RANDOLPH, NJ- Coming off a season opening victory over Livingston, the Randolph football team knew week two would not be easy with Sparta rolling into town for Homecoming Weekend.
The Rams did their best to trade punches early on, but were not able to keep pace with the powerful Spartans, falling 52-7 in a game that snowballed out of control in the third quarter.
“That is an outstanding team, and they just put it to us, it is as simple as that,” said Rams coach Mike Lyons. “They played better than we did. They are an outstanding program, and they just got after it better than us in all areas of the game.”
The players felt they let their coach down in suffering such a lopsided loss.
“Coach should never have to give the team a message after a game like this,” said Tony Fodali. “He has been here 30 years, that score should never look like that, he doesn’t deserve it.”
The teams’ defenses traded stops to start the game, but on the Spartans second possession their offense got warmed up and they moved 50 yards to take a 7-0 lead.
The Rams answered back immediately, moving to the Spartans 20 on runs by Dom Scali, a scramble by QB Justin Suarez, and a first down pass from Suarez to Andre Burke. From there, Matt Kuntz took a handoff up the middle, broke one tackle and spun out of a second before sprinting into the end zone for a 7-7 tie.
However, that would be the end of the “back and forth” nature of the game, as Sparta’s big bodies on both sides of the line dug their heels in and took control of the game. The Spartans defense slammed the door on the Rams, and their offense began to move up and down the field quickly taking a 21-7 lead.
The Rams got a small spark just before half, when fee safety Jacob Flowers intercepted a trick, double pass attempt by Sparta with two and a half minutes left. After a first down, the Rams had the ball at midfield and an opportunity to score just before half. But a deep pass was intercepted and returned back to mid field. Sparta then struck again to grab a 28-7 lead at halftime.
Halftime brought the Homecoming ceremony, with all grade nominees being introduced onto the field and King and Queen for each grade were announced to the crowd. Nominees for each grade are listed at the end of the story. Senior King and Queen were Nate Pangaro and Makayla Taylor.
The second half of the game brought much of the same; everything went right for Sparta, while also going wrong for the Rams, who were unable to stop the downward spiral and the momentum would not turn in their favor. The Spartans rolled to three more TD’s and a FG all in the third quarter to earn the final margin. The fourth quarter saw backups for both teams take the field.
“This is what we are going to see the rest of the way, and if we don’t pick up our game on offense, defense, and specials, we are going to have a difficult time,“ said Lyons. “I was very happy at the end however, when our first teamers were supporting our second teamers who were in the game at that point.”
Fodali agreed with his coach, and hopes to motivate his team this coming week, when the Rams hit the road to play at Morristown.
“We have to give more effort than we did tonight, everyone has to give more,” said Fodali. “We knew it was coming, we just didn’t execute. I am not sure if it was a lack of effort or us just not doing our jobs, but we all have to do more.”
Freshmen Princess: Chloe Whiting, Alexis Shaunessy, Emily Sandberg, Ilsy Benitez, & Ava Barbara
Freshmen Prince: Aden Koenigsberg, Andrew Eckhardt, David Joubron, Jared Behar & Jayson Perez
Sophomore Princess: Cali Louro, Katie Cuyar, Kiara Templeton, Libby Chase & Ellie Sciancleopore
Sophomore Prince: Jack Louro, Andrew Hanrahan, Connor Reese, Ethan Powell, Gary Dong & Matt Kratchovil
Junior Princess: Julia Pepe, Erica Holowko, Lindsay Danias, Nicole Nodine & Olivia Vanderbuilt
Junior Prince: Liam Revelle, Donovan Cleffi, Jake Iantosca, Anthony Sofia & Tommy Yager
Senior Queen: Alex Locke, Jillian Fantuzzi, Sydni Nadler, Kelsey Szot & Makayla Taylor
Senior King: Jared DePerna, Andrew Fusco, Brendan Sexton, Chandler Boykins & Nate Pangaro