PATERSON, NJ - Under clear, beautiful skies and with pleasant temperatures, the Silk City Sharks defended their home turf for the first time in a COVID-19 delayed season against the East Penn Raiders. However, the Mighty Fish ran into a buzzsaw-a 325 pound one.
The opposing player was not a defensive tackle, nor was he an offensive guard. David Cruz is a 6’0” 325 pound quarterback- yes, quarterback.
The 25-year old played his position for the entire game from the shotgun for the Raiders. Not only was Cruz’s pinpoint passing a harpoon in the Sharks’ fins for the whole game but in transitions to the run, he simply pivoted to the left or right and handed off the football.
Jared Lorenzen, who played for the New York Giants, in 2005, and was on the team’s roster in 2006 and 2007, weighed in at 320 pounds for one training camp to register as the heaviest quarterback in pro football history.
“I don’t run much,” Cruz admitted after the game. “I weigh 325 pounds.”
The Bronx resident said that he played on the offensive and defensive lines in high school and did not play quarterback until he was 18 years old when he tried out for an amateur mens’ league. Cruz said that he has been at the helmsman position ever since and that after making friends with some of East Penn’s players he decided to play for the Raiders and travel to practices during the week from New York City.
The contest opened with a brilliant, near-goal line stand by the Sharks after East Penn drove deep into Paterson territory. Upon retaining possession, Paterson’s Deon Davis burst up the middle for a 20-yard gain. However, the promising drive stalled, forcing a punt.
A ten-yard Raider completion was followed by a block of an over-the- middle pass by Silk City linebacker Rahon Ison. Following the stop of a running play at the line of scrimmage by Jaris Rogers, veteran teammate Marqueuse Marrero almost picked off a Cruz aerial. The next East Penn pass found its mark and gave the Raiders a first and goal inside the Sharks’ five-yard line. However, the Paterson defense again held ground, led by the ferocious play of 6’0” 235 pound defensive end John Burton.
The pair of defensive stands proved to be the highlight of the evening for the Sharks as they were continually plagued with poor field position. To add insult in injury, Paterson fumbled twice inside their own ten-yard line with both miscues leading to East Penn scores. When the Raiders did not punch the ball across the goal line, their field goal kicker spliced the uprights, twice, for successful field goals. Try as they might, Silk City’s offensive line, led by Alex Feliciano and Marvin Espana, bent, but could not break the East Penn defense.
A second quarter punt by the Sharks from deep in their own territory traveled to near mid-field. However, upon reception of the pigskin, the Raiders’ return man scooted left and turned up field, untouched, for a score.
Throughout the game, the Sharks’ quarterback connected on short sideouts or passes into the left and right flats, a number of which went to wide receiver Dekyri Mims. Mims and Ison had connected for a pair of touchdowns in the Sharks’ previous contest, a 12-6 win over the Garden State Gladiators.
The solid running of Xavier Harris provided a spark for Paterson throughout the second half as did the stellar play of defensive back Prince Block who broke up a number of long passes. Syheem Farrar and Jaquese Hunter also contributed a number of solo tackles throughout the contest, as did defensive end Jaqueise Enzor.
Terry Fraison entered the game late in the 4th quarter at quarterback for the Sharks and contributed several exciting scrambles. However, the temporary surge was too little, too late, as the Sharks succumbed by a final score of 32-0.
Paterson’s next home game is at Bauerle Field on Saturday, October 10, at 6:00 p.m., against the New Jersey Hawkeyes. Their season record stands at 2-2, including being awarded a win by forfeit in a game that had been scheduled next week.
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