SPARTA, NJ – It was a disappointing night for Sparta High School football. Their season ended sooner hoped when the West Essex Knights took down the Spartans 48-28. They also took down Spartans Nick Broccoletti, Paul Gennat, Brendan Cina and quarterback Austen Frattura.
With the four playmakers out of the game before the half, a tough game made even tougher for Sparta.
Sparta came into the North 2 Group 3 semifinal game with a 9-1 record and the top seed. West Essex had an 8-2 record with the number four seed.
Sparta was held to only one trip to the end zone in each quarter. Austin Castorina scored three of the four TDs on a three yard run and two eight yard runs.
Lucas Hein put up the final six for Sparta on a five yard pass by Michael McGovern. Vic DeSimone was good for all four extra points.
Billy Quinn had a sack and fumble recovery. The Spartan defense blocked the last Knight extra point.
Veterans were honored before the game during the opening ceremonies. The student section was clad in red, white and blue and American flags were distriubted to the fans.
Seniors end the season with some big stats:.
- Joe Batton had 2.5 sacks, 27 tackles, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries
- JJ Valentin had four sacks and 38 tackles, forced a fumble and recovered a fumbles
- Tyler Szabo caught 22 passes for 661 yards and nine touchdowns, 15 tackles, one fumble recovery and one interception,
- Nick Remo had 29 tackles, recovered two fumbles and caught two interceptions,
- TJ Hurley had three sacks, 28 tackles, forced two fumbles and recovered one fumble,
- James Hogel had 15 catches for 313 yards and a touchdown,
- Noah Faria had 28 tackles and two interceptions and a touchdown,
- Vin DeSimone made 50 extra point kicks on 56 attempts,
- Austin Castorina had 194 carries for 1557 yards and 23 rushing touchdowns, 25 catches for 551 yards and six touchdowns in the air,
- Nick Broccoletti had 45 tackles, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and five interceptions,
- Cole Danzo had 10 tackles and a sack,
- Matthew Struble had 10 tackles and three sacks,
- Brandon Smith had 17 tackles and an interception
- Brendan Cina had 11 carries for 60 yards and two touchdowns, caught 41 passes for 531 yards and six touchdowns and had a tackle on defense
- Colby Plotts had nine catches for 166 yards and three touchdowns and a tackle on defense
- James Maloney had 39 tackles and four interceptions,
- Lucas Hein two tackles and one catch for 10 yards,
- Matta Heim had four tackles,
- Nick Murray had 11 tackles,
- Jedidiah Ojo, Jonathan Bomensatt, Charlie Flint and Joe VanBuskirk each had a tackle
- Michael McGovern had two completions for 12 yards and eight carries for 82 yards and two touchdowns,
- Sam Esposito had 22 carries for 149 yards adn a touchdown,
- Parker Williamson had five sacks, 30 tackles and forced two fumbles
- Billy Quinn had 1.5 sacks and 17 tackles, a forced fumble and fumble recovery
- Luke Szabo had three catches for 25 yards
- Zach Palidini and Justin Smith each had four tackles,
- Paul Gennat had four tackles adn a fourced fumble,
- Joe Byrnes had 10 tackles,
- Zach Holick, Kevin Struble and Brady Doyle each had a tackle
- Josh Ermeus had two tackles,
Freshman quarterback finished the season with 102 pass completions on 169 attempts for 2204 yards 25 touchdowns with five interceptions. He also ran one in for at touchdown.