Hillbilly Football Preview 2014

Hillbilly Football Preview 2014

Being outside in the final weeks of August, in Verona, you can hear the sound of the VHS Marching Band’s drum line’s cadence. This means three things: school is around the corner, the marching band is preparing for another award-winning year, and Hillbilly football is back.

The VHS Hillbillies began to prepare for the 2014 season, right when school got out in June. Official football practice began on August 14 at 8 a.m. and the team has been working hard ever since.

On August 25, the Hillbillies played their first scrimmage against Columbia High School, and all the hard work paid off when the Hillbillies took the field. The varsity squad looked to be in sync as they moved down the field with ease.

Senior quarterback  Frank Ferrari was very comfortable in the pocket completing several passes as well as running for several first downs.  Mark Riggio, a junior running back, found several holes to make a few big runs. Senior Marcus McMickle, showed a lot of promise in his first high school football appearance when he came up with a big interception, as Columbia was threatening inside the Red Zone.  And freshman quarterback C.J. Lavery rushed for a touchdown, and “is looking good” according to Frank Ferrari.

Sophomore quarterback Matt Zaccone struggled to find his receivers down the field.  Zaccone threw an interception that was returned for 10 yards, but shows a lot of potential.

The Hillbillies have been challenged by a number of injuries during the preseason. Senior Patrick Cummings, did not play in the scrimmage because of a knee injury and may be out for the rest of the season.  Senior Matt Intili did not participate in the scrimmage either because of a hand injury.  There are several other players out with various injuries.

“Our goals this season are to win a state championship, win the conference championship, beat Caldwell on Thanksgiving, and  beat Cedar Grove, our biggest rivals,” said seniors Frank Ferrari, Jimmie Crawford, and Luke Connell.

The past three meeting of the two teams have all gone to Cedar Grove.  But the Hillbillies look better than they have had looked in the previous years.  Verona will play Cedar Grove in Cedar Grove on November 7.

The Hillbillies only lost five seniors during the offseason and have a core team coming back as the starting varsity squad. The Cedar Grove Panthers are entering a rebuilding year, after losing nine seniors during this past offseason. Their biggest loss comes with the departure of wide receiver David Njoku .

But Cedar Grove is not the only team on the Hillbillies schedule.

This year, Coach Lou Racioppe is looking to lead the Hillbillies back to MetLife Stadium. He is joined by his coaches, Chris Demond, Dan Corrado, Ray Bowes, Mitch Roshong, and Mike Passero.