After being down at the half, 13-6, Wayne Hills came out and scored 14 unanswered points to beat Old Tappan and win the North Jersey Section 1 Group 4 championship.
Old Tappan came out and scored on their first possession on a 43-yard pass from Drew Dippolito to Jake Piccinich. After Jaaron Hayek returned the ensuing kickoff to the OT 40, Tom Sharkey scrambled 21 yards to the 18, but the Patriots turned the ball over on downs. Late in the quarter, the Wayne Hills punt snap was low and recovered by Old Tappan, giving them the ball on the 25. After picking up a first down, Dippolito found Mike Spilotras for a 13-yard touchdown. The extra point was blocked, making it 13-0.
After completing a pass to Jaaron Hayek, Sharkey started the second quarter with a 43-yard touchdown pass to Charles Njoku down the left sideline to make it 13-6.
Wayne Hills came out in the second half and moved the ball down to the 18, but a pass was intercepted by John Carraciolo in the end zone. After a punt gave the Patriots the ball on the OT 45, they moved again behind the running of Michael Joyce and finished it off with a 1-yard Sharkey sneak to tie the score. Old Tappan moved deep into Hills territory, but a 27-yard field goal attempt went wide left, giving Wayne Hills the ball on the 20. Joyce raced 75 yards down the left sideline on the following play to the 5 and he finished things with a 3-yard score to put the Patriots in front for the first time.
Old Tappan had one last chance to tie the game, but Dippolito was sacked on fourth down to allow Wayne Hills to run the clock out.
The second half was all Wayne Hills behind the running of Joyce, who ran for 180 yards in the second half after just three yards in the first. The patriots pass rush had Dippolito scrambling often in the second half and were getting a big push through the interior.
Old Tappan played their hearts out, but in the end, Wayne Hills was better. In addition, Wayne Hills has two weapons in Hayek and Njoku that few teams can match.
Head Coach Wayne Demikoff – “We knew it would be a dogfight with Old Tappan. When we came back on the bus from the locker room, I told the team we needed somebody to step up and who it was going to the guy. We were getting yards with Joyce and stayed with it.”
Wayne Hills running back Michael Joyce – “Usually, when we start out slow, we come out strong in the second half and it’s been an ongoing thing all year. We just we knew we were going to get rolling in the second half. Coach wanted to know who was going to step up and I didn’t say anything, but I knew it was going to be me.”