Two powerhouses; one from the north and one from the south met at Rutgers University's SHI Stadium in Piscataway on Sunday for the Group 4 football championship. As favored, the southerners won.
Mainland High School (14-0) defeated Ramapo High School (12-1) 56-0 in the pouring rain. Very soon after the 2 pm kickoff, much like the statement they made in their win over Winslow, Mainland made it known that they were ready to dominate.
Ramapo started out on offense but couldn’t get anything going in their first series and allowed one sack. On the other side, Mainland immediately got the ball rolling thanks to their o-line of mostly underclassmen. The team started off with a touchdown pass from quarterback John Franchini to Stephen Ordille.
The Mustangs scored on every possession that they had throughout the game. The team achieved five touchdowns in the first half alone. What led to the second touchdown in the first was a significant 50-yard run by Cohen Cook. He was nearly taken down a few times by Ramapo defenders but it took him a while to go down. Cook credited his running mentality to his current and former teammates including Ordille, Rocco DeBiaso, and Ja’briel Mace.
The wide receiver praised his quarterback and teammates adding, “I love all these guys so it was awesome to put it all out on the field with them and win it all.”
As for Ramapo’s struggles, the team could not get anything past Mainland's defense with the exception of a few good runs and the comfort of running outside the pocket for senior quarterback Landon DePrima.
Mainland ended up scoring two touchdowns in the first quarter. As soon as the second quarter started, Cook continued his dominating performance, with yet another touchdown.
Ramapo turned possession over on downs and Mainland started their trek to the end zone again. With the ball on Ramapo’s 39-yard line, Franchini connected with Ordille for a 23-yard rushing touchdown.
Spectators saw a ton of grit from Ramapo’s DePrima. With 6:36 left in the first half, Ramapo had the ball on their own 26-yard line and DePrima was able to run for a gain of 15 yards followed with a completion for a first down.
Towards the end of the first half, DePrima was constantly running around out of the pocket. The senior was sacked twice on this possession by senior Javien Swain with the second being assisted by senior JJ Sinclair. DePrima ultimately scrambled on fourth down while stiff-arming a defender but Ramapo once again turned the possession over.
Cohen Cook started the next series off with a 40-yard run which paved the way for a touchdown by Villanova commit Jamie Tyson who made an interception off DePrima on Ramapo’s next drive. Franchini and Cook then connected again for a rushing touchdown. Ramapo had no productivity at the end of the half leaving the score 42-0.
The second half went briskly as DeBiasio scored five minutes in. On their next possession, Ramapo suffered another interception by JJ Sinclair.
At the start of the fourth, Ordille scored a 48-yard rushing touchdown putting Mainland up 56-0 with the extra point by Nate Kashey.
Mainland Head Coach Chuck Smith was “flabbergasted” and called his team’s performance outstanding saying, “I really didn’t expect something like that today. I thought it would be a really tough game for us, I expected our guys to perform well but you know, they came here with a point to prove and they did that.”
56-0 was the final score as Mainland blew out Ramapo making them the 2023 Group 4 State Champions.
For more scenes from the 2023 NJSIAA Football Group 4 Championship, check out more of Catalina Saracen's photos from the game.
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