It’s been an up and down season at Wayne Hills, when it comes to football.
The playoffs are not on the schedule, for the first time since 1994. The team is 3-5, with two games remaining, including an NJSIAA consolation game, which will be the first time, ever, that Hills will participate in that contest.
But with that said, the Nov. 7 contest between Wayne Valley and Wayne Hills, set for Patriots Stadium, has plenty of juice. Both teams have a lot to play for, with Valley coming in at 4-4 and hoping for its first winning season in five years, after being eliminated from playoff contention last Friday night at Demarest.
Hills seeks to match last season’s 5-5 mark, and a win over Valley will go a long way in accomplishing that feat. Since 2007, Wayne Hills holds a 5-1 lead in the series, including a 17-14 victory, in overtime, last year.
Wayne Hills head coach Wayne Demikoff had the same message for his team throughout the week.
“Let’s win the town,” was his rallying cry. “There’s going to be a lot of people here on Friday night. If you don’t think winning the town is important, then you don’t know what this game means. Both teams want it. Wayne Valley is coming here to give you their best effort.
“What do you want to do with this opportunity? For the seniors, it’s a chance to make this season special, and to leave with a big win. For some of the seniors, these next two games could be your final football games, ever. Twenty years from now, how do you want to remember it?”
The Patriots have been paced by the play of senior fullback and linebacker, Justin Hogan. Another senior, Chris Garrone, has been a solid running back. Brian Berges is a reliable defender with good speed.
Tom Ramsay has been a consistent lineman for the Patriots, as his career winds down. The same can be said of Tyler Rigoli.
Derek Bastinck is a durable offensive lineman who will play football at Bucknell next year.
Kyle Brackett has been one of Wayne Hills best players this season, on both sides of the line.
Quarterback Pete Palczewski has turned into a savvy signal caller who is doing a good job of reading defenses. Anthony Vigorito is a versatile player, who fills a number of key needs for the team.
Among the younger players who will be back in 2015, Vinny LoVerde has shown signs of being an excellent player, as have Leyshawn Askew, Joe Stambouly, Tom Skiba, Frank Petracco, Joe Kenny, Luca Catania, Emre Kaya, Luca Grave and Matt Sportelli.
The memory of Jon Goldstein will certainly be at center stage when this game kicks off. The long time Wayne Hills coach and administrator, who grew up in Wayne and attended Wayne Valley, passed away suddenly this past January.