The Record from Hackensack, New Jersey on December 2, 2001 · 135
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The Record from Hackensack, New Jersey · 135

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Hackensack, New Jersey
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Sunday, December 2, 2001
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135
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SUNDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2001 NORTH JERSEY SPORTS THE RECORD S-17 Glee Rock cacaoes im 2 OT Panthers win fourth straight championship By JEFF CUMMINS STAFF WRITER GLEN ROCK - One play captured the essence of Saturdays Cresskill-Glen Rock game. Cresskill's Lou Levy had Rob DeChiaro wrapped up, and was about to sack the Glen Rock quarterback when DeChiaro wrestled away. "I knew he was coming and I just escaped somehow," said DeChiaro. "Maybe it was God or something." DeChiaro turned a potential 10-yard loss into a 22-yard pass completion to wide receiver Tommy Wright on what Panthers' coach Alan Deaett GLEN ROCK 22 CRESSKILL 14 (2 OT) called the play of the game. Three plays later, DeChiaro faked the hand-off to Brandon Vanderbeck and went in from the 1-yard line with the winning score as Glen Rock gutted out a 22-14 victory in double overtime to capture its fourth consecutive Group 1, North 1 championship. The Panthers have won five of the last six Group 1 championships, including three in a row over Cresskill (10-2). But this championship would be tougher than most of the others. Cresskill, coming off a 53-0 loss to New MilfOrd, played arguably its most inspired game of the season, scoring twice in the second quarter to take a 14-0 lead at halftime. "We knew our kids would not come out here and play like that," said Cresskill coach Bob Valli, referring to the Cougars' loss last week. With Cresskill's offensive line bent on proving last week was a fluke, halfback Mark Butler (151 yards on 21 carries) gave the Panthers fits all day, a constant source of concern for Deaett "He's an unbelievable back, he had 1,428 yards coming into the game," said Deaett. "We were worried about him and Levy on the running game. They hurt us early on the blast play up the middle, but we made some ad- Hopatcong roars back to defeat Mahwah By BRIAN C0STELL0 SPECIAL TO THE RECORD HOPATCONG - A Mahwah masterpiece became a horror story in a matter of minutes Saturday. The Thunderbirds watched a 21-point lead evaporate in a 36-35 loss to Hopatcong in the Group 2, North 1 championship game. Dan McNamara's 36-yard field goal with seven seconds left gave the Chiefs the victory. "It was a great game that came HOPATCONG 36 MAHWAH 35 down to the end," Mahwah senior Rob Balkema said. They made their kicks, we didn't" It was unthinkable that this game might come down to the final seconds after Mahwah (9-3) jumped out to a 28-7 lead with four minutes left in the second quarter. But a tenacious Hopatcong defense and the aerial show of quarterback Jerry Venturino and receiver Steve Howell destroyed the Thunderbirds' championship dreams. After getting a quick score just before halftime to cut the lead to 13, Venturino directed two third-quarter scoring drives to make it 28-26. Mahwah bought itself some breathing room when Balkema hooked up with T.J. Moloughney on a 12-yard touchdown pass to put the T-Birds up by nine with 425 left "When we scored the touchdown, I thought we had it," said Balkema, BRENNAN: From Page S-16 helmets and pads. The senior carried 22 times for 33 yards, though never for a lack of effort "When they shut down our running game, we get into a world of trouble," said Olsen, who ended his career with 10-of-19 passing for 162 yards. "We had two big games and we didn't get much done in the two games." After tearing his ACL on opening night. Christian, who will endergo surgery this month and rehab until freshman practice at Notre Dame next spring, played out the string. He would not hear of sitting out, andhe finished on what could barely pass for legs. 1 5f H tti WL v Glen Rock celebrating its fourth straight justments at halftime and were able to stop it." While Deaett and