NORTH CALDWELL, NJ - Five touchdowns in the first half helped West Essex build a comfortable lead in its 42-0 win over Chatham on Friday night.
Despite the loss, Chatham head coach Jason Izsa managed to sift out some positive nuggets from his group of largely inexperienced players.
For instance, junior Kristian Roos, playing his first year of varsity football after switching over from soccer, continued to impress with his versatility. Originally touted as a placekicker and punter, both of which he handles quite well, Roos has shown flashes of speed and athleticism as a defensive back and a running back. Against West Essex, he showed an ability to run outside with the ball as well as break up opposing passes.
"He's another guy who we put him in a couple spots where we think he can succeed and he's picking it up," Izsa said. "He wasn't a running back at all. We saw his potential as a good athlete and he's still learning how to line up and carry the football. That's where we earn our money in teaching these guys how to play."
Sophomore linebacker Peter Hughes came through with two fumble recoveries in the second half for Chatham. The first gave the Cougars their best field position of the night at the West Essex 34. He later alertly pounced on a loose ball in the West Essex backfield to thwart another drive.
Junior lineman Sean Goodman played another strong game, recovering a fumble and even making a tackle despite losing a shoe in the process.
"There are always positives in the game," Izsa said. "We did a nice job near the end, taking the ball away and make adjustments. Our penalties were down. All the mistakes we made were experience mistakes; not seeing the open guy; not being in the right place at the right time. They're all correctable. Every week that they step on the field is a positive in the right direction."
Christian Cuttita pulls in a pass from quarterback Colin Petrullo vs. West Essex on Friday