There was disappointment to be sure.
Maybe a little shock, too, since Cranford had just given up 17 more points than they had in any single game this season, all eleven prior having been victories.
But even though the scoreboard at MetLife Stadium said West Morris Central 53, Cranford 14, the Cougars – coaches and players were still proud of their team.
As they should be.
Cranford lost in the North Group 3 regional championship game Friday at the Meadowlands, in the Big Central Game of the Week driven by Autoland on Central Jersey Sports Radio, but even immediately after the game, the Cougars were talking about their state championship, and how they wouldn’t have wanted to go out with anyone but “their guys.”
The Wolfpack – against a huge Cranford offensive line their head coach Kevin Hennelly said he had not seen the likes of at a Group 3 school in 30 years of coaching – dominated up front, on both sides of the ball.
Cranford got their yardage, but West Morris was better, outgaining their foes from Union County 265-148.
And the three turnovers by Cranford – two fumbles and a pick – didn’t help either, finishing the game minus-three, a week after they were plus-6 against Sparta in winning the North 2 Group 3 title.
Cranford finishes the season 11-1, while West Morris ends at 10-3.
Click below for postgame reaction from Cranford QB Shane VanDam and Head Coach Erik Rosenmeier: