CHATHAM, NJ - The Sparta Bears snapped the Chatham seventh-graders' four-game winning streak with a12-0 victory on Sunday at Cougar Field.
What began as a strong rivalry two years ago in fifth grade, continued on Sunday with the seventh grade Cougars battling the Sparta Bears in an all-important run by both teams to make the playoffs, a place each team has been the previous two seasons.
The first half saw a defensive battle with Sparta (4-1-1) coming up with an interception in the first quarter, and the Cougars matching that in the second quarter when Ryan Lonergan picked off a deflected pass at the Cougars own 41-yard line.
That was followed by a 40-yard run by Cougar back Ben LePore, but the Cougars (4-2) were held on downs from scoring. Before the half ended, punter Nick Vivona nailed a 42-yard punt that put the Bears back on their own 20 yard line, and the half ended in a scoreless tie.
The Bears began the scoring with a 30 yard touchdown run by QB Cisko to make the score 6-0. Once again the Cougars defense stepped up to stop a Sparta drive with a fumble recovery by defensive lineman Vivona. The Cougars went to work on the offense with a 20-yard catch and run by wide receiver Jack Coffey, but the Bears held their own again and stopped the threat.
The Sparta Bears ended the days scoring with a 42-yard touchdown run.
The seventh-grade team resumes its run for the playoffs with a noon home game against Berkeley Heights next Sunday at Cougar Field.