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Paramus Catholic Defeats St. Joseph’s (Metuchen) to Advance to Semifinals

Paramus Catholic 42, St. Joseph (Met.) 7

The No. 1 seeded Paramus Catholic Paladins (8-2) defeated the No. 8 seeded St. Joseph High School (Metuchen) Falcons (9-1) 42-7 on Friday night to advance to the Non-Public Group 4 semifinals.

St. Joseph won the coin toss and elected to receive the ball first. After going three and out on their first possession, Paramus Catholic received the ball on their own ten yard line. After moving down the field on rushes and catches, Paladins’ senior quarterback Andrew Brito threw a 42 yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Mohamed Toure for the touchdown, giving the Paladins a 7-0 lead.

Later on in the first quarter, after reaching the red zone, Paladins’ Head Coach Dan Sabella sent in senior defensive lineman Tyler Wipper as running back, who would rush it in for a one yard touchdown, giving the Paladins a 14-0 lead.

Saint Joseph would answer on their next possession. After senior quarterback Mitchel Epstein was sacked for a five yard loss, Epstein would throw a pass to junior wide receiver/kicker/punter Jonathan Sot. Sot would take advantage of blown coverage from the Paladins defense, for 78 yards for a touchdown, cutting the Paladins lead to 14-7.

Later on in the second quarter, Brito would attempt a long pass to senior wide receiver Javon Turner, but could not haul in the catch due to defensive pass interference, giving the Paladins a first down. Brito would then throw a 34 yard pass to Turner for the touchdown, giving the Paladins a 21-7 lead, heading into halftime.

At the start of the third quarter, Paladins received the kickoff. After ten yard and two yard rushes from senior running back Alijah Jackson, Brito would get swarmed by the Falcons defense, causing a strip fumble to give the Falcons possession of the ball. However, the Falcons could not take advantage of this opportunity, with junior running back/linebacker Emmanuele Resto getting stopped for no gain on fourth down and three.

The Paladins would then take advantage of their fourth down stop, with a 52 yard touchdown pass from Brito to Turner to put the Paladins up 28-7 with 6:39 left in the third. After a three and out from the Falcons, Sot would punt the ball off to senior wide receiver/kick returner Matthew Zelaya. Zelaya would then pull off an impressive punt return, stiff arming past a Falcons defender at the 50 yard line to cruise alongside the St. Joseph sidelines, to take it 68 yards for the touchdown. This punt return was Zelaya’s first career touchdown at Paramus Catholic, which would give the Paladins a 35-7 lead with 4:59 left in the third.

Later on in the third quarter, Paladins would gain possession, and Jackson would proceed to take it 78 yards to the Falcons three yard line. After two rushing attempts (2 yards and no gain), Jackson would sore from one yard out on his third attempt to give the Paladins a 42-7 lead with 1:07 left in the third, which would be the final score of the game.

With this victory, the Paladins advance to the Non-Public Group 4 Semifinals, where they will face Don Bosco Prep Ironmen at home on November 18.

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