Explosive offense leads Glen Rock to sectional semifinals


Photo Credit: John Scialdone

Schlett warms up with teammate before going in on offense.

by Colin Morrow, Social Media Sports Editor

The Glen Rock football team advanced to the state sectional semifinals for the first time since 2011, defeating Kittatinny 42-14 on Saturday, Nov.14, 2015. Glen Rock impressed its audience with its explosive offense, along with its shutdown defense, which all came together to help Glen Rock end Kittatinny’s season and keep the 2015 Panther football team alive.

Glen Rock started the game quickly with 14 points in the first quarter alone. The Panthers were able to outdo that quarter with 21 points in the second quarter, taking a 35-7 lead into halftime.

Despite Glen Rock’s domination won offense, head coach Mr. James Kurz says that their success was not a result of anything special.

“We kept it pretty simple and just tried to do what we do well. We were able to execute,” Kurz said. “We had a couple of penalties on the first drive that stalled us a little bit, but the first two drives we converted on two fourth down plays, which were huge and led to touchdowns, which was nice. Our offense is pretty confident, and we just try to keep it simple with what we do.”

Junior quarterback Matt Schlett, who made his first career playoff start, began the game with a touchdown on Glen Rock’s opening drive. After that, Schlett did not slow down, completing eight of his eleven pass attempts, and throwing two touchdown passes. Schlett says that his success is mainly a result of his teammates.

“The line gave me so much time to throw the ball and huge holes to run,” Schlett said. “Then, Dooner and the receivers did a great job blocking.”

Glen Rock’s early lead not only gave the players a boost in confidence, but also allowed the coaches to rest their starters, and give their backups the experience of playing in a sectional game.

“You try to get some of the other guys in. You try to make some substitutions and everything, but you don’t want to take away from any of the momentum that you have at the same time,” Kurz said.

In the previous game, Glen Rock used the same strategy by resting its starters and playing its reserves. Garfield, however, took advantage and scored 40 unanswered points, defeating Glen Rock 40-21. This game, however, Glen Rock made sure that the lead would not slip.

The reserve players not only held their ground, but they were able to show Glen Rock’s depth, shutting out Kittatinny in the fourth quarter, and maintaining the large Glen Rock lead. Sophomore running back Ryan Morley rushed for 62 yards, while junior Chris Theuerkauf recorded his first career interception.

Despite the win, Glen Rock was concerned when senior wide receiver Tommy Pulzello went down in the second quarter, apparently injuring his leg.

“Obviously, you feel for Tommy. He’s worked very hard to get to this point. You hope that the injury isn’t as bad as it looks and hopefully he’ll be back and able to play again,” Kurz said.

Pulzello, who has recorded 462 receiving yards in his high school career, and had already recorded a touchdown for Glen Rock in that game, was forced to leave the game. His return for the next game is hopeful.

“He’s doing everything he can to get back, which is great,” Kurz said. “We’re preparing for life without him, and we’re hoping for life with him.”

Glen Rock will return to their home field on Saturday, Nov. 21, to play Hawthorne in the sectional semifinals. Kurz, whose team defeated the Bears earlier in the season, says that this is a whole new game, and the game earlier in the season means very little at this point.

“I think I knew that there was a good chance that we would see them again, and I remember talking to their coaches after the game, and we sort of joked, like ‘Hey, we’ll see you in November,’ and sure enough on November 21st…” Kurz said.

This matchup is a rivalry that dates back decades, when the two programs were still young, according to Kurz. Now as the programs have grown and the history developed, the two teams will meet to decide which will advance to the sectional championships.

“We’ve had a rivalry with them for years, literally years,” Kurz said. “Dating back to the ‘60s and ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, and even when I was playing, and the last couple years. But all that really doesn’t matter. This is just one football game. Us vs. them. All that matters is what will take place on November 21.”