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Hillbillies Fall To Caldwell In Thanksgiving Game


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The Verona hillbillies suffered a 35-20 loss at the hands of the Caldwell Chiefs at their traditional Thanksgiving Day match-up. Verona’s defense led by senior LB Joe Pami held the tough Caldwell squad scoreless in the first quarter despite the loss of key senior defensive tackle Dariush Taghavi who was sidelined with a season-ending knee injury. Filling in for Taghavi was sophomore Quinn Cummings.

At the start of the second quarter the Chiefs took advantage of a punt snap that sailed over the head of Hillbillies junior punter Mike Peri. With the Caldwell defense bearing down on him Peri was able to recover the ball and kick it away but the Chiefs were rewarded with excellent field position on the miscue. Verona’s defense made it difficult for Caldwell to score but Chiefs running back Tyler Condit was finally able to push across the goal line to take a 6-0 lead. Caldwell kicker John Gallagher who was perfect all day on extra point attempts put them in front 7-0. Caldwell scored again with just seconds left in the half when QB Sonny Puzo ran it in from the 1 yard line.

Caldwell scored on the opening kickoff of the second half when Mike Latoracca ran the ball back 80 yards to go up 21-0. Verona got on the scoreboard the next play when senior Captain Billy Meade returned the kickoff 92 yards to make it 21-6. Caldwell scored twice more in the third quarter on rushing touchdowns by Condit. Verona’s offense struggled to get started all afternoon but showed signs of life in the fourth quarter when freshman QB Frank Ferrari connected with junior tight end Luke Sniatkowski on a 45-yard strike to set up Frankie Greco’s 11-yard touchdown run. The Maroon and White scored again when Ferrari hit Meade on a short dump pass that he caught and raced 45 yards into the end zone with. Senior Captain Jack Cummings caught the 2 point conversion to make it 35-20.

Instead of going for the onside kick, Verona noticed a lone Caldwell kick returner back deep and tried to place the kick out of his reach in an attempt to recover the ball. Unfortunately for the Hillbillies, the recovery attempt was too late and Caldwell was able to grind down the clock and walk away with their second straight Turkey day classic victory. The Hillbillies’ final record for the 2011 season is 5 wins against 5 losses.

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All photos © Fred Goode Productions. All rights reserved.

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