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Paramus remain undefeated after dramatic 35-34 overtime win against Ridgewood

Paramus Spartans Head Football Coach Joe Sabella said in his postgame speech to the players, “It’s not easy but it will be worth it, all the doubles, gassers, screaming and yelling. You continue to break records, work hard, don’t be satisfied and this ride doesn’t end here. This is just another chapter in our book and story”


Entering Friday night’s contest undefeated at 5-0 against arch rival Ridgewood, the Maroons had won the past four out of five meetings. The last time Paramus had better record than Ridgewood was in 2013.


The Spartans got off to a fantastic start leading 21-0 at halftime, including a 12-play 80-yard drive that chewed up 4:29 of the clock on the opening drive and culminated in a one-yard score from quarterback Trevor Bopp (14 for 16, 116 yards passing, 22 rushes for 165 yards). In the second quarter Bopp made it 14-0, bursting through the line for a 46-yard touchdown run. With less than four minutes remaining in the first half, Bopp connected to a two-yard scoring pass to Brandon Dell Colle.


“21-0 lead, you’re feeling pretty confident but playing against Ridgewood (3-2)  but knowing Coach Johnson is not going to give up and give it you”, Sabella said.


That is what the Maroons exactly did as quarterback Will Mollihan (13 for 19, 242 yards 3 TD’s,1 INT) started to heat up, airing out a 47-yard bomb to wide receiver Tommy Bourque with about two minutes left in the third quarter. After Ridgewood’s defense forced a quick three and out, Mollihan orchestrated a 7-play 72-yard drive that resulted in a nine-yard touchdown run from Will Cardew early into the fourth quarter.


The back and forth action continued as it just took 2:21 for Paramus to respond, directing a 7-play 70-yard down the field with bulk of plays coming on the ground as Bopp and running back Kyle Jacob (19 carries for 96 yards) took turns running the ball. On first and goal from the 17, Jacob steamrolled through the line carrying defenders into the end zone.


After a solid kickoff return by Jacob to the 36-yard line, it just took six plays for the Maroons to answer back. On third and nine at the Spartans 37-yard line, Mollihan rifled a pass into a bunch of players but Bourque (8 catches for 180 yards) ripped the ball away sprinting to the end zone.


Attempting to string together a long drive that took time off the clock, Paramus managed to accomplish that goal running the ball. Bopp completed a key 11-yard pass on third and six to wide receiver Steven Prado. However, the drive stalled at the Ridgewood 48-yard line.


After a short 23-yard punt by Justin McKeon, Mollihan had 1:21 to work with what turned out to be ample time. First, completing a 35-yard pass to Gabe Santiago. Mollihan and Cardew gained meaningful yardage on the ground placing the ball at the Paramus three-yard line. Rolling out of the pocket, Mollihan found a wide-open Cardew for the tying score with 21 seconds left.


With Ridgewood deferring on the coin toss in overtime, the Spartans wasted no time retaking the lead as Bopp heaved a 19-yard touchdown pass to McKeon. Ridgewood refused to throw in the white towel as Mollihan rumbled 21 yards to pay dirt. However, placekicker James Hogan missed the extra point setting off a jubilant celebration at midfield with players and fans.


“I’m so happy we won, probably our biggest game so far with our arch rival Ridgewood, said Bopp. We knew we had to play hard and gave it everything we got. We knew we had to score and put the pressure on them and we did that. The offensive line protected and blocked for me the whole game. We knew Ridgewood would have an answer for everything we did and kept scoring but we just kept grinding”


“This is for the town of Paramus, for out senior class and youth, said Sabella. Our offense runs through Trevor and Kyle, a one-two punch and Kyle pound for pound for a fantastic runner and knew Trevor would be special when he was young and luckily came faster than we thought”


“I thought we could be good, 6-0 and looking at our schedule a pleasant surprise. These kids put in the time, work and bought into the system and paid off”

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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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