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Czernek Listens to Sound Advice, Keeps Throwing

Marmonte: Newbury Park quarterback overcomes slow start in 30-15 victory over Royal.


NEWBURY PARK — Midway through the second quarter, Nick Czernek was faced with an ugly situation.

The Newbury Park High quarterback was zero for seven with an interception and his team was trailing Royal by a touchdown. He asked what he should do.

"The coaches told me to keep throwing the ball," Czernek said. "I just do what they tell me."

Good idea.

Czernek rebounded to complete 14 of 28 passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns as Newbury Park defeated Royal, 30-15, in a Marmonte League opener Friday at Newbury Park.

This was a game marked by more than 200 yards in penalties. It was also the second consecutive week the Panthers came from behind to win.

Royal (1-3) made its intentions known early, handing the ball again and again to running back Steve Sheehan. The aim was to keep Newbury Park's offense off the field and it worked as Royal controlled the ball for all but 1:14 of the first quarter.

The Highlanders scored first by driving 41 yards in seven plays. Quarterback Jonathan Palacios ran two yards for the touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

But with Czernek misfiring, Royal failed to take full advantage. A bad snap thwarted a field-goal attempt. A fumble stopped a second-quarter drive. Yet another field-goal attempt failed.

"We can't afford not to score against Newbury Park," Coach Gene Uebelhardt said.

The dutiful Czernek eventually hit his rhythm. He completed two key passes on a second-quarter drive that ended with Ryan Shipton's five-yard touchdown run.

Then, with 57 seconds remaining before halftime, he hit Cause Hanna on a quick slant over the middle. Hanna shed two tacklers on the way to a 20-yard touchdown and a 13-7 score.

The second half brought more of the same. Czernek connected with Tyler Johnson for a 24-yard touchdown. He drove his team back down the field and Anthony Foli lumbered in for an 11-yard touchdown.

"Finally got that game turned around," Newbury Park Coach George Hurley said. "Now we're in first place. Everybody gets to chase us."

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