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Memorial Crusader Jared Ombati breaks a tackle from a West tackler last night at Gill Stadium. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)

Ombati runs for 354 yards, 3 TDs, past West in Memorial win, 29-14

MANCHESTER — Rushing for 300-plus yards in a single game isn't unfamiliar territory for sparkplug running back Jared Ombati.

Manchester Memorial's big-play threat broke free for three long touchdown runs and finished with 354 yards on 19 carries, lifting his team past Queen City rival Manchester West, 29-14, at Chabot-McDonough Field on Friday night.

&#';Heck of a night,&#'; West head coach Jim Lauzon said of Ombati's second 300-yard performance of the season. &#';We knew if he got in the open field, we probably wouldn't be able to catch him.&#';

Ombati scored on rushes of 55, 83 and 42 yards. Each TD came on the first play of the drive.

To think, the 5-foot 8-inch, 155-pound standout was stopped for no gain on the game's first play from scrimmage. But after his second carry, which resulted in a 1-yard gain, something specific kick-started Ombati's big night.

&#';The holes were huge,&#'; said Ombati, who previously ran for 300-plus against Londonderry. &#';I just followed my (offensive) line the whole time.&#';

Memorial (4-5 overall, 2-5 Division I) built a 14-0 lead through one quarter. Ombati's 55- and 83-yard bursts had the Crusaders on course for a blowout win.

West (4-5 overall, 3-4 Division II) didn't allow the deficit to grow. Quarterback Zach Ziemba instead led the offense on second-quarter scoring drives that knotted the game at halftime.

Ziemba finished with 55 rushing yards (1- and 4-yard TDs) on 24 carries. He also threw for 209 yards, connecting seven times with Jared Camire, who accounted for 172 yards.

But the Crusaders created separation after halftime. West fired a high snap on a fourth-down punt, which sent the ball into the end zone. After a lengthy scrum, the ball squirted beyond the end line for a safety.

Moments later, after Pierre Noel's 32-yard return, Ombati opened and closed Memorial's march with his final TD. Noel capped a seven-play drive on the offense's next possession, the highlight play a 40-yard scamper by the game's brightest star.

Perhaps overshadowed by Ombati's immense night was Memorial's team defense. The group celebrated a late-game goal-line stand after a Ziemba-to-Camire 63-yard completion gave West a first-and-goal from the 1.

QB sacks by Donovan Murby and Sam Gilot pushed the Blue Knights in the opposite direction. They turned the ball over on downs at their 15-yard line.

&#';They played hard the entire game. I'm not going to take anything away from them,&#'; Memorial head coach Peter Colcord said of the Blue Knights. &#';But I thought player for player we were the better team.&#';

Ombati topped the list.

mthaler@unionleader.com

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