It would be easy to “point the finger and give up,” says first-year Bridgewater-Raritan head coach DJ Catalano.
After all, with their third coach in as many years, and a 1-6 record, what did the Panthers have to play for?
The answer is a playoff spot, and his kids believed in it, and here they are: with a 23-19 win over visiting Elizabeth at Basilone Field, BR finds itself on the right side of the playoff bubble, after beginning the night on the outside looking in.
The Panthers led 9-6 at the half, but found themselves down 12-9 after an Imad Canty third quarter touchdown catch.
But Frankie Verano rushed for two fourth quarter touchdowns, to hold off Elizabeth – which scored in between Verano’s end zone jaunts – and win the game, which was salted away when Dylan Tierney picked off Elizabeth QB Arique Fleming with just over a minute left and the Minutemen driving.
Now, at just 2-6, Bridgewater’s playoff hopes look a bit brighter.
For the Minutemen (1-7), they’re not out of it yet, but they’ll need to win next week (to meet the NJSIAA minimum win requirement of two for playoff qualification) and let the chips fall where they may to see if they’ll make the top 16 in the North 5 supersection.