The Jefferson Falcons’ football team travels to Oradell on Friday night for a first round playoff game against the Golden Hawks of River Dell High School with kickoff scheduled for 6 p.m.
The Falcons earned the seventh seed in the Section 2 Group 3 playoffs with a 24-17 victory at West Morris-Mendham last Friday, which boosted their record to 6-3 on the season. They will face a stern test in the second seeded Golden Hawks, who finished the regular season with a 45-0 pummeling of Ridgefield Park last Friday.
Falcons head coach Jerry Venturino is fully aware of challenges River Dell will present to his squad.
“They’re a very experienced team. They’re always in the playoffs and they’re always going deep in the playoffs,” said Venturino via telephone Tuesday evening, noting River Dell’s history of post-season success. On the field, the Falcons can expect to see a somewhat unique offensive strategy from the Bergen County school.
“They use two quarterbacks. One is more of a drop-back quarterback while the other is quite the athlete. He’s very elusive and can make plays with his feet but he can also throw the ball,” Venturino added.
The Golden Hawks’ defense is equally challenging as they run multiple sets. According to Venturino, “They use a lot of odd man fronts, 3-3, 3-4, and 5-2, but they also run some 4-2 and 4-3 as well,” he said.
Yet the Falcons’ coaching staff seems undaunted by the imposing Golden Hawks and has been preparing to present an equally strong opposing force for their hosts.
“You’re basically picking and choosing, looking at where they do the most damage and are most effective. We’ll try to mix things up to keep them honest and play honest, sound fundamental football.”
The coach added one more element that he’ll have his Falcons doing on Friday evening: “Run to the football. Good things happen when you run to the football.”
Ultimately Venturino compared Friday’s game to a different type of test.
“It’s like being in math class. You learn everything all year then you prepare for one big test,” he said. Knowing the work ethic the Falcons have exhibited all year, expect this to be one exam the team will be fully prepared for.
River Dell High School is located at 55 Pyle Street in Oradell. Weather conditions are expected to be unseasonably cold with temperatures at kickoff hovering in the low to mid 30s with a blustery Northwest wind gusting to around 25 mph, so be sure to dress warmly when you make the trip to cheer on the Falcons in their opening round playoff contest.