In a battle of the big cats, the Jaguars of East Orange hosted the Columbia Cougars at Paul Robeson Stadium in East Orange this past Friday night. A highly touted Jaguar team proved too much for the Cougars to handle, jumping out to a big first-quarter lead and ultimately topping the Cougars, 46-14.
The potent Jaguar offense gave notice on their first offensive series, blowing through the Cougar defense and scoring on a run from their own 43 yard line. With the two-point conversion, East Orange jumped out to a 8-0 lead with 7:24 left in the first quarter. On their next possession, the Jaguar defense sprung into action, intercepting a Columbia pass and returning it 50 yards for a touchdown and their second score with 5:25 in the first quarter. A missed point after resulted in a 14-0 lead.
On the Cougars’ next possession, Steven Henry showed the athleticism and toughness that has made the sophomore RB a key component of the Columbia offense, ripping off to two back-to-back first down runs. But the Cougars were forced to punt and the Jaguars were back in the end zone a few plays later. A failed two point conversion left the score 20-0 with :37 seconds left in the first quarter.
Early second quarter was more of the same with the Jaguars slashing through the Cougar defense for big runs and a subsequent East Orange frantic scramble and pass on second and 20 that put the Jaguars back on the board – 27-0 with 7:52 left in the half. The Cougars, unable to stop the Jaguars, saw East Orange score twice more by the time the clock had ticked down to two minutes in the first half. The score stood at 39 East Orange, 0 Columbia.
Though deep in a hole, the Cougars didn’t back down. Henry fought his way to a 50-yard run and moments later, Columbia was on the 10 yard line. Junior QB Nick Aaron took the snap, moved around the left end and headed for the pylon. Colliding with the East Orange defender at the line, Aaron got the better of the battle and the Cougars were on the board and headed into the locker room down 39-7.
Early in the second half, East Orange blocked a Columbia punt and took over on the Columbia 19. Despite the score, the Cougars continued to fight and forced the Jaguars into a fourth and 11 on the Cougar 20 yard line. The Jaguars took the ball over the goal line again and added a point after, making the score 46-7.
Not easing at all well into the fourth quarter, the Cougar offense began to look productive again, with passes from Aaron to junior Owen McGuffey and another to junior Kai Arrington on the far sideline. Showing speed and some fancy footwork, Arrington raced down the sideline for second Cougar touchdown. That would be the last score of the game – East Orange 46, Columbia 14.
The Cougars host Livingston this Friday night, 11/1, at 7pm. 13 senior football players and the senior members of the cheerleaders will be honored promptly at 6:30 and the senior members of the band will be honored at half-time. The in-stand size of the CHS Marching Band will almost double that night, with visiting middle school musicians sitting in for some tunes.