Randolph football shuts down Chatham, cruises in battle of unbeatens

RANDOLPH - The Randolph offense flashed its usual firepower, but its defense set the tone.

The Rams, No. 3 in the latest Morris/Sussex rankings, fired an early salvo to the rest of the field in North, Group 4, storming past No. 8 Chatham, 42-14 in a Super Football Conference crossover on Friday at Bauer Stadium.

Randolph scored on its first four possessions and raced out to a 21-point halftime lead. The defense forced two fumbles in the second quarter that resulted in a 28-7 advantage heading into the intermission.

Randolph's Sean Clark throws the ball during the first half of a football game against Mount Olive at Randolph High School September 02, 2022.
Randolph's Sean Clark throws the ball during the first half of a football game against Mount Olive at Randolph High School September 02, 2022.

Sean Clark threw three touchdown passes, two to James Kratochvil, and running back Jesse Wilfong had two rushing touchdowns.

“We were coming off a tough game last week and we showed tonight that we can win a battle of heavyweights,” Clark said. “We’re clicking on all cylinders and our offensive line is playing great. They’re settling in as a unit. When your offensive line is blocking for you and the receivers are running great routes, it makes my job looks easy. We’re hitting the right groove at the right time.”

In the first meeting between the teams in seven years, Randolph took an early 7-0 lead when Stephen Petruzziello barreled in from six yards to cap a nine-play, 75-yard drive. But Chatham answered right back and tied the game when quarterback Gio Del Re hooked up with Peter Boyd on a seven-yard scoring pass with 4:37 left to play in the first quarter.

Randolph (4-0) retook the lead when Clark connected with Kratochvil from a yard out on the first of their two touchdowns as time expired to end the first quarter.

The Rams capitalized on back-to-back Chatham fumbles in the second quarter to extend its lead to 28-7 at the half.

First, Clark hooked up with Jake Jenisch on a seven-yard touchdown pass with 4:38 left in the half and then Wilfong scored his first touchdown on a three-yard run.

What it means

Randolph started with four straight wins for the third time in the last five seasons.

With Friday’s win over Chatham, the Rams are expected to gain ground in the North, Group 4 United Power Rankings (UPR). Coming into the game, Randolph was sitting behind Chatham for seventh place in the power-point rankings with 10.33 points.

Chatham dipped to 4-1 with the loss.

Turning point

Trailing 14-7 to start the second quarter, Chatham was driving deep in Randolph territory when they fumbled at the goal line. The Rams recovered at the one and drove 99 yards, capped by Jenisch’s touchdown to extend its lead to 14 points.

On the ensuing drive, Chatham fumbled again on the their own 48-yard line and Randolph recovered. Six plays later, Wilfong barreled in from the 3 to extend the Rams lead, 28-7.

By the numbers

➧ Clark threw for 214 yards on 17-of-25 and three touchdowns.

➧ Wilfong rushed for 105 yards and two scores.

➧ Petruziello had 14 carries for 75 yards and a touchdown.

➧ Del Re finished with 122 yards on 6-of-17 and one touchdown.

They said it

Randolph coach Will Nahan on the sideline during the first half of a football game at West Morris Central High School on October 01, 2021.  Alexandra Pais/ For The Daily Record
Randolph coach Will Nahan on the sideline during the first half of a football game at West Morris Central High School on October 01, 2021. Alexandra Pais/ For The Daily Record

“I’m extremely proud how we played in all three phases: offense, defense and special teams. All three showed up in different parts tonight. They’re [Chatham] a very good football team and well coached and they’re so prepared. They have great athletes. I love how our guys matched up, ran to the football and tackled. Let’s take it one week at a time. We’re 4-0 and we'll try to go 1-0 next week.” – Randolph coach Will Nahan

“I think we out-prepared them [Chatham] tonight and we were able to execute. We’re competing for a state championship. We’re ready to go and ready to be on that stage.” - Kratochvil

Up next

➧ Randolph plays at Morristown next Saturday

➧ Chatham hosts Parsippany Hills next Saturday

This article originally appeared on Morristown Daily Record: Randolph NJ football downs Chatham in battle of unbeatens