The Verona High School Hillbillies football team is headed to MetLife Stadium for the North Jersey, Section 1, Group 1 finals after winning a decisive 22-0 game over the Henry P. Becton Wildcats on Saturday.
Matt Intili had the best game of both his senior year and his entire high school career, rushing for 123 yards and scoring two touchdowns (you can watch the second one below). It was Intili who put Verona on the scoreboard first, as Verona fans waited anxiously all through the first quarter to see what kind of claws the Wildcats would have. Intilli’s rushing yards on the afternoon were more than the entire Becton squad.
The game was old-school football, a grinding ground game on a cold, muddy field, with Verona allowing Becton just six first downs. Quarterback Frank Ferrari stayed pretty close to the ground, with 126 rushing yards and 78 in the air. Ferrari also grabbed one of the three interceptions that Verona picked off on the afternoon, with the others going to David Gautieri and Matt Zaccone, the latter dangerously close to a Becton touchdown.
The game saw the return of Bill Ferrari, who had been confined to energetically cheering his team on from the sidelines since breaking his arm in the Glen Ridge game on September 28. It also saw Luke Connell get only the second touchdown of his varsity career, a 24-yard fourth-quarter pass reception that was the icing on what by that point was a very, very sweet cake.
The North Jersey, Section 1, Group 1 finals will be played in the Meadowlands on Friday, December 5, against Cresskill. The #1 seed ousted Boonton from the playoffs with a 17-0 victory. But, as Coach Lou Racioppe reminded his squad, before they get to MetLife Stadium they have the annual Thanksgiving game against Caldwell, and it is a game with a heavy legacy: Caldwell has defeated Verona in every game since 2010. This year’s Chiefs, however, are 5-4 to Verona’s 10-0. The game is at home at 10 a.m.