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Latest News in Pequannock, NJ

Inside crazy fourth quarter in Pequannock football's wild win over Hanover Park

Special to DailyRecord.comEAST HANOVER − Paul DeNaples picked the wrong weekend to plan a vacation with his friends.Prior to Friday night, DeNaples, whose twin sons Tyler and Dylan serve as the starting quarterback and tight end, respectively, for the Pequannock football team, had previously never missed a game. Tyler and Dylan connected on a 22-yard touchdown pass with 23 seconds left to send the Panthers past Hanover Park 31-24 in a wild SFC crossover battle Friday night.“I’m sure he&rs...

Special to DailyRecord.com

EAST HANOVER − Paul DeNaples picked the wrong weekend to plan a vacation with his friends.

Prior to Friday night, DeNaples, whose twin sons Tyler and Dylan serve as the starting quarterback and tight end, respectively, for the Pequannock football team, had previously never missed a game. Tyler and Dylan connected on a 22-yard touchdown pass with 23 seconds left to send the Panthers past Hanover Park 31-24 in a wild SFC crossover battle Friday night.

“I’m sure he’s kicking himself,” the boys’ mother, Michele DeNaples said with a laugh.

Guided by a stout effort by Pequannock’s defensive line and a poor snap on special teams by the opposition, the Panthers held Hanover Park to negative-11 total yards in the third quarter. Pequannock appeared headed to the easy victory when Michael Horgan surged for a 19-yard touchdown run - his second score of the game - to put his squad up 24-3 with 8:03 left in the fourth quarter.

Check out the photo gallery, then continue reading.

But Hanover Park (5-2) used an onside kick and fumble recovery to pave the way for three-straight touchdowns over a span of 3:36 to tie the game at 24-24. Pequannock finally stopped the Hornets outburst when Dylan Roemmele had a key hit to jostle the ball from a Hornets receiver on fourth down to give Pequannock (5-2) the ball on its game-winning drive.

The twins, who combined for 431 yards last year, have been relatively quiet this season. Dylan DeNaples hadn’t had a catch since the Whippany Park victory about a month ago, and this was his first touchdown all year. To add to the improbable ending, Tyler injured his wrist from a fall earlier in the game.

“Tyler’s wrist and hand were really hurting him, but he threw a perfect ball to his brother,” said Mike Moschella, who credited assistant coach Gino Fluri with the play call. “Other than those few minutes of the fourth quarter, we dominated this matchup.”

With the victory, Pequannock has won three-straight games and hopes to lock down an SFC National Blue outright title with a win or Kinnelon loss to Parsippany in next week’s regular season finale.

After Hanover Park opened the game with a 14-play drive that led to a successful 22-yard field goal by Ryan Roberts, Pequannock responded quickly with a four-play drive that was highlighted by a 44-yard touchdown run by Roemmele with 3:19 left in the first quarter.

The Panthers used a pair of Hanover Park penalties, including a personal foul infraction, to fuel a second quarter drive that led to a 31-yard field goal by Nick Zuccala to put Pequannock on top 10-3 with 3:10 left in the low scoring first half.

What it means

Since the game was a SFC crossover contest, it had no effect on the standings for either team.

Despite the Panthers victory, Hanover Park still holds the edge with three wins in the last four meetings between the Group 2 schools.

Both teams were safely in the playoffs heading into the matchup and the result shouldn’t change that. The Hornets ranked fifth in the North Group 2 and the Panthers were ranked 11th overall. The top eight teams host an opening round playoff game and this could be a preview of one of those matchups.

Pequannock’s 5-2 start is its best start to the year since the team won nine-straight games to open the 2017 season.

Key play

After registering 50 yards through the third quarter and four minutes into the final quarter, Pequannock’s offense appeared disoriented with three plays that totalled just negative-6 yards and an interception by Joseph Tantawi and fumble lost. But Roemmele appeared to help the Panthers slip out of its temporary funk with a 22-yard run to put Pequannock at the Hanover Park 36-yard line.

Six plays later, Tyler DeNaples fired a perfect pass to Dylan DeNaples who extended for the decisive touchdown grab in the waning moments of the game.

“We’ve been doing this type of thing in lacrosse and football - pretty much since we’ve come out of the womb,” Dylan said. “It’s the twin connection.”

By the numbers

? Hanover Park was called for nine penalties for 92 yards in the game.

? Joey Borrello amassed 163 of his game-high 239 passing yards in the second half as Hanover Park’s rally fell short.

