Cranford Tops Montgomery in Mid State 38 Clash


Connor Katz, Writer

    It was Friday, September 13 at Memorial Field in Cranford, the lights were on and the air was filled with the excitement and hopes of the fans, players, and coaches as a new season was set to start for the Cranford Cougars. Montgomery looked impressive in a 36-14 week 0 win over Hightstown. They looked impressive to start this game too scoring points on their first two drives and were ahead 10-3 after one quarter of play. However, Cranford woke up early in the second quarter when quarterback Connor Katz connected with star receiver, Tommy Korzeneski for a 30 yard touchdown pass. Korzeneski had this to say about the touchdown, “Usually there is a progression that our quarterback goes through and I’m usually just the clearing route but when I pushed my route vertical nobody went deep with me, so I kept going and Connor saw me and I was like wait, this is going to be an easy six points.” Korzeneski lead the cougars in receiving hauling in three passes for 84 yards. Kicker Diar Dautaga was perfect all night going four for four on extra points and hit a long field goal. His performance was good enough to earn him athlete of the week. Slot receiver Jake Diclerico also had a big game catching five passes for 68 yards. Late in the second quarter Connor Katz had a 10 yard touchdown run that put Cranford ahead and they wouldn’t look back. Before the half ended linebacker, Kevin Keogh had a 15 yard interception return for a touchdown to put the Cougars up two scores. A lapse in the Cranford defense would allow Montgomery to score as the half ended. The score at the half was 24-16 Cranford. The second half was a defensive battle. Both teams forced turnovers and punts as both teams struggled to take total control of the game. Korzeneski said this was the turning point in the game, “When we were up by a touchdown at the beginning of the 2nd half. We played strong defense and they went 3 and out. That’s when I knew they weren’t going to stick around with our physicality.” Control came late in the fourth when quarterback Connor Katz broke a 35 yard run to put the nail in the coffin. The final score would be 31-16. Korzeneski has this to say about the win, “It was a great first win. We had a lot of first year starters and it was good to see them try to fit in on the field. We just need to work on doing what we are told and not trying to do too much. We also need to work on the penalties.” Katz finished 11/18 passing for 172 yards and a touchdown and added 19 carries for 169 yards and two more scores. The Cougars look to build on this momentum next week against Scotch Plains. The game is away on Saturday the 21st.