No. 18 Pascack Valley escapes Ramapo
Kyle Schneider could barely watch. The Pascack Valley quarterback spent over two hours on Friday evening doing what he does best, anchoring one of the most dangerous offensive units in the region against a fellow undefeated foe.
All his sterling efforts, however, could’ve been deemed pointless unless the Indians’ defense failed to stop opposing signal-caller Anthony LoVecchio in the final minute of regulation.
Facing a fourh-and-9 situation on its own 34-yardline and down three points, Ramapo turned a desperate gaze at LoVecchio to convert the biggest passing attempt of the contest and perhaps find a way to forge a tie or even claim a late victory.
Thanks to Pascack Valley’s swarming secondary, though, the Green Raiders were finally stopped when it meant the most.
Nick Soravilla nearly intercepted LoVecchio’s attempt along the sideline, diving in front of the intended receiver and swatting away the golden ball.
Now, the Indians’ record remains golden.
"I'm speechless," Schneider said. "It's awesome. That last stop by the defense, it was jaw-dropping."
Soravilla’s big stop, along with his 44-yard pick-six at the end of the third, thwarted a valiant comeback effort, while Kyle Zenk’s two second-half touchdowns on offense combined to lift Pascack Valley to a thrilling, 35-32 triumph over rival Ramapo.
Soravilla punctuated the wild third quarter -- filled with puzzling displays of seesaw football -- when he picked off LoVecchio and ran it in for a comfortable, 28-17 advantage.
Cue the drama.
Just 51 seconds into the fourth, Skyler Amador scored one of his three rushing touchdowns and LoVecchio hit Pat O’Hagan on the two-point conversion, cutting the Green Raiders’ deficit to three.
Ramapo continued to apply pressure and Drew Gibbs’ team stole even more momentum on the very next drive by recovering a fumble on its own 20. Amador took over once again, this time by scampering through multiple defenders and scoring from seven yards out with 8:27 left in the contest for a 32-28 edge.
In what proved to be the most crucial play on offense, Zenk capitalized from 7 yards out with 3:02 left, erasing the slim deficit and lifting Pascack Valley to a 35-32 lead – one it wouldn’t relinquish.
"I couldn't even watch," Indians receiver Kevin Illian said. "I was afraid they'd get that conversion. It was crazy. But it's huge to come out with a win over a team like this. It's good momentum for the playoffs."
Earlier in the second, several efforts slowly weaved what turned out to be a thrilling contest. Illian enabled Pascack Valley to slice its early deficit to 10-7 when he caught a short pass from Schneider and ran it in for a touchdown with 5:44 remaining before the half.
The duo of Schneider and Illian once again punctured the Green Raiders secondary, as they connected for a 5-yard scoring strike with just under six minutes to go in the third to lift the Indians to a 14-10 advantage.
"We've done it before," Schneider said of the comeback. "There was never a point in the game where we thought we'd lose."
Amador gave Ramapo another clean slate, capitalizing from 15 yards out two minutes later to forge a slim, three-point cushion. At the 1:38 mark, however, Zenk struck for a touchdown run and Pascack Valley recaptured the lead once again, 21-17.
"That goes to the line," Zenk said. "It was a team effort. I did my part and everyone else did theirs. It doesn't get much better than winning at home. We have West Milford next weekend and then the playoffs, so we just have to keep it rolling."
Schneider threw for 170 yards and two scores, while Zenk finished with 114 rushing yards and two touchdowns for the Indians, who will retain their No. 18 ranking in the MSG Varsity Tri-State Top 25.
LoVecchio completed 29-of-48 passes for 251 yards for the Green Raiders, who fell to 7-1 on the season. Amador carried the ball 16 times for 58 yards, and the senior posted eight catches and 74 receiving yards.
Contact Brian Fitzsimmons at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @FitzWriter