Paramus stays undefeated with overtime win against Ridgewood by Jim McConville special to The Record
PARAMUS – After setting a school record with wins in its first five games, Paramus faced its first big test of the season against rival Ridgewood.
The Spartans passed that test with a 35-34 overtime win, and are now 6-0 for the first time. It’s the second year in a row that these two rivals needed overtime to decide a winner.
After coming all the way back from a 21-0 deficit, Ridgewood tied the game with 21 seconds left. Paramus scored first in the overtime period, then the Maroons scored but saw the extra point sail wide left.
Trevor Bopp scored two touchdowns and threw for two more for Paramus, including a 19-yard TD pass to Justin McKeon in overtime to put the Spartans ahead.
What it means
The Spartans continue to tread in uncharted waters at 6-0, but they also pick up a pile of power points and strength of schedule points with the win. They can all but guarantee a playoff spot with a win next week.
The Maroons drop to 3-2 and must rebound quickly or face the real possibility of being on the outside looking in come playoff time. They have three games standing between them and the postseason.
With Ridgewood staging its comeback and down 21-14, Bopp put the Spartans on his back and, behind a surging offensive line, spearheaded a touchdown drive to put Paramus up 28-14 with 8:20 to go. He and Kyle Jacob ran seven combined times for 70 yards, with Jacob getting the final 17.
Red zone woes
This game could have been a lot different had Ridgewood not gone 0-for-3 inside the Paramus 10-yard line in the first half. They were stopped at the Spartan 1 (fumble), 9 (missed field goal) and 6 (end of half after three plays from the 9 could not get a score).
By the numbers
► Paramus had 416 total yards, 227 in the first half. Bopp ran 25 times for 179 yards and was 13-of-17 passing for 106 yards and two scores. Jacob had 17 carries for 94 yards and 5 catches for 29 yards while McKeon added 4-37 rushing and 4-51 receiving.
► Ridgewood had 494 total yards, 314 in the second half. Will Mollihan was 15-of-25 for 265 yards and three touchdowns and 4-36 rushing. Tom Bourque caught 9 passes for 190 yards (both totals being the highest for Ridgewood this century) and Will Cardew ran 21 times for 148 yards and a touchdown and caught two passes, including the game-tying three-yarder.
► Bopp gets one for sure, as much for his tenacity in the huddle as his yards. There were times the Spartans could have folded, but their junior signal-caller kept re-energizing his teammates.
► Mollihan in a losing cause. He had a career game and threw for the second most yards in a game for Ridgewood this century as well as making a couple of big runs, including the overtime touchdown.
They said it
“We knew we had to score first (in overtime) and put the pressure on them. I saw (McKeon) open and I put up there and he caught it.” – Bopp
“The balance we have with me, Kyle and Justin makes it hard for teams to stop us. We were doing some misdirection and with Kyle and Justin such big threats it gave me some opportunities between the tackles.” – Bopp
“I knew they were going to stack the box. We actually ran a dummy count to see how they were playing us and when we saw the safety go over the middle of the field we thought we would be able to come to the edge. Thankfully Trevor just threw an unbelievable ball.” – Paramus coach Joe Sabella on the overtime TD
► Paramus will look to keep their undefeated season going when they host Demarest next Friday night.
► Ridgewood goes from the frying pan to the fire when they host undefeated Clifton next Friday.