Football team falls to 3-1 after loss to Pennsauken

Mike Reisman ('13)/Eastside Staff

After starting the season 3-0, the Cherry Hill East football team had the unique opportunity to gain full control of the West Jersey Football league’s National division on Saturday with a home game against Pennsauken.  Both teams came into the game 3-0, having beaten their opponents with ease, setting up an incredible matchup.  While the game proved to be an exciting, offensive show of force, East ultimately ended up on the short end of a 34-14 score, one that does not accurately describe the intensity of the game.

After exchanging failed opening drives, the Cougars would drive the ball 79 yards downfield, scoring the games’ first points on a three yard touchdown run by fullback Steve Trombetta (’12).  Kicker Mike Suli (’12) would add the extra point, giving East an early 7-0 lead.  However, Pennsauken, ranked third in South Jersey by philly.com, would show their strength, fighting back with a 54 yard strike from Pennsauken quarterback Manny Cortez to Anthony Sweet.  The extra point would tie the game, leaving the score 7-7 after the first quarter.

Pennsauken would take the lead early in the second quarter on an 18 yard passing touchdown, though their extra point was no good, making the score 13-7.  East would not stay down though, scoring just over a minute later on a 51 yard touchdown run by Brian Regan (’12).  Regan had a breakout game, contributing over 250 yards rushing, despite missing the end of the second quarter with a minor injury.  The East extra point gave the Cougars a one point lead, 14-13.

Unfortunately for East, they would not be able to contain Pennsauken’s star quarterback Manny Cortez, who threw for his third of four touchdowns before the first half was over.  The Indians would not get the two point conversion though, putting Pennsauken up 19-14.

The Cougars would look to cut the Pennsauken lead at the start of the third quarter, forcing a Pennsauken punt to start the second half.  The East offense would proceed to drive the ball to the Pennsauken seven yard line, but a costly fumble would give Pennsauken the ball, allowing them to drive 93 yards, and eventually score a touchdown.  A two point conversion would make the game 27-14 in favor of Pennsauken.

East would need to hurry to tie the game with just less than 11 minutes remaining in the game after the Pennsauken touchdown.  They would catch a huge break, with a Taj Frazier (’12) interception with 7:35 remaining.  However, East would not be able to get a drive going as they ultimately fumbled a fake punt, leading to a 14 yard drive for Pennsauken, which ended in a touchdown.  Pennsauken would convert the extra point, giving them a 34-14 lead.

The Cougar offense would make a noble attempt at a comeback. However, they were stopped just short of a touchdown with under a minute left to play, ending the game with a score of 34-14.  East’s final drive seemed to sum up their performance, coming close almost every drive, but falling short in the end.  Despite the 20 point difference, the Cougars remained competitive throughout the game, showing signs a possible comeback up until the final whistle.