Tag: Ethan MacNair

MacNair to return for Somerville as Pioneers face unbeaten Cedar Creek in sectional semis

If Somerville is going to win its second state title of the Vanderbeek/Whitaker era – and head coach Dallas Whitaker’s first – it will have to get through one of the top teams in the state, then beat a team that will have an unplanned week off.

More on that second point in a moment; first things first for the Pioneers.

First comes this week’s South Jersey Group 3 semifinal game for The ‘Ville (8-2, one loss by forfeit) against top-seed Cedar Creek (10-0).

The Pirates are the 13th-ranked team in the state, and the fourth-highest ranked public school behind Millville, Northern Highlands and Rumson-Fair Haven. They average nearly 35 points per game scoring, and have only allowed one team – Winslow – to score double-figures against them. They won their first four games by shutout.

So, it will be a tall order for Somerville, but they good news is, Ethan MacNair – who was injured in the regular season finale against Summit, then sat out last week against Rahway – will be back in the lineup.

It will be the first ever meeting between Somerville and Cedar Creek, which is led by first-year head coach James Melody.

Should the Pioneers beat the Pirates, they would play at third-seed Delsea next week for the South Jersey Group 3 title, most likely Friday night at 7 pm.

Delsea gets a bye this week, advancing automatically to the title game after second-seed Wall pulled out of the state tournament, in response to a hazing scandal being investigated by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office. The cancellation of the game was reported by multiple media outlets

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Somerville head coach Dallas Whitaker about the Pioneers’ sectional semifinal game against Cedar Creek:

No. 1 Somerville keeps on rolling, wins 5th straight, 43-13 over Warren Hills, to clinch share of Big Central’s Division 3

The top-ranked Pioneers got another big effort from tight end-turned-runningback Ethan MacNair, who rushed 22 times for 248 yards and three touchdowns, pacing Somerville to a 43-13 win over Warren Hills Friday night in Washington Township.

Quarterback Matt Miller did not play for the Pioneers (5-1), but Dylan Knapp ran the offense efficiently. He completed his only pass attempt, for 42 yards, and carried 12 times for 65 yards, scoring two touchdowns.

Hashym Hobbs carried four times for 28 yards and had a touchdown.

Somerville can clinch the division title outright with a home win at Brooks Field next Friday night against Summit. That game is the Big Central Game of the Week driven by Mark Montenero and his team at the world-famous Autoland, and can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio at 7 pm, with the pregame show at 6:45.

Click below to hear postgame reaction from the field with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Justin Sontupe:

Somerville runningback Ethan MacNair

Somerville head coach Dallas Whitaker

This Week in the Big Central – Episode 9: The Home Stretch

Episode 9 of “This Week in the Big Central,” driven by Mark Montenero and his team at the world-famous Autoland, focuses on the push to the playoffs just one week out from Cutoff Weekend.

Mike Pavlichko looks back at the week gone by and the playoff implications of some of the Week Seven games, then examines who’s in – and who’s on the bubble – down the home stretch of the season.

We hear from founding sponsor Elite QB, with Coach Matt Bastardi’s “Elite Performers of the Week,” and a look at the Bellamy & Son Paving Player of the Week, Montgomery’s Alex Benitez, who caught the ball, ran the ball, kicked the ball and intercepted the ball in a win over Scotch Plains-Fanwood.

Mike wraps it up with a look at the Week Eight slate.

Benitez runs and catches, kicks and picks his way to Week 7 Bellamy & Son Paving Player of the Week Award

Throwing a pass was about the only thing Alex Benitez didn’t do Friday night for Montgomery. And he’s even done a little of that this season.

But everything else he did helped him pick up Week Seven Bellamy and Son Paving Player of the Week Honors, while helping the Cougars to their second straight victory.

What didn’t Benitz do? He had 16 carries and a rushing touchdown, as well as five catches on offense. He also kicked three PATs. On defense he had not one, but two pick-6s, and he also had a pair of 55-yard punts on special teams.