Game balls

? Horgan finished with a pair of touchdowns and an interception for Pequannock.

? Defensive linemen Tyler Frame and Justin Gryszkin combined for three sacks and two tipped passes for the Panthers.

?Zuccala finished 4-for-4 on extra points and hit a 31-yard field goal for the Panthers.

They said it

"I literally closed my eyes when he threw the ball. I couldn’t even look. When he caught it I was running up and down and my heart was stopping.” - Michele DeNaples said about the touchdown throw and catch between her sons.

Up next

? Pequannock (5-2) hosts North Warren (2-4) Friday.

? Hanover Park (5-2) travels to Verona (2-5) Friday.

Lakeland football stifles Pequannock for first playoff win since 2017

PEQUANNOCK — Thanks to A.P.E., Lakeland got the playoff monkey off its back.The No. 5 seed Lancers earned their first NJSIAA football win in six years, 14-7, over No. 4 Pequannock in Friday night’s North 2, Group 2 quarterfinals.Lakeland advanced to the semifinals to face unbeaten Caldwell thanks to a defense that made three fourth-down stops in the second half – and an acronym used by first-year coach Ryan McCarney.“The three things we can control are attitude, preparation and effo...

PEQUANNOCK — Thanks to A.P.E., Lakeland got the playoff monkey off its back.

The No. 5 seed Lancers earned their first NJSIAA football win in six years, 14-7, over No. 4 Pequannock in Friday night’s North 2, Group 2 quarterfinals.

Lakeland advanced to the semifinals to face unbeaten Caldwell thanks to a defense that made three fourth-down stops in the second half – and an acronym used by first-year coach Ryan McCarney.

“The three things we can control are attitude, preparation and effort,” McCarney said. “That’s kind of been our mantra all year long. So, we felt like it was fitting right there on that [final] fourth-down stop, we broke the huddle off of that.”

The coach was referring to a 4th-and-goal stand with 1:13 remaining, which ended a 13-play, 75-yard Pequannock drive on the 5-yard line. Lakeland senior Jake Spear led the charge to drop the Golden Panthers for a 1-yard loss.

“I found a seam and was just in the right place at the right time,” Spear said.

What it means

By defeating one old-time conference rival in Pequannock, Lakeland (7-3) earns a date with another long-ago Northern Hills-Suburban foe, Caldwell.

The top-seeded Chiefs (9-0) secured their 37th consecutive win Friday night against No. 8 Madison. 41-7.

“We know they’re a [darn] good football team. They haven’t lost them close to four years,” McCarney said. “But we love what we have – we’re big up front, we’re physical. We’ve got to watch the film on them and put together good gameplan.”

Key plays

In the first half, Lakeland senior Kyle Keyes put the previous week’s film study to good use, intercepting a pair of passes, including a halfback option play.

“As soon as I saw their running back get the ball on the toss, I knew it was a pass,” he said.

Keyes also caught a fourth-down pass to give the Lancers a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, warding off the defender and hauling in a Collin Sabric throw for a 22-yard TD.

In the second half, all three Pequannock (6-3) drives ended on downs in the red zone. The Lakeland line stopped a fourth down from the 3 early in the third quarter, and Spear tackled a receiver on the 20 to halt the next Panther possession.

Game balls

? Keyes (4 catches, 40 yards) and Spear (4 catches, 35 yards) were the top Lancer receivers on offense and combined for 8 tackles on defense.

? Sabric (11-of-13, 99 yards, TD) completed his first 10 passes and added 59 yards on 11 rushes.

? The Pequannock Wing-T attack ground out 247 rushing yards led by Dylan Roemmele (14 carries, 125 yards) and Michael Horgan (15 for 82).

They said it

“We’ve got heart, you know? Stopping a team down in the red zone with a minute-and-a-half left, up one touchdown – it’s a big ask, but we were there. That’s heart. That’s toughness. And for Caldwell, I mean, it’s a bigger ask, but we’re working this week.” —Spear

“In the end, we bent but didn’t break – I know it’s cliché, but we did a great job defensively. And these kids are just so coachable, so much fun to be around, and I love them all. And our coaching staff does a tremendous job.” —McCarney

Pequannock girls soccer wins first sectional title with golden goal vs. Lenape Valley

PEQUANNOCK − Shayla Osmanski’s biggest assist of the season turned out to be the most significant win in Pequannock girls soccer history.Osmanski’s corner kick and Addie Van Lenten’s golden goal header in the 94th minute in double overtime lifted Pequannock to a 1-0 win over Lenape Valley in the North 1, Group 1 final, its first-ever sectional title.Pequannock will visit Mountain Lakes for a Group 1 semifinal on Thursday. The Lakers defeated New Providence, 3-1 in the North 2 sectional fin...

