The Smoke Signal

Ramapo offense too much for Valley defense

Indians shutout Raiders in second half, can't capitalize

The+Indians+run+through+a+banner+and+take+the+field+in+Friday%27s+game+against+Ramapo.
The Indians run through a banner and take the field in Friday's game against Ramapo.

The Indians run through a banner and take the field in Friday's game against Ramapo.

Curstine Guevarra

Curstine Guevarra

The Indians run through a banner and take the field in Friday's game against Ramapo.

Josh DeLuca, Sports Writer

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There’s a belief among some that trying is all that matters. Tell that to Pascack Valley. Try and try as they may, the Indians just didn’t have an answer for Ramapo (2-2) after Friday’s 28-12 loss at home. For PV (0-4) it didn’t come down to trying, or a lack thereof, but rather failure to execute.

“I thought that we did improve today, not necessarily by the score, but just in our general effort,” Valley’s head coach Len Cusumano said after the game.

On Friday night, the weather at Pascack Valley was less than desirable, with a light mist falling from the opening kickoff.  While the turf field prevented sloppy playing conditions, the Indians could not prevent Ramapo’s offense from executing in the first half.

Ramapo’s third play from scrimmage, quarterback Tommy Jaten hit wide receiver Noah Baker for a short completion which turned into 69 yard touchdown to put the Raiders up 7-0.  This lead was one that Ramapo would never relinquish.

Before Valley could even blink, they were in a 21-0 hole, following two touchdown runs from senior running back Michael Kowal.  Kowal finished the night with 96 rushing yards on 17 carries.

After allowing 4 touchdowns and 232 all-purpose yards in the first half, Valley’s defense looked flustered. Jaten completed 10 of his 12 first half passing attempts for 168 yards.

Luckily for the Indians, the first and second halves were night and day on the defensive side of the ball.  Valley shutout the Raiders in the second half, limiting them to 69 yards of total offense.  

However, Ramapo’s lead was insurmountable for the decimated PV offense, which saw two fourth quarter opportunities, an interception by Tyler DiLorenzo, and a fumble recovery by DiLorenzo, squandered by a failure to execute.

“We just couldn’t get the ball rolling after turnovers that we caused,” Cusumano said.

With key elements of the passing attack, such as receivers Matt Novakowski and Kyle Alvarado, sidelined due to injuries, the Indians leaned heavily on the run.  However, the absence of vital weapons for sophomore signal caller Joe Campagna did not play a role in Valley’s play calling.

“The run game is always going to be a part of what we do,” Cusumano said.

Senior running back Jack Jankowsky was also not in action on Friday due to an injury.  As he has done in all of the games thus far for the Indians, Matt Urrea rushed for over 100 yards.  Urrea took all 37 carries for 175 yards, and accounted for both of Valley’s touchdowns.  Cusumano had high praise for Urrea.

“I thought Matt Urrea did an unbelievable job tonight.  Matt’s the ironman of our team.  He does anything that you ask. He is one of the toughest players in Bergen County.”

Campagna completed 5 of his 12 passes for 23 yards, and 2 interceptions.

However, Cusumano did not use the injuries as an excuse for the ineffective offense.  “Our next guy up personality is always going to come into play,” Cusumano explained.

Pascack Valley will look for their younger and more inexperienced players to step up next Friday, when the Indians host Wayne Hills at 6pm. Last year, Valley emerged victorious with a 23-20 win.

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Ramapo offense too much for Valley defense