Charles DePrima accounts for 4 TD’s as Ramapo extends undefeated winning streak to 27
Heading into Friday night’s 2020 regular season opener against Pascack Valley High School at Ramapo High School, the Ramapo Green Raiders were on a dominant run the past 2 years. Back-to-Back undefeated seasons, sectional titles and regional championships. Most importantly a 26-game winning streak that landed Ramapo 13th on MaxPreps.com list for most consecutive wins in a row.
However, a new year for Ramapo featuring plenty of changes replacing 17 seniors from last year and rebuilding an offensive line. Head Coach Drew Gibbs on this season, “Every year is tremendously exciting and challenging.” “You don’t know how good your team is and don’t know too much about your opponent.” Pascack Valley has a very good program.”
The last time the two teams met was for bigger stakes in the 2019 North 1, Group 3 sectional title game where the Green Raiders edged the Indians in a close battle 28-23. In the first quarter Ramapo came out aggressively running the ball, the senior duo of running back Rich Sica and quarterback Charles DePrima gaining over 100 yards of the ground. Sica finding the end zone with less than six minutes on a seven-yard touchdown run.
Committed to play at Harvard University next year, DePrima turned the second quarter into a personal highlight reel. First, scampering 45 yards to pay dirt with less than 10 minutes left. After the Green Raiders defense intercepted a pass, it just took three plays for DePrima to find the end zone again. Ripping off a 26-yard score without a defender in site.
“The offense came out and executed great,” said Charles DePrima. “Every week we prepare the same, we knew what they were going to bring on defense.” Coach Gibbs had a great game plan and we executed it well for these TD’s. Rich (Sica) started us off, he is a great running back and being that good makes it much better and we’re a great duo. Jake Tirone left and has filled that spot pretty well which is good because teams don’t know who to guard and he opened it up well for me was very good.”
“We saw some articles that this year the offensive line was not going to be great because we lost a lot seniors but the guys tonight we really stepped up for game one and have much appreciation for those guys.”
The Ramapo defense continued to wreak havoc forcing Pascack Valley into committing a fourth turnover with less than three minutes left in the second quarter. Starting out at the 20-yard line, the Green Raiders running game plowed down the field with Sica gaining 17 yards while DePrima exploded for a 31-yard run that moved the ball down to the Indians nine-yard line. DePrima finished off the drive by heaving a perfect fade pass to senior wide receiver Sean Clapp who managed to keep his feet in bounds in the left corner of the end zone with 28 seconds remaining. By the time halftime rolled around, Sica had tallied 111 yards rushing while DePrima accounted for 159 yards on nine carries.
“We were fortunate that we played great defense and made some good plays on offense,” Drew Gibbs explained. “We knew we really had some good skilled players coming back this season.” We lost one of our two-way stars in Max Kucharski to an injury in our game scrimmage against Northern Highlands. You saw how they stepped up today, Richie (Sica) as a skilled runner and Charles as a thrower. I give a lot of credit to the offensive line, five new brand starters on the o-line and they blocked very well and allowed us to make some big plays.”
Pascack Valley appeared to have some momentum in the third quarter, having the ball majority of the time. Starting out at their own 29-yard line, the Indians offense methodically moved the ball down the field. An 18-play 47-yard drive that chewed up almost nine minutes. Facing a fourth and five at the Ramapo 25-yard, line, Green Raiders sophomore defensive tackle Eddie Enerlich tackling Indians running back Paul Deady short of the first down marker.
“Our guys did a god job of reading their keys, our tackling was solid and we were all over the ball and didn’t let them breathe offensively,” Drew Gibbs described. “When they did have the one big drive in the third quarter where they did move the ball and converted some close ones, our guys did a good job of not allowing a play to break the game open and turned the momentum.”
Despite throwing only 10 passes and a total of 64 yards in the game, DePrima made them count, throwing his second touchdown pass of the game to senior wide receiver Mike DeBlaker early in the fourth quarter. DePrima exited the game with 162 yards on the ground while Sica ended up with 117 yards on 16 rushes. With a running clock, Pascack Valley managed to get into the end zone with just about six minutes remaining. Gibbs had the opportunity to rest his starters the rest of the contest that allowed the younger players to get in some reps. Junior quarterback Josiah Savitt finished off the scoring with a 44-yard run as Ramapo cruised to the 41-6 victory.
Next up for the Green Raiders is a showdown with archrival River Dell on Friday October 9th at Ramapo High School with kickoff set for 6:30 p.m. Last year when the teams’ faced each other at River Dell High School, the Green Raiders escaped with a 21-19 win that extended their undefeated winning streak to 18 in a row.
Charles DePrima on facing River Dell, “The streak is great, a legacy here at Ramapo, we put it all together year in and out.” “River Dell always plays us great and it’s going to be crucial for to prepare well this week and always a great match-up and I’m ready.”
Head Coach Drew Gibbs on next week’s game vs. River Dell and 27-game winning streak on the line, “We have played River Dell a lot in the past five to six years and 10 times in five years.” “They know us well and we know them/” It’s always a big game on the schedule and I expect to get their best and I know our guys will be ready.”
“It’s about each and every game, a brand new team, brand new set of seniors who are taking over leadership roles and we’re fortunate we have 70 boys in the program so every year is a new year.” “Every game is a new game and only way you are going to keep a streak going is to take it one day at a time.”