The crowd at Glen Ridge’s Hurrell Field was treated to an old-fashioned match-up between two rivals on Saturday afternoon. Falling rain caused for a muddy track and slippery conditions, making it difficult for both teams to put the ball in the air. Verona’s offensive line held strong all game and helped make the transition to their ground game easier. Led by senior Captain Nick Rollo, they fought to open holes that junior running back Frank Greco took advantage of throughout the afternoon punishing the Ridgers’ defense with his bruising rushes.
During the first half, the Hillbillies were able to move the ball against the Ridgers but were plagued by a series of costly turnovers and stalled drives, leaving them scoreless. Coming out for the second half down 6-0 and the rain falling even harder, Coach Lou Racioppe looked to change things up by going with speedy freshman and starting safety Frank Ferrari at the quarterback spot.
Unfortunately, the Hillbillies opening drive fell short when they fumbled the snap at mid-field. With the third quarter winding down, senior linebacker Joe Pami and nose tackle Dariush Taghavi took control and stopped the Glen Ridge drive, giving the Maroon and White the ball in favorable field position. Ferrari then hit Captain WR Jack Cummings for an eight-yard pass. In one those chilling football moments, Cummings was hit hard and flipped in mid-air, landing hard. But he was able to pop up still holding onto the ball, which fired up what had been until then a docile Verona sideline. With the momentum seeming to change in the Hillbillies’ favor, Ferrari then took Rollo’s snap and raced down field, dodging defenders for his first varsity touchdown and knotting the score at 6.
Glen Ridge reverted to their passing game but with pressure from defensive end Luke Sniatkowski and linebacker Matt McKeown and secondary coverage by Billy Meade and Alex Dellavalle caused the Ridgers to misfire and turn the ball over to the Hillbillies with just under four minutes remaining. Ferrari set back in the shot gun handed the ball to Greco, who continued his stellar day by capping it off with a 35-yard TD run. Under pressure for the extra point, Ferrari was able to get the pass off to a diving Sniatkowski for the two-point conversion. The Hillbillies, who were wearing pink tape ont their shoes in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, were able to hold off a late game drive to bring home their first win of the season 14-6. Next up for VHS on the gridiron is a rare Friday afternoon matchup at Newark Academy.
In other sports, last week’s senior Athlete of the Week Dwight Tucci exploded on the soccer field for four goals to lead the Hillbillies over rival Cedar Grove 7-1. Tim Kiernan had an assist
and freshman Matt Braschi had a goal and an assist. Senior Dom Gagliano also scored for the ‘billies. The record for Coach Wayne Looney’s squad now stands at an undefeated 9-0. The boys face Orange High School at Centennial Field on Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Casey Milmoe had 8 digs, 3 kills and an ace to lead Verona 2 matches to 1 in a Friday volleyball match at Bloomfield Tech High School. Shannon Curran and Emily Symons combined for 14 digs. Verona dropped the first set 25-14 but came with consecutive wins 25-23 and 25-17. Their record is 7-3. The girls go up against Morris Knolls on Tuesday at 4:15 p.m.