Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Pompton Lakes Flexes Muscle

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Pompton Lakes Flexes Muscle

Article excerpt

EAST RUTHERFORD - Pompton Lakes was a double winner at the 7-on- 7 South Bergen Shootout football tournament Wednesday, and the Cardinals hope that translates into victories in the fall.

The Cardinals won the lineman challenge event held at Wallington, then edged Hillside, 13-12, in the finals of the 7-on-7 tournament at Becton. The win qualifies Pompton Lakes for the Adidas 7-on-7 state championship tournament.

Pompton Lakes was the small-school powerhouse in North Jersey early in the decade, winning three straight sectional titles from 2011-13, but the Cardinals slipped to 4-5 last year.

"If you really looked at our games, we were right there," Cardinals coach Scott Mahoney said. "Four of our five losses we were winning going into the final minute. We were up on Glen Rock with 42 seconds to go in our game, and they were in the finals, so I think our kids have taken the attitude that we were right there last year and we didn't finish. This year we have to finish."

Coaches are always talking about finishing games, but in July, it's time for teams to forge new identities. Losing isn't necessarily the worst thing at these 7-on-7 events. It's a chance for quarterbacks to learn quick reads, develop timing with wide receivers, and work on conditioning. The South Bergen Shootout also gives linemen a chance to compete in various feats of agility and strength.

"Our objective is to come here and get better," new Northern Highlands coach Keith Migliorino said. "We want to build our camaraderie and team chemistry. Of course you want to win, but we have to focus on those things first."

Teams weren't afraid to try new things. Mahoney alternated two quarterbacks. Garfield used three. Teams not known for passing had to do so on every down.

That means success is measured differently. Perhaps no coach was as happy as Dumont's Ted Evans, whose team reached the semifinals before losing to Pompton Lakes, 18-12.

The day didn't start well for the Huskies. …

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