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Glen Rock wins Homecoming game against Hawthorne, 28-6

Oct 24, 2020 01:16PM ● By Special to Glen Rock News Today

It was a happy Homecoming Friday night for the Glen Rock High School football team as the Panthers rallied from an early deficit to beat rivals Hawthorne 28-6 at Alan Deaett Field and pull into a first-place tie with the visiting Bears at the top of the Liberty Division of the North Jersey Interscholastic League (NJIC).

With most of the traditional Homecoming Activities suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the senior football players, band members and cheerleaders were introduced, with their parents, before the game, which was played before a seemingly full crowd, featuring a packed student section. Six days after three GRHS students tested positive for the coronavirus, the home bleachers did not seem socially distanced, though everyone at least seemed to be wearing masks. 

On the field, the Panthers fell behind 6-0 in the first quarter, when Hawthorne (3-1) put together an 83-yard drive, the big play being a 71-yard pass from quarterback Ashton Navarrete to Erick Mendoza. Running back Jayden Shwed scored the touchdown, on a three-yard run with 4:18 left in the first quarter.

But the extra point kick failed, and two possessions later, Glen Rock (3-1) took the lead with a nine-play, 64-yard drive that featured all runs. Quarterback Ty Scherer scored the touchdown, on a seven-yard run. Scherer, a senior captain, had a monster day for the Panthers, with two touchdown runs and a touchdown pass. On defense, he also had two interceptions, plus, he momentarily saved a touchdown with a late tackle on the 71-yard pass to Mendoza.

Glen Rock’s senior kicker Nico Hernandez-Torre, a former soccer player playing football for the first time, made all four of his extra points in the game, and is perfect on extra points this season, 15-for-15.

After the first Glen Rock touchdown, with 7:02 left in the first half, Scherer, playing free safety, picked off Navarrete’s pass at the Glen Rock 35-yard line and returned it to the 47. The next three plays lost a total of two yards, before the game turned on a key call by coach Jim Kurz.

Facing a fourth-and-12, Glen Rock lined up in punt formation, but with receiver Mike McCarthy, who is the backup quarterback, standing in as the punter. Instead of punting, McCarthy passed to a wide open Luke Famularo, who gained 20 yards before being tackled at the Hawthorne 35-yard line. On the next play, Scherer passed to McCarthy in the left corner of the end zone for a touchdown that gave the Panthers a 14-7 lead with 3:12 left in the half.

Scherer’s second interception of the game prevented Hawthorne from scoring before the half.

In the second half, Hawthorne suffered a big blow when the Bears’ best player, Shwed, was hurt on their second possession. The next time Glen Rock got the ball, Scherer hit sophomore blocking back Aiden Burkhardt with a 57-yard pass that put the Panthers on the Hawthorne 11-yard line. Two plays later, Scherer ran it in from eight yards out to make it 21-6.

The Panthers put the game away midway through the fourth quarter when junior defensive lineman Nolan Clark sacked the Hawthorne quarterback and forced a fumble, which was recovered by Famularo. Famularo, a sophomore, who returned it to the two-yard line and running back Andrew Sara, who had run for three touchdowns in the Panthers’ 37-0 victory over Harrison last week, ran it in on the next play to close out the scoring.

With Hawthorne and Glen Rock tied atop the division, Pompton Lakes (2-1) can create a three-way tie if it beats 1-2 Saddle Brook on Saturday. Next week will be the final week of the division schedule, with Glen Rock visiting Saddle Brook next Saturday. After that, teams will play a crossover game against a team from another division in the NJIC to close the regular season.

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