If fans had any questions about how deep the bench is for the Hillbilly football squad, they were answered when Verona High School took on Newark’s East Side High School on Saturday.
Two key Verona players sat out the entire game–receivers Matt Intili and Matt McKeown–and Quarterback Frank Ferrari limited his play as he recovered from an injury in last week’s loss to Weequahic. But a group of Maroon & White underclassmen stepped up and lead Verona to a 33-22 victory on Doc Goeltz Field.
Sophomore Mark Riggio was a standout on offense, with 96 yards in 14 carries and two touchdowns. Riggio and the Crawford brothers, Jimmy and Sean, helped Verona to keep East Side completely off the scoreboard in the first half. Jimmy Crawford scored the second of Verona’s TDs while Sean brought the fourth one home. Freshman QB Zack Zaccone came into the came in the second quarter and connected with Bill Ferrari to put Verona up 33-0 at the half.
Sophomores were also key on defense. Chris Valentine contributed five tackles and an interception to the afternoon, while Chris Luehs had a sack. East Side recovered its bearings in the second half, with quarterback Wydir Miller running in one ball before throwing two long bombs for two more touchdowns.
With the win, the Hillbillies secured a berth in the North 1, Group I state playoffs, where they will take on Cresskill in the first round. That game will be at Cresskill on Saturday, November 16 at 1 p.m.
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