Good weekend of football for Lyndhurst, Kearny

Tuero earns first coaching win; Kardinals now 3-1


By Jim Hague 

Observer Sports Writer 

The first three weeks of the high school football season weren’t as trying as one might think, as Lyndhurst lost all three times.

“The spirits were high,” said Lyndhurst first-year head coach Rich Tuero. “We were always moving forward. The kids were all about getting Coach Tuero’s first win, but it wasn’t about me. We just had to keep trying, because we were so close.”

The Golden Bears gave undefeated powerhouse Waldwick- Midland Park all it could handle, before falling short in the fourth quarter.

“That was the frustrating part,” Tuero said. “There wasn’t one bit of letdown or giving up. They were always so great.”

At Kearny, the spirits were a little different. The Kardinals were enjoying a fine start to the 2014 season and wanted to continue that positive vibe.

“We have tough kids who want to win,” said Kearny second-year head coach Nick Edwards. “They want to compete and be football players. They fight and do the best that they can.”

So the 0-3 Golden Bears took on Harrison and the 2-1 Kardinals faced Newark Collegiate last weekend. And both local teams emerged victorious.

The Golden Bears were finally able to get new coach Tuero his first win, defeating Harrison, 49-21.

The Kardinals won a tough one, taking a 10-6 decision to improve to 3-1, which are completely unchartered waters for the Kards in recent years. It’s been more than 20 years since Kearny had three wins by the first week of October.

Needless to say, it was a great weekend of football for the Golden Bears and the Kardinals.

Lyndhurst saw its quarterback Pete Guerriero enjoy  a game of a lifetime. Guerriero had 200 yards rushing on 14 carries and three touchdowns and passed for 140 yards and another touchdown. On defense, Guerriero had six tackles, two passes defended and an interception.

“He ran the quarterback trap and was gone in five seconds,” Tuero said of Guerriero. “We knew he had the talent. We just didn’t know what his role was going to be with us.”

Guerriero is a transfer from St. Mary’s of Rutherford, where he only played defense.

Tuero said that Guerriero reminds him of Brian Kapp, the former Observer Athlete of the Year from 2004-2005.

“This kid is a stud,” Tuero said of Guerriero. “(Former Lyndhurst head coach Jim) Vuono told me that he’s the fastest kid he’s ever seen at Lyndhurst. That says a lot.”

The Golden Bears wanted to win for junior captain Matt DeMarco, who suffered a thumb injury and is now lost for the season.

“Matt has been all in and is all about the team,” Tuero said. “He had 90 yards rushing and a touchdown and made 12 tackles before he left. The kid was possessed.”

Tuero said that the victory was big, not only because it was his first ever, but because an 0-4 football team hardly ever recovers for the rest of what becomes a losing season.

“The one thing the win does is give the kids confidence that they can win,” Tuero said. “They now can’t wait to get back into the weight room, get back to practice. They all have their heads held high as they walk around the school and hear all the good stuff.”

Photo by Jim Hague Kearny quarterback David Nash passed for 200 yards in Kearny’s 10-6 win over Newark Collegiate last weekend, pushing the Kardinals’ record to 3-1, the best mark for a Kearny football team since 1994.
Photo by Jim Hague
Kearny quarterback David Nash passed for 200 yards in Kearny’s 10-6 win
over Newark Collegiate last weekend, pushing the Kardinals’ record to 3-1, the
best mark for a Kearny football team since 1994.


Tuero also credited Jordan Stewart, who scored a defensive touchdown for the second game in a row. Stewart, the Bears’ outside linebacker, had a 57-yard fumble recovery for a score after having a 38-yard interception return the week before.

“He’s playing very well,” Tuero said.

The Kardinals are sitting pretty, as they try hard to gain the program’s first-ever NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group IV playoff berth. They’re not there yet, but it’s not too early to dream.

“The defense has definitely stepped up,” Edwards said. “They (Newark Collegiate) had fourth and goal and we stripped the ball. We got lucky there. It’s a big win. All the kids want to do is win.”

Sophomore Niko Yamba Mamba (yes, that is his real name) was all over the field at his middle linebacker slot.

“He’s a special kid,” Edwards said of Yamba Mamba. “He works hard in practice and in the classroom. He’s just a great kid to coach. You want 11 kids like him.”

Thiago Teixiera scored the Kards’ lone touchdown. David Nash, the savvy quarterback, threw for 200 yards and Sammy Sanchez had five receptions for 85 yards.

The Benavides twins, Mike and Chris, keyed a defensive effort which did not allow a single pass completion the entire game.

“They were awesome back there,” Edwards said.

Both teams have tough opponents this weekend. The Golden Bears have to face Garfield, while the Kardinals take on former head coach Oscar Guerrero and the Tigers of Memorial of West New York.

But there’s joy and hope this week on the two local gridirons.

“Our kids aren’t happy about being 3-1,” Edwards said. “We think we should be better. But I’m happy. We’re going forward. We have a good football team.”

When is the last time a Kearny coach said those words?

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