On an unseasonably cool September Saturday night, the Whippany Park Wildcats hosted their much anticipated 2017 season opener against the Morris Catholic Crusaders. The game was played in front of a huge hometown crowd, under the newly installed lights. At kick off, the line to get into the game was at least 100 yards long. The Wildcats have not seen a crowd that large at Whippany, since the Whippany Park Wildcats upsets the Madison Dodgers in 1981, snapping their state record winning streak.
In what seemed to be back and forth first quarter, Whippany Park QB Luke Papa found the Wildcats end zone on a 2-yard run behind his trusty offensive line. In the second quarter with Morris Catholic starting to drive from its own 36-yard line, Whippany Parks Mike Dimeo picked-off a flare pass and ran it 36-yards to the house to make it 14-0.
Later in the second quarter, Wildcat fullback Jake Crane plowed in for the second score from the 8-yard line for the third score of the game. In the 3rd quarter, the Wildcats defense was able to prevent Morris Catholic from any kind of offensive drive. This included keeping Morris Catholic’s speedy Nasir Clerk to only a team high 24-yards on the ground. Wildcat kicker Paul Padilla booted 26-yard field goal to add another 3-points.
The Wildcat defense interior anchored by Nick Foglia and Anthony Auriemma were exceptional in keeping Morris Catholic’s playmakers Clerk”, Damon Latugga and Jimmy Blind inside the hash marks. On offense, with Luke Papa’s quick feet, he was able to rush for 99 yards on 24 carries for the Wildcats.
As the game went on, the Wildcats took control of the game on both sides of the ball as Papa added another 8-yard insurance touchdown run to ice a solid opening day Wildcat team win. Next Friday, the Wildcats are away and play the Kinnelon Colts @ 7:00PM (September 15th).
Morris Catholic 0 0 0 0 0
Whippany Park 7 14 3 7 31
1st: Whippany Park: Luke Papa 2 run (Paul Padilla kick)
2nd: Whippany Park: Michael Dimeo 36 interception return (Paul Padilla kick)
2nd: Whippany Park: Jake Crane 8 run (Paul Padilla kick)
3rd: Whippany Park: FG Paul Padilla 26
4th: Whippany Park: Luke Papa 8 run (Paul Padilla kick)