Old Tappan 28 Northern Highlands 7
September 8, 2023
Old Tappan controlled the game in a 28-7 win, scoring on four of their six drives, while running out the clock deep in Highlands territory on their last one.
First Quarter: The Golden Knights opened the game with a six-minute, 10-play drive, scoring on a 22-yard pass from Alex Orecchio to Ronan Malady. Two plays that picked up first downs were passes to Evan Brooks of 28 and 12 yards. After forcing a Northern Highlands three-and-out, Old Tappan marched again, scoring with 9:25 left in the second quarter on a 1-yard Orecchio run.
Second Quarter: The Golden Knights appeared to be on the move again when Brooks made an outstanding, one-handed, 25-yard reception that moved the ball into Highlands territory, but were forced to punt for the only time in the game. Highlands drove into Old Tappan territory, but turned the ball over on downs at the 22-yard line. Nick Rossi ran for 16 yards and OT extended their lead when Mallady caught the ball off a Highlands defender and went 51 yards for the touchdown with 1:51 left in the half.
Third Quarter: Northern Highlands again drove into Highlands territory, only to turn it over on downs, giving Old Tappan the ball on the 34. Brooks caught passes of 11 and 32 yards and Rossi scored from two yards out to make it 28-0.
Fourth Quarter: Northern Highlands got on the board on a drive that ended with quarterback Nate Johnson going 12 yards past and placing the ball just past the left pylon with six minutes left. OT possessed the ball for the rest of the game, running out the clock inside the Highlands 5-yard line, as they began to insert reserves into the lineup.
Comments: OT showed very good offensive balance, gaining 375 yards: 172 on the ground and 203 in the air. Orecchio was 10-14 passing and rushed for 83 yards for 286 yards of total offense. Brooks was the best player on the field, catching 8 for 131 yards with seven of those getting first downs and setting up touchdowns. Rossi added 69 yards 69 yards on the ground and Mallady had two receptions for touchdowns of 22 and 51 yards. The offensive line of left tackle Jack Small, left guard Matt Renaghan, center Ryan O’Neill, right guard Dennis Delaney, and right tackle Mike Gracey set everything up for the offense. Overall, the night could not have gone any better for Old Tappan.