on December 06, 2013 10:17 p.m.
When defensive back Andrew Masterfano intercepted a pass in the end zone to record Summit’s second fourth-down stop deep in its own territory in the fourth quarter, teammate Colm Dougherty ran to an official with a simple query.
“I went right over to the ref and asked how many timeouts they had left, and he said, ‘none,’” Dougherty said. “I was like, ‘Oh my god, we just won the game.’”
And another state sectional championship.
Thanks to two crucial defensive holds in the final seven minutes of play, Summit held on for a 16-13 triumph over Parsippany Hills in the NJSIAA/Atlantic Health North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 final Friday night in the rain at Kean University in Union.
The title was Summit’s second straight and third in the past five seasons. The Hilltoppers (12-0) will take a 24-game winning streak, the longest current streak in the state, into next season. Summit has won eight state playoff titles in school history and posted eight unbeaten seasons.
“Right after I picked it off, I said, ‘We just won the state championship,’ ” said Masterfano, who intercepted Parsippany Hills quarterback Brandon Katzenberger on fourth-and-12 from the Summit 16 with under two minutes left. “It just was absolutely amazing.”
Summit jumped to a 16-0 lead in the first half behind two long touchdown passes by Charlie Terry and a 27-yard field goal by freshman kicker Jack Johnson.
But two long scoring passes by Katzenberger — a 53-yarder to Evan Smith right before halftime and then a 75-yard strike to Tommy Bluj to open the third quarter — allowed Parsippany Hills (9-3) to get back in the game.
From there, both offenses struggled as the rain and wind picked up significantly. Parsippany Hills found itself in position to take a lead after an interception by Austin Ehrenfeld allowed the Vikings to start at their own 47-yard line with 8:47 left in the game.
Parsippany Hills drove to the Summit 14, but the drive ended when Katzenberger tried for a keeper on fourth-and-1 and was met by a wall of Summit defenders, forcing a turnover on downs with 7:02 left. Summit then went three-and-out on its next offensive possession, and a short punt gave Parsippany Hills the ball at the Summit 29 with 5:21 left.
After converting a fourth-and-7 from the 26 when Katzenberger picked up 12 yards on a quarterback draw out of an empty backfield, Parsippany Hills stuck to the ground twice more and got to a third-and-5 from the Summit 9.
Katzenberger dropped back to pass, rather than run again, but Summit defensive end Mac Wiesner got around his blocker and sacked the quarterback for a 7-yard loss, forcing a fourth-and-12 from the 16-yard line.
“We knew that they were going to come back to that quick (passing) game with him in that empty look,” Wiesner said. “We were not going to let that happen again. He caught us looking (on the previous fourth down).”
Parsippany Hills elected to go for the first down, rather than attempt a game-tying 33-yard field goal, on the next down. But Masterfano reached out and plucked the throw out of the air as Parsippany Hills’ quest for its first-ever state sectional title fell short.
“The sack played a factor in that,” Parsippany Hills coach Dave Albano said. “If we had the ball on the 6 or the 7, we would’ve tried a kick. I don’t like putting that kind of pressure on a high school kid. It was a special run for a great group of kids.”
Dougherty finished with 115 yards rushing. Terry finished with 214 yards in the air, hitting Dougherty for a 23-yard touchdown and Chris Zanelli (seven catches, 79 yards) for a 27-yard score. Masterfano had four catches for 71 yards.
Katzenberger finished with 141 yards passing.
“The weather affected both teams immensely,” Summit coach Kevin Kostibos said. “It turned into a complete dogfight. We had nine in the box, they had 10. It was ridiculous. But we were able to make some big plays when we had to. I can’t tell you how proud I am of these kids.”