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Dylan Connolly Reflects On Being Quarterback For River Dell Golden Hawks

Dylan Connolly, River Dell (Photo by Brian Carr)

Dylan Connolly, River Dell (Photo by Brian Carr)


Three days after the River Dell Golden Hawks lost their third consecutive playoff game against the Sparta Spartans, Dylan Connolly was back at work in the off-season lifting program preparing for the current, 2015 season.

“We were getting into the mind set of what our people and team was going to be like,” said Dylan Connolly. “A ship of people leave and a new ship comes in. You just have to step up and do all you can in the off-season in order to get your playing time in. We returned a bunch of lineman and as well as running backs and wide receivers is important and having them on the same page.”

Connolly is meticulous when it comes to film study sessions by playing the game over and over in his head before it happens.

“The things I expect are usually how the game goes and progresses,” said Connolly. “I am always ready for what things get in my way.”

In the winter and spring, Connolly plays track and lacrosse. “I am fortunate to have a great track coach in Mike Urso who was the captain of the Duke University football team in the early 1990’s,” said Connolly. “Staying in top shape by making sharp cuts gives me an extra step and hit the floor running once I get into the football season.”

In his final season at River Dell, Connolly has guided the Golden Hawks to a 10-1 record and first Big North Patriot title since 2012. Two weeks ago, River Dell overcame a big hurdle defeating Sparta 28-21 to advance to the North 1, Group 3 championship game vs. Ramapo at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Connolly has rushed for 804 yards and 20 touchdowns plus passed for 353 yards and three scores this season.

“They had our number for the past couple of years and the fact we were able to get by them by making the plays when we needed to says a lot about this team,” said Connolly. “Winning the league title give us something to hang our hat on and something to play for.”

Playing under head coach D.J. Nimphius has been an honor for Connolly as he always looked forward to being coached by him. “He is a heck of a preparer and loves coaching the game with an amount of fire,” said Connolly. “He brings passion to practice which rubs off on us and gives us a personality that helps us out.”

Following in the footsteps of his brother Matt has definitely been cool for Connolly. “Ever since I was a young kid I looked up to my brother on the football field. Watching him on the 2007 team that ripped off 12 wins in a row made me want to experience that same type of feeling.”

Connolly credits players from past Golden Hawks teams’ for getting it started and taking the program where it needed to be in the last 10 to 15 years. “The goal is to play as hard as those guys and get the job done. A legacy and rich tradition that has been built.”

It’s hard for Connolly to put into words how much of an honor it is to play quarterback for River Dell, but he credits past quarterbacks such as Blake Crouch and Garrett Avitabile who were 1st Team All-County and Tim Barnes a Division I QB at Georgetown University plus Brian McGoey. “You try to take something from them growing up and absorb a little bit of knowledge,” said Connolly.

On graduating from River Dell, Connolly says, it will feel good but says you also lose something.

“As long as we are alive the guys you have been battling with on fourth and short on the goal line with always have your back,” said Connolly. The 2015 Golden Hawks team has 17 seniors. “It’s emotional coming through the program as a young kid.”

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Since July of 2014 Sunil Sunder Raj has been with In The Zone. Sunil has experience covering minor league baseball, high school and college sports. A beat writer for the Rockland Boulders for six years, Ramapo College men’s basketball for four years, NJIT men’s basketball and Seton Hall women’s basketball. Now focusing on feature articles about athletes, coaches and sports media professionals. A graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.
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