The West Milford High School football team beat the rival Lakeland Lancers 33-27 in overtime on McCormack Field last Friday night.
“Great team win,” said Head Coach Steve Maslanek. “We never gave up and stayed focused and were able to execute when it counted.”
The game went right down to the wire, with the Highlanders’ Dylan Connors running it into the end zone in overtime for the victory.
It was a back-and-forth contest throughout, with both teams scoring two touchdowns apiece in the first half.
Connors had the first of his three rushing touchdowns in the half, while running back Joe Palmentieri scored the other.
That made the score 14-13 at the half in favor of West Milford, as the Lancers weren’t able to convert the extra point on one of their first-half touchdowns.
Lakeland would, however, retake the lead on its opening drive of the second half with a long touchdown pass on third down.
That made the score 19-14 in favor of the Lancers after another missed extra point.
The Highlanders, though, came right back, driving down the field and converting a fourth down before Connors found wide receiver Christoper Coyle in the end zone for a touchdown.
It didn’t take long for Lakeland to respond once again, this time scoring with another touchdown pass of its own just two plays later.
The Lancers completed the two-point conversion to increase its lead and make the score 27-20 with about three minutes left in the third quarter.
On West Milford’s ensuing drive, Connors had a long run that set the Highlanders up at Lakeland’s 11-yard line.
West Milford would then need to convert on fourth down before running it in for the score.
With the extra point, the game was tied at 27-27 with under nine minutes left in the game.
The Highlanders would get the ball back and the chance to win it in regulation, but Connors threw his only interception of the game with less than a minute to go.
That set up overtime, in which Connors was able to finish off the Lancers with a two-yard run.
The quarterback went 5-of-9 for 69 yards in the game to go along with his one touchdown and interception.
Connors also had 150 yards on 25 carries on the ground, along with his three rushing touchdowns.
Palmentieri, however, led the team in rushing with his 154 yards on 23 carries and one touchdown.
“(A) lot of young players stepped up,” said Maslanek. “(I’m) very proud of this team.”
West Milford (2-2) will look to make it two wins in a row this Friday night, when the team is scheduled to travel to Wayne to play Wayne Hills.