CEDAR GROVE, NJ -- With a score higher than some basketball games, the Cedar Grove Panthers football team defeated the Hanover Park Hornets, 69-67, in their home opener on Friday night.
Cedar Grove led 20-6 after the first quarter, but the Hornets delivered four touchdowns within six minutes in the second quarter to end the half with a 34-32 lead. The back and forth play continued in the second half until the fourth quarter when the Panthers found themselves down 67-56 following another Hornet touchdown with just seven minutes left in the game.
Mike Guarino returned the kickoff for 75 yards to score and put the game at 67-63. The Panthers took a chance on an onside kick which was recovered by Alex Mauro to give Cedar Grove possession. Just a few seconds later, Mike Lever's 28-yard touchdown pass connected with John Guaimano to give the Panthers the lead with just over six minutes left to play.
The Panthers defense held off the Hornets for three possessions and an interception by Guaimano in the final minute of regulation play sealed the deal.
Lever threw for 379 yards and four touchdowns. In addition, he ran for 182 yards and a touchdown. Guarino had four touchdowns in the win, while Guaimano had 12 receptions and two touchdowns. Bruce Paredes ran for two Panther touchdowns and Harry Dorman caught at 25-yard touchdown pass from Lever.
The win improves the Panthers to 2-0 for the season. They travel to Glen Ridge on Saturday at 1 p.m.
TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.