Union County football teams prepare for Week 5 matchups

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UNION COUNTY, NJ — Congratulations to the Union, Roselle Park and Summit football teams for winning their first games.

Governor Livingston High School won a third straight contest to go more than .500 at 3-2, while Linden High School evened its record at 2-2 with its second shutout win at home.

Elizabeth High School stunned 3-0 St. Joseph High School in Metuchen 23-21 to even its record at 2-2.

Westfield High School won for a third straight time to improve to 3-1 after producing its first shutout victory, a 30-0 triumph at home against neighborhood archrival Scotch Plains–Fanwood High School.

Still undefeated in Union County at 4-0 each are David Brearley, Arthur L. Johnson and Hillside high schools, with 3-0 Rahway High School shut out at 0-3 Summit High School, 20-0, on Saturday, Sept. 24. David Brearley blanked Jonathan Dayton, 26-0, in Springfield on Friday, Sept. 23, while Arthur L. Johnson won a big 14-6 decision at Abraham Clark High School the same day.

Hillside High School trimmed New Providence High School, 42-7, at home on Saturday, Sept. 24.

Abraham Clark and Plainfield high schools, both 0-4, are the only winless teams in Union County. Abraham Clark has lost three of its four games by a combined total of only 12 points. Plainfield fell at home to North Hunterdon High School, 42-13, on Saturday, Sept. 24. North Hunterdon, which also won at Cranford High School, 34-7, to start its 2022 campaign, is 4-1.

Cranford lost a close 27-24 decision at home on Friday, Sept. 23, to St. Thomas Aquinas High School of North Edison, which entered the contest 3-1. The Cougars are now 2-2.

The season is at the point where it’s four games down and four to go before qualifying for the state playoffs or not for 14 of Union County’s 17 teams. Governor Livingston (3-2), New Providence (2-3) and Scotch Plains (1-4), since they opened Week Zero, have played their first five.

Here’s a look at this weekend’s games for Week 5 of the 2022 season. Of the 14 games this weekend, there are three common games, all on Friday, Sept. 30: Cranford at Rahway, Summit at Scotch Plains–Fanwood and Arthur L. Johnson at New Providence.

Friday, Sept. 30

• Cranford High School (2-2) at Rahway High School (3-1), 6 p.m. Both teams are coming off losses, with Cranford losing at home to St. Thomas Aquinas High School, 27-24, on Friday, Sept. 23, and Rahway falling at Summit High School, 20-0, on Saturday, Sept. 24. This is a Big Central Conference–United Gold Division game, with plenty of power points available for Rahway in North, Group 4 and Cranford in North, Group 3.

• Hillside High School (4-0) at St. Thomas Aquinas High School (4-1), 6 p.m. Both teams are on four-game winning streaks, with St. Thomas Aquinas losing only to Timber Creek Regional High School, 26-21, at home on Friday, Aug. 26. Hillside junior strong safety McNaully Erminal made 12 tackles, and senior cornerback Sakai Degannes had an interception in the 42-7 home win against New Providence on Saturday, Sept. 24.

• South Hunterdon Regional High School (3-1) at David Brearley High School (4-0), 6 p.m. South Hunterdon was 3-0 and had given up only 15 points until it was shut out 13-0 at 3-1 Manville on Friday, Sept. 23. The Bears continued to roll on Friday, Sept. 23, posting their second shutout. Senior quarterback Matt Sims passed for 105 yards, including a 51-yard touchdown pass to Brendan Fitzsimmons in the second quarter, and rushed for 151. Sims scored on runs of 1 and 6 yards.

• Union High School (1-3) at Hillsborough High School (3-1), 7 p.m. The Farmers are coming off their first win, a 21-7 triumph at Somerville. Union has not played that badly defensively, giving up only 64 points so far. Todd Francis scored on a 4-yard run, and then sophomore quarterback Omalley King connected with senior wide receiver Omar Ibrahim for two touchdown passes, all three Union touchdowns coming in the fourth quarter after the Farmers trailed 7-0. Hillsborough was 3-0 and then lost on Friday, Sept. 23, at 3-0 Phillipsburg High School, 34-0.

