SECAUCUS — This is the start that New Milford dreamed about all summer.

Dante Tobler of New Milford carries the ball as Kyle Nelson of Secaucus tries to tackle him.

The Knights, ranked No. 22 in The Record football Top 25, have wasted no time in establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the NJIC Liberty Division. New Milford is 3-0 after Friday’s 26-12 win over Secaucus at Kane Stadium, and the past two wins have come against two key Liberty rivals.

“This is a good 3-0,” said New Milford coach Bill Wilde. “Lyndhurst. Secaucus. And Bogota. Those three teams were tough, but this is how we wanted to start to set us up.”

The recipe against the Patriots (2-1) was simple. The Knights made the big plays on defense when they had to, and then unleashed Dante Tobler.

Tobler, the senior running back and Division I prospect, carried 20 times for 201 yards and two rushing touchdowns.

He also returned a kick 82 yards for a touchdown.

“The kid is as good as anybody I’ve ever coached,” Wilde said.

And while Tobler delivered the 85-yard touchdown run that sealed the win, the game-changers were on the New Milford defense. The Knights stopped two potential scoring drives inside the 20-yard line in the fourth quarter while nursing a 19-12 lead.

The first came with 7:54 remaining. The Patriots drove 50 yards on 15 plays, setting up a second-and goal situation on the 5.

Two passes to the left corner of the end zone fell incomplete, and then senior safety Connor Swanson ended the threat by tackling running back JL Castellanos from behind on fourth down.

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