GLEN ROCK – One of the things that makes high school football so compelling is the ebb and flow of adversity and prosperity. Remember, these are 15- to 18-year-old kids toiling away, and how they handle the ups and downs of a game can be fascinating.
Jack Cinquegrana and Max Egermayer faced such situations and their bounce-backs proved essential for Glen Rock.
Cinquegrana’s interception late in the first half set up a Panther touchdown right before the half and Egermayer’s 3-yard touchdown catch with 56 seconds left produced the winning points in Glen Rock’s 22-19 defeat of Pompton Lakes.
Both players were instrumental in allowing the Cardinals to both remain in the game and eventually take the lead. Cinquegrana had been beaten on a post pattern that resulted in a 72-yard touchdown pass from Kevin Cotter to Cruise Turner. That allowed Pompton to get within 7-6 in the second quarter.
“I came off the field and everyone was feeling sorry for me,” Cinquegrana said. “I don’t like that feeling one bit. When I make a mistake, I’m just looking for the next opportunity to make a play.”
It came with two minutes left in the first half, as he made a good read on the quarterback and picked off Cotter at the Pompton 9-yard line and returning it to the 5.
“I was on the one tight end and I saw one of my teammates had him covered,” he said. “I saw the quarterback eyeing the other tight end and I just slid over and jumped the pattern.”
That set up Glen Rock QB Matt Schlett’s 2-yard touchdown run 13 seconds prior to the intermission that put the Panthers up, 14-6.
Pompton would score a pair of third quarter touchdowns on runs of 12 and 1 yard by Will Verrico to take a 19-14 lead and the Cardinals stopped a Panther drive at the Pompton 5 early in the fourth quarter.
Pompton Lakes was forced to punt but Egermayer muffed the ball and lost his second fumble with 6:29 to go.
“My teammates were all positive,” Egermayer said. “It’s tough to give away the fumbles, but you just get right back out there. Give credit to our defense. They picked me up and I just had to return the favor.’
The defense did indeed do its part, beginning with a Matt Lange sack on first down that help precipitate a three-and-out. Egermayer made the sure-handed catch on the punt that left Glen Rock 62 yards from the end zone.
“We needed to be patient,” Glen Rock coach Jim Kurz said of the final drive. “I think we got away from that at times and it cost us. They were keying on [fullback Ryan] Dooner and that opened some short stuff up.”
Schlett completed 4 of 4 passes, including a 23-yarder down the seam to Tommy Pulzello (who had Glen Rock’s opening TD). Schlett ran a quarterback draw to get a first down at the Pompton 8 and two plays later it was third-and-goal at the 3. Schlett then found Egermayer over the middle for the winning score.