Rivalry Renewed


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Sam Bendsten throws the Swim Move on the Chiefs.

The last time there was a 15-14 score in a Verona-Caldwell Thanksgiving day game was 1973, and the winner was Verona. There were fans in the stands this Thanksgiving who played in that game, and others who had a hand in many games of a rivalry that spanned five decades.

For the first time since 1987, the two teams convened again this Thanksgiving. The game had that old-time feel, from the big alumni turnout to the snowflakes in the air. But this time, the 15-14 score went the other way, leaving the series tied at 25 games apiece.

Luke Sniatkowski and Bobby Kaslander teamed up to get Verona on the scoreboard first, and by the third quarter, after Billy Meade curtailed a Caldwell advance, it looked as if this one just might be Verona’s game. But the Chiefs put up one more TD in the fourth quarter and their Christopher Zaorski got both the score and the two-point conversion. Verona tried for a comeback and though the Hillbilly faithful willed them toward the northern goalposts, it wasn’t to be.

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It was the last game for Kaslander, Matt Rosenfeld, Mike Verschleiser, Colin Farawell, Craig Cundari, Greg Schiffenhaus, Cooper Neale, Taylor Delcolle, Ralph Minelli, Sam Bendsten, Anthony Parra, Victor DiSanzo, Ryan Thomas, Gordon Watkins and Joe Costa–in all 15 members of the 41-man Verona team. But Sniatkowski, Billy Meade, Mike Harrington (who scored Verona’s other TD) and Joe Pami–all key factors in Thursday’s game–will be back next year.

Fred Goode captured many senior moments at Thursday’s game.
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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]


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