Team VH Insider
Demarest vs Ramapo
Game Of The Week
In a game where it looked like the defenses took the night off, Ramapo took a 21-0 first quarter lead and coasted to a 62-35 victory over Demarest Friday night.
“It looks like we scored a lot of points but I felt we had to,” said Ramapo coach Drew Gibbs. “One of the reasons we scored so many points is they have a potent offense. They have a lot of guys back from last year. They’ve got size, they have speed.
“We blew a 21-point lead last week so we didn’t honestly feel any lead was safe and that’s why the score got as high as it did.”
Junior quarterback AJ Wingfield led the way by gaining 216 yards on nine carries and another 134 yards through the air, including a 35-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Max Baker.
“A lot of that stuff is a read play where he has the option of giving the ball to the halfback or keeping it,” said Gibbs. “They were taking the running back away so he kept it for big yards. He’s a very good player. We have a lot of good players, a lot of young players so I’m excited about the future of this team.”
“I have a read on every play,” Wingfield said. “I just have to make the right read. I make a lot of decisions - I was making the right ones tonight. The offensive line did a great job.”
The Raiders grabbed a 7-0 lead when Wingfield scored on a 9-yard quarterback draw to culminate a 70-yard drive on their first offensive possession. Demarest fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Raiders junior Anthony Mirkovic pounced on the loose ball. Wingfield wasted no time hooking up with Baker for the touchdown and Ramapo led 14-0 by scoring twice in 17 seconds. After a 3-and-out by the Norsemen Ramapo scored again. The big play of the drive was a 41-yard pass play from Wingfield to junior running back Shane Brancaleone. Senior kicker Alex DeLeo added his third extra point and the Raiders led 21-0.
But it wasn’t time for Ramapo to celebrate just yet. A week ago Ramapo was ahead of Wayne Hills 21-0 but they lost the game 29-24. The practice week was not fun for the Raiders this past week. “It was hard,” Wingfield said. “We were still all upset from last week. They’re (Demarest) a great team and we knew we had to come in and have a great week. And we did – we executed well. We practice so much that eventually you get the timing down, you get used to it. I love the offense, it’s awesome.”
The Raiders might have become concerned when the Norsemen drove down the field to cut the lead to 21-7 five minutes later. Demarest senior Kevin McCloskey gained 34 yards on four carries and senior quarterback Austin Albericci completed five passes for 42 yards, including a 4-yard toss to McCloskey for the touchdown. But this week would be different. Brancaleone gained six yards but went out with an injury. After Wingfield connected with Baker for 38 yards junior Luke Ragone replaced Brancaleone and ran five straight times and gained 25 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown to boost the lead to 28-7.
“There are two different styles of runners,” said Gibbs. “Shane is a very elusive runner. He’s smaller than Luke, he’s a little quicker. Luke is our power back, he’s a physical guy. You saw he was able to really put together some nice physical runs in the game.”
“Coach likes us both,” Brancaleone said. “I’m more of a shifty, get-around-them [runner]. Luke is big – ground and pound them. It’s a nice switch-up. Luke’s a really good player. The offensive line blocked really well; we all executed very well.”
The Norsemen scored again on a 9-yard throw from Albericci to senior wide receiver Endrit Kaleci to close it to 28-14. Less than a minute later Brancaleone scored, this time on a 50-yard run and Ramapo led, 35-14, heading into halftime. In the first half Ramapo scored on five straight offensive possessions and amassed 308 yards of total offense.
“Sometimes we come out hot and sometimes it takes us a little while to get going,” Brancaleone said. “We could get better at some things. Coaches will coach us up tomorrow and this week.” The teams traded touchdowns throughout most of the second half but Demarest never got closer than 21 the rest of the way. “I think we have a very good team here,” said Gibbs. “We had a great battle with Wayne Hills last week. It was an outstanding game. I challenged our kids to get a little bit better. That’s what we needed to do this week. I thought they did that – they took a big step.”
“We had a couple of turnovers and they went up 21-0 in the first half,” Demarest coach Tony Mottola said.” It’s tough to rebound against them. We tried to get into a track meet with them. Their quarterback is good; they’ve got a good football team. Now we see what type of character we have. We have to rebound and come back with a good week of practice and get back on track. It’s only Week 2 of a long season. It’s a bump in the road.”
Article By JC Baumuller
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