Brearley football scores early to down division rival Dayton; Bears finally play first game

PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI – Brearley’s defense, at left, begins 2018 with a shutout victory.
PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI – Although Dayton will go through some growing pains this year, the Bulldogs hung tough vs. Brearley.

KENILWORTH – Not only could Brearley wait no longer to finally get on the field, but in the process the Bears wanted to make a statement early.
Against division rival Dayton it didn’t take long.
Brearley scored four touchdowns in the first quarter – two on offense, one on special teams and one on defense – en route to a convincing 40-0 Mid-State 36 Conference-Union Division triumph Friday night at Ward Field.
Brearley is now 2-0 – including a forfeit win over Highland Park – while Dayton dropped to 0-2.
It was Brearley’s sixth straight win over Dayton, but the first in that stretch by the 35-point running clock rule.
“We grind it out every day and want to win every single game,” Brearley senior Vin Rappa said.
Rappa was even more anxious to get on the field considering he was hurt last year.
He scored Brearley’s first touchdown on a 35-yard punt return down the right sideline – Brearley head coach Scott Miller yelled, “poison,” but Rappa instead fielded a letter-high bounce and took the ball to the end zone – and its fourth on a 25-yard interception return down the left sideline.
“On the punt I heard Coach yell poison and I was supposed to get away from the ball, but I just went with my instinct,” Rappa said.
Brearley’s first touchdown drive covered 45 yards and took just two plays – an eight-yard run by sophomore running back Derek Graichen and then a 37-yard scamper – untouched – on an option run up the middle by first-year sophomore quarterback Danny Ramos.
Brearley’s second possession saw the Bears go ahead 21-0 on a one-yard run by Ramos that capped a five-play, 41-yard march. Ramos began the drive with a 23-yard run after the ball was initially fumbled.
Graichen scored on a 17-yard run down the right sideline to put Brearley ahead 34-0.
Sophomore running back Lucca Lima scored on a two-yard run to make the score 40-0 in the second quarter. Lima carried the ball five times for 31 yards and his one score.
Ramos finished with 76 yards rushing on four carries and two TDs.
Graichen gained 40 yards on six carries and his one score.
Senior running back Dylan Santelli also had one rush for 10 yards in the first half.
Ramos completed passes to senior Kyle Shaw for 14 yards and to junior Sean Boyars for 11.
Brearley junior Antonino Principato kicked four extra points.
Defensively for Brearley, it seemed as if senior end Justin O’Rourke (No. 52) and sophomore linebacker Michael Dotro (No. 56) combined for nearly every tackle.
Dotro produced a 10-yard sack of Dayton senior quarterback Robert Spagnola on the final Bulldog possession of the first half.
In the second half, Brearley junior running back Xavier Rosa ripped off a 30-yard run with four minutes remaining.
“We’re hungry,” Rappa said. “We’re ready to prove everyone wrong. It’s us against the world.”
There weren’t many positives – statistically – for Dayton, but the Bulldogs were out there giving it their all until the final whistle. Spagnola managed a six-yard gain on Dayton’s first play of its sixth first-half possession.
Before that Brearley stuffed nearly every run attempt by either Spagnola, Jovanni Salcfas or Justin Mascitelli at the line of scrimmage.
“Our kids didn’t quit,” Dayton head coach Dominic Cuniglio said. “I told them at halftime to just go out and try to win the second half.
“We didn’t, but at least we played them even.”
Experience and staying with it will help a very young Dayton team progress as the season continues.
“They’re learning on the job,” Cuniglio said. “They’re not going to back down.”