CEDAR GROVE, NJ — An inspired comeback effort for the Cedar Grove football team fell short against Weequahic, as the Panthers lost for the first time in 2020 by a final score of 44-34 Saturday afternoon.

“[Weequahic] does a good job, they’re tough on defense, they have athletes and they are able to disrupt some things,” said Cedar Grove head coach Rob Gogerty.

The Panthers were down 16 points heading into the fourth quarter looking to make their run. Dario Bryant, Tyler Rummel, Michael Marinelli and a host of veteran players helped Cedar Grove back into the game.

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“We just keep coming,” Gogerty said.

Tyler Rummel’s 41-yard touchdown catch-and-run on third-and-three helped get the Panthers to within a score of tying it. One drive later after Marinelli helped get the Panthers down to within striking distance, Rummel scored again, this time on the ground.

“I’m proud of the way we bounced back, we’re down 16 with 10 minutes to go and we had two chances to tie it…it says a lot about the guys that we have and the team we have,” Gogerty said.

The two-point conversion attempt for Cedar Grove would not prove to be fruitful. A goal-line stuff from Weequahic on the first and an incomplete pass on the following drive’s two-point try would leave the Panthers with a loss to show for their efforts. 

“We just couldn’t get over the hump there to tie it,” said Gogerty.

The Panthers’ coach chalked up the play calls and lack of execution on the game’s decisive plays to poor game decisions on himself. 

“That’s on me as a coach, I’ll be living with those calls for a lifetime,” Gogerty said.

While the game itself came down to two key conversions, the Panthers did miss key opportunities throughout the contest. The Indians forced Cedar Grove into a six-turnover performance that netted Weequahic 24 points. 

“It’s the second year in a row that they forced us into some turnovers and at the end of the day that’s what kills you,” said Gogerty.

Cedar Grove’s loss drops the squad to 2-1 on the year. The Panthers will look to get back on the winning track when they take on Scotch Plains-Fanwood on Oct. 23. 

“It’s one bump in the road, but at the end of the day, you have got to keep coming,” Gogerty said.