With the wake Thursday and the funeral Friday for beloved teammate Ali Muhammad, one could say you might not know what to expect the Rahway football team when the Indians (3-0) visit Summit (0-3) this Saturday afternoon.
But that’s not the case. Because we already know how they’ve responded: quite well.
Muhammad passed away in his sleep in the early morning hours of September 8th. The team learned about it later that day in school, and practice was called off for that afternoon.
But when presented with the opportunity to cancel their Friday night game against Lincoln High School of Jersey City – a non-league game, mind you, with no bearing on division standings – they stood tall, and not only showed up at Caven Point, but came back down the Turnpike with a 45-16, while senior runningback Kyle Hall took home Week 2 Bellamy & Son Paving Player of the Week Honors.
The team dedicated the game, and then the season, in Muhammad’s memory. Mainly a practice player on the scout team, he was an integral part of the program, and much loved on the tight-knit squad.
So, they’ll continue the season in his honor this Saturday when they visit Summit, continuing a series that dates back to 1919, and which the Hilltoppers lead 31-23, with one tie.
You can hear Saturday afternoon’s game on Central Jersey Sports Radio, with Mike Pavlichko and Chris Tsakonas calling all the action from Tatlock Field in Summit. Kickiff is at 1, pregame starts at 12:45 pm. Click here to listen.
Rahway has a balanced rushing attack of senior Kyle Hall (206 yds, 2 TD), Andrew Avent (111 yds, 3 TD) and Jeremiah Derilus (103 yds), while quarterback Amir Robinson can sling it (352 yds on 21-36 passing, 6 TD, 0 INT).
On the other side of the ball, senior defensive end Jalen Barnesalready has registered three sacks and seven tackles for loss.
Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Rahway head coach Brian Russo about his team: