WHIPPANY TWP. With its home football field undergoing renovation, the Whippany Park High School athletic department, the town administration and public works department went about creating a football field this week in an alternate location to give the Wildcats a playing field that would feel like they had home-field advantage.
Welcome to the Brickyard at Bee Meadow Park, which will be Whippany Park’s home away from home.
For the last week, the field underwent a transformation. Athletic director Frank Kaiser and his staff arrived at the field Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. to make sure that everything would be set for Saturday’s game against Kittatinny.
“We wanted to get the place ready for the kids to have a nice place to play football,” Kaiser said.
The transformation of the park into a football field was complete, but the Wildcats performance on Saturday afternoon could not match the festivities before the game as penalties and inexperience led to a 28-14 defeat to Kittatinny.
The loss dropped the Wildcats record to an 0-3 record, while the Cougars registered their first victory of the season.
Wildcats penalties wiped out a game-tying touchdown in the first half and kept Kittatinny drives alive in the second.
“Penalties were an issue, and we have to figure out a way to clean that up,” Whippany Park coach Todd Callaghan said.
Whippany Park also could not stop Kittatinny running back Josh Klimek in the second half. Klimek rushed for 146 yards on 20 carries, including two touchdowns that came in the fourth quarter to break open a 14-14 tie.
For the first three quarters, Kittatinny put the offense in the hands of Greiner running option plays for its quarterback to either run or throw out of. But in the fourth quarter, Kittatinny changed strategies, and put the ball in the hands of running back, Josh Klimek. With just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter, Klimek ran the ball on seven straight plays gaining 51 yards. Klimek would eventually plunge it in from the 1-yard line to give Kittatinny a 21-14 lead.
“Our offensive line as able to get a push, and Josh was able to run behind them, and that was the difference in the fourth quarter,” Kittatinny coach Joe Coltelli said.
Lisa completed 24-of-54 passes for 276 yards on the afternoon. The sophomore quarterback tried to bring the Wildcats back to tie the game, but both drives stalled. The first drive ended with a turnover-on-downs at the Kittatinny 38-yard line as three pass attempts went incomplete. After Greenwald recovered a fumble at the Whippany Park 29-yard line, Lisa and Whippany Park got as far as the Cougars’ 41-yard line before the drive stalled as four straight pass attempts went incomplete. Klimek then would gain 59 yards on two carries, the second went 30 yards up the middle for the score to give Kittatinny a 28-14 lead.
Lisa was also hurt by Kittatinny’s offensive line that kept the pressure on him throughout the afternoon. Kittatinny defensive end Tyler Foster spent the afternoon rushing the quarterback, which led to nine batted-down passes from Lisa.
“Kyle battled, he threw some good balls, and had some others that were dropped,” Callaghan said of Lisa. “He has a lot to learn, but he is a young quarterback and he kept his composure.”
For Callaghan and his players, it is back to the practice field, the weight room and studying video tape as the Wildcats look to improve and gain their first victory of the 2015 season.
“We just have to keep working on what we have to do,” Callaghan said. “We have to continue to work at doing our jobs to get better.”
KITTATINNY 28, WHIPPANY PARK 14
Whippany Park 0-7-7-0-14
K-Jack Sikora 9 run (Drew Walker kick)
K- Jeremy Cerbo 68 pass from Nick Geimer (Drew Walker kick)
W-Joe Michalewsky 12 pass from Kyle Lisa (Paul Padilla kick)
W-Andrew Lake 1 run (Paul Padilla kick)
K-Josh Klimek 1 run (Drew Walker kick)
K-Josh Klimek 30 run (Drew Walker kick)
Team Records: Kittatinny 1-2, Whippany Park 0-3