Hopatcong Chiefs closed their football season with a disappointing 0-35 loss to North Warren Patriots, proving once again, the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy. The November 16 playoff game brought the 2012 season to a 4 and 5 close.
In the aftermath of Sandy, football practice was canceled while the gyms and locker rooms were being used by the Red Cross shelter in the high school. The final game of the regular season scheduled for November 2nd against Wallkill was canceled. This game didn’t count toward the playoffs, as the points were tallied and sent in the game before. The Chiefs entered the playoffs with a record 4-4 and played the Patriots of North Warren in the first round.
The game at the Patriot’s home field started off with a personal foul penalty against the Chiefs, resulting in North Warren starting from the Hopatcong 50 yard line. Senior running-back from North Warren, Nolan Robertson, scored the first touchdown on the next play. Robertson also scored the next touchdown, putting North Warren up 14-0. When the Patriots recovered a fumble, on a Chief attempted touchdown, the Patriots scored again late in first quarter, ending it with a score 21-0. Two more touchdowns were scored during the second and third quarter by senior running back-defensive back Jon Davalos of North Warren, ending the game with a Patriot victory.
“Not playing for 2 weeks can take a toll on 40 teenage boys. But I don’t really look at it as a reason why we lost,” said Junior starting Quarterback Ryan Clarke of the Hopatcong Chiefs when asked about how Sandy effected the result of the 0-35 loss against North Warren. This loss kicked the Chiefs out of the running for the North 1, Group 2 qualifications to win the State Championship.
Clarke also commented, “We still had seven good days of practice and were able to get back in playing shape. We were fully prepared for the game but we just didn’t execute on Friday night.”
The Hopatcong Chiefs of 2012 ended the season with a record 4 wins and 5 losses. Coach Gary Andolena brought the Chiefs into the first round of the playoffs for the second year in a row. Junior running back Johann Lara, who is known for his speed and consecutive touchdowns during most games, commented “It’s going to be difficult replacing the seniors, but we have a lot of solid underclassmen and upcoming seniors that will step up and fill the positions we need them to play. Next year we’re going to better then ever and we plan on making it past the 1st round of the playoffs.”