There’s always Easton, the biggest team on Phillipsburg’s schedule, still out there for the taking on Thanksgiving, less than two weeks away.
But for part of the next 13 days, and maybe some time after, this one will hurt.
The Stateliners lost in the state sectional finals for a second year in a row Friday night, falling 24-17 to second-seed Union City at Maloney Stadium in Phillipsburg.
And while P’burg (9-2) might have been the top-seed and the Soaring Eagles the two, this had the makings of a toss-up. That wasn’t the case last year, when sixth-seed West Orange came to Maloney and stunned the Stateliners.
But Union City (10-1) controlled the game from the word go, peeling off an eleven-minute drive, controlling the ball, to take a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter, and it had Phillipsburg playing catchup all night.
Mark Boyd’s three-yard touchdown run and Jayden Chaviano’s 25-yard field foal had the ‘Liners down 10-0 at the end of one quarter, and that’s the way it stayed until after halftime, when John Wargo opened the second-half scoring with a two-yard touchdown run.
But the Soaring Eagles went back up by ten on a one-yard TD run by Tyler Koffa. Another one-yard run by Wargo got Phillipsburg back within a score, But Boyd scored again to make it 24-14, and Colin Hoey’s late 32-yard field goal only got Phillipsburg within one score, at 24-17.
It was the first title in four finals berths for Union City (10-1), which now goes on to play North 1, Group 5 champion Passaic Tech. The top-seeded Bulldogs (12-0) had to come from behind Friday night to win the sectional title over third-seed Montclair, 34-27.
Click below for postgame reaction with Marcus Borden, presented by Sportsplex at Metuchen: