Montclair Wins Appeal: North Bergen Stripped Of Football Title
MHS has won its appeal of a ruling allowing North Bergen High to keep its football state championship.
North Bergen High School will lose its football state championship title thanks to Montclair High School winning its appeal Wednesday before the executive committee of the agency that governs high school athletics in the state.
However, the ruling does not mean Montclair High School gets the state championship title.
"There simply is no state championship this time," said Derlys Guttierez, Montclair's attorney. "You can't award a championship to the team that lost the game.
"It's a bad situation as there are absolutely no winners here on either side," she added. "Students on both teams played their hearts out."
North Bergen defeated Montclair in the North Jersey Section 1 Group IV championship game on Dec. 3, 2011 in storied head coach Vince Ascolese's final game. The Bruins were later accused of recruiting two star players, Denzel Leitch and Eric McMullen. The recruiting, and other possible violations, were reported by Leitch after the season's end.
"Our position was that the penalty against the North Bergen High School was not severe enough," Guttierez said.
And the executive committee of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association unanimously agreed, she added.
In December, Montclair Patch reported how Montclair's quest for perfection came to a stunning and disappointing end at MetLife Stadium. North Bergen's Sergio Rodriguez connected with Debray Tavarez on a 22-yard touchdown strike as time expired, handing Montclair its first loss of the season while winning the North I Group 4 state sectional championship, 14-13, in a shocking upset.
All season long the Mounties football team looked unbeatable but, according to the Montclair Patch report, the Bruins would not be intimidated by the state's fourth-ranked team, which came in averaging more than 44 points per game.
What do you think of the appeal? Should North Bergen have lost its title? Tell us in the comments section below.