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Glen Rock, Hawthorne Give Fans Semi-Final Thrill

Glen Rock fans cheer on the Panthers football team against Hawthorne in the state playoffs Saturday, Nov. 21. Photo Credit: Joshua Jongsma
A Hawthorne fan roots on the Bears football team with a sign referencing a "Spongebob Squarepants" episode at the state playoff game against Glen Rock Saturday, Nov. 21. Photo Credit: Joshua Jongsma
Glen Rock senior Jeremy Lipsky celebrates after the Panthers defeated rival Hawthorne in the state semifinals Saturday, Nov. 21. Photo Credit: Shutterfly
Glen Rock junior Tim Ray carries the ball for the Panthers during their defeat of rival Hawthorne in the state semifinals Saturday, Nov. 21. Photo Credit: Shutterfly

GLEN ROCK, N.J. — Glen Rock and Hawthorne's varsity football teams play each other every year, but rarely with as much at stake -- or as much excitement -- as on Saturday.

The cheers continued from the opening kickoff into overtime, with Glen Rock winning 35-34 in one of the more dramatic recent installments of the rivalry.It sent the Panthers to the state championship in two weeks against Mahwah's Thunderbirds.

"We've been playing [Hawthorne] since we were all in Pee Wee football," said Fred Pulzello, whose son plays for Glen Rock, "so we know who the other players are. We've had a great rivalry over the years."

Hawthorne High School student Jack Hines said he knew it would be an amazing game.

"It gets pretty intense," Hines said. "I'm glad I got to come to this one."

The Bears led 28-21 lead with 35.8 seconds left, but quarterback Matt Schlett came right back with first a 35-yard pass to the three yard line and then a short touchdown throw.

The Bears again went ahead in overtime, 34-28, but the point after kick following a running touchdown was missed, giving Glen Rock its chance.

Soon after, senior wide receiver Tommy Pulzello caught a 25-yard TD pass from Schlett to tie the game.

Kicker Robert Ray hit the extra point, sending Glen Rock to the North 1, Group 2 finals in two weeks against Mahwah -- who beat Pequannock, 28-7, Friday night.

The win also gave the Panthers a 7-4 mark against the Bears the past decade.

Eric Schlett -- whose son threw for four touchdowns -- said he wanted to see both sides play well given what was at stake.

"The rivalry is always big every year," he said, "but this is for a bigger goal than bragging rights."

Jay La Vorne found himself on both sides. He lives in Glen Rock, but his son Jayson is Hawthorne's defense coach.

"Since my son is a coach and I've gone to every game since he was 8 years old, I kind of have to root for Hawthorne," La Vorne said. "But Glen Rock is still in my heart."

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