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QB Theo Fisher (4) awaits the snaps during the first half of Friday’s action. (Photo by Geoff Magliochetti)

Jefferson Township High School couldn’t plunder a win from the Mount Olive Marauders, ending up on the wrong side of a 37-0 decision on the road. Justin Schmidt scored two touchdowns for the Marauders, while Hunter Perez added one from each side of the ball.

“We just can’t let tonight’s game define who really are as a team,” JTHS head coach Jerry Venturino said of the defeat. “Like life, there’s ups and downs. We use the game of football to get ready for real-life stuff. We love playing it, but the reality is that it’s our job to get these guys to become young men. Last Friday, we were all excited and juiced up from a big win. Tonight was completely different.”

This loss from the Falcons follows a 7-0 shutout victory over Passaic Valley last Friday night in Oak Ridge.

The game wound up being painful in more ways than one from Jefferson (3-2), who lost offensive starters Michael Studnick and Justin Eiseley to injuries. There was no further update on their status after the game.

Mount Olive (5-1) recovered from their first loss of the season to West Morris Central in style with the hapless Falcons forced to stand in their way. A particularly brutal stretch came in the first minute of the second quarter. Schmidt opened the period with a 35-yard scoring run before Perez ended the Falcons’ ensuing drive on an exclamation point by running an interception back 25 yards to build an insurmountable 21-0 lead. Casey Batsch also hauled in a 27-yard scoring grab from Gavin Lockwood.

“To be honest, it’s all about energy,” receiver Caleb Rippey, who had a pair of receptions in defeat. “I feel like after the beginning of the game started off bad, from that point on, we just kind of had our heads down. We just got to channel that energy, light a match under it at practice this week.”

Silver linings for Jefferson emerged in the forms of Keith Ferguson and Anthony D’Amato, who each had multiple tackles for a loss. Dylan Patscher also had a quarterback takedown in the red zone that limited Mount Olive into a field goal. When benches emptied during the fourth quarter, one played with a running clock, sophomores Chris Young and Josh Daynus united for a respective forced fumble and recovery that gave Jefferson one last chance to avoid a shutout.

“We just didn’t execute, but we kept going,” Venturino said. “We were able to get our other guys in. Nobody quit, the kids kept playing hard. That I’ll say for them. They didn’t give up. Now it’s just a matter of guys stepping up.”

The visit to Mount Olive followed up news that Jefferson would be adding two games to their football schedule, including one next Friday night against Lakeland. A matchup with the Lancers was scheduled for October 16 but was shut down due to complications with the ongoing health crisis. Jefferson’s season is also now scheduled to conclude at home on November 20 against Montville.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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