The Game At A Glance: Pascack Valley outlasted Ramapo, coming back from a 10-0 deficit and playing a second half that had four lead changes, to win 35-32.
First Half Highlights: Ramapo went down the field on the opening drive, throwing ten passes and running once. Anthony LoVecchio completed eight of ten on the drive and the Raiders went in front on a 27 yard field goal by David Bonagura to make it 3-0. Pascack Valley had a drive going late in the quarter when they gained first downs on four consecutive running plays, three by Jimmy Butler and one by Kyle Zenk, but they turned it over on downs.
Ramapo opened the second quarter, much like the opening drive of the game, a twelve play drive, scoring on a one yard scramble by LoVecchio. The score was set up by a 25 yard pass from LoVecchio to Neil O'Connor, who made a diving catch on the left sideline. The ensuing kickoff was fielded by Zenk on the one and he made his way down the field to the Ramapo 33 for 66 yards. Six plays later, Kyle Schneider found Kevin Illian for a four yard score to make it 10-7 with 5:44 left in the half.
Second Half Highlights: Things began to happen in the middle of the quarter when Schneider found Billy Beattie for 20 yards over the middle to the Ramapo 45. Zenk then went 35 yards to the five and Schneider found Illian for a five yard score in the back of the end zone two plays later, to go in front, 14-10. Ramapo came right back on a nine play drive, scoring when LoVecchio found Skyler Amador for a 15 yard score. A key play in the drive was when LoVecchio hooked up with O'Connor again with a nice, over the shoulder catch. It was Valley's turn on the next drive, as Schneider found Illian for 49 yards down the right sideline to the 24 yard line. Zenk capped off the drive with a 15 yard score through the middle to put the Indians in front 21-17. Valley looked to be putting the game way when Nick Soravilla intercepted on the Valley 44, picking it on the sideline, racing across the field, and turning the corner down the right sideline for the score and a 28-17 lead with a minute left in the quarter.
Ramapo came right back, as Amador made plays. He caught a 21 yard pass to the Valley 48 and he capped it off with a 17 yard score through the middle. The two point pass was successful to Pat O'Hagan and it was 28-25. Another key play in the drive was a 21 yarder to Logan Schulte. Ramapo received a break and took advantage of it when they recovered a fumble on the 20 of Pascack Valley. Amador scored again on a seven yard run where he dove across the goal line and Ramapo was in front, 32-28 with eight and a half minutes left. Valley took over on their 40 with five and a half minutes left. Aided by a pass interference call, the Indians went in to score when Zenk went seven yards through the middle to put them back in front, 35-32 with three minutes left. Ramapo had one last chance. Twice, they had fourth down. LoVecchio scrambled for a first down, but the second time, LoVecchio's pass to an open receiver at midfield was incomplete and Pascack Valley ran out the clock.
Play Of The Game: The interception by Soravilla for the score, as the play was a simple interception that evolved into a big play.
Game Balls: Zenk made a name for himself tonight, gaining 112 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries, plus his 66 yard kick return set Valley up for their first score. Illian caught six passes for 100 yards and two touchdwons. Soravilla had a key interception. Linebacker Mike Manente had his usual outstanding game. Chris Garcia rushed for 90 yards on 13 carries and Butler rushed for 50 yards on six carries and caught one pass for 10 yards. Overall, it was a team effort.
In a losing effort, LoVecchio was 29-46-253 yards and one touchdown. O'Connor made two outstanding catches. Amador scored two touchdowns.
Pascack Valley head coach Craig Neilsen - "The game was what we expected. They're a good team, we're a good team. Both offenses were able to move and it's a shame someone had to lose. We had turnovers and penalties that hurt us in the first half and we were only down by three points. I aged a lot tonight. Both teams played very well."
Pascack Valley wide receiver/defensive back Kevin Illian - "It's a huge win and it's great momentum going into the playoffs. It was a crazy game, at one point I was ecstatic, I scored a touchdown and they came right back down the field with their spread offense, which is very quick. You have to keep your head in the game, stay together, and play hard. This game could have gone either way,"
Pascack Valley running back Kyle Zenk - "On the kick return, you have to be patient, wait for the opening, and then you go through it; a split second and I got it. The game wasn't stressful. That's why you play the game. You expect this stuff in a game like this. I'll take this over a blowout any day. It's Ramapo-PV and we have respect for one another."
Pascack Valley wide receiver/cornerback Nick Soravilla - "(On the interception return for a score) Right when I saw Brendan Morrissey throw a key block, I just turned the corner and turned on the jets for the score. Whenever they score on you, you want to put your head down, but as a senior and as a leader, you have to keep everyone's head up. They played a really good game and deserve a lot of credit."
Ramapo head coach Drew Gibbs - "Our guys played their hearts out. They battled, they never gave in, and we knew this would be a great game. We preached all week that it was going to come down to the last two minutes and it certainly did. We had our opportunities, but we couldn't finish the deal. Nothing but respect for PV, they're an outstanding team, and a great coaching staff."