River Dell 39 Pascack Valley 27
River Dell jumped out to a two-touchdown lead and found ways to score whenever Pascack Valley would close the gap to win 39-27, improving their record to 4-1.
First Quarter: Gabriel Case intercepted for River Dell on the game’s third play, giving the Hawks the ball on the Valley 25 and Jake Sconza found Ryan Gillies over the middle for a 13-yard touchdown.
Second Quarter: River Dell extended their lead to 13-0 when Sconza sneaked in from the 1-yard line less than one minute into the quarter. On their next possession, a low snap forced the Valley defense to tackle the punter deep in River Dell territory. The team formerly known as the Indians scored shortly after that when Nick Messina rumbled up the middle for a 12-yard score, making it 13-7 with under four minutes left. River Dell came right back as Sconza found Colin Quinn for 47 yards and Gillies in the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown. It was Valley’s turn when Ethan Silcher found Messina for a 34-yard score to make it 19-14 with eleven seconds left.
Third Quarter: River Dell extended their lead when Sconza found Kyle Case in the left corner of the end zone on a fade. The Hawks offense had a short field on that drive after forcing a Valley punt and a return to the 19. Sconza hooked up with Gillies for a third time, this one a 49-yard touchdown, making it 32-14. Valley came down the field behind the running of Messina and Silcher threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Dylan Hutchinson with a little over a minute left.
Fourth Quarter: On Valley’s second possession of the quarter, they were faced with a fourth down on their 21. Their pass to Messina lost yardage and River Dell had the ball on the 17 with approximately four minutes left. After a first-and-goal on the 5, Sconza scored from the one with two minutes left. Messina scored from two yards out on the game’s final play.
Summary: Sconza threw four touchdown passes and ran for two; three of those passes were to Gillies. They have been without the services of running back Will Fletcher for much of the season and ran out of an empty backfield for good portions of the game, making them throw more than usual. Fletcher is expected to return in the next few weeks.
Pascack Valley had their moments and were led by Messina and lineman Steven Demboski. Messina was a bull running through the River Dell defense, but that did not happen until the second quarter after River Dell jumped out to a 13-0 lead. The first quarter hurt – their first four possessions ended in an interception, two three-and-out punts, and a four-and-out punt. Their passing game struggled for good portions of the game and wasn’t enough to complement Messina.