Prior to Friday night’s game at Pascack Valley, Wayne Demikoff had reminded his Wayne Hills Patriots that the 2o16 team had avenged two of its three losses from 2015, with wins over Ramapo and Old Tappan. The other loss a year ago had come to Pascack Valley, which had beaten Hills for a fifth straight time last season.
The Patriots hadn’t beaten Pascack Valley in eight years, and were 0-5 against the Indians since 2012. Wayne Hills didn’t need a lot of motivation for this game, and came through with a 42-14 win to improve to 5-1 on the season.
Wayne Hills, which has scored 174 points in its last four games, was led by quarterback Brendan DeVera, who threw five touchdown passes and accounted for 203 yards in the air. Two of DeVera’s scoring strikes went to Evidence Njoku, who made a tremendous catch in the end zone before falling into the Wayne Hills band, whose members were sitting behind the end zone. Two more TD passes went to Hunter Hayek, who had five catches for over 100 yards, while a fifth was to Tyler Hayek.
Luca Grave rushed for 173 yards and scored a touchdown when he recovered a fumbled punt in the end zone. Grave is just an incredible all-around player, and is very underrated.
Jason Modak continues to be a force on both sides of the ball, Tyler Costello returned from a knee injury that kept him out of the Millburn game, but there was no way he was going to miss this game, Dario Sirni hit seven more point-after attempts, Chris Ruby had some tremendous hits on defense and special teams, Ky Salley was among the team leaders in tackles and Dom DiCarlo continues to excel in the defensive secondary.
Team captain Jacob Casale continues to make incredible strides from a serious knee injury that required surgery in July. He’s been in uniform for every game and reports feeling really good, as he begins light running.
During the past week, when Demikoff handed out the helmet stickers for standout performances in the Millburn game, he gave out a few to Wayne Hills’ beloved band director, Matthew Paterno, who made a catch of a point-after kick in the back of the end zone, prompting some good-natured fun from the players and coaches.
“I have never given out three helmet stickers to anybody, for anything, “said Demikoff. “But today, I’m doing that for the first time, because what I saw in the back of the end zone, was unbelievable. The greatest play that maybe I’ve ever seen, and something that said this is Wayne Hills football, Mr. Paterno!”
The players all cheered, and Paterno was clearly surprised by the moment.
Wayne Hills will get a bye week, before returning to action on Oct. 21, to face Passaic Valley.
“The first six games were tough,” said Demikoff to his team. “The next six (assuming the Patriots make it to a state final) will be even tougher. And that’s just the way we want it.”