Ramapo’s weapons too much for Valley
By J.C. Baumuller
HILLSDALE - Raiders junior quarterback Jack Grusser threw for more than 350 yards and five touchdowns as Ramapo hammered Pascack Valley Friday night, 40-13.
“He demonstrated a lot of poise,” said Ramapo coach Drew Gibbs. “He’s certainly got a lot of weapons to distribute the ball to, a solid O-line and Ethan Moran had a real physical day running the ball.”
Ramapo scored in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the game and never looked back. The big play of the drive was when Grusser
hooked up with fellow junior Will Scordato for 29 yards and a first down at the Panthers 15. Grusser gained 7 yards on two carries before he connected with senior Josiah Savitt with an 8-yard TD pass and 6-0 lead.
Grusser spread the ball around connecting with four different receivers for scores in the big win.
“It’s great,” said Grusser. “Everybody on this team can catch the ball, everybody is good with the ball in his hands and it really opens up our run game because teams have to look at our passing game. It all starts with the offensive line.”
“We do have an awful lot of receiving threats,” added Gibbs. “Who are you going to double cover? Last week Benny Robinson had two TDs so they (Valley) put their extra back on him. Will Scordato had a big game [tonight] and the outside guys had a big game.”
In addition to Savitt’s first quarter score, Grusser cashed in with TD passes to senior Rob Travers (52-yard pass), Scordato (59 yards) and two to senior Dylan Snee (45 and 10 yards). This is impressive since he transferred back to Ramapo from Bergen Catholic earlier this year so he is still learning the offense.
“As soon as I transferred back in February Coach Gibbs got me on HUDL to study the playbook,” Grusser said. “So I have been reviewing the material for months. All we needed to do was get on the field and rep and ultimately we’re going to get better every week.”
A large amount of credit for the offense is due to the great play of the offensive line.
“The line did a heckava job,” said Gibbs. “He had all the time in the world to sit back there. There were a few balls where he was on his third read. The offensive line includes the running backs who stepped up and picked up the blitz protection as well.”
“With them blocking for me it allows me to go through all of my leads, look at every one of my receivers and give the one who is most open the ball,” added Grusser. “That’s how we score points. Without them it wouldn’t be a working operation. As a team I think we’re gelling really well together.”
The running game helped open up the passing game with Moran pounding the ball for hard yards. Midway through the second quarter he carried the ball three straight times, gaining 30 yards, including a 5-yard TD run to put Ramapo up, 20-0.
It wasn’t a perfect game for the Raiders, however. On their second offensive possession a Grusser pass gained 21 yards but the receiver was hit hard and fumbled the ball. Senior defensive back Dylan Hutchinson recovered the ball for the Panthers. And in the second quarter a Raiders running back lost the ball at the end of a run but he was ruled down on the play so Ramapo kept possession.
A pair of TD passes from Panthers senior quarterback Ethan Silcher to Hutchinson, good for 40 and 31 yards were the only blemishes on an otherwise stellar defensive effort by the Raiders.
“Our ball security was terrible and we gave up two big plays,” said Gibbs. “There will be plenty of things to correct on film day. We’ll enjoy it tonight but tomorrow will be an eye opener. The fact that the kids are buying into the scheme and playing ‘team football’ instead of ‘me football,’ especially on defense, is critical. If you play team defense and everybody does their job you’re going to be pretty good.”
Ramapo improved to 2-0, while Valley evened its record to 1-1.
“This is a huge confidence booster for us,” said Grusser. “After last game, even though we won, we knew we could get better. We have to clean up our game overall, clean up our turnovers. By week 12 we should be really good.”
“I think we just have to improve every week,” added Gibbs. “It’s no secret you have to work really hard Monday through Thursday so it shows up on Friday. Our players buy into the system of practice that we have and of getting better every day. That’s been a big part of our success over the past couple of years.”