Football Falls To Weequahic

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Games between Verona and Weequahic are consistently some of the toughest and most physical contests seen all season, and this year, the scoreboard just didn’t go Verona’s way. With a weeks-long heat wave and illness hindering the team, Verona battled adversity and fought from the first play to the very last.

At the beginning of the game, Verona received the ball. Strong defense by Weequahic managed to contain Verona’s passes, and the drive ended with an interception. After a few plays, Weequahic, at the 25, ran the ball in for a touchdown and kicked an extra point. Back on offense, Verona responded with a 30-yard throw to #23 Zach Garmont (receiver, safety) bringing them past the 50. Afterward, throws to #5 Gianluca Checchetto (receiver, cornerback) and #44 Bodie Maisano (running back, linebacker) brought Verona to the 20. Despite this, on fourth down Verona was short of the first down marker, and Weequahic went back on offense. Weequahic’s progress was slowed down by tackles from #50 Aidan Cifaretto (guard, defensive tackle) and Maisano, but nevertheless, they pushed past the Verona 30. Following this play, the game had to be paused for roughly half an hour due to a shutoff of the stadium lights. Coming back from this lull in the game, #81 John Paul Alfano (receiver, linebacker) intercepted a Weequahic pass, putting Verona back on offense. After a few short passes, the first quarter came to a close.

With the dawn of the second quarter, Verona was forced to punt. However, the punt was almost recovered by Verona due to hustle by #13 Salvatore Santos-DiTrani (receiver, safety). Tackles by Checchetto then in turn forced a Weequahic punt. Taking over at the 35, Garmont broke two tackles for a 20-yard gain, bringing Verona to the 45. Despite this, Verona was unable to gather more momentum, and #2 Kieran Patel kicked the ball to the Weequahic 10-yard line. Tackles by #52 Shane Costigan (guard, defensive tackle) and penalties for delay of game brought Weequahic to third down, but they were able to convert with a 25-yard pass. Despite more tackles by Maisano and Costigan, Weequahic steadily drove down the field and scored a touchdown. On the next Verona drive, an interception let Weequahic take over at the 40, and closing out the half, they managed to score another touchdown.

The second half kicked off with Weequahic taking over at the 20, and originally it looked like Verona was halting the Weequahic advance, with multiple tackles by #20 Jayden Nigro (receiver, outside linebacker) near the 50. However, a lucky pass managed to bring Weequahic to the 10-yard line. After a few unsuccessful runs, another pass scored another Weequahic touchdown. The following Verona drive was unsuccessful, and Weequahic scored again on an outside run.

The next sequence of drives in the fourth quarter followed a similar pattern, with Weequahic converting and scoring on third down. For the rest of the fourth quarter, Verona’s defense stood strong, preventing any more points from being put on the board.

“We had a lot against us last week but there’s no excuses,” said Alfano. “We have to put everything into this next week of practice.”

Verona will work hard to rebound from the 42-0 loss at home against strong opponent Caldwell on Thursday, September 14, at 7 p.m. No team in the state has put 20 points on Caldwell since Verona, not even in the state championship. Verona promises to do what it always has and fight until the bitter end.

Photo credit: Mike Perry
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Daniel Frenklakh
Daniel Frenklakh
High school writer following football, marching band, swimming and various high school events.

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