His two interception returns for touchdowns came on back-to-back possessions defensively, and were part of a four-minute spurt that saw Benitz score three times – the first of the TDs coming on offense – to put the nail in the coffin on Scotch Plains-Fanwood.

And the win has Montgomery – now just 2-4, but winners of two straight – on the cusp of a playoff berth. They moved from 20th to 19th with the win, and have a chance to get to .500 if they can pick up a win this week against JFK, and next week against Cranford. That’s a tall order – even at home – but even a loss might still get them in due to Cranford’s high SI value, currently at 79.51. Montgomery’s OSI is 39.61, meaning even if they lose and get just half of Cranford’s value, that would keep them even.

Click below to hear Alex Benitez talk with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko about his Week 7 performance:

Honor Roll…

Sayreville’s Zaimer Wright – who won the award in Week Three – gets some “also ran” recognition in Week Seven. He was a workhorse going for 270 yards on 33 carries, scoring four touchdowns and adding a two-point conversion in a critical 29-16 win against South Brunswick that was the Bombers’ fourth straight victory.

Nasir McGlone of North Plainfield ran for even more yards on fewer touches Friday night. He averaged a whopping 21.5 yards per carry in a 42-26 win at Governor Livingston, the Canucks’ third straight win following a three-game skid.

Of his five touchdown runs, only one went for less than 40 yards – a ten-yard spring in the second quarter. The others were 70, 61, 48 and 44 yards. That’s a total of 233 yards on touchdown runs alone.

That’s a game for most good runningbacks.

Continuing the runningback theme, the final honorable mention goes to Ethan MacNair of Somerville, who had 300 rushing yards on 30 carries and three touchdowns in the Saturday Big Central Game of the Week driven by Autoland, a 47-26 win over St. Joseph in Metuchen.

MacNair’s 300-yard game propels No. 1 Somerville past game St. Joe’s-Metuchen

It took 300 yards and three touchdowns from senior Ethan MacNair to help No. 1 Somerville hold off St. Joseph Saturday afternoon at Brenner Family Field in Metuchen.

The Pioneers improved to 5-1 with a 47-26 win over the Falcons (2-4) in the Saturday Big Central Game of the Week, driven by Mark Montenero and his team at the world-famous Autoland.

MacNair was the workhorse for Somerville, carrying the ball 30 times in his newfound role. Last year, he was a tight end on offense, helping to pave the way for a lot of long Cookie Desiderio runs and touchdowns.

In fact, his role carrying the ball is so new this season, it’s only been of late that he’s been the main back. To wit, he had 322 rushing yards coming into the game against the Falcons, and nearly equaled that in one contest.

For his efforts, MacNair was named the Autoland Player of the Game, and he’ll receive a custom football at the end of the year, courtesy of Autoland.

Click below to hear Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko talk with Ethan MacNair down on the field after the game:

No. 1 Somerville makes it three straight heading into big road game at Phillipsburg

The top-ranked Pioneers kept on being the Pioneers Friday night, blanking South Plainfield 43-0 at Brooks Field in Somerville, giving them a 4-1 mark heading into a big road matchup in Week Six.

Ethan MacNair had two touchdown runs, while Jaimen Bryant had a touchdown catch and a punt return for a score, while Tristan Garcia and Dylan Knapp also reached the end zone.

And then there was the defense, blanking its third opponent this season. In their four wins this season, the Pioneers have only allowed one touchdown – to Rahway – and have outscored their opponents 160-7.

Their line hiccup was a non-conference loss in the Rumble on the Raritan to Northern Highlands, 32-20. The Highlanders are ranked 11th in the state by nj.com and are their third highest-ranked public school in the state, behind Rumson-Fair Haven (No. 7) and Millville (No. 8).

Click below to hear Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko talk with Somerville head coach Dallas Whitaker about the Pioneers’ win over South Plainfield, the season so far, and next Friday night’s trip to Phillipsburg: