NORTH CALDWELL, NJ — Chris Bell scored on a two-yard touchdown run on the game's final play to give the undefeated West Essex football team a 19-13 victory over Hanover Park Wednesday night.
The second half had been scoreless to that point after the teams battled to a 13-13 tie at halftime. Robert Lasher's 58-yard touchdown pass to Bell on the second snap of the game gave the Knights (6-0) a 6-0 lead, but Hanover Park scored the next two TDs to go ahead.
Christian Valvano threw a 69-yard TD pass to Ismael Yasin and then scored on a 13-yard run as Hanover Park (5-2) took a 13-6 lead in the second quarter.
But before halftime, Bell uncorked a 47-yard touchdown run and Tim Steer kicked the extra point to forge a 13-13 deadlock.
Late in the fourth quarter, the tiebreaking TD was set up by a 31-yard completion from Lasher to Chris Corbo to the Hanover Park 4-yard line. Giancarlo Farro gained two yards to the 2 on the next play, setting up Bell's decider, on which he took Lasher's handoff and swept around left end and into the end zone as the clock hit :00.
Bell, who scored all three West Essex TDs, carried 18 times for 92 yards, caught two passes for 65 yards and also made 11 tackles on defense for West Essex, which finished undefeated in a season in which the Knights' schedule was interrupted for 28 days because of COVID protocols in October. After beating Brearley of Kenilworth in the opener on Oct. 2, West Essex didn't play another game until Oct. 30.