Stags kick returner Lowell Robinson on the move with the ball in the second quarter.
OAK RIDGE — The Tri-County Owls (Pennsauken, New Jersey) defeated the Sussex Stags (Newton, New Jersey) in semipro football on Saturday, Oct. 6. The final score was 13-8. The Major League Football (MLF) second round playoff game took place at Jefferson Township High School in Oak Ridge, New Jersey. The Owls showed up late from South Jersey forcing the game start time to be delayed. A Stag player commented "Just because they came late doesn't mean they didn't come right." That quote was said aloud just after the Owls returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. And the Stags quickly found themselves in the unusual position of trying to come from behind. The Sussex Stags are used to scoring early and often. But the Owls proved to be a formidable squad. The Stags beat the Owls earlier in the season on Sept. 8, by the score 26-15. The Owls seemed to have learned from their mistakes and this time put on an aggressive and smart 'show of force'. On defense the owls pressed Stags quarterback Jimmy Lahue the entire contest. Lahue does his best work inside the pocket but had to go on the run numerous times. The Owls secondary kept the Stags receivers tied up as well. The Owls forced turnovers and made interceptions and kept the Stags off balance. Despite getting burned early the Stags defense kept the Owls offense in check and kept a possible win in sight. By halftime the Owls led 13-0. The Stags offense did not light up the scoreboard until the third quarter. Stags running back Jeff Mack II was able to scamper into the end zone for a touchdown with about 7:30 left to play in the third quarter. Mack who is statistically one of the best runners in the league this season gave the Owls all they could handle and some. Mack's speed and flashy foot work was a sight to behold. The Stag's other notable ball carrier Robert Cousar also had a productive game moving the ball. The Owls defense had trouble containing the Stags running backs but were able to keep them out of the end zone for the most part. The Stags and the Owls came into this playoff game pretty evenly matched. But the Owls fast scoring strike early on and their solid defensive play helped them out hustle their opponent and hold off a Stags comeback for the victory. The Stags season is over and the Owls advance to the MLF conference championship. Team records: Sussex Stags 9-2. Tri-County Owls 9-3. — Photos by George Leroy Hunter