Home > Cabalar leads Boonton over rival Mountain Lakes | USA Today High School Sports

Cabalar leads Boonton over rival Mountain Lakes | USA Today High School Sports

Boonton quarterback Gage Cabalar looks for an open receiver during practice back in August.

Boonton quarterback Gage Cabalar looks for an open receiver during practice back in August.

BOONTON – Gage Cabalar admits he wasn’t always fast. The senior thinks it may have been a middle-school growth spurt that made him realize his own quickness.

The quarterback flaunted that speed with a pair of long touchdown runs and a game-high 176 rushing yards to rally Boonton past Mountain Lakes 14-7 Friday night, ending a 10-year losing streak to the Morris County rivals.

“Gage is a special player and we’re lucky to have him,” Boonton coach Bryan Gallagher, whose team fell to the Herd 24-0 last season. “On his second touchdown, I don’t think we blocked very well, but he made the most of it on his own there.”

The wet conditions kept both teams focused almost exclusively on their ground attacks.  The squads combined for five pass attempts in the entire game.

For Boonton, which had attempted just 17 passes heading into the showdown with Mountain Lakes, relying on the running game was business as usual. Six different players handling carries in the game as the Bombers outgained Mountain Lakes 289 to 194 on the ground.

“Knowing what the weather was like, we had an idea what the game plan was,” Cabalar said. “Everyone was contributing and that makes it harder for other teams to key in and makes us thrive even more.”

Cabalar’s explosive runs came following one of his few near miscues in the game for Boonton (4-0). The senior quarterback followed his lone, first-half pass attempt – a toss that was nearly intercepted by Herd safety Jimmy Schicke – with a 43-yard run behind a solid lead block from fullback Quinn Sweeney and the left side of the line into the heart of the Mountain Lakes defense.

The Bombers peppered the Herd (2-2) with short runs before Cabalar showcased his speed again in the second quarter. He capped off a six-play, 91-yard drive with a 73-yard touchdown run to the left side. By halftime, Cabalar had registered 11 carries for 140 yards and both touchdowns.

“I told the team if we picked up four (yards) every play, we couldn’t be stopped,” Cabalar said. “It’s easy to look fast when you have these guys blocking for you.”

Mountain Lakes had an opportunity to tie the game at midfield late in the fourth quarter but Boonton’s defense held. Herd back Jake Spagnola was halted at the line, Steve Delaporte sacked Herd quarterback Griffin Baker for a 4-yard loss, David Koval and Evan Marquez stopped Spagnola for a short gain and a pass by Baker bounced off his receiver’s hands to force a turnover on downs with 1:59 left in the game.

This marked the third time in four games Boonton has held the opposition to a touchdown or less.

Each time rode their ground game for the entire opening half. Mountain Lakes opened the contest with an 11-play, 65-yard drive. Baker rushed in from 1-yard out as the Herd took a 7-0 lead in the opening 4:39 of the game.

Spagnola had 18 carries for 94 yards in the loss for Mountain Lakes, which suffered its second loss of the season. It marked the first time since 2011 when the Herd fell twice in one season.

MOUNTAIN LAKES (2-1)   7-0-0-0-7

BOONTON (3-0)  7-7-0-0-14

M-Baker 1 run (Pond kick)

B-Cabalar 43 run (Anderson kick)

B-Cabalar 73 run (Anderson kick)

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