Story and Pictures courtesy of TapintoClark
By Dan Collins
On November 3rd, 2017 ALJ played against Governor Livingston High School. The Crusaders took the field with an overwhelming first half performance, scored 34 points in the first 24 minutes of action and stormed past the Highlanders by a final score of 41-6 Friday night in Clark.
After Metz intercepted a pass from Governor Livingston junior quarterback Dylan Dwyer on their opening drive, the Crusaders went to work and it took a few plays to get on the scoreboard.
Turek took the ball and plowed his way to the end zone for a 42-yard rushing touchdown and following Casalino’s extra point, Johnson took the 7-0 lead. It was the third play of the Crusaders’ drive following Metz’s interception.
After forcing Governor Livingston to punt, Johnson began their next drive at midfield and continued to chip through the Highlanders defense. Junior Vito Galluzzo got his team more points with a rush up the sideline and into the end zone for a nine-yard rushing touchdown. Following Casalino’s extra point, Johnson took a 14-0 lead.
Their defense continued to pressure Governor Livingston, who struggled to get ball movement going during their drives. Following another three-and-out by the Crusaders, which ended with the Highlanders punting, the Crusaders running game continued to prove successful.
It took only play of the next drive, as Bruno took the ball and took it to the end zone for a 33-yard rushing touchdown, adding to his team’s hot start. He finished the evening with 62 yards on six carries, including his 33-yard rushing touchdown.
“We all stick together and I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys,” Bruno said. “We all love each other and played for each other tonight.”
“We’ve been playing together forever, so we are playing for each other and that’s a big part of it,” Greenbush said.
Johnson led Governor Livingston 21-0 after the first quarter and never looked back as they took the field yet again. After receiving the ball with a minute remaining in the first quarter, the Crusaders charged down the field with short running plays.
Turek, who’s been an anchor for Johnson on the running game, finished off the drive with a ten-yard rushing touchdown, as the lead became 27-0 with Johnson in front. He finished the evening with 101 rushing yards on 11 carries, to go along with his two rushing touchdowns.
“These past four years have been amazing with my best friends,” Turek said. “I’m so happy we finally get a home field game with all our fans. It’s going to be a great atmosphere.”
Later in the quarter, Metz added to the scoreboard with a 62-yard rushing touchdown on the ground, as Johnson took a 34-0 lead into halftime over Governor Livingston.
“I love this team,” Bowen said. “We’re very close-knit and a family. We love each other and it’s a really special bond we hold together.”
With the starters out late in the fourth quarter, sophomore backup quarterback Evan Parenti added to the offense with a three-yard rushing touchdown to finish the scoring on the night.
Governor Livingston broke the shutout bid with an eight-yard rushing touchdown from junior James Synder in the fourth quarter.
The Highlanders were dealt injuries to key players and losses that proved to be tough, but the leadership displayed by their senior players has stood out as a positive quality despite the record.
“We’ve had some injuries [and] seen a lot of adversity this season,” Governor Livingston head coach Dan Guyton said. “No matter what, our seniors continue to lead and play hard. We haven’t been divided, we’ve come together and continue to play hard. That’s a testament to our senior leaders.”
The Johnson Crusaders (7-1) will remain home for the first round of the NJSIAA Central, Group 2 state playoffs on Friday, November 10 at 7:00 p.m. Their opponent is TBD.
“Everybody in our section is tough [and] are good football teams, but so are we,” DelConte said. “Our guys are ready to roll and I know we can bring it. I know these guys are going to be ready to take it to the next level and whoever it is, we’ll be ready.”
The Governor Livingston Highlanders (1-7) will play in an NJSIAA consolation match next week, with the time and opponent TBD.