his staff were concerned, Glen Rock had been here before, having already faced a 14-0 halftime deficit earlier in the season against Saddle Brook, a game the Panthers came back to win, 28-14. "This was very similar to that Saddle Brook game," said Vanderbeck. "We came out with no regard for anything, we were just determined to hit people. We knew if we came out and played physical with this team, we'd win," he said, noting that he thought Glen Rock played a tougher schedule than Cresskill throughout the season. DAWN BENK0SPECIAL TO THE RECORD Mahwah fullback Ron Gifford breaking a tackle during the first half of the Thunderbirds' loss to Hopatcong. who missed a 32-yard field goal attempt early in the fourth quarter. "Then... I don't know." The Chiefs (10-2) began their drive at their own 35 and drove to the Mahwah 34 before Moloughney picked off his second pass of the day. The T-Birds took over with 3:51 left at their own 14 but could not get a first down. Then a bad snap on the punt attempt gave Hopatcong the ball on the Thunderbirds' 8-yard line. Venturino found Todd Blohm for the touchdown and made it 35-33. a (ft Another bitter defeat "No regrets," he said in his last moments in the uniform. After Hills' last efforts died around the 50-yard line, the quarterback came off to a career-ending hug from his father. Chris Olsen, the coach, has lost five straight section finals, seven all told at Hills. But this was the first with a senior son, and his wife met him near the buses. "I'm sorry," the coach whispered in Sue Olsen's ear as they embraced, springing his first tears of the day. The coach's wife is fighting cancer, which is a lot tougher than Ramapo. But she feels for wins and losses, for the men 1 1 -a i VTS win s 0 ROBERT S. TOWNSENDSTAFF PHOTOGRAPHER North 1 Group 1 title after beating Cresskill in double overtime Saturday. "I think football's a game of momentum," said Deaett "We got some momentum early in the second half and that was the key." Glen Rock changed the feel of the game when Sean D'Arrigo recovered an Alan Conrad fumble at the Cresskill 38. On the next play, DeChiaro connected with Mark Han-non for a touchdown pass, and momentum was clearly wearing a Glen Rock jersey. On Cresskill's next possession, defensive back Jim Crowley intercepted a pass and darted 26 yards down the sideline to even the score. But like a fighter overcoming a Mahwah recovered the ensuing onside kick at its own 49-yard line with 2:42 left Again the T-Birds failed to make a first down and had to punt it away. This time the Chiefs took over at their own 12-yard line and rode Venturino's arm. The senior moved the Chiefs 69 yards in four plays, setting up McNamara's dramatic kick. "They went 70 yards in four plays against our defense," Balkema said. "That kills you. You can't win if you give up 70 yards in four plays." Venturino finished the game with 394 yards on 25-of-46 passing and his top target, Howell had 160 yards on eight catches. The Thunderbirds defense looked worn-out late in the game, due to the combination of the nigh-powered Hopatcong attack, being on the field for what seemed like the entire second half, and the unseasonably warm weather. Mahwah coach Jeff Remo did not have much to say after the game to reporters and struggled to come up with words to sooth his team's pain. "I don't know yet," Remo said when asked what he could say to them. "Obviously, I'm proud of them." The Thunderbirds managed just 111 yards in the second half and just 42 passing yards. Balkema finished the day 9-of-18 for 176 yards. It was the first State title in school history for Hopatcong, and the improbable victory will not be soon forgotten in the Sussex County town. "This is a talented group of kids," Hopatcong coach Paul Reduzzi said. "You combine talent and work ethic and you're going to win games." in her house, for the aches and pains and football shortcomings. Junior Greg Olsen gave a lift to the day with his two sacks, several tackles behind the line, and quarterback hurries. The tight endlinebacker will likely be even more menacing next season when Brendan Monaghan will take over as quarterback. "We will be back next year, no doubt about it," a choked up Monaghan said afterward. "It just hurts too much for these guys. We're going to work so hard. It doesn't matter who the opponent is, it's the game. Well be back, and well win." No one can stop them from trying. 