North Hunterdon has started their season absolutely on fire at 3-0, their best start to a season since their state championship run five years ago. The Lions had to play a fierce 2-0 Watchung Hills Warriors team, and it showed across the first half. The Warriors went into the second half with a 21-12 lead, even after North Hunterdon recovered their own onside-kick with less than two minutes left in the first. While Watchung Hills had more than enough momentum, North Hunterdon came out of the second half with a head of steam. Lions quarterback Luke Martini had this to say on their comeback in the second half.
A rough first half, but the second half you guys turned it up, what was the mentality going into the second half?
“We just knew we didn’t play our best football first half. We came out slow, we got punched in the mouth by them, they came out and they won the first half. In the locker room at halftime we said hey we got to finish, we got to bounce back see what we can do. We knew we could come out here and we could get the W and play better in the second half, we came out here and we did that and we got the win.”
The Lions defense showed up in the second half, only allowing three points and winning the game 25-24. Derek Vaddis had the game of his career with an interception, 208 yards receiving and two receiving touchdowns and had this to say after his crazy stat line.
Derek, what got into you that game?
“I really think after watching film I knew these kids couldn’t guard me, we started off strong. We were running the ball, it wasn’t really working. In the first half we came out a little shaky but as soon as we entered halftime we came out strong, we were determined, we knew we had to finish plays. We talk about it, one play at a time this week, that’s what the word was, one play one play one play, and I was just determined. All I needed was the ball in my hands to make a play, and that’s what we came out and did, we finished as a team.”
What are the plans after high school?
“Well we’ll see where college goes, I got a couple college coaches hittin’ my line, so we’ll see how that goes.”
Kente Edwards was keened on the entire game by Watchung Hills’ defense, still having an absurd sixty-nine yard run to start the game with a touchdown in North’s home opener and finishing with 126 yards rushing. Kente will be playing at Navy after his senior year and left comments on that.
Are you excited to play at Navy after high school?
“Yes sir. I’m ecstatic. It’s my dream.”
North Hunterdon this season has been known for their rushing game, and it consists of a one-two punch of Kente Edwards and Alex Uryniak. Alex Uryniak was crucial in the second half, needing multiple defenders on him any time he touched the ball if they wanted him to go down.
You’re one of the grittiest running backs on this team, what’s your mindset headed into a game?
“I mean, they can’t take us down. I got quads, you know? I gotta use em’, you know? They can’t take me and Kente down, that’s the end of the game.”
Another player who plays both offense and defense and isn’t easily taken down is receiver Danny Delusant, who has had a nickname for his two years of starting on varsity.
Where did the nickname “Delusant Island” come from?
“Well, last year there was a game against JFK and their number one receiver, Isaiah Cherry, not to throw out names here, was a division one prospect, I mean this kids going D1, he’s incredible, really good receiver, I came out kept him to, maybe one reception, five yardsish, and I covered him the whole game, so the nickname originated there and it’s just kind of stayed on ever since, happy to keep the legacy going.”
While some of the players on North Hunterdon are well spoken, none are as well spoken as coach Kevin Klay who had this to say in their come from behind win at home:
“It is awesome. Watchung for, you know this is my fourth year as head coach, played them two times before, and they beat the crap out of us both times. Shut us out, put up 21-0 and 28-0, it was not really close. They’re really good, they’ve had our number for awhile now, so it is nice to close out a really close game.”
North Hunterdon takes on longtime sports rival Phillipsburg High School this upcoming Friday and look to remain undefeated headed into P-Burg next week.