Golden boys: Old Tappan gets much-needed win
Old Tappan, staring at the possibility of missing the playoffs one year after falling in the sectional finals, was feeling the pressure. But in the Golden Knights' biggest game of the season up to this point, they were as cool as ever.
Keith Rodman recorded two of his three touchdowns in the first quarter, Andrew Dobitsch caught two scores from an aching Devin Fuller and Old Tappan cruised past Wayne Valley, 34-14, on Thursday evening.
"It was huge," said Dobitsch, whose team improved to 2-3. "We put ourselves in a big hole and we've struggled, but every game is a playoff game now. We now have to do what we have to do."
The showdown was live-streamed exclusively on MSGVarsity.com. Fuller, a prized Division I recruit who has been hampered by a hamstring injury, helped the Golden Knights thrive in a must-win situation.
"It was good to get in the win column tonight," Fuller said. "It's do-or-die. It's all or nothing now. We have to keep that mindset."
Rodman, who finished with 101 yards on 25 carries, opened the scoring with a 6-yard touchdown run with 5:27 remaining in the first and followed up with a 4-yard scamper three minutes later to give Old Tappan a 13-0 lead.
Dobitsch caught a 4-yard scoring strike from Fuller midway through the ensuing quarter, following a 31-yard catch by Ben Davis and a 13-yarder from Travis Procida.
In the third, Dobitsch notched another 4-yard touchdown, while Rodman pulled down a 2-point conversion pass after a fake kick to inflate the advantage to 27-0 with 5:44 left. Rodman punched in his third score with 34 seconds on the clock.
"We'll enjoy this for 24 hours and then get ready for next week," Dobitsch said.
Old Tappan began the season with setbacks against Pascack Valley, which has emerged as a championship contender, and Paramus, a surprise team in its own right.
After cruising past Indian Hills for their first victory since the sectional semifinals on November 25, 2010 in Week 3, the Golden Knights fell to Paramus Catholic last weekend.
Now, they hope to jumpstart another playoff push months after falling to Wayne Hills in the North 1 Group 3 title game.
Alex Trani and Luke Primerano scored fourth-quarter touchdowns for Wayne Valley, which fell for the third straight week after starting 2-0.
Contact Brian Fitzsimmons at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @FitzWriter