NFA Comes Down to Earth in Loss to Jersey Power River Dell Academy
By Sean Lynch
Newburgh — The Goldbacks finally met their match. River Dell Academy (N.J) beat Newburgh Free Academy 24-0 in their first loss of the season on Friday night. River Dell is ranked No. 15 in New Jersey and No. 1 in the New Jersey Division North Group 3 by MaxPreps.
The Golden Hawks jumped ahead to a 7-0 lead 2:06 into the game with a 53-yard kick return by Kieran Hughes. Four plays later, junior quarterback Jack Gillies rushed up the middle for a nine-yard touchdown. River Dell (4-0) added two second quarter touchdowns, and a late fourth quarter field goal. “The defense had them (River Dell) third-and-long so many times tonight and we didn’t stop them,” Newburgh coach Bill Bianco said.
The Goldbacks gave up first downs on five plays of third-and-15 or longer. One of those included a 22-yard touchdown on a 3rd-and-17. Newburgh Free Academy (3-1) only had one sack, and had trouble putting pressure on Gillies throughout the game. “They do a lot of stuff to spread your defense out, and when you send some blitzes it leaves some parts of your defense exposed,” Bianco said.
Star running backs Terry Anderson and Syncere Tatum were held to 19 and 48 yards respectively. Quarterback Derek Lane went 2-for-7 for 17 yards and two interceptions. The entire team recorded 76 yards of offense. The Goldbacks first 1st down came with 4:50 left in the second quarter, and got the ball past midfield for the first time with 1:20 left in the third quarter.
“We haven’t played a team as talented as River Dell in a long time, they’re well-coached and they swarmed us tonight,” Bianco said.
Newburgh Free Academy’s final four regular season games are against league teams, and Bianco says those are the games the team will shift their focus to.
“Tonight was a big test for our team, but now we have to finish the season strong and focus on our league opponents,” Bianco said.