SUMMIT – For much of the first half it was a battle of the defenses at Tatlock Field Friday night, with visiting Governor Livingston first stopping host Summit and then the Hilltoppers halting the Highlanders.
That went on for four possessions by each team before a bad snap out of the end zone finally resulted in some points put on the scoreboard.
That could be attributed to the field position advantage Summit worked hard to achieve after a couple of fine punts from the lefty-kicking Jake Froschauer.
His punt following Summit’s third possession went for 55 yards and his next punt covered 50 yards, with the Hilltoppers managing to down the ball at the GL one-yard line.
Three plays later Summit had a 2-0 lead when the GL snap went past the player it was intended for and through the end zone.
Five plays after that Froschauer, who completed just one of four passes for zero yards during Summit’s first four possessions – which totaled just 18 yards- tossed the first of his three touchdown passes, this one a perfect spiral that led Matt Newman at the 15 and into the end zone for a 39-yard scoring strike.
While underdog GL hung in there as best as it could, Summit managed to put together another scoring drive before the half, this time Froschauer concluded it by completing a seven-yard TD toss to Matt Murdock.
The Hilltoppers added single touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters en route to a commanding 30-6 Mid-State 38-Conference-Raritan Division triumph over GL.
Summit improved to 2-0 overall and 2-0 in the Raritan Division, while GL fell to 0-2 overall and 0-2 in the Raritan.
Summit – 2-0 for the seventh straight season – also extended its regular season home winning streak to 29. The Hilltoppers last lost a regular season home game in November of 2008.
“I give (GL head coach) Dan Guyton a lot of credit,” third-year Summit head coach Kevin Kostibos said. “He packed it (his defense) in a box and made sure we were not going anywhere running the ball. We had to throw it to beat them.
“At times we completed passes and at times we didn’t.”
At the half, Summit had 123 total yards of offense, with 105 coming on its final two possessions. GL was held to 89, with senior Stephen Sottosanti carrying the ball three times for 30 yards and senior Anthony Wong five times for 22 before he left the game for good in the first quarter with a right ankle injury.
GL reached the Summit 33-yard line before its second possession fell just inches short when Pat DeAngelis gained two yards on fourth-and-three.
“We had a bad break with field position and some of their punts hurt us, but you have to hand it to Summit for they way they played,” said Guyton, in his third year at the helm of the Highlanders. “There were some positives for us. We’ll keep on working hard and show that we’re improving.”
GL got on the scoreboard with 53 seconds left in the third quarter when junior running back Will Nicholson scored on a 55-yard zigzag touchdown run. Nicholson first broke free on the right side of the field and then saw a hole to his left and cut across and through the Summit defense for six points.
Both defenses did a good job of swarming to the ball early on, with players such as Andrew Galitelli, Nick DeLuca, Matt Bruno, Carlton Edwards and Turner Haddad coming up with key tackles for the Highlanders.
Excelling on defense for Summit were tacklers Danny Petrela, Liam Dougherty and Matteo diMayorca.
“I thought our defense played phenomenal,” Kostibos said. “They caught us out of position on the one play (GL’s touchdown), but I thought we did a great job of reading keys and with our gap integrity. Our defense kept us in the game until we scored.”
Down by two scores to start the second half, GL had the ball first and took eight minutes off the clock before its drive stalled at the Summit 38.
In contrast, it then took Summit just one minute to score its third touchdown. Junior running back Sam Zanelli, who did not carry the ball at all in the first half, raced down the left sideline for a 44-yard gain to the GL 18 on Summit’s first play of its first second-half possession. Two plays later, Murdock scored his second touchdown, this one on a four-yard run up the middle.
Newman also scored a second touchdown when he caught Froschauer’s third touchdown pass from three yards out in the fourth quarter.
GL sophomore defensive lineman Mike Magliacano had a sack for the Highlanders that helped thwart a Summit fourth-quarter drive.
Summit will next play at Warren Hills next Friday night, Sept. 25, while GL on the same day will face North Plainfield in its home-opener under the lights at Frey Field in Berkeley Heights.
MID-STATE 38 CONFERENCE-RARITAN DIVISION GAME
GOV. LIVINGSTON (0-2, 0-2) 0 0 6 0 – 6
SUMMIT (2-0, 2-0) 0 16 7 7 – 30
SUMMIT – Safety, ball snapped out of end zone with GL on offense (S 2-0)
SUMMIT – Matt Newman 39 pass from Jake Froschauer,
Jack Johnson kick (S 9-0)
5 plays, 50 yards, 1:14 used
SUMMIT – Matt Murdock 7 pass from Jake Froschauer,
Jack Johnson kick (S 16-0)
8 plays, 55 yards, 1:49 used
SUMMIT – Matt Murdock 4 run, Jack Johnson kick (S 23-0)
4 plays, 62 yards, 1:06 used
GOV. LIVINGSTON – Will Nicholson 55 run, run failed (S 23-6)
4 plays, 68 yards, 1:56 used
SUMMIT – Matt Newman 3 pass from Jake Froschauer,
Jack Johnson kick (S 30-6)
6 plays, 23 yards, 1:54 used
Summit capitalized on a turnover – a GL fumble on a punt return.