Just making it through the first five weeks of the season might be considered a success for the Queen of Peace football program.
The program just stayed alive at the beginning of the season because of its enrollment numbers, but the Golden Griffins are two wins away from qualifying for the state tournament.
After losing three straight games, Queen of Peace won a critical game last Friday, a defensive battle, 12-7, over Waldwick/Midland Park on the road in the North Jersey Interscholastic Conference Meadowlands division.
“I thought it was a great team effort on the defensive end,” said Queen of Peace head coach Steve Romano, who said this is what they are looking for each week. “We always want to play well defensively.”
The win raised the Golden Griffins record to 2-3. Queen of Peace will need four victories by Week 8 to qualify for the state tournament. The Golden Griffins are expected to get a bid at Non-Public North 1 if they collect the fourth win, but will need to win two out of their last three games by the cutoff of Week 8.
Against Waldwick, the Queen of Peace defense was on display throughout the game and was able to get the better of the turnover battle. The Golden Griffins coughed up the ball two times while the Warriors turned it over five times. And the game was not decided on Friday night until Queen of Peace defensive back Anthony Villano made an interception in the end zone that sealed the deal. It was the second interception for the night by Villano as Queen of Peace put a clamp on the Warriors’ offense.
In addition to Villano’s work in the defensive backfield, Tajier Jefferson collected 10 tackles to shut down the Waldwick Wing-T offensive running game.
Offensively it was the running from running back Kevin Momnohin and Villano’s passing as quarterback. Momnohin ran for 152 yards on 20 carries and a nine-yard touchdown run while Villano hit Kevin’s brother, Keith Momnohin on an 11-yard touchdown strike to grab the NJIC crossover victory. For Kevin Momnohin and some of the other Queen of Peace players, the victory came after a brutal battle with St. Mary where the Gaels pulled away in the fourth quarter, 34-13.
On offense, Romano has liked the play of his quarterback Villano despite the fact that his top receivers, J.T. Thomas and Keith Momnohin, have to put in extra work on defense and special teams because of the lack of depth.
“He’s (Villano) doing well and he can’t even throw down field because his two top wide receivers (Thomas and Keith Momnohin) can’t go deep,” said Romano.
For this weekend Queen of Peace will have their hands full with an up-and-coming Palisades Park/Leonia team that shutout Becton, 27-0, last week. A Golden Griffins victory against the Tigers will leave them a game away from qualifying for the state playoffs. A big game from running back Kevin Momnohin will go a long way in defeating Palisades Park.