Wednesday Morning Quarterback: Indians have room for improvement

Following 48-14 loss, Pascack Valley looks to rebound

Josh DeLuca, Sports Editor

On the defensive side of the ball, the Indians struggled to stop the fast-paced Paramus offense, which put up 48 points on the board.  The Indians have struggled to stop dual-threat quarterbacks, like the Spartans’ Trevor Bopp, in the past and the trend continued this week.  PV will need to remedy this weak spot in the coming weeks as Demarest, Old Tappan, River Dell, and Ramapo have run similar offensive styles in the past.

“We tackled very, very poorly,” PV head coach Len Cusumano said.  “We just didn’t get the job done.

Pascack Valley lost the turnover battle against Paramus, fumbling twice in key situations.  After falling down 14-0 early in the first quarter, Jake Williams fumbled on the first play of the Indians’ second drive.  In the second quarter, quarterback Stephen Begen was sacked deep in PV’s own territory and coughed up the football, allowing a Paramus defender to return it for a touchdown.  Defensively, Valley has yet to produce a turnover in the 2018 campaign.

The Indians’ have been involved in blowouts in each of their first two games of the season. Though it doesn’t always make for the most interesting football, it has given Valley the opportunity to give some of their younger players some playing time, especially a group of young running backs. Sophomore Mike Solazzo has been the leader of the pack, rushing for 40 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries, while fellow sophomore Sean Cuffe has rushed for 22 yards and a touchdown. Shane Cubala and Desmond Von Tobel have also seen action.

“[We have some] really, really good running backs that we [have] no problem putting into a game,” Cusumano said. “Guys that have shown that they can handle the ball.”

One bright spot for the Indians thus far this season has been the play of junior signal caller Begen.  He has completed 19 of his 30 attempts for 176 yards for a touchdown. He has yet to throw an interception. Last year, in six games, he completed just 31 of 64 passes for 247 yards, while throwing 10 interceptions.

On Friday, Pascack Valley will travel to Demarest for its second of three-straight road contests.  Demarest enters play at 1-2 with its lone win coming against Pascack Hills. In recent years, the Indians have had mixed success against the Norsemen – a 48-42 shootout win in 2016 and a 35-0 blowout loss last year.