The usual Saturday morning film session for the Wayne Hills football team always includes offensive coordinator John Jacob offering a unique perspective of the previous night’s game.
Hills improved to 3-1 on the season with a 34-27 win over Old Tappan on Sept. 23, in Wayne. The game was a rematch of last year’s state sectional championship game, when Old Tappan won the title, 17-0.
Wayne Hills won, with that usual explosive offense, but there were still too many penalties, and the defensive effort wasn’t up to snuff.
Jacob broke down the offensive tape, pointed out the mistakes, credited the successes, and then challenged his team to play better.
“Let’s play that perfect game,” Jacob implored the Patriots. “Do we have it in us? I’d like to see what it would look like.”
Jacob was especially complimentary of senior wide receiver Evidence Njoku. The transfer from Cedar Grove, who has already made a verbal commitment to play at the University of Miami in 2017, put in a good week of work heading into the Old Tappan game, as he tries to get acclimated to the offense.
Njoku’s contribution came with plays that the box score won’t reflect.
“Evidence, you made blocks all night long that opened up the offense for us,” Jacob said. “You worked hard all week, and you were a big reason why we won last night. That was great to see. You’re a big part of this team.”
Once again, Jason Modak was all over the field, on both the offensive and defensive lines.
John Stadler, a team captain, does his job so well that people sometime forget he’s there. He helps run the offensive line, and is clearly respected in the locker room.
Pete Dellechiaie, a junior lineman, has been a key to the team’s 3-1 start, as has sophomore lineman Bence Polgar. It was good to see linebacker Mike Zaccone back in the lineup, after a shoulder injury kept him out of the Roxbury game.
The play of the offensive and defensive lines is a credit to coach Claudio Canonaco, who returned to the position in 2016 after three years away from coaching. Canonaco was a major part of Hills’ success in winning state championships earlier this decade.
Every year, it seems the ‘Czar’, special teams coach Walt Johnson, develops a new kicker. And last year, he began to work with Dario Sirni, who became an effective point-after kicker. This year, Sirni has continued his efficiency with the PAT’s, and last night, he converted two clutch field goals, one from nearly 40 yards.
A rugged four game stretch for Hills included wins over Ramapo, Roxbury and Old Tappan, along with a season-opening loss to Pahokee, of Florida.
“Hey, we’re 3-1, should be 4-0, and we haven’t played well, at all,” said head coach Wayne Demikoff to his team. “We need to get better, and that starts this week, against Millburn. Be proud of getting through this stretch of games against quality opponents. Again, we’re 3-1. That’s good, but we all know we have to play better.”