River Dell 39 Vernon 26
After trailing 14-6 at the half, River Dell took command in the second half to beat Vernon, 39-26, behind four touchdown passes from Jacob Sconza.
First Quarter: Vernon struck first when Gage Moskovitz scored on a 4-yard run, extending the ball over the goal. The score was set up on a 39-yard pass from Derek Lazier to Jon Kowalski that reached the 14.
Second Quarter: River Dell set themselves up on special teams when Golden Hawk defenders tackled the Vernon punter, giving them the ball on Vernon’s 18. Sconza scored from four yards out on the quarterback keeper. Lazier hooked up with Ricky Healy for 36 yards to the 9-yard line and Kowalski scored on a 2-yard run to make it 14-7 with 2:26 left.
Third Quarter: River Dell came out with the ball and scored when Sconza found Max Froonjian for a 50-yard score down the right sideline. The big play setting up the touchdown was a 22-yard pass to Colin Quinn. Vernon drove behind two plays: a 30-yard run by Moskovitz and a 27-yard pass with some trickery as Lazier handed to Kowalski, who passed to Lazier and gave the Vikings a first down on the 12. But on fourth-and-6 on the 8-yard line, Lazier fumbled attempting to escape the pass rush and River Dell recovered. That set up two passes to Quinn, a 45-yarder to the Vernon 42 and a follow-up touchdown of 37 yards to go ahead, 19-14.
Fourth Quarter: Vernon struck early in the quarter when Logan Pych scored on a 5-yard run to put the Vikings in front again, 20-19. River Dell came right back on a 54-yard score from Sconza to Kyle Case. After Vernon punted, River Dell had the ball on Vernon’s 40. Sconza found Ryan Gillies on a pass that gave them first-and-goal on the 2. Sconza then found Will Fletcher on fourth down for the touchdown and held a 33-20 lead. A River Dell interception gave them the ball with five minutes remaining.
Bonus: At that point, I went to Westwood, who was tied with Lakeland, 7-7, late in the third quarter. I thought I could catch the end of a close game. When I parked my car at Westwood, I walked over and heard the PA announce a Westwood touchdown just before I turned the corner of the school building to see the field. That put the Cardinals in front, 21-7 with over six minutes remaining. Westwood was in control and the rest of the game was uneventful.
Summary: River Dell was more effective in the second half, outscoring Vernon, 32-12. Sconza threw for four touchdown passes in the second half and also ran for the lone score of the first half. They simply made more plays in the second half. I thought they had to do something on the opening drive of the second half and their score set the tone for the rest of the game.
Vernon is a good team who played a good, hard game, but River Dell had more in the end. Not scoring when they had a first down on the 12 in the third quarter, followed by the two quick passes by River Dell that resulted in a touchdown changed the game. While they had some nice runs in the game, they were not consistent as River Dell’s defense did a good job.