RAHWAY – If Rahway could draw up the perfect prelude to a heavyweight matchup that will follow at undefeated Rumson-Fair Haven next week, Saturday’s first-round home playoff game served that purpose and more.
Sometimes done in by their own mistakes and forced errors, the Indians played about as perfect a first half as any team could against visiting Spotswood.
Fourth-seeded Rahway did not commit a penalty or turn the ball over once in the game’s first 24 minutes and scored three touchdowns in each of the first two quarters en route to a dominating 47-20 win over fifth-seeded Spotswood in a Central Jersey, Group 2 quarterfinal at Veterans Field.
Rahway, which won its third straight to improve to 7-2, will next take on top-seeded Rumson-Fair Haven – most likely next Friday night – in a CJ, G2 semifinal. Rumson-Fair Haven improved to 9-0 Friday night after it downed eighth-seeded Bordentown 41-8 at home.
Rahway lost at Rumson-Fair Haven 29-0 in the 2011 CJ, G2 quarterfinals. Rumson-Fair Haven has won seven of its nine games by double digits.
Spotswood’s season came to an end at 7-3. The Chargers began 7-0 before losing the last two weekends to South River and Mater Dei.
With wins over Voorhees 28-0 at home and at Roselle 34-7 before downing Spotswood, the Indians seemed to have bounced back nicely following their two-game losing streak to Summit and Warren Hills – with Rahway leading both home games entering the fourth quarter.
“We just have to work hard as a team, it’s as simple as that,” said Rahway senior wide receiver-linebacker Donte Raymond, who in addition to making numerous tackles against Spotswood also rushed for a touchdown and then had a fumble recovery that led to another Indian TD, both plays coming in the second quarter. “It’s a matter of staying focused.”
“The two losses hurt a lot,” said Rahway senior quarterback Jeffery Bost, who ran for two scores and passed for two in the first half vs. Spotswood, in addition to completing eight-of-10 passes for 124 yards and no interceptions before halftime. “We had the games in our hands. Our coaches told us to keep our heads up and that’s what we’ve done.”
Rahway 10th-year head coach Gary Mobley is now 7-2 in sectional quarterfinal games and has now led the Indians to the Central Jersey, Group 2 semifinals for the fifth time and first time since 2007. His playoff record is now 8-8, including nine playoff seasons in 10 years at the helm of the Indians.
“I was most pleased with our intensity level, our execution and our attitude today,” Mobley said. “Our kids are going to have to sacrifice and commit in order to reach their goals.”
Rahway scored touchdowns all six times it had the ball in the first half, including capitalizing on turnovers for its last four of those TDs.
Spotswood turned the ball over five times in the first half, with Rahway’s Justin Hodges and Raymond recovering fumbles and Jeffery Reyes coming up with two interceptions and Tyler West one.
The Rahway defense, sparked by the play of senior Stephan Watkis-Davis, West, Hodges and Michael Stradford, limited the Chargers to 117 yards of offense and only six first downs in the first half.
Kurt Williams had Rahway’s fourth interception in the third quarter and the Indians also recovered another fumble in the fourth, which was Spotswood’s seventh turnover.
In the first half, Rahway scored on short drives and long ones, with senior running back Gabril Gross carrying 12 times for 100 yards and one score.
“Our strategy was getting back to playing Rahway football, which is ball control, timely passing and being mistake free,” Mobley said.
“Every time we run the ball we have a pass play attached to it,” Bost said. “We were pounding Spotswood, which opened up our passing game a bit.”
CENTRAL JERSEY, GROUP 2 QUARTERFINAL
AT RAHWAY’S VETERANS FIELD
5-SPOTSWOOD (7-3) 0 0 7 13 – 20
4-RAHWAY (7-2) 20 20 7 0 – 47
RAHWAY – Jeffery Bost 8 run, kick failed (R 6-0)
4 plays, 57 yards, 1:01 used
RAHWAY – Daeion Weeks-Landy 6 pass from Jeffery Bost, Franklin Zelaya kick (R 13-0)
7 plays, 62 yards, 1:21 used
RAHWAY – Gabril Gross 1 run, Franklin Zelaya kick (R 20-0)
2 plays, 19 yards, :16 used
Rahway capitalized on a turnover – a fumble recovery by Justin Hodges.
RAHWAY – Jeffery Reyes 30 pass from Jeffery Bost, Franklin Zelaya kick (R 27-0)
1 play, 30 yards, :10 used
Rahway capitalized on a turnover – an interception by Tyler West of a pass tipped by Michael Stradford.
RAHWAY – Donte Raymond 6 run, pass failed (R 33-0)
6 plays, 49 yards, 1:47 used
Rahway capitalized on a turnover – a fumble recovery by Donte Raymond.
RAHWAY – Jeffery Bost 5 run, Franklin Zelaya kick (R 40-0)
11 plays, 90 yards, 4:10 used
Rahway capitalized on a turnover – an interception by Jeffery Reyes.
RAHWAY – Michael Stradford 5 run, Franklin Zeyala kick (R 47-0)
5 plays, 62 yards, running clock
SPOTSWOOD – Tom Hagerty 65 interception return, Connor McCloskey kick (R 47-7)
SPOTSWOOD – Chase Fee 10 run, Connor McCloskey kick (R 47-14)
2 plays, 25 yards, running clock
SPOTSWOOD – Chase Fee 4 run, kick failed (R 47-20)