UNION, NJ – It took quarterback Jack Schetelich and the rest of his Cranford teammates almost three months to get over the Cougars’ 2014 loss to Parsippany Hills in the state championship game at MetLife Stadium.
Almost one year to the day, Schetelich and his Cougars’ earned what was so close last year, the 2015 NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group 3 title, the perfect end to the perfect season.
On the back of six touchdowns from their quarterback, Cranford reached the promise land, defeating Chatham, 50-23, at Kean University on Friday night.
“For a while it was tough, I don't think we were able to shake that loss,” Cranford head coach Erik Rosenmeier said. “They were determined to get back here. If anything, it has fueled us in our determination to get back to this point. Even then, there was no guarantee so I’m very proud of it. It wasn’t an easy journey but I’m very proud of getting back here and having success. Our motto all year was finish and they’re right. We did finish the job.”
Schetelich was a man amongst boys, scoring six times, including four through the air to blindside Chatham.
After going backwards on their first drive of the game, Schetelich took it upon himself to score the Cougars’ first touchdown on a 1-yard rush up the middle.
On Chatham’s first play of their ensuing possession, senior cornerback Chris Szekeres picked off Chatham quarterback Alex Sands on Chatham’s 15-yard line. One play later, Schetelich hit Joe Norton to put Cranford up 14-0.
“Whenever a defense makes a huge play like that it's a huge momentum switch because the offense is driving and the defense just takes it away, its great,” Schetelich said. “So when that happened and we had great field position, it was a great set-up.”
Cranford had nothing but momentum after Szekeres’s interception.
Even after Chatham clawed their way back to 21-9 after a Luke Sukiennik touchdown reception, Cranford responded instantly with 14 points over the span of three plays: Schetelich’s second rushing touchdown, a Chatham fumble on the ensuing kick-off, then a 39-yard touchdown pass to Norton to put the Cougars up 36-9.
For Schetelich, Friday was a year in the making. A year’s worth of agony, development and, now, happiness.
“It feels great because it wasn't a given that we would get back here,” Schetelich said. “This team has worked tremendously hard the whole year to get where we are. Its great because in the beginning of the year we weren’t doing too well and everyone just came together. This is the result, a perfect season, the best team in Cranford history. This is awesome.”