Indians set to face first test against Paramus

Valley has not started 3-0 since 2015


Matt Austin

Seniors Stephen Begen (2) and Jake Williams (44) line up in the backfield behind Chase Rickert (74). The Indians' offense has scored an impressive 69 points through two weeks thus far

Spencer Goldstein, Sports Editor

Pascack Valley vs Paramus

When: Friday Sept. 20, 6 p.m.

Where: Pascack Valley High School

Current Records:

Pascack Valley: 2-0

Paramus: 1-1

Pascack Valley will host the Paramus Spartans on Friday night as it looks to stay undefeated, coming in at 2-0 following a 42-14 trouncing of Dwight Morrow last week. The Indians have looked strong in all aspects of the game so far this season, outscoring their opponents a combined 69-14 through two weeks.

Coached by Joe Sabella, Paramus poses as Valley’s toughest competitor yet. After going 10-1 last year, which included a 48-14 throttling of PV, the Spartans are led by a dynamic duo of senior playmakers out of the backfield: quarterback Trevor Bopp and running back Kyle Jacob, who were both named to the 2018 All-Bergen County 1st team offense, as voted upon by the Bergen County Coaches Association. The two combined for 378 rushing yards and five touchdowns in the team’s 40-13 win over Mahwah last week, and containing Paramus’ explosive offense will be key for Valley if its to earn its third win of the year.

“Just play solid defense,” head coach Len Cusumano said. “We have to tackle well, play mistake-free, make sure we’re following our rules, and just stay focused.”

Valley’s pass rush showed out in the team’s victory last week, putting constant pressure on Dwight Morrow quarterback Jalen Hoyle. Sophomore Steven Demboski led the charge with three sacks for the Indians, and a repeat performance by the defensive line against a Paramus offensive line that graduated all five of its 2018 starters would serve as a huge boost for Valley in containing the dual-threat Bopp. 

While the Spartans were running all over Mahwah, the Indians found success of their own on the ground last week. Valley ran for five touchdowns, with four coming from senior Jake Williams, who also tacked on 86 yards rushing. Senior Kamiab Eshagipour and juniors Desmond Von Tobel and Mike Solazzo pitched in too, as Valley’s offensive line had its way with Dwight Morrow’s defense. Cusumano said that it’s important for the offense to “identify, react and respond” to what Paramus’ defense shows them at the line of scrimmage, as well as showcase “great communication along the offensive line.”

After starting the season with back-to-back victories, the Indians don’t plan on preparing for Paramus any differently than they approached Roxbury and Dwight Morrow.

“There’s no difference [in preparation],” Cusumano said. “We have to continue to make sure we’re consistent in practice, play mistake-free, [and stay] focused on our jobs, our rules and our responsibilities during practice week. Every week is a big game for us because it’s our next game, no matter who it is. Our guys will be ready to go.”