STAFF WRITER  – The Record

LODI – Steven Villa and Dante McCarroll certainly know how to pick up the beat when a key teammate is missing from the lineup. The two combined for more than 300 yards on the ground and three touchdowns to lead resurgent Lodi past Manchester, 41-20, in an NJIC Colonial Division game Saturday.

A senior tailback, McCarroll accounted for a game-high 204 yards on 15 carries along with a pair of touchdowns and junior halfback Villa had 121 yards on 10 carries with one touchdown for the Rams (3-3).

Lodi was playing without senior speedster Jessey Asare, one of the top offensive forces in North Jersey (more than 950 yards rushing, 11 touchdowns), who was sitting out with a concussion suffered in Lodi’s 49-12 loss to Waldwick/Midland Park last week.

“We knew we had to step up our game and so we just executed a great offensive game plan,” said McCarroll. “When someone is injured other people have to find a way to move in and get it done any way they can. We had been struggling a little bit the last few weeks but we found a way to get it done today.”

The Rams had lost two in a row and three out of their last four games coming in, but the win over the Falcons puts Lodi among the top eight teams in the race for a North 1, Group 3 playoff spot with big games the next two weeks against Palisades Park/Leonia and New Milford.

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