By Matt Schkolnick, Staff Writer
The 2013 Governor Livingston football season is slowly coming to an end, as the team has one remaining game left against New Providence in the annual Thanksgiving Day Game between the two rivals.
The team has battled its way to a 4-4 record behind seniors Ryan Jennings and P.J. Jamolawicz, and junior quarterback John Wills. After dropping its first two games to Scotch Plains and Voorhees, the team fought to win three out of their next four games against Warren Hills, Hillside, and Johnson, their only loss coming to Rahway during that four game span.
They then dropped a game to North Plainfield, but came back with an outstanding win against a solid Bernards team behind a great performance by running back Ryan Jennings. Jennings carried the ball 20 times for 90 yards, and picked up two touchdowns. Jennings also added five tackles on the defensive side. Junior running back Alex Boyd added a touchdown as well as seniors P.J. Jamolawicz and Pat Ragazzo.
Senior Mike Matarredona had an excellent game on the defensive side of the ball, totaling two sacks and seven tackles in the win over Bernards. Boyd and senior Thomas O’Sullivan both had interceptions for the Highlanders. Pat Mahoney stepped in for injured quarterback John Wills and helped lead the Highlanders to victory. Mahoney threw for 44 yards and ran for 13.
The Highlander football team has drastically improved since last year. Senior captain Ryan Jennings leads the Highlanders with 760 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns on the season, adding 28 tackles on defense. Senior wide-receiver Jensen Butler has led the Highlanders aerial attack, totaling 292 yards on the season.
Quarterback John Wills has played excellent this season, and as a junior will look to come back next year and be even a more key player for the Highlanders. Wills has thrown for over 650 yards this season, scoring 3 touchdowns, while rushing for over 150 yards and a touchdown. Wills also has 23 tackles and a sack on defense.
Senior P.J. Jamolawicz has been nothing but a playmaker for the Highlanders. Not only does he have over 100 yards rushing and 80 yards receiving, but he has also been huge on the defensive side of the ball. Jamolawicz leads the Highlanders with 5 interceptions, taking one of them back for a touchdown.
The Highlanders will reach the playoffs this year for the first time in the last 4 years, an outstanding accomplishment after last year’s disappointing season. Head Coach Daniel Guyton has turned the football program around since taking over, and the results are showing up on the field.
The Highlanders will be preparing for the Thanksgiving Day Game over the next few weeks and will look to get their first win in the game over the last few years. A victory in this game would cap off an outstanding year for the football program, and as always, there will be tons of emotions on the field on Thanksgiving as it is the last game many of the athletes will ever play in a Highlander football uniform. This game against New Providence means a lot for all of the seniors and will surely be an amazing game.