Chatham, Berkeley Heights Compete in Division A and B Championships
Tuesday, December 6, 2011 • 7:36am
CHATHAM, NJ – The New Jersey Suburban Youth Football League came to a close this weekend with its annual championship games. The Division B game featured Berkeley Heights against Bloomfield and the Division A game featured Richmond Boro against Chatham. Both were very competitive games which would decide the champion for each age group.
In the group B game Berkeley Heights showed promise early on with their series of quarterback draw plays and handoffs. In the first quarter Berkeley Heights quarterback Schneider rushed the ball into the end zone for an early 8-0 lead. Berkeley had a very strong run game throughout and early on held Bloomfield in check. Leading the defense was Berkeley’s tough defender Eric Nieves who was sprinting all over the field and making tackles on Bloomfield’s wide array of offensive threats. Berkeley’s defense held Bloomfield in check up until halftime with the score still knotted at 8-0. Unfortunately for Berkeley Heights the Bengals would reel off an impressive 26 unanswered points in route to a 26-8 victory. Berkeley still finished second place in the B division and capped off a very successful season.
The group A game featured a Cinderella team in Chatham who, after finishing the season 4-3-1, barely made it into the playoffs. Their opponent, Richmond Boro, was a team who had by far one of the best defenses in the league only allowing 20 combined points all season. Chatham entered the game with a win streak that included wins over 7-1 Summit, 10-0 Cranford, and 7-2 Springfield to advance to the championships.
Rob O’Conner, a long-time Chatham football fan said before the game “Coach Katz (head coach Bob Kautzmann) is one of the most energetic coaches I have ever seen, he has done a great job all year with these kids and has truly developed this Chatham program into something special.”
Early on, Chatham had a tremendous run defense. They held Richmond’s star running back Jefferson Jacob in check for the entire first half. Chatham also had a very steady run game going behind both running backs Justin Hayes and Greg Suczewski. After both defenses made a large number of stops and forced a couple of turnovers the game was notched at 0-0 going into the half.
Once the second half started Chatham continued to successfully stop Jacob and maintained a 0-0 tie going into the fourth. Unfortunately for the Cougars, one mistake with 6:51 seconds to go in the fourth proved fatal as several Chatham defenders over-pursued Jacob who cut back up the sideline for the games only score. The final score would be 7-0 with Richmond Boro becoming the Division A champions. For Chatham, besides that one mistake their defense played effortlessly. Their offense was paced by both Hayes and Suczrewski who had 61 and 34 yards rushing respectively.
After the game Coach Kautzmann said “Richmond Boro is a very powerful team and except for one play we could have won. I am proud of our boys and I told them before the game I wanted Richmond Boro to never forget the Chatham Cougars, and I think this is a game that both teams will never forget. It has been a great season and I am proud of all that we have accomplished.”