlet Knights happened this Friday night. The game started a bit slow but towards the end had an absolute explosion of entertainment with the home team Scarlet Knights outdoing the Morris Knolls Golden Eagles.

The Golden Eagles quarterback Connor Chegwidden was no disappointment when he showed the people what they came to see, with impressive runs and finesse moves. Unfortunately, their first drive stalled right outside of the red zone.

The Scarlet Knights, led by the fierce tandem of Busel and Vallerio, thundered their way down the field until they were stuffed and faced a turnover on downs. The next pair of drives included much of the same, until sophomore running back Charlie Rex ripped open a huge run to give the Knights momentum. With Morris Hills knocking on the door, Jeremy Busel rumbled his way into the endzone putting the first points on the board, 7-0 Morris Hills.

The saving grace for the Golden Eagles is speedster, Michael Kaiser.  He was able to break loose, covering significant yardage, giving the Eagles new life. Just when it looked like the Eagles were gaining an upper hand, a miniature scrum broke that ended in unnecessary roughness penalties to both teams, Morris Knolls receiving the worst, having to move back 15 yards. Not a surprise, the main story of the first half was penalties.

Following this intense moment, it appeared that maybe the Scarlet Knights luck was beginning to run dry. But just as often happens, the game continued as an endless stalemate, until Valerio, a Scarlet all-star running back sped his way to the ten yardline.

Most thought Hills was going to punch in another touchdown, but Chris Tavarone, the not so gentle giant defensive tackle of the Eagles had other ideas by using his strength to get the ball into his possession for a turnover. The Eagles were looking for any sort of way to get on the board, but nothing had seem to be working. Both teams struggled to get points on the board.

The Morris Knolls Golden Eagles did manage to get the ball back for the minute drill to try to drive down the field. After marching down the field with the clock ticking Ryan McEntee nailed a deep field goal right down the center, getting Knolls onto the board 7-3 to conclude the half.

In the third quarter, Knolls QB Connor Chegwidden punched it in to give the Golden Eagles first touchdown of the season. Chris Marra converted the 2-point conversion making the score, 11-14. The Golden Eagles now had a sense of urgency to get the ball back, and fortunately they did with more than enough time left.

With Morris Knolls threatening again late in the forth quarter, Dre Moreno came up big and picked off the ball icing the game and the Eagle’s. Both teams had players that stepped up for this Week 1 battle.  One of them was MoHills fullback Jeremy Busel, was a handful all night long. Morris Knolls defensive tackle Chris Tavarone used his large from to give MoHills a mouthful himself. Francis Babe and Mario Maddaloni both proved to have a nose for the ball. Finally, newcomer sophomore starting linebacker for the Eagles Chris Velardi was all over the field.. This game was a definite slow start but with an ending for the ages.

Box Score

Morris Knolls 0 3 0 8 11
Morris Hills 7 0 7 0 14

1st: Morris Hills: Jeremy Busel 4 run (kick)
2nd: Morris Knolls: FG Naji Khalil 34
3rd: Morris Hills: Andres Moreno 23 pass from Nick Carlotti (kick)
4th: Morris Knolls: Connor Chegwidden 2 run (Chris Marra run)

Justin Rasp is a junior intern from Morris Knolls HS. He's ad avid sports fan who aspires to work in sports journalism.

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