SPARTA, NJ – The Spartans ran over the Mustangs for their home opener on Saturday earning a 47-6 win. On Montville’s first possession they missed a snap. This would portend the outcome of the game.
In the first half, Sparta’s defense was “almost spotless,” according to Assistant Coach Ken Windt. “That’s absolutely the way to play defense” he told the team.
They forced fumbles, tipped and intercepted passes, blocked kicks and grabbed some big tackles. Especially notable was a tackle by Anthony “El Tigre” Morris, according to Quarterback Anthony Brocoletti. Early in the first quarter the defense forced a fumble on the kickoff that was recovered and run back to the 10 yard line. They made it look easy.
“We worked hard in practice,” Defensive End Ben Davis said. “We knew it was going to be tough going up against a team that put up 47 points against Vernon last week. We played to the best of our ability.”
The score tells the tale of the offense. Brocoletti threw four touchdown passes, three connecting with Eric Castorina; throwing for five, 75 and 80 yards. Castorina caugth for a total of 173 yards. It was a 23-yard pass to Jake Zerillo for the fourth touchdown in the air. Zerillo also made a trip to the end zone on an intercepted pass.
Thomas Agudo rushed for 62 yards on 13 carries and scored on a five-yard run. Agudo also caught four Brocoletti passes for 26 yards. William Cisko had two catches for 48 yards.
With the score at 41-0 at the half the teams returned to the field to a running clock. Sparta’s JV got their turn. The Mustangs were able to get their only touchdown. Sparta blocked the extra kick.
In the fourth quarter Spartan Jhordin Griffin marched down the field picking up 75 yards, a couple of yards at a time. Griffin’s steady pace ate up eight minutes off the clock.
DeSimone was good for six extra points on seven extra attempts.
After the cheerleaders warmed up the crowd at halftime, the Marching Spartans took the field debuting their Lion King program. They played “Just Can’t Wait to Be King”, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”, “Circle of Life” and other popular favorites from the well-known musical.
Even though the calendar said mid-September, temperatures reached mid-August range. The heat “definitely had an effect on both teams,” Brocoletti said. “But they were gassed,” he said of Montville. “We train so we can handle it.”
“Today’s the kind of day where you can’t be in good enough shape,” Head Coach Frank Marciano said to the team.
The team apparently has their own training secret. “B3 (Bean Bag Bucketz) helps us to bond as a team. We play it at every senior dinner the night before the game,” Brocoletti, Davis, Castorina and Zerillo said.
Sparta is off to a strong start with a 52-7 win over Randolph for their season opener last week. Sparta plays in Vernon on Friday night with a 7 p.m. kickoff.