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GRHS football roughed up by Rutherford, 40-7

Panthers suffer first loss as state champion Bulldogs run their winning streak to 15 games

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When the Glen Rock High School football team gets together after school Monday to watch the film from their game against Rutherford Saturday, they should make sure to bring popcorn.

They’ll be watching a horror movie.

The Panthers gave up a long touchdown pass on the first play of the game and never recovered, suffering a 40-7 beatdown to the defending state champions, the worst loss Glen Rock has suffered since 2014.

“Certainly that’s a good football team that we lost to, but I think we’re a better team than how we played, and there’s a lot to be learned,’’ disappointed Glen Rock football coach Jim Kurz said. “We’ve got to come in (Monday) and work harder than we ever have. I don’t think yesterday reflects the type of team that we are, but certainly, how we handle it is going to reflect who we are.’’

Rutherford star Abellany Mendez scored four touchdowns as the Bulldogs, the defending North Jersey Section 2 state champions, won their 15th straight game and improved to 4-0. The Bulldogs have now won four straight against Glen Rock, and have beaten the Panthers seven times in nine meetings over the last nine years. The loss knocked Glen Rock (3-1) from the ranks of the unbeaten and essentially crushed any chance of the Panthers winning a league title. Rutherford, which now is alone atop the North Jersey Interscholastic Conference Colonial Division, would have to lose its next two games, and Glen Rock would need to win both of its next two games – a highly unlikely scenario – for the Panthers to get back into the league title chase.

With regular starting quarterback Greg Schlett having missed practice all week recovering from an injury, Kurz chose to start backup Owen Stephenson. But the Panthers were already in a 7-0 hole and starting at their own 12-yard line when the offense first got the ball, and the offense struggled to move the ball. After two turnovers in the first three series, Kurz took Stephenson out and put Schlett in, but by that time the score was already 20-0.

A long touchdown run by Ashton Dalessio early in the second quarter cut the deficit to 20-7 and briefly gave the Panthers some hope, but it was fleeting. The Bulldogs scored twice more before halftime and led 34-7 at the break.

The Panthers do still remain alive for the state playoffs, with four regular season games remaining. Sixteen teams in North Jersey will make the playoffs. Glen Rock’s next game is this Saturday, when the Panthers return home for a visit by 0-3 Manchester on Homecoming Day.

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