Moreno, DePaul shut down Paramus
DePaul is on a mission to enter its program’s name in the upper echelon of Non-Public powerhouses in the Garden State. To get there, though, the Spartans will have to endure a grueling schedule against the top teams from around the area.
Check one test off the list.
Running back Joe Moreno rushed for three of his four touchdowns in the first half and DePaul got off to a hot start in their season-opening, 33-0 victory over Paramus on Friday evening in an MSGVarsity.com Livecast showdown.
The Spartans controlled the tempo from the start, thanks to tremendous play by the defensive and offensive lines.
"A lot of people said that our offensive line graduated everyone and had no varsity experience, but this is the best line I've had," said Moreno, who finished with 220 yards. "They're the most athletic I've ever been around. They love to compete and that's what makes us great."
At first glance, DePaul’s 2012 schedule is arguably the toughest in the state. Coach John McKenna’s team is slated to take on No. 13 Paramus Catholic, No. 1 Don Bosco Prep, No. 14 Pascack Valley and No. 2 Bergen Catholic consecutively after Week 1.
The Spartans, who opened No. 15 in the MSG Varsity New Jersey preseason power rankings, will then host Old Tappan and Tenafly before taking on No. 3 St. Joseph Regional.
"We might have the toughest schedule in the state, but we're here," Moreno said. "Don't overlook us. We're just doing the best we can, and we have so much heart, so we can overcome adversity."
If they can come away with some surprise victories in that span, another deep playoff run is in order. Last season, DePaul fell to Immaculata in the Non-Public Group 3 bracket, but with the Central Jersey juggernaut moving down to Group 2 in the wake of the state’s realignment, a shot at St. Joe’s in the final could be in the cards.
Obviously, Red Bank Catholic and Delbarton are clear threats to derail that plan, but that’s not on the Spartans’ minds now. McKenna and company will take a one-game-at-a-time approach, one that should prove to be fruitful for the talented bunch.
It sure worked on this night. Moreno got the Spartans started with a 1-yard touchdown plunge on the team’s first drive with 5:30 left in the opening quarter. The explosive senior then doubled the advantage with 37 seconds remaining.
The second brought more of the same, as Moreno capitalized on a 20-yard scamper. The 2-point conversion try failed, but DePaul took its 20-0 lead – and complete command of the contest -- into halftime.
"The last two years, I've been the featured back," Moreno said. "I'm not a big homerun-hitter, but I'm going to ground and pound."
Markey Clark added a 41-yard rushing touchdown midway through the third to balloon the Spartans’ cushion to 27-0 before Moreno punctured the opposition for a fourth time.
Paramus, which finished 7-4 last season and once again established itself as one of the most consistent public school programs in North Jersey, will look to even its record at Lakeland in Week 2.
Contact Brian Fitzsimmons at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @FitzWriter