Stags Stymie Spartans
Augustine Dashiell September 5 2010
AUGUSTA (NJ) – In their first home game of the season, the New Jersey Stags shut down the New Jersey Spartans 35-0 last night at Skylands Park Saturday night. The Stags played field position to their advantage, as their defense forced nine turnovers.
The Stags (4-1) treated their raucous crowd to a dominating defensive performance as they limited the Spartans (1-5) to 34 yards of offense.
“Our defense was phenomenal tonight,” Stags head coach Gary Hasse said. “I cannot take anything away from our defense without a doubt. I think they (Spartans) only had three first downs, we forced eight turnovers, I can’t ask for anything more from these guys. It was our first shut out of the season. I know these guys were pumped to play here tonight.”
Joe Spinetta returned the opening kickoff 48 yards to the Spartan 24-yard line, and the Stags cashed in quickly. On the first offensive play from scrimmage, Doug Cerniglia found a crease through left tackle and sprinted to paydirt.
The Spartans found moving the ball out of their territory a tough task, as they failed to earn a first down or reach midfield until the second half.
“We played a team that was well prepared. I can look at the film a thousand times over and guess what? Tonight they were the better team,” Spartan head coach Kevin Moss said. “Right now, we are at the point where my players have to understand that we have to practice.We had this two week layoff, and everyone had some kind of issue, if you want to be successful at this level, you have to find a way to put the issues aside and come to practice.”
Playing with short fields, the Stags offensive numbers do not blow you away (115 total yards), but efficiency was the key.
“Offensively, we threw the ball well when we needed,” Coach Hasse said. “The run game, we tried to establish it, the first play of the game, we were decent, and then they took our inside zone away. We have to get back on that in practice.”
Stags quarterback Colin Doyle (6-13 for 71 yards) threw three touchdown passes in the contest.
Kevin Green, Barry Coles (2), Leo Acosta, Jim Robertson, and Shane Tosh intercepted passes and Anthony Gulan and Rob Quaranta recovered fumbles. Quaranta recovered a fumble in the end zone to finish the scoring.
The Stags trail the Brooklyn Mariners by .5 games and have a schedule loaded with home games, so the playoffs are a strong possibility.
“We have to stay focused we are 4-1 tied at the top of our division we have to stay focused getting into the playoffs and not back away from no one no matter what their record is,” Hasse said.
The Spartans’ road to the postseason is difficult, but Coach Moss is curious to see if his team is up for the challenge.
“Right now, we are 1-5,” Moss started. “There is an outside shot if we run the table we play all the people in front of us. We got the Bergen Hawks, the Battle. We need a strong showing next week against the Virginia Hawks, after that we will see where we stand. I think I have the men to pull it together.”
The Stags game day experience is top shelf. There was a pregame concert three hours before the game, a live national anthem, and well-choreographed steps of the Prancer Dance Team. There also is a variety of concession stands all tucked in a beautiful well-lit stadium good enough to house an A-level baseball team.
“It (community support) has been phenomenal, Stags owner Darren Cuttito said. “The minute we announced we wanted to do football up here people were like, we are going to the game, how do I get tickets? I couldn’t get tickets online fast enough. Sponsors started coming out of the woodwork because of the stadium being such a nice venue. The whole community just embraced us.”
More Photos I tried to capture more than the game.
Article courtesy of plainfieldsportsnews.com