Valley falls to Golden Knights in defensive battle

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BJ McGrane

Pascack Valley fell to Old Tappan by a score of 14-7 Friday night at home. PV is now 2-2 on the season.

Noah Silver, Assistant Sports Editor

Coming off back-to-back team wins, Valley fell short to its rival, Old Tappan, by a score of 14-7 at home Friday night. OT has come out on top of the last six meetings between the two teams. This time around, Valley’s defense kept the game close – however, a late touchdown run by quarterback Charlie Amatrula sealed the victory for Old Tappan.

“Our defense was outstanding,” head coach Len Cusumano said. “I thought we were in a great position to make plays. We were physical [and] we gave our offense the best chance possible to get back on the field.”

Pascack Valley’s defense continued to thrive in its effort to slow down OT’s offense, allowing two scores or less in its third straight game. The Golden Knights got into the end zone on their first drive on a touchdown pass from Amatrula to Daniel Rivera, and didn’t return until late in the fourth quarter on Amatrula’s rushing score to take the lead.

Valley kept Amatrula in check for most of the game, even shutting him down on three consecutive rushing attempts late in the first half to force a three-and-out for Old Tappan, setting up PV’s only score of the night.

Trailing by seven, Valley got the ball back in the last minute of the first half. With under two seconds to go, senior quarterback Zach Traina fired up a prayer into the endzone, which was brought down by senior Mike Supple as time expired for a 35-yard touchdown to tie the game. 

“[Supple] got there and made a play,” Cusumano said. “We needed something at that point and he came through for us.”

Even though PV’s defense was able to contain the Golden Knights offense, mishaps for Valley proved costly down the stretch.

Following a 30-yard completion to junior Dylan Hutchinson to set Valley up at OT’s 29 yard line, Old Tappan came away with its second interception to halt Valley’s momentum.

“You can’t turnover the ball that many times to a team like this,” Cusumano said.

Perhaps the biggest turning point came in the fourth quarter, as PV mishandled a punt deep in its own territory, allowing Old Tappan to gain possession already in the red zone. Amatrula and the Golden Knights capitalized, punching it in to give OT a late lead.

“[We] have to go back and practice [and make sure we] don’t drop the ball,” Cusumano said. “We’re not going to blame it on anyone. It’s a team effort – we’re going to get back to practice on Monday and get back to work.”

With the win, the Golden Knights improve to 3-3, while PV falls to 2-2. Valley will host River Dell next week, who PV narrowly defeated 20-19 last year to win the Patriot Gold League Championship.

“[Each player has to] just get back to work, work harder than the guy [he is] playing against, get back at the weights harder, run harder, compete harder in practice, and just continue working on the little things.” Cusumano said.