Valley football to resume play in Demarest

Previous two games cancelled due to COVID

Noah Silver, Assistant Sports Editor

Coming off a blowout 34-8 win against Bergenfield, Valley will look to improve its record to above .500 when it travels to Demarest Saturday morning to take on the Norsemen. Throughout the past five years, the two teams have played a total of five times. Valley has won four of those games, including a 41-0 punishing in the first round of the playoffs last season.

This year is unlike any other as Pascack Valley High School has been closed for the past two weeks due to multiple positive COVID-19 cases from individuals at the school, not allowing the football team to get practice in. On the contrary, Demarest has been in school and able to practice, thus providing them with more time to prepare for the game.

“We’re not practicing [so obviously it’s a big deal], but we have to stay mentally sharp, stay as physically prepared as we can possibly be with online workouts, and make sure everyone is doing the right things in their off-time,” coach Len Cusumano said.

Although Valley’s last game will have been played three weeks before its matchup with Demarest, the team is still looking to ride that momentum to a 2-1 record despite having limited time to prepare.

“We did a great job in our last game at Bergenfield, we need to build on that going into this week,” Cusumano said. “We can’t take anything for granted, these are the cards we have been dealt as far as playing with only two days of practice.”

Valley’s defeat of Bergenfield was largely a result of stellar play from its defense – including senior David Jones, who came away with three interceptions. The unit came up with five turnovers as a whole – two of which led to points on the other end.

“Whenever we get the football back to our offense and gain time of possession, it’s always crucial,” Cusumano said. “The secondary did a great job causing some coughs, turnovers and some interceptions during our last game.”

Cusumano stressed the importance of remaining disciplined on the defensive end following the team’s multi-week intermission.

“We need to tackle well coming off this two week hiatus,” Cusumano said. “We [also] need to make sure we are improving on [our] fundamentals this week and once again taking [the] positives from our last game into this game.”

Demarest’s defense averages over 24 points per game, something that Valley will look to capitalize on.

Offensively, the Norsemen are led by junior signal caller Andrew Argenziano, who comes in with 561 passing yards this year to go along with six total touchdowns and five interceptions.

“They have some big guys on both the offensive and defensive sides,” Cusumano said. “They also have their quarterback who is a two-time starter and a big guy who has a very strong arm.”

Junior Michael Mai leads the way on the ground, totalling 314 rushing yards on almost 4.2 yards per carry. The offense also boasts three receiving threats who have already eclipsed 100 yards on the season in Lincoln Sorenson (11 receptions, 190 yards, 1 touchdown), Sean Vadis (9 receptions, 187 yards, 2 touchdowns) and Karan Khemlani (17 receptions, 137 yards, 2 touchdowns). 

“They have some weapons that can really hurt us,” Cusumano said. “We got to make sure our guys are in the best position possible to make plays.”

Valley’s offense broke out in the team’s win in Bergenfield, scoring five total touchdowns en route to victory. Quarterback Zach Traina had the best game of his young varsity career, accounting for two touchdown passes and no turnovers. Senior running back Mike Solazzo added two touchdowns of his own, while junior running back Nick Messina scored once.

As Valley football gets ready to resume play, Cusumano understands that each game can be the team’s last.

“Any games moving forward for this time on are going to be a huge bonus,” Cusumano said. “We know that at any point, at any time, we can have our games paused.”