The Verona Hillbillies topped the Dayton Bulldogs 28-14 in Saturday action at Verona’s Thomas Selitto Field. On the opening play Freshman QB Frank Ferrari was knocked out of the game temporarily and Dean DiNicola stepped in to help the Hillbillies. Once back in the game, Ferrari hit TE Luke Sniatkowski on a 10-yard strike that brought VHS down to the 3 yard line. On the next play Senior Guard Tom Cundari and Junior Tackle Ryan Flood opened a wide hole for RB Frankie Greco to scamper through to put the Hillbillies out in front 6-0. Greco, who was perfect all day on extra points, put Verona in front 7-0.
Two plays later, junior defensive back Alex Dellavalle’s crushing hit caused Dayton to fumble, enabling senior Captain Nick Rollo to recover the ball, giving Verona the ball on the 30 yard line. Ferrari hit a diving Sniatkowski on a 25-yard pass to bring Verona down to the 5 yard line. Ferrari, working from the shot gun, hit Sniatkowski for the TD to put the Hillbillies up 14-0 after the first quarter.
The Bulldogs struck back with a 3-yard TD run by QB Anthony Cioffi, and the successful extra point made the score 14-7. Verona answered back on the ensuing kickoff when WR Michael Harrington ran the ball 75 yards into the end zone to put the Verona ahead 21-7. In the closing seconds of the first half Dayton’s Mike Fischetti scored on a 13-yard TD reception from Cioffi to pull within one touchdown, 21-14.
The second half began with a setback for Verona as senior Jack Cummings joined fellow captain Billy Meade on the sidelines with an injury. Meade, who was injured in the Weequahic game, will be back in action Monday. Senior defensive lineman Dariush Taghavi, who was playing a superior game for Verona, was also taken off the field with a knee injury. Freshman Jimmy Crawford filled in at outside backer for Cummings and Flood replaced Taghavi.
In the opening moments of the 3rd quarter Dayton was forced to punt. Harrington, led by key blocks from Dellavalle and Luke Weiss, was able to run the ball back for his second TD of the afternoon to put Verona in front 24-14. Verona’s tough defense held the Bulldogs and offensively sophomore running back Matt McKeown and Greco pounded the ball to wear down Dayton for the rest of the game.
Saturday was the final home game of the year for the Maroon and White. It was also the last time on Selitto Field for senior Captains Billy Meade, Jack Cummings and Nick Rollo, as well as linebacker Joe Pami, defensive back Franco Camerota, guard Thomas Cundari, defensive lineman Dariush Taghavi, Joe McNally, Kris Alteni and Anthony Benenati.
Next up for Verona is the traditional Thanksgiving Day game at Caldwell High School, with a traditional 10 a.m start.