Football Falls To Cedar Grove


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On Friday night, Verona took on Cedar Grove in a football game that exhibited much passion, energy and physicality. Unfortunately, the game didn’t end in Verona’s favor. The final score: Cedar Grove 44, Verona 7.

The match, which was played in Cedar Grove, started with a touchback and Verona’s offense taking the field at the 20-yard line. After a promising 10-yard rush by #44 Bodie Maisano, Cedar Grove intercepted the ball. After three stops, Cedar Grove scored a touchdown on fourth down and kicked the ball back to Verona. Zach Garmont, #23, returned the ball, breaking three tackles to get Verona to the 35. Verona’s offense was not able to gather momentum and a punt by #2 Kieran Patel in addition to a penalty sent the ball back to the Panther 22-yard line. Tackles by Maisano and #81 John Paul Alfano, as well as a sack by #20 Jayden Nigro, forced a Cedar Grove punt.

Verona’s offense took over at the 4-yard line and Maisano’s 10-yard rush gave the offense a bit of breathing room. A 23-yard pass to Garmont kept the chains moving. However, a botched lateral caused a turnover and Cedar Grove took over deep in Verona territory. Two plays after, Cedar Grove attempted a pass to the endzone that #5 Gianluca Checchetto intercepted. Fast receptions to #22 Dean Algieri, rushes by Maisano, and offsides penalties on CG contributed to Verona’s offensive advance. Despite this, a deep throw resulted in an interception, with Cedar Grove taking over at their 30-yard line. A few plays later, a long rush broke through Verona’s defenses, giving CG their second score of the night. This closed out the first quarter with a score of 13-0.

The second quarter began with minimal offense progress by Verona, and a punt gave CG the ball back at Verona’s 45-yard line. Tackles by Jayden Nigro, Alfano, and Checchetto held up the drive, but on third down Cedar Grove quarterback Stephen Paradiso delivered a pass to the endzone for a touchdown. An extra point brought the score to 20-0.

When Verona regained possession, penalties on CG as well as short passes to Maisano allowed them to reach Cedar Grove’s 45-yard line. A rush by #10 Connor Demasi followed by a Maisano reception allowed Verona to get a first down. Unluckily for Verona, a deep throw again resulted in an interception, and Cedar Grove took over at the 26-yard line. Despite a sack by #52 Shane Costigan, and good pass coverage by Checchetto and Nigro, Paradiso threw a fourth and 18 pass to Nick Ianacone, who ran into the end zone for a CG touchdown. After a kick return, Verona’s offense returned to the field, and a 30-yard Maisano rush got Verona to the 50-yard line. Nevertheless, Verona could not score a touchdown, and the half came to a close at 27-0.

To start the second half, Cedar Grove received the ball at the 5-yard line. A powerful drive brought them all the way to the 20 when Alfano forced a fumble and Algieri ran it back for a touchdown. After an extra point by Patel, Verona kicked off to Cedar Grove, which returned it to the 30. However, a trick play by Cedar Grove allowed a pass that would give them another touchdown. Garmont received the kickoff, bringing it back to the 35-yard line. In spite of a 12-yard pass to Checchetto, Verona’s offense could not gather steam and Patel punted it to the 6-yard line. After a long pass brought Cedar Grove to midfield, Verona’s defense slowly ground the drive to a halt. Finally, a field goal got CG to a score of 37-7.

Verona took over at the 10, but a pass to Garmont followed by a rush by Maisano brought Verona past the 30. However, Verona could not attain a first down and Patel punted again to the 25. In the face of this, Verona remained undeterred and Jayden Nigro forced a fumble, which was recovered by #12 Ethan Fersch. With Verona struggling on offense, the 3rd quarter came to a close.

The final quarter set about with a Verona punt, which was fair caught at the CG 40. Cedar Grove slowly marched forward until they scored their last touchdown of the night with 6 minutes remaining in the game. With Verona back on offense, Cedar Grove managed to get an interception and got the ball back at the 30-yard line. Tackles by #66 Gavin Palmer and #73 Michael Girgis warded off any additional gains, and Cedar Grove kneeled the ball to conclude the game.

“It’s not easy losing, especially not to Cedar Grove, but there is much to learn,” said Maisano. “We have to clean up our mistakes and finish out the regular season strong to not only win these games but also set the tone for whatever games we have next and next season. No one can hang their heads or be down. We have to keep moving forward to continue the grind.”

Verona will seek to learn from this win to beat Glen Ridge on Saturday October 14 at 1 p.m. As of now, playoff hopes are not extinguished, and Verona is willing to give as much as they can to keep that flame alive.

(Photos copyright Mike Perry. Used by permission.)

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Daniel Frenklakh
Daniel Frenklakh
High school writer following football, marching band, swimming and various high school events.


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