PEQUANNOCK − Shayla Osmanski’s biggest assist of the season turned out to be the most significant win in Pequannock girls soccer history.

Osmanski’s corner kick and Addie Van Lenten’s golden goal header in the 94th minute in double overtime lifted Pequannock to a 1-0 win over Lenape Valley in the North 1, Group 1 final, its first-ever sectional title.

Pequannock will visit Mountain Lakes for a Group 1 semifinal on Thursday. The Lakers defeated New Providence, 3-1 in the North 2 sectional final on Monday afternoon, its fifth straight sectional crown.

“Honestly, after playing the game and seeing that they [Lenape Valley] were equivalent to us, I knew it was going to come down to something we were good at and depend on. It’s always corners and Addie is good at them,” Osmanski said. “This is the best feeling of all time. I don’t know how else to put it. I’m genuinely so happy and I’ve never been happier in my life.”

After 80 minutes of regulation and one overtime period, Pequannock broke through with just over six minutes remaining in timed play. Working from the right corner of the field, Osmanski lofted the ball to the dead front-center of the box where Van Lenten was lurking between Lenape Valley defenders. It was Osmanski’s state-leading 33rd assist and Van Lenten’s eighth goal of the season.

“This is amazing. It was like the third or fourth corner of the game and I felt I had to get it in and push my way in front of everyone to do it. I ran back and saw it take flight and I knew there was no one there. I smacked my head right into the middle of the goal,” Van Lenten said. “This win is a good step for women in sports everywhere and especially for Pequannock girls soccer. They [Lenape Valley] played amazing. It was great competition.”

More:How Hanover Park outlasted rival Madison to claim another girls soccer sectional title

Pequannock (20-1), playing in the first sectional final in program history, has won 10 straight games. The Golden Panthers only loss came Morristown, 1-0, in the Morris County Tournament opener on October 11.

Defense wins championships

Both Pequannock and Lenape Valley (13-5-1) played lockdown defense as both sides did a great job marking each team’s leading scorers. Pequannock’s Alex Ortega (23 goals) and Lenape’s Mayla McLean (18 goals) had some good looks at goal but couldn’t find the back of the net.

It was one of the Golden Panthers’ set pieces and well-practiced plays that proved to be the difference.

“We know we’re pretty effective on corners. We have Shayla, and as it’s been reported, she’s really good at setting the ball up and giving our players the opportunity to score. It’s one of our set pieces that we really work on and we're effective at,” Pequannock coach Jon McBurney said. “We know when that moment is coming we have a chance to score. I have a few girls who are able to do it, but Addie is special.”

Both goalkeepers were outstanding. Pequannock junior Zoe Wizner, playing between the pipes for the first time in her career, finished with seven saves for her 14th clean sheet of the campaign. Lenape Valley’s Riely O’Brien had eight saves.

Up next for Pequannock is Mountain Lakes in a rematch of the 2021 sectional quarterfinals which the Lakers won, 4-0.

“I went to school here and my sister played soccer here. I’ve seen what it was and now I can see what it can be,” said McBurney, who led Pequannock baseball to the Group 2 title just four months ago. “It’s pretty awesome. These girls have worked really hard throughout their four years, the seniors as well as the girls that filled in underneath them. It’s an amazing accomplishment for the community to be here to see it. That’s what makes it special.”

Girls Soccer: Mountain Lakes vs. Pequannock, Group 1 Semifinal, November 9, 2023

Mile Djordjiovski | For NJ Advance MediaGirls Soccer: Mountain Lakes vs. Pequannock, Group 1 Semifinal, November 9, 2023Abigail Hawes (15) and Ashton Parker (18) of Mountain Lakes react after winning in overtime after the NJSIAA Group 1 semifinal girls soccer game between Mountain Lakes and Pequannock at Mountain Lakes High School in Mountain Lakes, NJ on Thursday, November 9, 2023....

