Raiders Roll the Huskies


Will the Maroon Raiders be able to live up to being ranked the 9th overall football team in northern New Jersey despite its injuries this year?

Well, with Raider Pride on campus, determined coaches and players, the media on board, and its 3-2 record, it is clear that Dwight Morrow High School’s losing seasons are in the past.  While the competition in northern New Jersey is steep with Paramus Catholic ranked 1st, and strong St. Joseph High School and Don Bosco Preparatory High School teams, Englewood has a lot to prove. Everything is riding high as the result of last year’s final season record 6:4; Dwight Morrow varsity football team is going to be a favorite and it is going to be under the microscope.   MSG Varsity, Varsity Aces, and have all weighed in on the team, with positive predictions of the season’s possible endeavors. Head Coach, Don Jaconia, has high expectations for the team as well.

“We need to get better and improve from our mistakes from last year,” he explained enthusiastically.

With hard work present since late May, Coach Jaconia is determined to get respect from the league through winning games this year. This determination showed in the first game Dumont.

Some issues, however, had to be addressed to give the Raiders an upper hand on the Dumont team.

Wide receiver Julius Wingate’s back needed therapy. It was causing him much discomfort at the beginning of the season, but with treatment everyday including ice compresses, he recovered and played both strong offense and defense for the Raiders that day.

“Physically I doubted myself some going into the game because of my lower back pain. I didn’t want it to get in the way of my performance,” Julius clarified.

Also, the other Division 1 recruit, Juwann Winfree, struggled with a sore and hurt calf muscle, which was also a big issue for the team’s offense and defense.

“I was not feeling myself especially with my hurt calf muscle. But the adrenaline kept me going in the game,” Winfree said.

The other questionable areas for the Maroon Raiders were starting running back Jalani Adams who had a sore foot, starting offensive and defensive lineman Vincent Tucker who had a rolled ankle, and running back Jason Tucker with a partially torn ACL.

The original kickoff time for the Dumont game at Dwight Morrow was 7:30 p.m., Thursday Sept. 12, 2013. Due to the threat of a storm with “game-cancelling” lightning, the game’s kickoff was moved up to 6:00 p.m. With all their starters ready to play despite lingering injuries, the Maroon Raiders were set for war.

“When you prepare for war, football then becomes easy,” said Defensive Coordinator Kente Bounte before the game.

The Maroon Raiders elected to defer the ball until the second half and had stopped the Dumont Huskies at their own 20-yard line after junior John Robinson rushed down the field and made the tackle. On the ensuing drive the Huskies had trouble converting the first down and had given the ball up early to the Raiders who took advantage of their position on the field.

On the sixth play of the drive Maurice West had a 30 yard touchdown run early on in the game. With a miscue on the extra point conversion try, the Raiders led the Huskies 6 to 0 going into the second quarter of the game with the weather starting kicking up.

Then just when Dumont began its march down the field, lightning was spotted and an automatic 30-minute game suspension protocol was followed. Soon after they had decided the game was cancelled and to be rescheduled for Friday, Sept. 13 at 4:30 pm.

With Friday upon the world, and 4:30 p.m. coming fast both teams rushed to the field after school to settle their unfinished business. With 11:23 minutes left in the second quarter, Dumont had scored a touchdown (missed on extra point conversion) and somewhat stunned the Raiders. Then they recovered a fumble on the kickoff return and scored again. This was now two touchdowns in a row, although right before the half, Sunil Love threw a touchdown pass to Juwann Winfree in the back right corner of the end zone, and with a good extra point, sent the Raiders into the locker room all locked up with the Huskies 13-13.

At this point, the Raiders had a ball game on their hands! The Raiders received the ball first in the third quarter and decided to finally take control. The Raider’s Jalani Adams scored an electric 17-yard rushing touchdown that put his team ahead 20-13. After a costly mistake on the Huskie offense the Raiders recovered a fumble and took advantage of the opportunity when Don Bosco transfer, Wesley McCoy, placed the ball exactly into Julius “JuJu” Wingate’s hands while in the end zone near the near left pile-on.

This put Dwight Morrow up 27-13 early in the third quarter. Then with a blocked punt the Raiders were in position to score again and Jalani Adams took it in on exactly 10 plays later, for a very exciting 23-yard touchdown run breaking numerous tough tackles. Propelling the Raiders 34-13. Then shortly after, the Huskies scored trying to get back the lead but they were still down 34-20.

On the last Raider drive of the game, Jalani Adams scored yet again with a 35-yard run to seal the game for the Raiders 41-20.

“It felt great to be a big contributing factor to the team and I’m glad we got the win tonight,” Jalani said after the game.

The Raiders would go on to hold the Huskies to that score and prove they were the real deal. Their ranking improved from 9 in northern New Jersey to 7 with their win over Dumont. With two more wins against Ridgefield Park and Fort Lee and two losses against River Dell and Mahwah the Raiders are fighting for their playoff berth against Ramsey on Friday, Oct. 18 in Ramsey. Coach Jaconia hopes the team can overcome its momentary hiccup and get back to its winning ways.