Highlanders’ football falls to Jefferson 26-18

West Milford. A dominant second half by the Jefferson Falcons bested the Highlanders 26-18 in Jefferson Friday night.

| 29 Oct 2019 | 12:06

The West Milford High School football team lost its away game against Jefferson Township last Friday by a final score of 26-18.

The Highlanders just couldn’t overcome a dominant second half by the Falcons in which Jefferson scored two unanswered touchdowns while holding West Milford scoreless.

Highlander quarterback Dylan Connors went 3-of-10 for 21 yards and an interception in the game, while also rushing for a team-high 159 yards on 29 carries.

Running back Joe Palmentieri also had a strong game on the ground, gaining 65 yards and a touchdown on just 12 carries.

Senior Joshua Curving added another 57 rushing yards on his nine carries.

Defensively, junior Kyler Grahme led West Milford in tackles with seven, while fellow junior Christian Ashby had an interception in the game.

In the end, though, it wasn’t enough to stop the Falcons’ offense, as the team was effective in both the passing and running game.

Jefferson quarterback Matthew Johnson went 7-of-12 for 144 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception, while running back Michael Gould ran the ball 16 times for 147 yards and two touchdowns of his own.

Falcons’ wide receiver Caleb Rippey was also able to gain over 100 yards (102) and a touchdown on his three catches in the game.

The Highlanders actually got on the scoreboard first, with Connors running it into the end zone in the opening quarter for the first of his two touchdowns on the ground.

Jefferson would answer with a touchdown of its own, tying it up at 6-6 as both teams failed on extra point attempts.

Connors then ran in his second touchdown of the game to retake the lead before the Falcons would even it up again in the second quarter.

That’s when Palmentieri scored to give West Milford an 18-12 lead at the half.

The second half, however, was a different story as Jefferson was able to put up 14 unanswered points in the third quarter.

The Highlanders were never able to recover.

Jefferson (5-3) will try to make it three wins in a row this Friday night, when the team travels to Mendham to play the Minutemen, while West Milford (3-5) will try to bounce back against Passaic Valley at home in the team’s final game before the playoff cut.