MILLBURN, NJ – Cold temperatures and harsh winds were masked by the energetic atmosphere at the football field on Friday Night, which played host to the Millers’ last home game of the season, and the annual senior night ceremony.
Friends and family greeted each senior with flowers at midfield; cheerleaders also made the players custom posters in recognition and appreciation of their efforts on the Millburn Football Team. Seniors included first year players Logan Schneider, and Cameron Varnish, as well as four year players, or “Ironmen” Jack Kirshenbaum, Matt Sullivan, Drew Pickard, Jeff Rosenthal, Liam Murphy, Jimmy Linehan, Nick Tortoriello, Ross Koplitz, Matt Skolnick, Ben Goodman, Jack Meisenheimer, Will Twombly, and Shashank Ravindranath.
With the eighth grade band accompanying the MHS band, and a lively student section, the Millers were prepared for their division rival, the Belleville Buccaneers.
The Bucs and the Millers battled in a scoreless first quarter, but the Millers broke the ice with a wide open 13 yard touchdown pass to Davis Mosier. Belleville blitzed the corner back on the right side, but the safety failed to move over and cover the right side of the field, a six point blown coverage.
Shortly after that, after another turnover on downs for Belleville, Millburn chose to give Senior backup quarterback Ben Goodman an opportunity to run the offense. Goodman quickly took advantage of his opportunity on a 44 yard touchdown scramble to give the Millers the 13-0 lead after a failed PAT attempt.
The Millers weren’t done in the second quarter though. Taking advantage of Belleville’s sloppy offense and punt unit, Millburn was able to take over with strong field position. A few plays later, starting quarterback Peter Serruto dropped a 31 yard dime into Pickard’s hands down the left sideline. Heading into the game, Pickard, the number one wide receiver on the team, had been limited to only two receptions on the season. The highlight reel TD pass was one of three receptions that the senior wideout reeled in on the night.
But Millburn was able to involve everyone in the scoring attack, including leading receiver, Junior Ben Pampush. Pampush caught an uncontested 26 yard pass, taking advantage of a blown coverage, similar to Mosier earlier in the quarter.
Belleville’s blitzing outside linebackers were all over the Miller ground game, but Goodman and Serruto were able to step up and lead the offense, combining for four touchdowns, and one interception.
Following the 27 unanswered points in the second quarter, the Millers remained in the driver seat for the rest of the contest, and captured their first win of the season. For first-year Head Coach Chris Drechsel, this win was monumental.
“It felt good. We executed well, and it’s a lot easier to come to the next practice after a win than it is after a loss” said Drechsel. “It’s huge for the seniors, going out with a bang on senior night. It’s a night to remember for them.”