Glen Rock football beats New Providence, 42-28, misses out on league title
When the COVID-19 pandemic scrambled the North Jersey high school football season, Glen Rock ended up losing out on a chance to win its league championship. But the Panthers were not deflated. Forced to make a change in their schedule after Saddle Brook pulled out of Saturday’s game, Glen Rock made the most of things when it traveled to New Providence Friday night for a hastily-arranged replacement game, and knocked off the previously undefeated Pioneers in a complete, and thrilling, 42-28 victory.Senior quarterback Ty Scherer, who had been voted northjersey.com’s North Jersey Football Player of the Week on Thursday, turned in the best night of his career, rushing for a career-high 177 yards, while accounting for five touchdowns, three rushing and two passing. Junior receiver Mike McCarthy caught a career-high six passes for 68 yards and two touchdowns, and also recovered two fumbles, one while playing defense and the other while covering a kickoff. Junior running back Andrew Sara chipped in with 135 yards rushing and a touchdown, and Glen Rock won the battle of the offensive and defensive lines, as the Panthers seemed to wear down their hosts in the second half.In the big picture of the chase for a title, Glen Rock’s fate in the league standings was sealed when Pompton Lakes defeated New Milford Friday night, 23-7. That victory lifted Pompton Lakes (4-1) out of a three-way tie with Glen Rock (4-1 overall, 3-1 in league play) and Hawthorne (3-1) for the lead in the Liberty Division of the North Jersey Interscholastic Conference (NJIC). The NJIC had determined its first tiebreaker in the case of a three-way tie would be power points, and Glen Rock and Pompton Lakes each had more power points than Hawthorne, which eliminated Hawthorne. Pompton Lakes then owned the tiebreaker over Glen Rock as a result of its 14-7 victory over the Panthers in week 2 of the season.Glen Rock’s only chance to win the league would have been for Pompton Lakes to lose to New Milford. The Panthers would then have owned the tiebreaker over Hawthorne based on their Homecoming Night win over the Bears. Hawthorne’s scheduled game this weekend against Harrison was canceled after positive tests for the coronavirus led to Hawthorne shutting down for in-school instruction on Thursday and Friday.With the division settled, Pompton Lakes will enter the four-team pod that features all of the NJIC’s division winners to determine the league championship, beginning in two weeks. Glen Rock is presently scheduled to make up the Saddle Brook game next Friday (Nov. 6) to close the regular season, and then enter a four-team pod of second- or third-place teams from the other divisions. After playing Saddle Brook, the Panthers will visit Garfield on Nov. 13.After learning Monday its game with Saddle Brook would not be played this weekend, Glen Rock worked all week to find a replacement opponent and on Thursday the school announced it would be traveling to New Providence, a Group 1 school in the Big Central Conference that was 4-0 entering Friday. New Providence scored first, on a three-yard run by their star running back, Charlie Barth (23 rushes, 146 yards, three touchdowns) early in the second quarter. But Glen Rock answered quickly, scoring on the second play of the ensuing possession when Sara took a toss from Scherer and ran around left end for a 57-yard touchdown.Barth’s second touchdown made it 14-7, but once again Glen Rock answered right away, mounting a 61-yard drive that ended with Scherer passing to McCarthy for a 15-yard touchdown. New Providence returned the ensuing kickoff for an 85-yard touchdown, but Glen Rock, which got the ball back with 1:09 remaining in the first half, drove 60 yards to tie the score again when Scherer threw up a Hail Mary on the last play of the half and McCarthy came down with it in the end zone.Then, on the opening kickoff of the second half, Glen Rock forced a fumble, which was recovered by McCarthy at the New Providence 39-yard line. Six plays later, Scherer ran in from five yards out to give Glen Rock its first lead, 28-21. The defense then held New Providence to a three-and-out possession, and 12-play, 70-yard drive that ended in a one-yard sneak by Scherer to go up, 35-21.Barth’s third touchdown pulled New Providence within 35-28 with 10:50 remaining in the fourth quarter, but Glen Rock responded with a 10-play, 61-yard drive for the game’s final points. The key play on the drive was a decision by coach Jim Kurz to go for it on fourth-and-1 from his own 48-yard line with 9:15 to play. Kurz had initially sent out the punt team, but then called timeout and sent the offense back out. Scherer kept the ball on a quarterback sneak and gained two yards to keep the drive going.