With two of season’s biggest games back-to-back, SJR was presented with a crucial 14 days of work, preparation, and intensity. The Green Knights faced off against Bergen Catholic and Don Bosco Prep, its greatest rivals. With so much riding on each game, including rankings within the group and first place in the state, the pressure was on for SJR. After a bye week, St. Joe’s was locked in and ready to play BC on October 1, especially after losing the previous two years to the Crusaders in overtime. SJR scored first when junior Yasir Berry caught 30-yard touchdown on a pass from junior quarterback Nick Patti. In the second quarter, junior Evan
Stewart punched in a rushing touchdown, giving the Green Knights 14 points in the first half. Bergen Catholic had a single touchdown in the second quarter, cutting SJR’s lead to 14-7 at halftime. Neither team scored in the 3rd quarter. Bergen Catholic tied the scored in the fourth, and as time expired, the score remained 14-14.
After two overtimes, and a called-back touchdown by Bergen Catholic, the Green Knights came out victorious with a 24-yard field goal by sophomore Angelo Guglielmello making the final score 17-14. SJR senior Louis Acceus led SJR runners with 80 yards on 21 carries. Senior Jordan Scott had two catches for 47 yards.
Patti went 9 for 21 with 139 yards and one touchdown. Acceus led SJR’s defense in tackles with a total of ten. Senior defensive end Mark Doran tallied two sacks in the game. “It was a great team win, everybody battled to the very last second,” Doran said. “After losing the last two years in overtime to them, the seniors knew this was their last shot at them. It feels great to come out victorious against them in a game that was an instant classic. From now on, whenever people think about the St. Joe’s-Bergen rivalry, this game will be one of the most outstanding in history.”
Coming off the major win, SJR, #1 in the state, was faced with a rematch of last year’s state championship game against Don Bosco. SJR was looking to avenge December’s loss at MetLife stadium. SJR started slowly, unable to put any points on the board in the first two quarters, and trailed 10-0. But motivated,
optimistic, and fired up, the Green Knights scored two touchdowns in the 3rd quarter. Patti hit a wide-open junior tight end Matt Alaimo with a pass resulting in a 76-yard touchdown. Senior Jordan Scott returned a kickoff for a spectacular 84-yard touchdown. At the end of three the score was 24-14 DBP. The Green Knights did not score in the fourth quarter, while Don Bosco added another touchdown. The final score of the game was 31-14. Patti went 11-25 with 153 yards and one touchdown. Senior Louis Acceus led the team in rushing yards with 108 yards, as well as tackles, with 11. Tight end Matt Alaimo had the most receiving yards on the night with a total of 118 yards. Head Coach Augie Hoffmann ‘99 said, “We need to get back to taking care of the fundamentals. We need to stop hurting ourselves and stay on schedule. If we can do that, we will be fine."