It was a tough first weekend for the Gazette-area football teams. Both Hawthorne and Manchester suffered losses and the hardest was probably the Bears.
With some thinking that Hawthorne was a favorite to win the new North Jersey Interscholastic Conference (NJIC) Colonial division, the Bears were stunned by Palisades Park/Leonia last Friday night at home in Hawthorne.
The Bears were devastated in the 32-26 loss in overtime. The Tigers’ Charles Simons intercepted a pass and ran 86 yards for a touchdown for the difference. The overtime loss ruined a good game from Dwayne Miele and Tommy Walls who contributed two touchdowns each.
It looked like it was going to be a happy opener for Hawthorne when quarterback Tommy Walls hit Steven Sorrento on a 20-yard touchdown strike. The point after missed, but the Bears led 26-20 heading into the fourth quarter.
But the Tigers scored later in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime.
Hawthorne led 12-0 in the second quarter after Miele intercepted a Tajh Huggins pass in the end zone and proceeded to go the entire length of the field for a touchdown, 105-yards worth.
For Manchester it was a tough day on the sidelines for the return of head coach Rande Roca, who last coached in 2009. The Falcons suffered through a 40-6 loss to Queen of Peace.
The lone score for Manchester came in the fourth quarter as sophomore running back Fabiel Gil ran 35 yards to spoil the shutout attempt.
“We’re just looking to get better,” said Roca.
Roca brought in several new players and while some are older, many are inexperienced when it comes to football.