8 6 devastating blow, Cresskill summoned all its pride and forced overtime, withstanding an 8:39 Glen Rock drive that resulted in a missed field goal. "We had 12 games this season, we played 11 great games and one terrible game," said Valli, who felt his team would have won if it could have avoided the momentum swing early in the second half. "For that short period of time in the third quarter, we did make mistakes, but we weren't losing," he said. "It hurt us because I thought the game would have been over if we went up, 21-0." to in1 UnFlflMl To be She bast.. tain with JONATHAN CARTER, WR, II.Y. Giants - 4.33; 40 yard dash GaMI TtssBay for a HSlZfZ SSneisSaSSois (J I T TEAM DISCOUNTS AVAILABLE 2-22 BANTA PLACE, FAIR LAWN, NEW JERSEY 07410 Six turnovers add up to a loss for Cresskill By DAN ROSEN STAFF WRITER GLEN ROCK -Jim Crowley saw the Cresskill receivers set up for vertical routes, so he dropped back into single coverage near the Glen Rock sideline, and waited for the ball to soar his way. At the time, the Cougars were leading, 14-7, in the Group 1, North 1 final, but were clinging to the last ounces of momentum that lingered after an impressive first half. Crowley, who entered the game with seven interceptions this season, but not a single touchdown in four years, read the eyes of Cresskill quarterback Alan Conrad, stepped in front of the pass, picked it out of the air, and ran down the right sideline into the end zone. "Down 14-0 is a big hole at half-time, especially when you're kicking off to start the half, but we knew somebody had to come up with a turnover," Crowley said. "It was a total game changer, and we went on to win it." Crowley's touchdown wasn't the game-winner in Glen Rock's 22-14 victory in double overtime, it wasn't even the Panthers' initial grasp of the all important momentum, but it was the chief element in Cresskill's third-quarter meltdown. Coming out of the locker room leading 14-0, their 53-0 loss last Saturday to New Milford all but forgotten, the Cougars' golden chance to erase the demons of previous failures in the state final was wiped out by three third-quarter turnovers, and six overall. "Football is a game of momentum, we got it in early in the second half and that was whole the key," Glen Rock coach Alan Deaett said. "They had it in the first half, we took it away, and you could just feel that we were going to win it" Cresskill's third play from scrimmage in the second half resulted in a fumbled handoff recovered by Glen Rock linebacker Sean D'Arrigo at the Cougars' 38-yard line. On the next play, quarterback Rob DeChiaro threw across his body and hit Mark Harmon for the Panthers' first TD. flci 0 mm iBaiite n- - - - r ' 11 I 1.1 OOO OOO"Q"GCO00u GOO 1 S3 ROBERT S. TOWNSENDSTAFF PHOTOGRAPHER QB Rob DeChiaro got Glen Rock going in the third quarter when he hit Mark Hannon with a touchdown pass. After Crowley's touchdown, Cresskill senior Lou Levy fumbled at the 50-yard line, and junior Tom Gen-gler, who sacked Conrad three times, recovered the loose ball. Hannon picked off Conrad's final pass in regulation as time elapsed. The Cougars' fifth turnover proved to be the most agonizing of all. Senior halfback Mark Butler, who finished with 151 rushing yards and one touchdown on 21 carries, fumbled at the 4-yard line after a seven-yard run on second down in the first overtime. The officials wavered for a while as Cresskill senior guard Joe Napoletano, and Hannon thought they gained possession of the loose ball. After a meeting of officials at midfield, the Panthers were awarded possession. Instead of a first-and-goal with only four yards separating Cresskill from the go-ahead touchdown, Glen Rock's offense was on the field with a first-and-10 at the 25-yard line, and a chance to win the game. Ms bsst! dull WJfc f I 1 w 1 ' r i ii ySaS&i If 1 1 ii ui JffrtaeSmf t mitt I ilUM

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