Old Tappan broke open a 14-14 tie with the final ten points of the game to beat Delsea, 24-14, and become the first-ever Group 3 state champion in North Jersey history.
This game was a good, hard-fought game with the big differences were Old Tappan being able to throw the ball and two 15-yard, personal foul penalties that hurt Delsea.
Both teams were stingy defending the run. Old Tappan gained 114 yards on 38 carries and Delsea had 156 on 37. Very few runs went for double figures in yardage with Old Tappan’s longest run going for 15 yards and Delsea’s being 39. However, Old Tappan passed for 161 yards while Delsea passed for 41.
One interesting note is both teams were without their starting quarterbacks in the second half: Delsea’s Zach Maxwell has been out injured the last two games and Old Tappan’s Tommy Caracciolo being out the second half of this game.
Each team’s first touchdown was set up by a fumble, followed by an Old Tappan drive that consumed most of the second quarter. Old Tappan kicked a field goal to go in front, but a roughing the kicker penalty was called on Delsea with Old Tappan electing to take the points off the board and go for a touchdown, succeeding on a touchdown pass for OT with two minutes left in the half.
After Delsea tied the score on a long drive, Old Tappan was faced with a 3rd-and-8; the pass fell incomplete, but the second of two personal fouls from Delsea reared its ugly head when the Delsea defender threw the receiver to the ground. This gave Old Tappan a first down at midfield. This enabled the Golden Knights to go in front on a 46-yard field goal by Nico Ottomanelli. They added insurance on a touchdown pass from Alex Orecchio to Evan Brooks on a beautiful catch, where the defender played it well, but fell down.
For Old Tappan, Jack Diggins had a very good game on both sides of the ball, Aidan Heaney had well-earned yards, Brooks had two receptions that were big for the Golden Knights, and Luca Saracino made plays on both sides of the ball. Hats off to Ottomanelli for his field goal and Orecchio for stepping in at quarterback.
For Delsea, Wayne Adair had a good game on both sides of the ball, Jared Schoppe gained some tough yards, while both Joel Anderson, Danny DiGiovacchino, and Austin Boos had good moments on defense.
*Stats courtesy of nj.com