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October 15, 2013
This week was a different kind of week for me. An omen may have been when I lost connection to the internet on Thursday and Friday. I had things solved on Saturday morning, thanks to my brother, and I was ready to go to Sparta and cover Sparta-Pope John. Unfortunately, I smashed my left leg into a low level shelf at a deli and my leg began to swell, so I decided to stay put and ice my leg. I did find the time to go to see Lodi-Elmwood Park that afternoon and went to a night game, as was the original plan. Friday night, I saw two 4-0 teams compete.
First up was Cresskill-Secaucus. It was two 4-0 teams and I thought the matchup was appealing. The game was controlled by Cresskill, 28-6. What Cresskill did very well was methodically move the chains and taking control of the clock. The only big play was the opening score, a 39 yard run by Sean Coffey. They were up 21-0 in the second quarter and Secaucus scored before the half to make it 21-6, kept fighting in the second half, but Cresskill scored to put the game out of reach.
The player I liked on Cresskill was running back Coffey. While not a speed back, he showed physical running, consistently getting yards after the initial contact. Another who showed toughness was fullback/defensive lineman Joe Hernandez, before being forced out in the second quarter with a lower leg injury. Their line did an excellent job of controlling the Secaucus defensive front. Cresskill is now 5-0 and I think they are a definite semi-final team in the Group 1 playoffs; I am not sure if they are a finalist or state champion, possibly.
Leaving in the fourth quarter, my two companions and I went to Englewood to try and catch the end of the Englewood-Mahwah game, which we heard was very close. We arrived and they were in overtime, where we witnessed the final two plays. Mahwah had already scored in their overtime possession to make it 21-14. We saw a pass completion to Julius Wingate to the 13, making it fourth down. On fourth down, the quarterback faded back to pass, faced a heavy pass rush, where he scrambled and was eventually sacked, giving Mahwah the win and keeping them undefeated at 5-0. This sets up a showdown with Westwood next week, another 5-0 team.
Now it was on to Saturday. After my mishap kept me from going to Sparta, I iced my leg several times and the swelling went down, so I decided to drive ten minutes to Lodi. When I arrived, it was the middle of the second quarter and Lodi was already up, 20-8. As I walked in, I saw Lodi quarterback Emmanuel Appiah running down the left sideline for a 77 yard score to make it 27-8. They scored again in the third quarter to make it 34-8, the final score. Overall, Lodi should have 7-8 wins heading into the playoffs, but they will have some tough opponents in the likes of Lincoln, Mountain Lakes, and Madison.
Lodi was the better team, but Elmwood Park has a quarterback, Michael Dare, who impressed under difficult circumstances. I was told he was very impressive in the early part of the game, but players began dropping passes and he faced a heavy Lodi pass rush. He is only a junior and had a good sophomore season and stands 6-foot-3. I see him as playing in college somewhere, but not sure if he is 1-AA or D3, but somewhere in that range. Lodi also has a big junior lineman in Bryan Roth, who played right tackle and on the defensive line. Sometimes, it's hard to tell how good he is, especially when a player is just better than who he is going up against, but he will play in college; but again, it's a matter of where.
Saturday night, I went to Teaneck, who hosted Wayne Hills. This game was similar to the Cresskill one in the fact that Wayne Hills was very methodical, moving the chains. There were no big plays; the only big play in the game was an interception Teaneck returned for a score. Like Cresskill the night before, the offensive line of Wayne Hills outplayed the defensive front of Teaneck. Standouts for Wayne Hills were fullback/linebacker Justin Hogan and tight end/defensive lineman Sean Slazyk, who had two sacks. Quarterback Justin DeGroat, a senior, is a quarterback who is not a great passer, but rushed for over 100 yards and he can play college somewhere, maybe as a wide receiver. This is not a great Wayne Hills team, but they are in a section where there is no standout team and a state title is not put of the question.
In a losing cause, Teaneck does have some talent in junior quarterback Elijah Bethea and senior wide receiver Mohamed Beretey. An intriguing player was junior Ernst Papillon, a 6-foot-4, 200 wide receiver and outside linebacker. He may not be a 1-A prospect, but he did some good things and has nice size.
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