Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Fit for Hollywood Finish

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Fit for Hollywood Finish

Article excerpt

EAST RUTHERFORD -- There has been a movie in the works for years now about the NV/Old Tappan football program. Filming for the latest release from producer Antonio Saillant is expected to begin in 2017.

Saturday, it finally got the ending it needs.

After 30 years without a title, the Golden Knights found gold at the end of their season, stopping nemesis Wayne Hills, 17-0, in the North 1, Group 4 final at MetLife Stadium. NV/OT finished 12-0 for the first time in school history.

If Saillant needs a leading man, Jordan Fuller certainly would fit the bill. The senior, named the Gatorade Player of the Year in New Jersey this past week, performed brilliantly on both sides of the ball. He threw a touchdown pass to Jedh Downey in the third quarter, and stopped the Patriots' best chance to score with an end- zone interception late in the second.

Downey would be cast as the strong, silent supporting-actor type. Playing just six weeks after fracturing the bone at the top of his tibia, the senior tight end caught both touchdowns for the Golden Knights.

"I just hit the seam on the first touchdown, and no one covered me," Downey said. "I was wide open, so it was more the play call. It wasn't really me. The second one was the same thing. It was great, but I have to give the love to my teammates. It wasn't me."

Although that is accurate, Downey's return gave the Golden Knights the kind of emotional lift you find ... well, only in movies.

"When Jedh got hurt, he said it didn't matter how much pain he's in, he was playing in the state championship game if we got there," said NV/Old Tappan senior lineman Johnny Piccinich. "He had two huge touchdowns for us and made a huge change in the game."

Piccinich was at the heart of a stunning defensive effort. Few would have believed the Golden Knights could have held the Patriots scoreless, but they did it with solid tackling and by creating two clutch turnovers.

"Our coaches did a great job of getting us ready," said NV/Old Tappan head coach Brian Dunn. "They gave us a couple of wrinkles, but we just stayed doing what we had to do. Piccinich and [Erik] Slater had big sacks, just awesome. …

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