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Cedar Grove's Dan DiPrenda (2) pushes away on the helmet of Verona's C.J. Lavery as he picks up a chunk of his 210 yards rushing during Friday night's 28-14 Panthers win in neighborhood clash at Billies' Sellitto Field. (Photos by Gene Nann-nannphoto)
Cedar Grove's Joe Rufo (24, left) cuts back on run against Verona Friday night as the Panthers' Max DeVito (85) helps to clear a path for the Grovers' senior quad captain.
Verona's C.J. Lavery (7) picks up a head of steam as Cedar Grove's Joe Rufo (24) and Gerard Monahan (56, right) close in during Friday night's battle of neighboring rivals.
Cedar Grove's Ryan Turi, who helped boost ground game, looks to clear his path
Cedar Grove's Mike Pronesti (right) makes catch in front of Verona's diving defender Matt Zaccone (84) as Panthers offense is on the move Friday night at Sellitto Field.
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Cedar Grove finished the game with over 300 yards rushing, and Gogerty, the Panthers’ first-year coach, lauded the play of his offensive line.
“I challenged the offensive line during halftime. I think we came out really pounding the ball,” he said. “Gerard Monahan had a good game at guard, Sean Dugan had a good game. Mike Tanti was one of the guys I challenged and he's a sophomore. They talked to each other and that's the best part about it. (Senior) Eric Kriegsman led them during that halftime and said we have to play a little better.”
The game started well for Verona. After senior DL Austin Camp recovered a Panther fumble at the CG 35, the Hillbillies struck on the next play. Senior WR CJ Lavery took a handoff and found senior WR Mike Stanici wide open for the touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
Cedar Grove would get close midway through the second quarter when DiPrenda accounted for all the yardage on a 51-yard, four-play drive. He blasted in from two yards out to make it 7-6 Verona when the extra point was blocked.
Records aside, DiPrenda summed up what the victory means.
“Beating Verona is probably one of the greatest things you can do this season, especially after losing to them for the past three games,” he said. “And, most importantly, the state championship last season.”
Next week, Cedar Grove will entertain Glen Ridge while Verona travels to Ramsey.
Notes: Cedar Grove wins the Investors Bank Investors Cup, which goes to the winner of this rivalry game. DiPrenda was the MVP for Cedar Grove while senior LB Chris Aldiero won MVP honors for Verona. Ventola was 5-of-11 for 37 yards and 1 INT, and threw only one pass in the second half. Rufo added 40 yards on 3 carries and junior RB Ryan Turi had 8 rushes for 47 yards. Verona's Zaccone was 10-of-18 for 126 yards and 1 TD, and ran 10 times for 39 yards. Stanisi caught 3 passes for 69 yards and 2 TDs. Cedar Grove had two touchdown runs nullified by penalties on the same drive late in the 4 th quarter.
Cedar Grove (2-1) 0 6 8 14- 28
Verona (0-3) 7 0 0 7- 14
V – Mike Stanisi 35 pass from CJ Lavery (Isaac Skrivanic kick)
CG – Dan DiPrenda 2 run (kick blocked)
CG – DiPrenda 11 run (Sammy Ventola pass from Joe Rufo)
CG – DiPrenda 21 run (Rufo pass from Ventola)
CG – Rufo 25 run (pass failed)
V – Stanisi 22 pass from Zack Zaccone (Skrivanic kick)
Cedar Grove's Joe Rufo (24) looks for opening as he helps propel the Panther offense
Verona wide receiver Zack Skrivanic (82) goes up to make catch with Cedar Grove's Marco Pantusa (21) draped all over him and Joe McCarthy (23) looking to help out.
Cedar Grove's Dan DiPrenda (left) tries to maneuver through traffic as teammate Joe Kubu (53) and other Panthers look to provide interference during game vs. Verona.
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