Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Raiders' Defense Is No Longer Green

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Raiders' Defense Is No Longer Green

Article excerpt

HILLSDALE -- Ramapo's offense looks championship ready. The Green Raiders' defense looks ready for anything.

Much has been made of the Green Raiders' spread attack, which was humming on all cylinders Friday night in a 42-21 win over Pascack Valley, but for Ramapo (7-1) to win a sectional title in December, its defense will have to stand tall, too.

"This defense is championship worthy," said Ramapo senior linebacker Brian Raguseo. "I think we're strong at every position, especially the defensive line, and now going to the 4-3, we have a lot of big strong guys. We have some above-average linebackers I think, and our secondary is phenomenal."

Green Raiders head coach Drew Gibbs and his staff changed the team's primary defensive alignment during preseason workouts from a 3-4 to a 4-3.

It was a bold move.

"We felt like the strength of our team was our defensive line," said Gibbs. "It took us a while. I think we are just starting to jell with it now. We didn't do it until a couple of weeks in training camp once we saw who was able to step up, and we had some injuries. We thought it gave us the best chance to win a championship."

For the 6-foot, 225-pound Raguseo, it meant no more playing on the defensive line, he was now an inside linebacker.

"It's a lot different, playing in space is a whole different ball game," said Raguseo, "but it's come easier than I expected. I've had great coaching along the way."

Of course, even Gibbs admits his defense may never steal the spotlight. With the Green Raiders' high-octane attack, teams get more possessions against Ramapo, and figure to score against a sometimes winded bunch.

Friday night, the Green Raiders were up to their usual offensive tricks. Senior quarterback Keith Woetzel ran 11 times for 190 yards and a touchdown, and tailback Joe O'Hagan pounded out 135 yards and scored four times. The Green Raiders came in averaging 42 points on offense and hit that number on the nose.

Ramapo scored on its first four possessions of the contest. The longest of those drives was just 2:40.

"This offense is so great," said Ramapo senior Greg Latushko. "Especially playing wide receiver, you get the ball 5-10 times a game. …

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