UNION – Before Brearley knew it the Bears were down one score.
Then in a flash, Hoboken went ahead by two touchdowns on just four plays from scrimmage just a little over three minutes into the game.
That’s what speed will do to you.
Hoboken had it and Brearley simply couldn’t catch up with it.
Although Brearley pulled to within one score in the first quarter and almost did the same thing again toward the end of the third, the second-seeded Red Wings from Hudson County scored touchdowns on their first five possessions – including all four in the first half – en route to producing a commanding 34-12 win over top-seeded Brearley in Saturday afternoon’s North 2, Group 1 championship game played at Kean University’s Alumni Stadium.
Four different players – quarterback Wilden Germain, Marquis Roberts twice, Diquil Neal and Hafiz Gordonel – scored for Hoboken, which concluded with a five-game winning streak to finish 9-3.
Hoboken won N2, G1 for the third time in four years.
For Hoboken it was the program’s 10th state championship in the playoff era and fourth under 11th-season head coach Louis Taglieri, Jr.
Taglieri also guided the Red Wings to the North 2, Group 1 championship in his first year at the helm in 2005 – Hoboken was 12-0 that season – and then in back-to-back seasons in 2012 and 2013. The Red Wings are 4-1 in state championship games under Taglieri, falling in the 2008 N2, GI final to Verona.
Brearley concluded at 11-1 for the first time and to 1-2 in state championship games under 14th-season head coach Scott Miller. The Bears were seeking to win their sixth N2, G1 playoff crown and first since 2006.
Brearley 2015 team highlights include the Bears reaching 11-0 for the second time, them also capturing the Mid-State 38 Conference’s Valley Division championship for the first time and beating Group 2 schools Roselle – on the road – and New Providence – when the Pioneers were also undefeated and for the Valley Division title.
Miller also won his 100th game when Brearley downed North Arlington at home in the first round.
Hoboken got the ball first and on its second play from scrimmage Roberts burst through a hole in the middle and then scampered down the left sideline for a 50-yard touchdown.
On its second play from scrimmage on its very next possession, Hoboken struck again.
“We knew we had to get on top right away,” Taglieri said.
This time Neal broke contain outside and then ran left for a 40-yard score.
Brearley answered this time, going 69 yards in 10 plays with senior running back Anthony Primavera scoring on a four-yard run.
Hoboken did not score quickly again once its third possession got underway, but the Red Wings could still not be stopped. This time Hoboken marched 56 yards in 13 plays and took up 8:36 to reach the end zone for the third time. It was a six-yard run by Gordonel on his first and only carry of the game that put the Red Wings up 20-6.
After Brearley went three-and-out, Hoboken produced a third two-play scoring drive. This time it was Roberts following up a one-yard loss with a 26-yard scamper left, untouched.
Roberts had 99 yards rushing on nine carries at that point in the game, with Hoboken now ahead 28-6.
“After watching them on film we were aware of their quickness,” Miller said. “Their line was pretty darn good and we didn’t quite expect that.”
Brearley managed to score another touchdown with 33 seconds left before intermission when senior quarterback Sebastian Montesdeoca completed an eight-yard pass to senior wide receiver Evan Collier, capping an eight-play, 61-yard drive that took four minutes.
Montesdeoca completed 13-of-14 passes for 175 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. He only missed on his very first attempt.
However, when Brearley was trying to cut its deficit to one touchdown again in the third quarter, Montesdeoca was knocked out when he was stopped for a one-yard loss at the Hoboken 8 on fourth-and-six.
It was the final play of Brearley’s opening third quarter drive that took 8:48, did a good job of keeping Hoboken’s offense off the field, but ultimately concluded without the Bears putting up any more points on the scoreboard.
Montesdeoca was taken away by ambulance with a possible concussion.
“He might have been slowed by a hit earlier in the game in the first half that might have contributed to that, he wasn’t quite himself,” Miller said.
That was pretty much Brearley’s final chance to get back in the game as Hoboken answered with its fifth touchdown right before the beginning of the fourth quarter.
“Despite being down we still plugged away in the first half,” Miller said. “Had we scored on our first possession in the third quarter, who knows?
“It’s very hard to play catch up against a team like that.”
Brearley could not run the ball which was its bread and butter all season long. At the half, the Bears were held to 20 yards rushing, with Montesdeoca gaining just 14 on nine carries and Primavera only six on three.
“Primavera is a very good runner and we had to slow him down,” Taglieri said. “Their No. 7 (Montesdeoca) played with some heart. I felt like we contained him.”
Hoboken, which did not throw a pass the entire game and only had the ball twice in the second half, rushed for 197 yards on 19 carries in the first 24 minutes.
Roberts finished with 166 yards on 17 carries and his two scores, while signal-caller Germain had 73 on 10 and his one TD.
“Our quarterback (Germain) reads everything, that’s how our offense is run,” Taglieri said. “He’s very smart, a straight-A student, and he picks things up on a flash.”
Neal’s only carry was his touchdown run, while teammate Kyeise Lopez had one carry in the second half for 13 yards.
Primavera finished with 34 yards on 15 carries and his one touchdown, while Collier caught nine passes for 141 yards and his one score.
“These kids did a lot of great things this year,” Miller said.
Montesdeoca was Brearley’s leader on offense and a standout starter the past three seasons for Miller.
“Phenomenal, he ranks right up there with some of the good ones I was fortunate enough to coach, including Vinnie Russo, Anthony Evans and Tom Mannix.”
NORTH 2, GROUP 1 FINAL AT KEAN UNIVERSITY
2-HOBOKEN (9-3) 14 14 6 0 – 34
1-BREARLEY (11-1) 6 6 0 0 – 12
HOBOKEN – Marquis Roberts 50 run, Wilden Germain run (H 8-0)
2 plays, 55 yards, 1:06 used
HOBOKEN – Diquil Neal 40 run, pass failed (H 14-0)
2 plays, 51 yards, :43 used
BREARLEY – Anthony Primavera 4 run, kick failed (H 14-6)
10 plays, 69 yards, 4:30 used
HOBOKEN – Hafiz Gordonel 6 run, pass failed (H 20-6)
13 plays, 56 yards, 8:36 used
HOBOKEN – Marquis Roberts 26 run, Wilden Germain run (H 28-6)
2 plays, 40 yards, :25 used
BREARLEY – Evan Collier 8 pass from Sebastian Montesdeoca,
pass failed (H 28-12)
8 plays, 61 yards, 4:02 used
HOBOKEN – Wilden Germain 20 run, run failed (H 34-12)
6 plays, 91 yards, 2:43 used