Maplewood Schools / Kids South Orange Sports

CHS Freshman, Varsity Football Teams Impress in Season Opener

The Columbia High School freshmen started their season with a bang at Hasbrouck Heights on Saturday 10/3. The 18 freshmen all contributed in the Cougar 25-6 win. Even with starters on both sides of the ball out with injuries (Yazid Thompson, a starting defensive end and Ryan Duval, the starting center) the Cougars took care of business. Ethan Parlin stepped up and replaced Duval at center while Stevenson Memo filled Parlin’s spot at tight end.

Photo Credit: Tim Parlin

After a shaky start from the Cougar defense after allowing a touchdown on just 5 plays, they quickly got a feel for the day and held Hasbrouck Heights scoreless the rest of the game.

Memo and Max Gigante at tight end and fullback led the way for Yassan “Pop” Fields at running back out of the I formation throughout. Fields rushed for 130 yards, including a touchdown. Gigante also scored on a run play. The strong group of receivers, led by Luke Knezovic, Zhamir Rowan, Jahzir Reynolds and Max Gigante, all helped lead the Cougars to victory. Knezovic had a highlight play after catching a screen pass from quarterback Charlie Morrison and scampering down the sideline, making defenders miss picking up 23 yards. Rowan had 2 touchdowns both on pass plays from Morrison. Gigante and Memo cleared a path for Rowan to the endzone with textbook blocking and Morrison hooked up with Rowan in the back of the endzone on a 20-yard pass.

Photo Credit: Tim Parlin

The defensive line performed impressively, harassing the quarterback and running backs all game. Binor Johnson, Will Fanka, Ziyear Mincy, Ethan Oseikwame, JB Mischel and Scott Bonapart all had multiple tackles. Oseikwame had 2 sacks along with Mischel. The linebackers showed up in a big way; Henry Aaron, Ethan Parlin and Yassan Fields had 5 or more tackles, including a tackle for loss from Parlin, and a sack and 2 assisted sacks from Aaron. The defensive backs and safeties (Zhamir Rowan, Stevenson Memo, Eli Lefferts, Tyler Williams, Max Gigante, Luke Knezovic and Jahzir Reynolds) played lockdown defense on Hasbrouck Heights receivers all game forcing them to run the ball up the middle into the powerful linebacker core and strong D-line.

Photo Credit: Tim Parlin

Columbia’s 9th grade special teams were also looking good on Saturday. Aaron broke through the line on the Aviators’ only field goal attempt, denying the kicker. With Aaron’s consistent deep kicks and good coverage from the rest of the kick-off team, the Cougars forced the Aviators into a long field everytime they got the ball. With Aaron, Rowan, Knezovic and Memo all back deep to return kicks, Columbia fans were ready for an electrifying kick return to the house. Although that never came, Memo did return one kick to the 50, putting the offense in a good spot.

Photo Credit: Tim Parlin

The freshmen have an off week this week and next play Belleville on 10/17 at Underhill. JV plays 10/5 at Underhill and Varsity plays next on 10/9. Currently, spectators are not permitted at games.

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