CEDAR GROVE, NJ - The Cedar Grove Panthers football team is off to a great start this season thanks in part to the hard work and dedication of senior Gerard Dente. In just two games, Dente has delivered on both sides of the ball, scoring one touchdown and rushing for 76 yards, while also tallying 19 tackles. Dente is the Allstate Cedar Grove Athlete of the Week. The Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Shelby Mobley, Allstate Insurance Agent, 471 Pompton Ave., Cedar Grove.
"Gerard is one of our leaders on this team and we expect him to quarterback our defense which has played very well at the start of the season. He is in on a ton of tackles and remains to be a vocal leader on the defensive side of the ball,” said Head Coach Rob Gogerty. “He has been a consistent ball carrier on offense and is always ready for the next play whether it is carrying the ball or blocking for his teammates. He has had a great start to the season and has helped us get off to a 2-0 start."
With decisive wins over David Brearley (31-7) and Newark Central (34-12), Dente is happy with the way the team is performing, but knows that it’s best to take things one game at a time.
“I really love this team. We’re like a big family and everyone gets along. Everyone knows their role pretty well and does what they need to do,” Dente said. “But there’s always room for improvement. We started out slow the first two games and then picked things up as the game went on, which is a good thing.”
A highlight so far this season for the Panthers has been the defense and Dente names that as the biggest strength of the team.
“Our defense is solid. We like to fly around and we have a lot of hard hitters,” he explained. “Our biggest challenge is going to be overcoming some tough opponents. We face a lot of good teams this year.”
This week’s game will see the Panthers traveling to Hanover Park on Friday -- a match up that proved epic last year, with Cedar Grove pulling out the 69-67 win. Dente said he’s looking forward to the rematch and hoping for a lot less scoring this time around.
Looking ahead, Dente is hoping to once again make the playoffs and hopefully making if further this year, but for the most part he is taking things one day and one game at a time.
“Pretty much winning is our only goal. Making it into the playoffs and beyond is great, but you have to win to get there,” Dente said. “I’m looking forward to surprising people because I really think this team is going to that -- we’re going to surprise a lot of people.”
The Cedar Grove Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Shelby Mobley Allstate, 471 Pompton Avenue, Cedar Grove.
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.