Johnson’s goal lifts Jefferson in overtime

By Mark Kitchin


 JEFFERSON TWP. –Jefferson’s Dylan Johnson was definitely in the moment. Once the Falcons reached overtime and got him the ball, the Falcons midfielder knew it was time to put it in the net.

Johnson circled the cage and scored with 2:50 left in overtime to lift Jefferson to a 10-9 triumph over Pequannock in a regular season contest on Saturday.

Johnson scored four goals and dished two assists. Attackman Anthony Dudukovich added a hat trick and Dan Pasquariello scored twice for the Falcons (3-0).

Midfielder Shane Lilienthal fired a hat trick and had two assists. Tyler Macejka and Matt Esposito scored two goals apiece for the Golden Panthers (2-1). Pequannock rallied from an 8-5 deficit with three consecutive fourth quarter goals including one from long stick Dan Mormilo. The Golden Panthers also tied the game at 9-all on a goal by Lilenthal off a Bryan Peters feed to send the game to overtime.

Jefferson midfielder Dylan Johnson (6) scored four goals including an overtime tally to lift the Falcons.

 “I was getting locked off for the majority of the game after the first quarter,’’ Johnson said. “I was pretty antsy and I knew I had the energy to do something big. The coaches set up a play that we just run ISO (isolation) from X (behind the cage). I took it. I saw I had my man beaten and there wasn’t anything to stop me from going to the goal so I just went in and kind of dunked it in. It was memorable.’’

After a pair of early goals, Pequannock defenders stayed tight on Johnson for the next three quarters, giving him little chance to find an open shot or make a quality move. The Falcons top scorer didn’t get frustrated and chose the right time to strike.

“I beat my man,’’ Johnson said. “The slide came and I crept right along the crease. I went over with not much of an angle and dumped it in right where I needed to. I put it high and in the right corner.

Staying focused on the moment is something Jefferson coach Scott Reid has been encouraging his players to do. In all three victories this season, the Falcons have squandered sizable leads but unlike teams from past years it doesn’t bother them a bit.

“We’ve been working hard,’’ attackman Anthony Dudakovic said. “We take every play as it comes. We don’t look into the future. We know we have to play our best right now. That’s what gets us to win.’’

“This year we give our best and whatever it ends up — it ends up,’’ Reid said. “It helps them because when things do go bad, they don’t think about the big picture. You can see on the defense that they make mistakes but they still make plays. They know whatever happens – happens.’’

Pequannock’s Tyler Macejka helped the Golden Panthers rally with three consecutive fourth quarter goals.

The Jefferson defense made some huge plays late in the game to preserve the victory. With one minute left in regulation, a long stick midfielder was called on a hold. However, the Falcons were up to the challenge. One Jefferson defender blocked a Pequannock shot attempt and Falcons’ goalie Conner Chirico saved another Golden Panthers offering to put the game into overtime.

Pequannock won the face off to start the 4-minute overtime period but Jefferson defenseman R. J. Rubel picked up a loose ground ball and brought it over the midfield line which allowed the Falcons to call a time out and set up Johnson’s winning goal.

“He’s a junior,’’ Reid said. “He was a midfielder his sophomore year and we switched him to defense last year. He played half the time for us last year. We had two players (including standout long stick midfielder Steve Dallicardillo) that suffered injuries that are going to keep them out for the season. We really needed R. J. to step up.’’

Jefferson’s Evan Miller (1) keeps Pequannock’s Tyler Macejka in check during Saturday’s game.

Overall, it was a well played and surprisingly sharp contest that was conducted as stiff morning winds whipped Jefferson’s grass football field. Both teams had their scoring runs. Pequannock connected for the first two goals of the game before Jefferson countered with three goals in a row.

 The Golden Panthers attempts came easier with the help of strong face off work by Bryan Peters and his wingmen. Pequannock won 7 of the first 9 faceoffs. However, a Dudukovich goal with 1:38 left in the second quarter gaveJeffersonthe 4-3 halftime lead.

 The teams would exchange leads before the Falcons soared with a 4-goal run in a five minute span. Dudukovich scored twice and assisted on another during the run. The attackman connected on a crease feed from Matt Reda to make it 8-5 with 1:15 remaining in the third quarter

Pequannock stormed back into the game with three consecutive fourth-quarter goals of its own. Two of them came within a 21-second span. Ryan Van Bochoven fired a rocket from the top of the restraining box that found the back of the net at the 10-minute mark. Then long-stick face off man Dan Mormilo gained possession of the draw, after a scramble, worked the ball down the left side of the field and connected to make it 8-7 and give the Golden Panthers a huge boost.

Pequannock attackman Tyler Macejka tied the game at 8-8 when he scored off a Van Bochoven feed with 8:47 remaining. Jeffersonregained the lead when Dan Pasquariello connected off a Johnson pass with 5:22 left. The Falcons’ advantage lasted a full nine seconds. After winning another faceoff, Peters brought the ball down field and fed it to Lilienthal for the equalizing goal which also gave the Pequannock midfielder a hat trick.

Pequannock’s Matt Esposito (6) keeps in step with Jefferson’s Dylan Johnson (6) during Saturday’s game.

 It didn’t seem to upset Jefferson. It only caused the Falcons to reach back and embrace it’s “in the moment’’ mentality just one more time.   

 “We don’t worry about getting this or winning that,’’ Johnson said. “Just play your best at this moment and if you do that then success will come.’’

Boys Lacrosse Results

Montville 8, Caldwell 7 – Raf Correa scored his only goal late in the contest to lift the Mustangs. The senior midfielder scored on a dodge from behind the cage. He fake high and put a low shot into the net for the game-winning goal. Jake Haimson scored three goals and Ryan O’Lear and Brian McCormack each had one goal and two assists.

Mountain Lakes 17, St. Joseph’s (Metuchen) 5 – Jon Broome had three goals and five assists. Rob Orazietti connected five times and Eric Dircks had two goals and three assists for the Lakers.

Chatham 7, St. Peter’s Prep 2 – David Gill, Kyle Howard Johnson and Joey Ritter each notched a pair of goals for the Cougars.

Mendham 8, Vernon 5 – The Minutemen got off to a fast start with four consecutive first-quarter goals. Will Robinson had five goals and one assist. Griffin Marcus and Pete McNerney each had a goal and an assist for Mendham (2-1).

West Morris 8, Rutgers Prep 7, OT; St. Anthony’s (LI) 10, Delbarton 9; Kinnelon 12, Bernards 4; Voorhees 11, Morris Knolls 8.

Girls Lacrosse Results

Mendham 14, West Essex 7 – Paige Russell and Maggie Sinzer each fired hat tricks to propel the 4-0 Minutemen.

St. Anthony (LI) 16, Chatham 12 – The Cougars dropped to 2-2. Jaclyn Leto had seven goals and two assists and Kelsey Perseley had three goals and two assists for Chatham.

West Morris 14, Morris Knolls 11 – Emily Delaney scored five goals and Maggie Maroney had four goals and three assists for the Wolfpack. The Golden Eagles were fueled by Haleigh Schroth (4 goals) and Ally Kolacy (3 goals, 3 assists).

Summit 9, Mountain Lakes 6 – Jackie Perry scored twice and Casey Drollinger, Victoria Kalamaras, Megan Ryan and Hallie Walker each added goals for the Lakers.



About mcvbb

Mark Kitchin is a boys varsity basketball writer for the Morris County New Jersey area

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