River Dell crushes Teaneck 49-0 on Senior Night
Back on the winning track with a 23-6 victory over Bergenfield, the River Dell Golden Hawks (6-2) returned home to face off against the Teaneck Highwaymen (1-7) at River Dell High School. Marking the final home game of the 2021 regular season but, more importantly, honoring 16 seniors on the team in a pre-game ceremony.
On a cool and partly cloudy fall night, there was plenty of electricity with the stands mostly packed and fans standing on the outside perimeter of the football field. One by one, each senior introduced, coming out with their family, and having a picture taken under a balloon arch with the Golden Hawks colors of black and gold.
Bucking the trend of entering from the southern end of the end zone, the players walked down the traditional pathway from the locker room to the field. Coming out to the tune of AC/DC song Hells Bells, the players burst through the River Dell Hawks banner and second banner held by the cheerleaders onto the field. Before kickoff, the group Hawkapella( all River Dell students in the music program) did a phenomenal job singing the National Anthem.
Senior offensive/defensive lineman Aidan Cochran on the preparation for the game and pre-game festivities. "It was amazing, my parents' have sacrificed so much for me to play football and that picture just captured all the time and hustle they spent and just not all about me."
Senior wide receiver/defensive back Nolan Gilmour on the pre-game ceremony honoring the senior class. "It was really special for me, my parents' have helped me so much throughout the years, getting me to off-season lifts at 5 a.m. when they didn't have to, did the extra things to help me where I am today especially with football, and I can't thank them enough and meant a lot to me to go out there with them."
"I was like, wow, this is the last regular-season game we're going to play together, and I feel as though I'm not ready to accept that." "The support from the crowd meant a lot to me; its cool football is one of those sports you get that big of a crowd, and everyone wants to go out there and watch." To see all those kids up there chanting the seniors' names. Having them come out every week is a special thing.
After a scoreless first quarter, the River Dell offense got into a rhythm early in the second quarter. Junior running back Max Froonjian ripped off a 12-yard run to start the drive. Entering the game throwing over 2,000 yards and 18 touchdowns, junior quarterback Jake Sconza completed a pair of passes that advanced the ball into Highwaymen territory.
A personal foul assessed against the Teaneck defense moved the ball down to the 14-yard line. Jake Sconza took the handoff on first and ten and burst through a sea of players for a 12-yard gain. Sconza plowed through on the next play for the score with 9:31 left, keeping the ball on the ground.
The Golden Hawk's defense came up with a clutch turnover on third down on the ensuing Teaneck offensive possession. Senior linebacker John Magliula e a fumble at the Highwaymen 35-yard line.
Moving quickly into the red zone due to a pass interference call assessed against the Teaneck defense, the River Dell offense went back in reverse due to three straight penalties.
However, that did not rattle quarterback Jake Sconza as he took the snap in shotgun formation, pumping once and then airing out a 31-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Nolan Gilmour in stride down the right side of the field.
"Nolan and I were talking before the game and he wanted a touchdown on senior night," Jake Sconza explained. "He was due for one, him and Colin(Quinn) had a nice switch out on the right side and I hit him in stride for the touchdown."
Nolan Gilmour on the touchdown, "That was definitely a special moment, Jake and I talked before the game and he told me he was going to find me." "When you have kid back there who's willing to get you the ball and he is a great kid on and off the field." He threw a nice ball right in stride, and I just walked right into the end zone and a great call by Coach(DJ)Nimphius.
Wreaking havoc on the Teaneck offense, the Golden Hawk's defense rose to the occasion with John Magliula recovering his second fumble of the game at the Highwaymen 36-yard line.
Aidan Cochran on the recent play of John Magliula and defense, "Johnny has been playing amazing lately." "Our defense has been tremendous, and the players are coming together."
The past couple of games, the River Dell running game struggled, but, on this night, the offensive line paved the way for Jake Sconza and running backs to gain meaningful yards. Junior running back Andrew Spano gashing through for a six-yard run. On third down and six at the 30-yard line, Jake Sconza e down the left side for a 25-yard run.
"Before the season the lineman were the underdogs and nobody believed in them, "Jake Sconza described. "I needed to believe in them because they are my friends and need to protect me and I have so much trust that I can be all day back there and the big plays happened."
On second and goal from the two-yard line, another senior got to enjoy the limelight on this night in running back Cavan Hughes taking the handoff from Jake Sconza and barreling through line standing up for the score.
Not stepping off the gas pedal, the Golden Hawks defense forced the Teaneck offense into a quick three-and-out. A short punt resulted in the River Dell offense with excellent starting field position at the Highwaymen 27-yard line with a minute in change remaining.
On first and goal at the eight-yard line, Jake Sconza taking the snap in shotgun formation, lofted a pass to senior wide receiver Colin Quinn in the left corner of the end zone, widening the Golden Hawks lead to 28-0 with 34 seconds left. Coming into this game, Quinn led the team with 55 receptions and over 800 receiving yards.
In the third quarter, Jake Sconza connected with another familiar target in senior wide receiver Kyle Case. He led the team with nine touchdowns while second on the team with 531 receiving yards. At the Teaneck 10-yard line, Scoza rolled out of the pocket and unleashed a strike to Case in the back corner of the end zone.
The River Dell defense displayed no signs of letting up, forcing the Highwaymen offense into another three-and-out. On the ensuing Golden Hawks offensive possession, senior Ryan Gillies filled in for Jake Sconza. Gillies utilized his speed on the ground gaining 12 yards on two running plays. Max Froonjian added a 12-yard run to move the ball down to the 18-yard line.
In the middle of the field, Jake Sconza, back under center on first and ten, took the snap and threw a laser pass to Colin Quinn. Quinn reeled in the catch and raced into the right corner of the end zone, untouched with three minutes to go.
"Kyle made a tremendous play on the ball, he got in the back corner of the end zone and jumped up," Jake Sconza noted. "On Colin's touchdown we ran that play earlier in the game, I missed Colin and knew Coach(DJ Nimphius) wanted to come back with that play and Colin was coming across the field and I threw it right behind the defensive lineman and Colin made a great catch."
Cementing the dominant win on this night was the Golden Hawks special teams unit. The Highwaymen punting from their 37-yard line, junior linebacker Scott Sybel busted through the line and blocked the punt. The ball bounced up high into the air, Max Froonjian scooping up the ball at the 17-yard line and returning for the score that set off a jubilant celebration in the end zone.
Aidan Cochran on the win, "We had an amazing game, a good way to commemorate the senior class and hopefully we can move on and become an even better team." "We all love playing with each other and wanted to finish it off with a bang." This field symbolizes all the hard work in the practices, and where we have grown as people, we learned so many lessons and created many close bonds together.
Next up for River Dell is the 2021 regular-season finale and inaugural Battle of Midland Ave. against Paramus(2-6) on Friday, October 29th at 6:00 p.m. at Paramus High School. The Golden Hawks emerged victorious with the Midland Ave. Trophy/Sign the past two years.
Nolan Gilmour on the keys to a victory, "We're going to have to practice, be focused and stay locked in what we are doing." "We need to be in that right mindset and just want to get better every single week."
Jake Sconza, on the upcoming match-up vs. Paramus, "Playing Paramus that is right down the road, it's going to be an awesome environment and a lot of people are going to be there."