Sports

Chatham Football Rolls Over West Essex, 45-6, in State Semis; Undefeated Cranford Next

eb9e85a3c6bcc3fd5ec6_47fa61a7dd67527fd382_Football-1_2580.jpg
Greg Kurlak leaps to make interception for Chatham with linebacker Matt Nestler ready to make a block for him Credits: Glenn Clark
3a8d92fc15fea3aaf1aa_f6e32d07dac1df834058_Football_2102.jpg
Matt Nestler carries the ball for Chatham Credits: Glenn Clark
1aaad7aaad1eb41203b5_78a7f1e603f31250a50e_Football_2114.jpg
Linebacker Nick Zack makes a tackle for Chatham Credits: Glenn Clark
77722f48a3f11726b929_9fc9b2935492f10eee4d_Football-1_2605.jpg
Brian Brady pulls in one of his four pass receptions in the game Credits: Glenn Clark
9ecd32805c556523d851_3d2d56b43bb744d87261_Football-1_2639.jpg
Alex Sands throws down field for Chatham with protection from Nick Zack Credits: Glenn Clark
866f827e336bb77a7ef9_c531ad3b150aa3b0ec0c_Football-1_2708.jpg
Chatham QB Alex Sands runs through a big hole opened by the offensive line Credits: Glenn Clark
eb9e85a3c6bcc3fd5ec6_47fa61a7dd67527fd382_Football-1_2580.jpg

CHATHAM, NJ - It was worth the wait. 

Chatham fans waited 31 years to see a home state football playoff game and the Cougars exceeded all expectations with a near-flawless 45-6 victory over West Essex before an estimated crowd of 3,000 on Saturday at Cougar Field.

It was the kind of state semifinal that those in attendance are likely to recount for the next 30 years.

Sign Up for E-News

The victory earns Chatham (9-2) a date with undefeated and top-seeded Cranford (11-0) to decide the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 state championship, 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4 at Kean University.

Chatham last hosted a home state football playoff in 1984 when Chatham Borough defeated New Providence to win the Group 1 sectional championship, the town's lone football title.

"This year, more than any, our full senior class has taken an opportunity to leave our mark here," Chatham senior quarterback Alex Sands said.

Chatham certainly left its mark in the first half versus West Essex (6-5), scoring on its first five possessions and taking a 31-0 lead into the halftime break. 

Sands connected with Brian Brady for two touchdown plays in the second quarter, and also ran for a touchdown in the third quarter. In the game, Sands completed 11 of 14 passes for 126 yards and rushed nine times for 56 yards.

"They executed perfectly. Perfectly," Steve Trivino, Chatham's offensive coordinator, said. "I couldn't have asked for anything better. Alex had a great day making his reads and being the point guard that I needed. He found the open receivers when other ones were covered." 

Chatham QB Alex Sands talks about the 31 points the Cougars put up in the first half

After forcing West Essex to punt on the opening series, the Cougars covered 64 yards in 9 plays to take the lead for good. Sands threw a 20-yard pass to Brady over the middle before Matt Nestler (see video below) followed a lead block by Nick Zack and bounced off a tackler to complete a 20-yard TD run. Timmy Adams' PAT made it 7-0 with 6:13 left in the first.

Adams produced 15 points for Chatham, kicking six extra points and scoring on a 35-yard TD burst. His 35-yard field goal staked Chatham to a 10-0 lead with 1:30 left in the opening period.

In the second quarter, Sands engineered a 63-yard, 5-play march, keyed by an 18-yard pass to tight end Ryan Barnett. Sands culminated the drive with a 42-yard pass, hitting Brady (see video below) down the left sideline for the touchdown.

"Alex is getting better every week," Chatham head coach Jason Izsa said. "He just keeps getting stronger and stronger. I couldn't be more proud of him. These guys have worked their rear ends off. You want the best for them because they've worked so hard and it's paid off. It's unbelievable. Today is a great day to be a Cougar, that's for sure."

Adams took his turn at calling the signals and cut off tackle for his 35-yard scoring sprint (see video below), boosting the lead to 24-0 with 6:06 left in the half.

Greg Kurlak, who returned an interception for a touchdown against Barringer in the first round of the playoffs, picked off a pass to set up Sands' second TD pass to Brady, a 14-yard strike over the middle that pushed the score to 31-0 with 2:43 showing in the second.

In the third quarter, Sands' 35-yard quarterback keep helped set up his own 9-yard touchdown run. 

Brady's interception led to a 7-yard touchdown run by Justin Hayes on the first play of the fourth quarter. Hayes' 21-yard gain preceded his TD run.

"The loss to Pope John made them believe they could win when they played knuckle-to-knuckle with that school and then they went out and beat the state champions (Parsippany Hills) from last year," Trivino said. "That was  huge moment for them. Then they started to believe that we're pretty good. These guys are living their dream and I'm glad I'm here on the ride with them."

COUGAR NOTES: Chatham's heralded offensive line cleared the way for 248 yards on the ground, an average of 7.5 yards per carry. Hayes led the balanced ground game with 87 yards rushing. Brady made four catches for 86 yards.

Matt Nestler 20-yard touchdown run in the first period gave Chatham its first points. Nick Zack gets out in front to make a key block.

Quarterback Alex Sands throws the first of his two TD passes completed to Brian Brady, this one good for 42 yards

Quarterback Timmy Adams breaks a 35-yard touchdown run for Chatham

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Chatham

Mike Czech – One of Chatham’s Hidden Gems….

On a warm sunny day, back in 2008, at Southern Boulevard Elementary School stood a very tall man (6.5” to be exact!), soft-spoken, warm and friendly as he was surrounded by a whole group of children running around him (at his knees).

His name was Mike Czech and he was teaching the kids how to play a game on the open court.   I introduced myself to help assist him as a fellow ...

SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!

 

Video: Point View's Petrides Talks Current Events That Could Be Market Movers

May 23, 2018

Point View Wealth Management's Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, John Petrides, live on CNBC discussing events that could move the market this week:

.ptview.com/medias/tv-radio

​​​For more than 25 years, Point View Wealth Management, Inc. has been working with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio management services and comprehensive ...