Pascack Valley is playoff bound

Indians to take on River Dell in first round on Friday

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Ariela Alfonso

The Pascack Valley defense lines up against River Dell in Week 6. The Indians will once again travel to Oradell on Friday to take on River Dell in the first round of the playoffs.

Josh DeLuca, Sports Editor

Pascack Valley will once again play meaningful football in November.

On Sunday afternoon, the NJSIAA announced the playoff brackets and pairings. No. 6 Pascack Valley (3-5) will travel to Oradell on Friday night to take on No. 3 River Dell (6-2) at 6 p.m.

“The regular season is over,” PV head coach Len Cusumano said. “Now everybody is 0-0.”

The Indians came up on the short end of their Week 6 face off against the Hawks, dropping the contest 38-21.  Though River Dell has had Valley’s number in recent years, the Indians have always given the Hawks a run for their money.  Last season, Valley looked poised to upset the eventual state champions, before a last second River Dell touchdown gave them a 22-21 win.  In 2016, River Dell beat the Indians 21-14.

Should Pascack Valley advance, they would likely face some other familiar foes. Paramus, Ramapo, and Demarest are also in the North 1, Group 3 bracket.

The Indians had an up and down regular season, winning three of their first five games, before dropping their final three contests to River Dell, Ramapo, and New Canaan.

“We played some outstanding teams,” Cusumano said of Valley’s regular season. “I think we never backed down, I think our guys played as tough and physical and fast as they can. There were times when we were out matched, there were times when we just didn’t make the plays when our number was called. We gotta just keep getting better.”

Though Pascack Valley showed signs of greatness at different points throughout the season, they’ll have to improve in all three phases of the game if they hope to have an extended November run.

“We have to improve in all facets of the game right now,” Cusumano said. “Maintaining time of possession offensively, when we have our opportunities defensively to make tackles make sure we’re there and we’re executing, special teams not turning over the ball [and] gaining proper field position.”

2018 marks the first year under a new playoff system for the NJSIAA. Prior to the season, New Jersey sport’s governing body announced that they were doing away with the traditional power point system that had been used to determine playoff teams.  Now, the NJSIAA is using a ratio called the United Power Rating (UPR), a composite of power points and a computer rating known as the Born Power Index, to determine playoff seedings.

The traditional North 1, North 2, Central, and South designations are also things of the past. This year, teams were placed into North and South sections with the top 16 UPR teams from each making the playoffs.  Then, the 16 schools in each section were ranked based on their geographical location. The eight teams furthest north comprise North 1, while the other eight comprise North 2. The same methodology was applied in the south.

For complete New Jersey playoff seedings and groupings, click here.