• Summit High School (1-3) at Scotch Plains–Fanwood High School (1-4), 7 p.m. Summit is playing much better defensively and has given up only 19 points in the last two weeks, including a big 20-0 shutout of 3-0 Rahway High School at home on Saturday, Sept. 24. Ryan Schnall scored two touchdowns and senior Will Johnson kicked two field goals in the triumph against Rahway High School. Scotch Plains–Fanwood will seek to snap a four-game losing streak.

• Linden High School (2-2) at John F. Kennedy Memorial High School in Iselin (0-5), 7 p.m. Linden’s two wins have come at home by shutout against Woodbridge, 31-0, and, on Saturday, Sept. 24, 13-0 against Perth Amboy High School, with juniors Alex Donic and Tequan Thomas scoring touchdowns. John F. Kennedy’s last three losses have come by 8, 2 and 6 points.

• Arthur L. Johnson High School (4-0) at New Providence High School (2-3), 7 p.m. The Crusaders are 4-0 for the first time since 2017 and have given up only two 6-point touchdowns. Ryan George rushed for a touchdown in the first quarter, and Robert Gallagher threw a touchdown pass to Dylan Perrotto in the second for Arthur L. Johnson’s touchdowns in the 14-6 win at Abraham Clark High School on Friday, Sept. 23. New Providence has lost its last two, both on the road, to Delaware Valley and Hillside high schools.

• Abraham Clark High School (0-4) at Metuchen High School (2-3), 7 p.m. Abraham Clark gave 3-0 Arthur L. Johnson High School all it could handle at its Arminio Field on Friday, Sept. 23, before falling 14-6. Metuchen snapped a three-game losing streak on Friday, Sept. 23, with a 29-14 win at Belvedere High School.

• Jonathan Dayton High School (2-2) at Highland Park High School (0-5), 7 p.m. The Bulldogs will seek to bounce back after scoring only 7 points combined in their last two games, both of them losses. Highland Park will continue to seek its first win since 2016.

Saturday, Oct. 1

• Somerville High School (1-4) at Elizabeth High School (2-2), 12:30 p.m. Somerville has now lost three straight and is most likely headed to its first losing season since finishing 2-8 in 2015. Junior quarterback Vito Tropeano Jr. threw for 409 yards, including a 97-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Michael Sagues that gave Elizabeth a 23-14 advantage in the eventual 23-21 Big Central Conference–American Gold Division triumph at St. Joseph High School, Metuchen, on Saturday, Sept. 24.

• North Bergen High School (0-4) at Plainfield High School (0-4), 1 p.m. This can be a turn-your-season-around game for the squad that comes out on top for the first time this year. The Bruins from Hudson County lost to William L. Dickinson High School, 14-12, at Caven Point in Jersey City on Friday, Sept. 23. They have scored only five touchdowns so far.

• St. Joseph High School, Metuchen (3-1) at Westfield High School (3-1), 2 p.m. St. Joseph suffered its first loss on Saturday, Sept. 24, at home to Elizabeth High School, 23-21, while Westfield posted its first shutout on the same day, blanking Scotch Plains–Fanwood High School 30-0. This game will be for the lead in the Big Central Conference’s American Gold Division.

• South Plainfield High School (4-0) at Governor Livingston High School (3-2), 2 p.m. The Tigers beat J.P. Stevens High School, 48-22, at home on Friday, Sept. 23, to remain undefeated. One day later, the Highlanders didn’t score as many points but still won, 16-10, at home against John F. Kennedy Memorial High School, Iselin, for its third straight triumph. Governor Livingston has given up only 30 points in its three wins, after yielding 71 in its two setbacks.

• Roselle Park High School (1-3) at Spotswood High School (4-1), 2 p.m.: Roselle Park snapped a 12-game losing streak dating back to last season by trimming Highland Park High School, 42-13, at home on Friday, Sept. 23. Highland Park’s losing streak increased to 38. Roselle Park’s Adrian Palacios scored three touchdowns, and Dylan George, Elijah Ignacio and Jermaine Hart scored one each for the Panthers. Spotswood has won two straight, including a 28-21 home win against South River High School on Saturday, Sept. 24.

Photos by JR Parachini