The River Dell Golden Hawks varsity football team(0-2) hosted the Bergenfield Bears(1-1) at River Dell High School in Oradell, New Jersey. River Dell was coming off a 27-7 loss to Parsippany Hills in the 2023 regular-season and home opener.
Initially, the sun peaked through cloudy skies and became overcast as nighttime fell and kickoff approached. A special occasion with Alumni Night as members of past Golden Hawks varsity football teams were honored.
River Dell received the opening kickoff as junior kickoff returner Chris Kelm electrified the home crowd with a dazzling 53-yard return to the Bergenfield 40-yard line.
Golden Hawks sophomore quarterback Zion Yoon made his first start under the center. “I worked hard this offseason and hoped to get a shot on varsity,” Zion Yoon explained. “At the end of the day, I thank God for the opportunity provided for me to play for the school and with coaches and teammates.”
River Dell managed to advance the ball down to the Bears’ 17-yard line as Yoon completed a couple of passes combined with a nine-yard run by sophomore running back Cain Lanza. However, the drive ultimately stalled out, and Yoon stopped short of the first down marker on fourth and three, resulting in a turnover on downs.
The Golden Hawks got the ball back at their 18-yard line with three and a half minutes remaining in the quarter. Zion Yoon completed a 23-yard pass to junior wide receiver RJ Weiss, providing much-needed breathing space. The offensive line clearing out room enabled the running game to churn out yardage.
Once inside Bergenfield territory, River Dell continued to pound and ground and drove the ball further down the field. On first and ten at the 22-yard line, Zion Yoon took the snap in shotgun formation, then dropped back in the pocket and fired a pass to RJ Weiss on the right side of the field. Weiss evaded one defensive player and plowed his way into the end zone for the touchdown with five seconds left. The extra point was no good, as the score was 6-0.
“We always work on pass protection every single day of practice,” Zion Yoon described. “We watch film on how the opposition attacks the line of scrimmage then the offensive line is able to protect me and give me enough to get the passes off.” “It’s awesome to have a teammate(RJ Weiss) you can trust and give them the ball and it was a really great run by him.”
In the second quarter, the Bears controlled the ball for much of the time. Holding the ball for almost five minutes, Bergenfield bulldozed its way to the Golden Hawks six-yard line.