Mile Djordjiovski | For NJ Advance Media

Girls Soccer: Mountain Lakes vs. Pequannock, Group 1 Semifinal, November 9, 2023

Abigail Hawes (15) and Ashton Parker (18) of Mountain Lakes react after winning in overtime after the NJSIAA Group 1 semifinal girls soccer game between Mountain Lakes and Pequannock at Mountain Lakes High School in Mountain Lakes, NJ on Thursday, November 9, 2023.Get Photo

Mile Djordjiovski | For NJ Advance Media

Girls Soccer: Mountain Lakes vs. Pequannock, Group 1 Semifinal, November 9, 2023

Abigail Hawes (15) and Ashton Parker (18) of Mountain Lakes react after winning in overtime with Kristine Squeglia (9) of Mountain Lakes after the NJSIAA Group 1 semifinal girls soccer game between Mountain Lakes and Pequannock at Mountain Lakes High School in Mountain Lakes, NJ on Thursday, November 9, 2023.Get Photo

Mile Djordjiovski | For NJ Advance Media

Girls Soccer: Mountain Lakes vs. Pequannock, Group 1 Semifinal, November 9, 2023

Abigail Hawes (15) of Mountain Lakes scores the game winning goal in overtime during the NJSIAA Group 1 semifinal girls soccer game between Mountain Lakes and Pequannock at Mountain Lakes High School in Mountain Lakes, NJ on Thursday, November 9, 2023.Get Photo

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Defying Gravitea Serves Wicked Good Treats in Pequannock

There’s a fun concept behind the name of Defying Gravitea in Pequannock. As Owner Gina Cassese explains, it’s first a play on the word tea. It also illuminates that baking is a science requiring specific measurements and techniques for items to rise and set correctly. Finally, it is a reference to the song “Defying Gravity&...

There’s a fun concept behind the name of Defying Gravitea in Pequannock. As Owner Gina Cassese explains, it’s first a play on the word tea. It also illuminates that baking is a science requiring specific measurements and techniques for items to rise and set correctly. Finally, it is a reference to the song “Defying Gravity” from the Broadway show Wicked.

Defying Gravitea is a cafe that offers drinks, breakfast, lunch, and fresh-baked goods. The 1,775-square-foot space seats 49 guests indoors, and features their own proprietary tea line. The interior offers a “warm, comfortable environment,” according to Gina. “From custom river tables, cozy nooks, our Sakura tree, and a hand-painted mural ‘treebute’ to our supporters; it is really a space designed to welcome people in to relax and unwind.”

More from Best of NJ

A quick-serve concept, customers can order their items from the counter or place their orders online in advance. Tables are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. “We offer a warm environment, focusing on friends, family, and community, where everyone can eat without restrictions,” Gina adds.

The Defying Gravitea menu includes farm-fresh fare for breakfast (available all day) and lunch. “We are a gluten- and dairy-free space, but you’d never know it!” Gina says. They also offer baked goods made in-house daily with gluten-free flour. These reinvented recipes are based on five generations of chefs in her family.

Popular items include the breakfast crepe and banana bread ABJ sandwich. Likewise, their scones are a hit, and they introduce two new seasonal flavors each month. Gina loves the Defying Gravitea Chicken Salad Sandwich. It’s made with Goffle Farm chicken breast, coconut yogurt, lemon juice, fresh tarragon, and currants. Patrons can order it either on a gluten-free house-baked brioche bun (made daily) or over greens.

Early response to Defying Gravitea has been huge. “We have had all the seats filled recently and a line out the door,” Gina says. “It’s such an amazing, humbling feeling to see people enjoying the space, their community, and the food.”

Besides their sit-down dining, they offer an event space for large parties by reservation. They also do catering for on-or-off site. Additionally, they accommodate custom orders for all occasions including cakes, cupcakes, pies, and loaves.

After years of struggling with body-image issues, Gina learned she was intolerant to gluten and dairy. (She has been gluten free since 1993). She now tweaks her family’s recipes and treats to create gluten- and dairy-free versions for all to enjoy. The song “Defying Gravity” is about pushing the limits and breaking boundaries, and that really resonates with Gina.

Visit Defying Gravitea at 211 Newark Pompton Turnpike in Pequannock. To learn more: | See them on Google Maps | Visit their Website | Follow on Instagram | Give them a Call |

Do you accept Reservations?

They accept reservations for parties of four or more at their community table.

Are there Gluten-free options?

Yes, all baked goods are gluten-free and dairy-free. Food is also gluten-free, with available dairy-free options.

Are there Vegetarian options?

Do you offer Takeout?

They do offer takeout, yes.

Can you offer Delivery?

Delivery services will begin in mid-July 2023.

Do you have a Liquor license?

No, they do not serve alcohol.

Is there a Kids’ menu?

They do not have a kids’ menu, no.

All Photos: © Defying Gravitea / Instagram

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