Ramapo scored 27 unanswered points in the second half, 20 of them in the third quarter, to break open a tie game and defeat Sparta, 41-14.
First Quarter: Ramapo made their first break in the game when Jake Tirone intercepted a pass on the Sparta 37 and the Raiders went seven plays to get on the board when Charles DePrima found Sean Clapp for a 10-yard touchdown. Sparta answered right back when Austin Castorina took the ensuing kickoff on the 3-yard line and raced 95 yards to the 2. Two plays later, Brendan Cina scored from two yards out in the wildcat and it was 7-6, Ramapo. After exchanging punts, Ramapo went 74 yards on eleven plays and capped it off when DePrima scored from seven yards out.
Second Quarter: Sparta came back down the field on a 5-minute drive and Cina scored again, this time on a 6-yard run. The two-point conversion was good and it was 14-14 with 7:54 left in the half. Ramapo had a chance to go ahead just before the half, but a 32-yard field goal attempt went wide right.
Third Quarter: Ramapo came out with the ball and DePrima kept the ball through the middle, cut left, and raced up the left sideline toward the school for 56 yards to the 16. Two yards later, Tirone went 13 yards to give Ramapo a lead they would not relinquish, 20-6. The game turned in Ramapo’s favor when an errant punt snap gave the Raiders a first-and-goal on the 8, with DePrima scoring three plays later from the 2. Sparta would not quit, getting down to the Ramapo 15, when Castorina was stopped short on fourth-and-four. Ramapo faced a third-and-eleven from their 12 when DePrima found Max Kucharski for an 83-yard completion down the right sideline and DePrima scored on a 5-yard run to extend the lead to 31-14.
Fourth Quarter: Sparta kept driving, but Castorina lost a yard on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line to give Ramapo the ball early in the fourth quarter. After three Tirone runs brought the ball to the 29, Rich Sica carried the ball on four consecutive plays for 55 yards, including a 41-yarder. Three plays later, Tirone closed out the scoring on a 3-yard run.
Summary: after a 14-14 halftime score, Ramapo made the plays that were needed. Five plays determined the game:
- DePrima’s 56-yard run
- The bad punt snap that gave the Raiders possession on the 8-yard line
- Stopping Sparta on fourth-and-four on the 15
- The 83-yard pass to Kucharski
- Stopping Sparta on fourth-and-goal from the 1
Ramapo head coach Drew Gibbs: “In the third quarter, the kids put their will on the game, both offensively and defensively. I was proud of how our new starters played tonight. Our junior quarterback, Charles DePrima, played very well in his first game. There is a lot of responsibility being the quarterback here and he did a very good job managing the game.”
Ramapo quarterback Charles DePrima: “I wasn’t too nervous and I got it all out during warmups. Coach Gibbs wanted us to go non-stop all night long and I’m just glad we won.”
Ramapo running back Jake Tirone: “Charles DePrima had an amazing game and our line did a good job blocking tonight. We knew it would be a tough game and we were ready.”