SPARTA, NJ - Lucas Faria’s 168 total yards and three touchdowns led Sparta High School to an NJSIAA Section 1, Group 3 football title in a 40-0 rout of River Dell on Saturday morning at MetLife Stadium.
The Spartans' defense, punctuated by defensive lineman Kevin Foulds’ five sacks, consistently shut down River Dell’s offense throughout the game, putting their offense in a position to run away with the victory.
“The key was to put pressure on them,” Foulds said. “They're extremely great players so we wanted to get to them fast.”
After a slow start for both teams, Sparta got on the board with 1:18 left in the first quarter. Quarterback Matt Seville connected with Faria for a 51-yard touchdown pass to give the Spartans the lead. Seville completed 12 of 17 passes for 168 yards and three touchdowns.
Just over two minutes into the second quarter, Faria moved Sparta downfield with a 25-yard run. The drive was capped off with a one-yard touchdown run up the middle. Senior fullback Randall May also had a one-yard touchdown run on the Spartans next scoring drive increasing their lead to 21-0.
On the River Dell Golden Hawks’ next possession, Dylan Bray forced a fumble. Sparta Senior defensive back Nick Shlala recovered, running it back for a 23-yard touchdown return with just 42 seconds remaining in the first half.
“I got off my block and saw Bray with a big hit and the ball went flying,” Shlala said. “I was like, 'that's my ball', and nothing was stopping me there.”
The Spartans added two more scores in the second half. The first came in the beginning of the third quarter when Seville and Faria connected once again for a 20-yard touchdown. The final touchdown came at the start of the fourth quarter when Seville found Teddy Fischer on a 13-yard back-shoulder fade route.
“I think a lot of the credit goes to the seniors on this team for leading us throughout the season and offseason and making sure these kids understood that there was always a chance at getting back here and there wasn't anything stopping them today,” Sparta head coach Frank Marchiano said.