|VIDEO: Goldschrafe, Ramapo survive against Passaic Valley|
On a hot, humid night, the football game between Ramapo and Passaic Valley turned into a battle of survival. In the end, the Green Raiders had just enough time and energy to pull out an exciting win.
John Goldschrafe's fourth touchdown of the game with 59 seconds left lifted Ramapo to a 36-35 triumph in the season opener for both teams.
The game started out as a track meet, with both sides using a no-huddle offense and both defenses struggling to make tackles. Ramapo quarterback Sean Dougherty threw four touchdown passes in the first half, three to Goldschrafe and one to Kenny Clarke. On the other side, shifty Passaic Valley QB Zach Mazalewski and hard-nosed runner Antonio Castrongovo caused lots of trouble for the Raiders, but Ramapo led 28-21 at the half.
After the break, both teams bogged down offensively, with both squads seeming tired due to the pace and length of the game in the oppressive humidity. The only touchdown of the third quarter came on a Ryan McCabe interception return for the Hornets to tie the score.
After a key Ramapo turnover, Passaic Valley marched to take the lead in the fourth on Mazalewski's second touchdown run of the game. When Ramapo threw an interception on the next drive, the Hornets were just minutes from victory. But they were also pinned at their own one-yard line, and without Mazalewski, who had been suffering serious cramps throughout the second half.
Forced to punt, Passaic Valley instead gave up a safety due to a bad snap. After the free kick, Ramapo put together a clutch scoring drive, capped by Goldschrafe's two-yard touchdown run. Goldschrafe also put the final touches on the win by breaking up a fourth-down pass on the Hornets' last-gasp drive.
The win is the 100th for Ramapo coach Drew Gibbs. The Raiders will travel to play Bergenfield next week.
Passaic Valley plays its first home game next weekend against West Milford.
For sports video highlights of this football game, click play in the box at left.