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Paramus stays unbeaten after 20-13 win against River Dell

In the fourth installment of “The Battle of Midland Ave.” between the Paramus Spartans and River Dell Golden Hawks at River Dell High School in Oradell on Friday Night, Paramus was not only trying to raise the trophy sign for the first time in the series but extend their undefeated season to 8-0.


Entering the second half tied at 7-7, the Spartans were ignited by senior quarterback Trevor Bopp, offensive line and secondary. With River Dell going on offense first in the third quarter, defensive back Matthew Ivanicki picked off Golden Hawks quarterback Mike Sirico and returned the ball to the River Dell 47-yard line. Bopp engineered an 11-play drive that resulted in Bopp plowing straight ahead for a five yard score with 7:07 left.


“The offensive line knew it had a tough game with great linebackers and defensive line from River Dell and would have to open up holes, said Bopp” “It would be grinding out four or five yards every plays and we did that”


On River Dell’s ensuing possession, it was Spartans defensive back Steven Prado turn in picking off Golden Hawks quarterback Jack Gillies. Bopps went back to work through the air and ground, aided also by the senior running back Kyle Jacob who ran 30 times for 65 yards churning out yardage in a 13-play drive that chewed up plenty of clock.


Accounting for 168 all-purpose yards including one passing score, Bopp tacked on his second touchdown of the game pushing his way across goal line from the three-yard line with 20 seconds remaining. However the extra point attempt failed leaving the score at 20-7 Paramus. The Golden Hawks refused to go away quietly as Gilles orchestrated an 11-play drive of his own in the fourth quarter including converting a critical fourth and 10 play at the River Dell 49. Once again the interception bug bit the Golden Hawks with Paramus defensive back Sean Marazzo swooping in for the pick. The Spartans were unable to take advantage of the turnover having to punt the ball away.


With Mike Sirco back under center, it took the Golden Hawks seven plays and less than two minutes to cut into the lead as Sirico scrambled down the right sidelines for a 15-yard touchdown run with 3:47 left. A botched extra point left the score at 20-13. Attempting to run out the clock, the Spartans were unable to accomplish that goal punting the ball away.


Left with 1:24 on the clock and at their own 39, the Golden Hawks swiftly moved downfield as Sirico gained 27 yards on the ground. With the game hanging in the balance, it was senior linebacker Matthew Amato that sealed the victory stripping Sirico of the ball on the pass attempt while senior defensive lineman Josh Ferro pounced on the ball for the recovery.


Paramus Head Coach Joe Sabella on the win, “River Dell(6-2) is one of the top public schools in New Jersey and we knew that coming in and nothing bus respect for them” “They are a two-time state champion in Group 3 and we knew if we wanted to be in that conversation that we have to win” “We have a senior led team and seniors that really stepped up in crunch time” “For the past two years they have been sending us home early in the playoffs, we’re proud to do it away and want the big prize and it means everything for our fans to come here and celebrate with us and proud I can give the town and community something to smile about after a hard tragedy”


“Our defensive coaches work tirelessly, all have families and sacrifice to coach and did an unbelievable job” “The kids bought into the plan, executed and we got it done” “I knew we had a lot of seniors, talent and in the off-season all about hard-work, buying into the our system and culture and discipline” “They bought in, worked hard and reaping the benefits” “The seniors had a chip on their shoulder, young guys following their lead and proud of what they have accomplished” “8-0 is good but you go in the first or second round of playoffs you kind of forget about that”


“A lot of the conversation starts with Trevor and Kyle but the black sheep is the offensive line” “They are the ones that start everything for us, in practice they way they conduct themselves and it’s a solidified unit and deserve all the credit”

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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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