After opening the 2017 season by splitting a pair of games on the road, the Jefferson Twp. Falcons will play their home opener against the Minutemen of West Morris-Mendham HS this Friday, September 22nd with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.
In the Falcons’ season opener at High Point Regional on September 8th, the team played with extreme efficiency almost pulling out the win. Down 20-13, the Falcons scored a touchdown with :20 to go in the 4th quarter to make the score 20-19. Coach Jerry Venturino elected to go for the two-point conversion but the attempt came up just short and the Wildcats walked away with the win.
Senior quarterback Anthony Johnson had a stellar outing going 18-33 for 258 yards and throwing three touchdown passes. Senior Andrew Benfatti had a solid game with 9 receptions for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns. Defensively, the Falcons were led by senior linebacker Nick Miller with 12 tackles and junior linebacker Brandon Haid who had 11.
After the game, the team put in a week described by coach Venturino as full of toughness and grit and traveled to Vernon to face the Vikings last Friday the 15th.
On the game’s opening drive, the Vikings marched 62 yards on 12 plays with Vernon’s Mike Stefkovich scoring from 1 yard out to give the Vikings the early 6-0 lead. That would be their only score of the evening as the Falcons put on a strong defensive performance holding the Vikings to 117 yards of total offense on the evening.
Offensively, Jefferson marched down the field on several drives but was unable to put the ball in the end-zone and the score was tied 6-6 at the half with Jefferson getting field goals of 25 and 28 yards from Benfatti. After forcing the Vikings to go 3 and out to open the second half, junior Paul Monaco returned the ensuing punt 30 yards to the Vikings 29 yard line. Five plays later, junior running back Brandon Haid scored his first varsity touchdown on a 4 yard run to give the Falcons the lead for good. 13-6. Benfatti closed out the scoring with his third field goal of the night, this time from 41 yards out, to put the game out of reach at 16-6.
After the game coach Venturino praised his team’s effort, crediting Benfatti with another solid outing with 3 field goals and an extra point to account for 10 of the teams 16 points. as well as senior linebacker Matt D’Alessio who had 10 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and 1 interception to help subdue the Vikings. Junior running back Joe Batelli led JTHS with with 6 receptions for 54 yards on the evening.
Although this week’s opponent, the West Morris Mendham Minutemen have opened the season 0-2 with looses to Morris Hills and Mount Olive, coach Venturino isn’t taking them lightly by any means. “They have a handful of weapons. They have a big talented quarterback who can make all the throws and two running backs, a power back and a shifty one. Plus they play an aggressive defense”.
In keeping with Jefferson’s team concept, “we’re not focusing on anyone but ourselves. Each player is only focusing on the ‘man in the mirror.” This concept extends to the coaching staff. “They admit to the team when they make it a mistake. It all goes to strengthen the team concept and creates an atmosphere where we’re not afraid to admit a mistake because we pull each other up”.
Friday, September 15: Jefferson Falcons 16 at Vernon Vikings 6
Jefferson Falcons (1-1) 6 0 7 3 16
Vernon Vikings (0-2) 6 0 0 0 6
V – Stefkovich (1) run PAT failed
J – Benfatti (25) FG
J – Benfatti (28) FG
J – Haid (4) run PAT: Benfatti kick
J – Benfatti (41) FG
Brandon Haid 8 carries for 28 yards and 1 TD
Anthony Johnson 12-17 passing for 128 yards
Joe Batelli 4 carries for 18 yards and 6 receptions for 54 yards
Andrew Benfatti 3 receptions for 35 yards, 3 Field Goals of 25, 28 , & 41 yards and 1 extra point for 10 points
Matt D’Alessio 10 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 interception, and 1 pass deflection
Jefferson Township High School Falcons
2017 Football Schedule
Sept. 8 @ High Point L 20-19
Sept. 15 @ Vernon W 16-6
Sept. 22 WEST MORRIS-MENDHAM
Sept. 28 WEST MILFORD
Oct. 6 @ Parsippany Hills
Oct. 13 MONTVILLE
Oct. 21 @ Morris Hills
Oct. 27 SPARTA
Nov. 3 @ Lenape Valley