Verona hit Lyndhurst early and hard, kept going, and won the North Jersey Group 2 title by a 41-0 score and avenged a loss to the one year ago.
First Quarter: Verona came out with the ball and marched down the field – all running plays – and went in front on a 14-yard run by Frank Riggio. The Hillbillies had the ball again on a Jake Milmoe interception, giving them the ball on the Lyndhurst 21. Riggio ripped off runs of 11 and 7 yards before Verona had a first-and-goal on the 10. Shane Lawless scored on an 8-yard run to extend the lead to 14-0 with 2:423 left in the quarter.
Second Quarter: Lawless returned a punt from the Lyndhurst 49 to the 31 and followed up with a reverse from Lawless to quarterback Cael Zebrowski to Jake McConnachie for 43 yards to the 16. Riggio followed with a 12-yard touchdown run and it was 20-0 with 7:53 left. The Hillbillies scored later in the half on a 19-yard screen to Riggio.
Second Half: Verona picked up where they left off with Riggio touchdown runs of 3 and 7 yards to make it 41-0 in the third quarter and put the game on a running clock. Both teams made substitutions with the game out of reach.
Summary: Verona dominated Lyndhurst in every phase of the game. Lyndhurst’s Piotr Partyla was limited by an ankle sprain and that affected Lyndhurst, but Verona was going to win and score points, no matter what. Verona’s first drive was a punch in the mouth and they played as if they couldn’t wait to play Lyndhurst after losing to them in the sectional semi-final last year. They dominated up front on offense, with the defense forcing five turnovers and recording a shutout. The offensive line of left tackle Nick Gonzalez, left guard Isaac Skrivanic, center Griffin Jordan, right guard Ryan Stanisci, and right tackle Nick Algieri cleared room for Riggio to gain 150 yards on the ground. Riggio also had five touchdowns: four rushing and one receiving.
For Lyndhurst, it was a fabulous season that ended on a down note. Nonetheless, they have a lot of good things to look back on, winning a sectional title.