NEWTON, NJ – It was a disappointing night for Newton High School football on Friday. The fourth seed team lost to top seed Verona 29-7 away in the semi-final game. Newton students and parents lined the stands of Thomas Sellitto field and maroon and white could be seen all over.
“I was so proud of them. We had a game plan going in, it was a little different and we had to switch a few things up, but the kids, they believed in it first and foremost and they nearly executed it to perfection there in the first half,” Newton Head Coach Matt Parzero said “They gave up those two big plays, but the effort was phenomenal, the kids were playing together as a team and it was just a fun year because of the journey."
The Braves played a tough game against the undefeated Hillbillies. Verona scored in the first quarter, but Newton held their own when sophomore quarterback Jack Young threw a 28-yard pass to Julian Sibblies for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Sibblies scored the only Braves TD on a 28 yard Young pass.
Verona came back before the halftime whistle bringing the score to 15-7.
Newton battled but were not able to get past the Verona defense. The Hillbillies added two more unanswered touchdowns in the second half for the win.
Young completed 17 passes for a total of 191-yards. The quarterback had 16 carries for a total of 80 yards.
Aaron Fantasia rushed 46 yards on eight carries and snagged five Youngs’ passes for 68 yards. The two way player had eight tackles.
Peyton Nolan had 13 carries for 56 yards and caught four passes for 37 yards.
Verona will go onto the state finals to play against third-seeded Lenape Valley who beat second-seeded Waldwick 33-20 on Friday.
Parzero said he told the team, “’One game doesn’t define you,’ but in a way it did because the grit they showed, they kept fighting it, they never stopped battling. The score was a little out of reach in the fourth quarter but we’re still making plays and to see these guys coming together as a team, so it was a pleasure to coach them this year.”
Looking forward to next season, Parzero said that Newton is looking to go further next year. “We saw the size and speed of Verona’s line and that’s a point of emphasis. We need to get a little bit bigger, faster and stronger and it’s not going to happen by accident.”
Newton started off as the underdogs dropping the first two games to come back and win eight straight games and winning the conference championship.