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Verona's outstanding quarterback Frank Ferrari has discussion with head coach Lou Racioppe during N1G1 playoff semifinal vs. Becton. Ferrari helped direct Hillbillies to solid 22-0 victory. The 'Billies will meet Cresskill, 5 p.m., Friday, Dec. 5, at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands in the N1G1 final after their final regular season game vs. Caldwell which is now set for 10 a.m., Friday, Nov. 28, at Centennial Field, delayed 24 hours due to the snow. (Photos by Bob Thomas)
Verona senior running back Jimmie Crawford looks to move past Becton defenders on run in North 1, Group 1 playoff semifinals this past Saturday at Doc Goeltz Field in Hillbilly country. 'Billies impressed with 22-0 win to move into Dec. 5 final vs. Cresskill after facing Caldwell on Friday in the regular-season finale. That game was moved back 24 hours due to the heavy snow.
Verona has been one unifield football team in putting together a perfect 10-0 season to date
Verona QB Frank Ferrari looks to make his way to the perimeter as blockers control Becton
Verona had plenty to be happy about after complete effort in 22-0 semifinal win over Becton
Verona running back Matt Intili (22) went over the century mark in his rushing effort
Veteran head coach Lou Racioppe has helped mold one of Verona's best gridiron squads
Verona To Face Cresskill In N1G1 Final
By Bill Allen
VERONA-- By blanking Becton Regional, 22-0, in the semifinals round of the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 1, Group 1 state playoffs on Saturday, Nov. 22, the football contingent from Verona High School stayed unbeaten and moved to 10-0 on the year.
Last Saturday's success also sends the second-slotted Hillbillies into the state playoff finals, where they're face top-seeded Cresskill (9-2) in the section's title tussle at 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5, at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands.
Before that crown clash however, the 'Billies are slated to play host to crosstown competitor Caldwell (5-4) at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 28, at Centennial Field, in the annual Thanksgiving tilt between the two successful programs. The game was moved back 24 hours from Turkey Day to Friday morning due to Wednesday's snowfall that hit the North Jersey area, and a switch in sites was necessitated as the wet grounds have led to the powers-that-be switching the game from the grass surface of Doc Goeltz Field to the artificial FieldTurf at Centennial Field.
“It's another opportunity to play a football game and another opportunity to, perhaps, win a football game," noted longtime Verona head coach Lou Racioppe. “It's hard not to be looking ahead to the state finals and, since Caldwell has a very good team, looking ahead at all would be a big mistake.
“Also, Caldwell lost in the first round of the playoffs, so they've had 10 days to rest and to get ready to play us. Right now, we're just looking at having to play as another obstacle on the way to playing in the state playoff finals.”
Bloomfield-Montclair Also Pushed Back To Friday
Another longtime Essex County Thanksgiving football game, Bloomfield at Montclair, has been pushed back a day to Friday, now at 1 p.m., and still at Woodman Field.
In the Hillbillies' baffling of Becton, Verona held a 9-0 lead at the intermission on the strength of a 24-yard touchdown run by senior halfback Matt Intili and a 28-yard field goal off the foot of sophomore Collin Kiernan.
Then, in the third quarter, Intili recorded a 17-yard TD ramble, before the 'Billies put the game out of reach via a 24-yard TD toss from senior signal-caller Frank Ferrari to senior wideout Luke Connell in the fourth quarter.
On the day, Ferrari completed six of his dozen aerial attack attempts for 78 yards, with one TD and one INT, while running the rock 25 times for 126 yards, while Intili had 18 carries for 123 yards and two scores, with senior tight end Billy Ferrari returning from a broken arm to catch three passes from his twin brother for 34 yards.
“Having Billy back is a real plus for us, he gives us a big presence on the outside that we've been missing since early this season,” Racioppe said.
Now, with a full cast of 'Billies in tow, Verona seems primed for a strong finish in its remaining two games in 2014, although Caldwell on Friday morning, Nov. 28, and Cresskill in the playoff championship game on Friday night, Dec. 5, at MetLife Stadiu could pose the biggest obstacles to date for what has been a terrific 10-0 squad to date.
Verona's Jimmie Crawford (20) looks for opening as while O-lineman Kyle Brennan (63) provides some strong blocking up front as the Hillbilly ground attack churns vs. Becton.
Verona QB Frank Ferrari (12) rushed for 126 yards in another strong effort in semifinals
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