Immaculate Conception clawed by Panthers
The Immaculate Conception football team has very little room to maneuver when it comes to injuries.
With a small roster, one injury could result in a momentous issue.
And that was the case on Friday night, when starting quarterback Jordan Jenkins, a sophomore, went down with a hip pointer with a couple minutes left in the first quarter.
Freshman backup quarterback Davion Young gave it the old college try, but struggled.
Immaculate, though, might have found an option in junior Jasin Shiggs, who would score the team’s lone touchdown when, at the start of the fourth quarter, he sprinted through the Cedar Grove defense so fast the Panthers could not stop him.
Unfortunately for the Lions it would be the only highlight, as they fell 21-7 on Sept. 23 at Cedar Grove. The game could possibly have been for the North Jersey Super Football National Red Division title. Overall Immaculate dropped to 2-3 on the season.
Lions head coach Maurice Lucas is just looking to get the offense going again when his team hosts Glen Ridge on Saturday, Oct. 1, at 1 p.m.
"We first have to see how Jordan is doing and then go from there," Lucas said about who will be under center against Glen Ridge.
At the least Shiggs will get the ball in some way against Glen Ridge. "I needed a spark, and he's a big-play guy," the coach said.
With Jenkins injured and Young struggling, Lucas turned to Shiggs, who on the first play from scrimmage darted 66 yards for a touchdown that sliced the Cedar Grove lead to 21-7 with less than 11 minutes left in the contest.
Actually Shiggs' touchdown might have been his second of the day. He sprinted 80 yards in the first quarter for what appeared to be a touchdown to give the Lions an early lead. But a familiar theme for the night started when the touchdown was nullified because of an Immaculate penalty.
Lions defenders including junior defensive tackle Maraad Watson, junior defensive end Jahide Lesaine and senior Dakota Carreras limited a Cedar Grove offense that had averaged 47 points the previous three games.
The Immaculate defense played a mainly bend-but-don't-break style, keeping the Lions in the game through most of it. A couple of the Cedar Grove touchdowns were mainly caused by miscues in the defensive backfield, Lucas said.
In the second half, with Shiggs under center, Immaculate senior running back Marcus Gornowicz suited up to play and gutted it out with a hamstring injury, giving the Lions a spark with five carries for 47 yards. "We have guys just like Marcus who are hurting and are playing hard," the coach said.
While Shiggs' work under center was not as much of a success the rest of the game as his first carry, Immaculate's offense did move the needle when he was at quarterback.
The Lions had a chance to tie the contest late in the game if it could score a touchdown and then recover an onsides kick and score again.
With a few minutes left, Immaculate was moving the ball down the field and got to the Cedar Grove three-yard line.
But on fourth and goal, Shiggs tried to hit Lesaine, playing tight end on offense, in the end zone but was intercepted by Cedar Grove's Nick Iannacone.
Immaculate Conception Football Schedule
(Dates and times subject to change)
Oct. 1 Glen Ridge, 1 p.m.
Oct. 7 at Immaculata, 7 p.m.
Oct. 15 Shabazz, 1 p.m.
Oct. 28 at Morris Catholic, 7 p.m.