On Saturday Nov. 11, Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School football triumphed against Hopatcong with a 43-24 win in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) regional crossover. This was the only Group 1 team the Raiders have ever played. This win was the first and last for the SPF Raiders– a strong way to end a vigourous season.
Within the first 24 minutes, the Raiders were able to score five touchdowns, thanks to the teamwork of senior Cooper Heisey and junior Isaiah Stewart. In the first half, the Raiders scored 43 points while Hopatcong did not respond with any.
To end his last fall season as a Raider, Heisey threw 352 yards to add to his high school record of being the all time passing leader with an impressive 5,402 yards. He had 27 passing touchdowns this season.
“I think the team played well all around, the defense played very good and the offense clicked on all cylinders.” said Heisey when asked about what went well during the game.
Heisey wasn’t the only player to set a record; Palazzolo – who normally plays for defense – scored the more touchdowns in one half than the program has ever seen in over a decade.
Other key contributors include seniors Dwight Laylor, Jack Lynch, and junior Anthony Porter. Coming off an injury from the first week of the season, Lynch led the team with eight tackles.
“I was happy to get out there, happy I started. I didn’t think I was going to go out there and get the start,” Lynch said. “But there was a lot of emotion on the field, especially from the opposing team. It was a high-stake game – neither team had a win. It was getting physical, people were emotional, but that’s the game.”
With many seniors graduating, the Raider football team has to step up to fill their gaps. With many young players and a new coach from this year, success is expected; they must start with the same passion and intensity that the season ended with.
“The point we get across to our kids is this,” head coach Mark Ciccotelli said. “When we put the pads on, no matter what the score is, we play hard.”