EAST ORANGE, NJ – The 2018 youth football season is in full swing, and the East Orange Panthers are naturally in the thick of it where their season is on track to the playoffs with just four games left in the regular season.
With the exit of a couple teams and the Garden State American Youth Football founding president, there were several changes that were made within the conference. “We wanted to go a different direction with our conference,” said East Orange Panthers head coach and president Tyrone Miles. The conference brought in teams from various leagues throughout Northern New Jersey and scheduled crossover games with other AYF teams from Western New Jersey and Jersey Shore.
The Panthers are running with two levels this year, 10U and 12U, and both are off to a great start. The 10U Panthers are sporting a 3-1 record so far with wins over Pope John (26-6), Montclair (26-6), and Ridge (26-13) while their only loss is to rival Silk City (6-0).
The Panthers’ 26-13 victory over Ridge this past Sunday at Robeson Stadium in East Orange was something of a statement game.
The first half saw the two squads trade touchdowns like they were Christmas gifts. Ridge scored first. Te Panthers responding almost immediately in the first quarter. The Panthers marched 65 yards in eight plays, sending RB TyShawn Sewell to cap the drive with a 2-yard skip to the house to pull even 6-6 with the Jr. Ridgers.
Ridge went to the air for its next score to go up 13-6 in the second quarter. Once again the Panthers responded in kind after getting their first defensive goal-line stand of the season. RB TyShawn Sewell again struck gold as hit the turbo button and galloped for a 99-yard touchdown while leaving the Jr. Ridgers in his wake to end the half with a 13-13 tie.
The second half was all Panthers as the Jr. Ridgers tried to go to the air again, but DB Marion Ford had other plans. He snagged two interceptions for the Panthers, which in turn set up a 40-yard eruption by RB Mitchell Jenkins. Late in the fourth quarter, Derrick Henderson had an easy 5-yard touchdown to seal the victory.
The 12U Panthers are currently 2-2 this season. They defeated Montclair Cobras 34-13 and garnered a forfeit from Voorhees before going on the road to rival Silk City at Passaic County Tech in Wayne. They lost to the Cardinals 27-0 coming into this past Sunday’s contest against the Bergen County All Stars. Bergen edged out the Panthers with a 10-yard touchdown connection from QB Malachi Lewis to WR Michael DelPalma for the lone score and two-point PAT kick in a high competitive defensive struggle.
East Orange will be on the road this weekend and will return home on October 14. For more information on game schedules and locations, go to www.facebook.com/ppypanthers or call Coach Tyrone Miles at 201-341-3933.