This was a game where Greg Toal would remind someone, “when we miss the extra point, it’s like we didn’t even score!” And that’s how today’s game went, with both teams scoring three touchdowns each. But Ramapo made all of its extra points and Sparta missed all of them. Therefore, Ramapo won, 21-18.
Ramapo came out firing on all cylinders, scoring on their first drive in just five plays – three passes and two runs. They made it look easy, as Ed Norton would say, “zip-zip!” The Raiders then recovered a fumble and scored on the next play when AJ Wingfield found Noah Baker for a 13-yard score, making it 14-0, eighty seconds into the game.
Unfortunately, Baker was hurt on the play, as his ankle or leg gave way, being taken off in an ambulance and the game changed after that.
Sparta settled down, getting on the board when Eric Castorina crashed into the end zone from the 1-yard line to make it 14-6. Ramapo came back when Wingfield found Luca Ragone for a 47-yard touchdown over the middle with seven minutes left in the half. The Raiders looked like they needed one more score to put the game out of reach and their next possession began on the Sparta 46. That chance was halted when Ryan Richardson intercepted on Sparta’s 11, stripping the ball from the Ramapo receiver.
Sparta narrowed the gap when Kenny Oelkers found Will Cisko for a 7-yard touchdown, but missed the extra point. With the score, 21-12, the PA announcer made mention the score was the title of Rush’s popular album, 2112. Sparta’s drive featured the hard running of Eric Castorina and then the Spartans stopped a Ramapo drive Nick Broccoletti intercepted the ball, landing on his back on their own 18.
Sparta narrowed the gap when Castorina scored from eleven yards out, but failed on the point after, making it 21-18 with five minutes left. Ramapo kept the ball, running out the clock to hang on for a 21-18 win.
It was a tale of two games: Ramapo scoring two quick touchdowns and then the rest of the game. Something changed when Noah Baker was injured and Sparta settled down. The Spartans showed resiliency and hung around, keeping Ramapo from blowing the game wide open.
It was good to come back to one of the better places to see a game, with close fan proximity and mountains overlooking each end zone. A nice grass field adds to the atmosphere, but this may be the last year with the present field, with field turf in the future plans. They also had an interesting mix of music over the PA, with tunes from both Joe Satriani and Triumph.