WAYNE, NJ - Following a 13-6 setback to Wayne Valley in the first round of the North 2, Group 4 playoffs on Nov. 8, Wayne Hills football coach Wayne Demikoff couldn’t mask his disappointment in the final result but is already looking ahead to the 2020 season.
“We weren’t good enough tonight,” said Demikoff in the coach’s office after the game. “Simple as that. Wayne Valley was better up front, they controlled the tempo of the game, especially in the second half, and deserved the win.”
Wayne Hills, which finished 6-4 and won a third conference championship in the last four years, had taken a 6-0 lead over Wayne Valley, in the second quarter and had dominated the time of possession in the early going.
The Patriots had the ball for 21 of the game’s first 24 plays and could have been up by two touchdowns, but Valley’s defense did the job, forcing Hills to try a field goal, which sailed wide left, then gave up a scoring run by Chris Brutofsky after a long drive, for Hills’ only points of the game.
Wayne Valley (8-2) gained a 7-6 lead before halftime, then extended to a 13-6 advantage early in the third quarter, thanks to some crafty running by quarterback Tommy Moran, who escaped a sure sack and ran 22 yards for a first down which rejuvenated an eventual scoring drive that Moran capped off on a short run. Moran also completed a huge pass to the Hills 3 that set up that touchdown.
Valley’s defense was the story of the second half. In a performance similar to Hills’ effort in a 14-7 win at Valley in the regular season, back in September, Valley held Hills to just one first down, and limited a normally potent offense to 120 yards of total offense.
It was Wayne Valley’s first-ever win at Wayne Hills, after losing its first seven games there. The teams have also met once at Giants Stadium (2007) and MetLife Stadium (2016), with Hills prevailing in sectional finals. Valley, which improved to 3-14 all time against Hills, won its two previous games against its rival, at home, in the 1991 sectional final and in a 2012 regular season game. Hills has a 5-2 advantage on Valley’s home field and is now 4-2 against Valley in playoff games.
Demikoff, who is 8-1 against Wayne Valley as a head coach, wasn’t making excuses after the game.
“We’ll get back to work,” the coach said. “We’re about winning championships here, and we didn’t get it done this year. We did make progress, with a very young team this season and that was encouraging. When you look at our four losses (12-0, at Ridge View, South Carolina; 17-7 at Old Tappan and 35-28, in overtime at Ramapo, before the playoff loss), we were within striking distance, but that’s not good enough.
“Next year, our kids will learn how to finish those games. The last thing we want is to watch another team celebrate a playoff victory on our home field. But that’s what happened and give Wayne Valley all the credit.”
Wayne Hills has lost just three playoff games, at home. It was defeated by Ramapo in the 2000 sectional final, 14-7, while losing to Northern Highlands, 17-14, in the first round, in 2013, and this year’s game to Wayne Valley.