Union football will next prepare for West Orange in N2G5 semifinals; Farmers easily handle visiting Paterson Kennedy 35-0

Sanborn connects with Igbinosun for three touchdown passes and, along with Murrell, also runs in for a score

UNION – For the second straight week the Union Farmers will begin to prepare for an opponent they have never faced in the playoffs.
After top-seeded Union easily handled eighth-seeded Paterson Kennedy 35-0 Friday night at Cooke Memorial Field its attention turned to the Mountaineers of Essex County.
“West Orange has great athletes and is a great program,” said Union senior quarterback Andrew Sanborn, who threw three touchdown passes to junior wide receiver Desmond Igbinosun and also ran for a score against the visiting Knights of Passaic County.
Fourth-seeded West Orange came back to defeat fifth-seeded and defending champion Piscataway 30-18 at home Friday night. It was only the third playoff win for the Mountaineers in West Orange’s 12th appearance. Their first playoff triumph came over Bloomfield when both teams did not have a playoff victory at the time.
Union will host West Orange, most likely, next Friday night in the top side of the bracket semifinal. The bottom side semifinal, also most likely next Friday night, features third-seeded Clifton at second-seeded Ridge.
Also on Friday night, Clifton defeated sixth-seeded Hackensack 26-7, while Ridge blanked seventh-seeded Union City 6-0.
Union, now 10-0 for the first time since 1992, last reached a sectional final in 2013 and lost to Ridge 48-13 at Rutgers in head coach Lou Grasso, Jr.’s first season at the helm of the Farmers. Grasso has now led Union to the North 2, Group 5 semifinals five times in seven seasons.
Union last won a state championship in 1993 and last played a state championship game on its home field in 1992.
West Orange (7-3 and winners of three straight) is guided by first-year head coach Darnell Grant, a 1991 Irvington graduate who guided his alma mater to the 2006 North 2, Group 3 final and then Shabazz to its only two state titles in the playoff era.
Grant coached against Union many times while he was the head coach at Irvington.
On Sept. 7 at the Rumble at the Raritan at Rutgers, Union defeated Curtis of Staten Island 20-12 and then West Orange took the field and opened its season with a convincing 29-6 win over Montclair.
West Orange also defeated Paterson Kennedy 14-6 at home to improve to 2-0.
“When we’re on we feel that no one can beat us,” Sanborn said. “We’ll now get ready for round two and a very good West Orange team.”
Against Paterson Kennedy, Union scored the first three times it had the ball, including a 99-yard drive for its third score. The Farmers scored in each quarter, with Sanborn hooking up with Igbinosun for touchdown passes in each of the final three periods.
The temperature at 32 and a mild wind was not a deterrent as far as Sanborn getting the ball to Igbinosun after Union established a running back behind senior Christian Murrell and Diante Wilson.
“I had handwarmers in my handwarmers,” Sanborn said of the cold weather conditions. “Desmond is a great athlete and tough to cover.”
Igbinosun’s first touchdown reception, which took place in the right corner of the end zone, capped a field-long drive that took almost eight minutes off the clock.
“We have eight quarters left for our journey,” Igbinosun said.
Igbinosun’s final touchdown grab, along the right side of the field, saw him have to juggle the football a bit.
“Off the line the dude tripped me and then I was able to just tip the ball to myself,” Igbinosun said.
NOTES: At intermission, Sanborn rushed for 39 yards on six carries and one touchdown and completed four-of-six passes for 39 yards, one touchdown and one tipped interception by Paterson Kennedy senior Brandon Curry.
Murrell rushed nine times for 69 yards and one score and Wilson four times for 42. Murrell rushed three times for 34 yards in the second half to give him 103 on 12 carries and his one score.
After completing all three of his passes in the second half for 29 yards, Sanborn finished seven-of-nine for 68 yards, one touchdown pass and one interception.
Union held Paterson Kennedy to just 32 yards of total offense the first two quarters, with much of that coming on penalties.

8-Paterson Kennedy (4-5) 00 00 00 00 – 00
1-Union (10-0) 13 08 07 07 – 35

Union – Christian Murrell 1 run, Ricardo Casas kick (U 7-0)
7 plays, 65 yards, 2:27 used
Union – Andrew Sanborn 1 run, kick failed (U 13-0)
5 plays, 32 yards, 2:30 used

Union – Desmond Igbinosun 14 pass from Andrew Sanborn,
Sanborn run (U 21-0)
12 plays, 99 yards, 7:38 used

Union – Desmond Igbinosun 15 pass from Andrew Sanborn,
Ricardo Casas kick (U 28-0)
5 plays, 49 yards, 2:24 used
Union capitalized on a turnover – an interception by Desmond Igbinosun.

Union – Desmond Igbinosun 15 pass from Andrew Sanborn,
Ricardo Casas kick (U 35-0)
7 plays, 62 yards, 3:41 used
Union capitalized on a turnover – a fumble recovery.


Friday, Nov. 8

Union 35, Paterson Kennedy 0 – at Union
West Orange 30, Piscataway 18 – at West Orange
Clifton 26, Hackensack 7 – at Clifton
Ridge 6, Union City 0 – at Ridge

Friday, Nov. 15
(most likely)

4-West Orange at 1-Union, 7 p.m.
3-Clifton at 2-Ridge, 7 p.m.