Montgomery shakes rust, rolls over Somerville

SKILLMAN — The Montgomery High School football team (5-4) hadn’t played since the final weekend in October because of Superstorm Sandy.

The long layoff appeared evident on the game’s opening kickoff, when the Cougars fumbled, but they would eventually recover and topple Somerville 30-9 on Senior Night at Cougar Stadium.

Sophomore quarterback Chris Chugnov led the Montgomery offensive attack, going 9-15 passing for 180 yards and adding 30 more yards rushing and two touchdowns. Montgomery totaled 353 yards of offense and sent their seniors out with a victory. The Cougars will play in Old Bridge next weekend and will remain away from home throughout the state playoffs, as long as they’re still alive.

Montgomery added to their 14-3 halftime lead by going six plays and covering 44 yards on the second drive of the second half. After Cameron Wyckoff fumbled for Somerville on the first play after intermission, the hosts kept the ball on the ground, with five different players carrying the ball. Josh Reinson capped the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run, putting Montgomery up 20-3.

Four minutes later, they put the game completely out of reach, converting another Somerville turnover into six points. The Pioneers

(2-7) were set up to punt from deep in their own end, but the snap rolled back to their kicker and he had to fall on it at the 8. The Cougars couldn’t get a touchdown, but settled for a 21-yard field goal from Brian Flood to push their lead to 23-3.

““We started off a little bit slow, sometimes when you have senior night and all the pregame festivities and such, it takes a while to get going,” Montgomery head coach Zoran Milich said. “But we handled some adversity and that’s what you can expect from a senior-laded team and we slowly took over there in the second half. We wore them down and we made some plays and put the game to rest there in the third quarter.”

Joe Lucas, who entered the game when quarterback Blaze Aranzullo left with an apparent injury, led Somerville to their only touchdown drive of the game, tossing a 31-yard touchdown pass to Casy McAdam with 9:54 remaining in the contest. Lucas finished with 86 total yards in just a quarter in a half of action.

Chugnov capped off a long Montgomery drive midway through the second quarter, walking in from one yard out to put the Cougars up 7-3. But the big play on the drive was one that didn’t even count. Ananth Chenimineni had rumbled all the way down to the Somerville 2, but the play was called back for offensive holding, erasing what would have been a 53-yard run.

After Somerville turned the ball over on downs, the Cougars got themselves another first half touchdown, this time going 10 plays and covering 80 yards for the score. Chugnov was 5-7 on the drive for 67 yards, but he used his legs to get into the end zone, running in the final 17 yards of the drive to put the hosts up 14-3 just before intermission. The sophomore quarterback connected with Sam Oltmans three times on the drive for 35 yards.

Somerville jumped on the board first, using a Montgomery miscue to aid their efforts. The game’s opening kickoff was muffed deep inside Cougar territory, and when the Pioneers picked it up, they only needed to cover 22 yards to find the end zone on the game’s first drive. But the Montgomery defense held, forcing Somerville to settle for a Scott Jordan 34-yard field goal. The Pioneers led by that score of 3-0 until the 4:51 mark of the second quarter.

Wallace finished with a career-high 126 yards receiving for Montgomery and before departing, Aranzullo complied 82 yards of offense for Somerville.

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