The Battle of Class B: Friday Night Lights

By Bobby Ziff

The Byram Hills Varsity Football Team had just come off a big win at Westlake, making them undefeated heading into their big homecoming matchup against Ardsley. These two teams, bosting 4-0 records have lived up to the hype so far this season. Lohud’s weekly prediction had Ardlsey beating Byram 28-20. This was exactly what Byram needed– the doubters and the hundreds of cheering fans supporting them from the sideline. Byram knew what they had to do in order to compete with the powerhouse that is Ardsley.

While discussing the excitement heading into this big matchup with sophomores Michael Rocco and Bobby Chicoine, they explained that they “love having leaders like the Picca brothers on their team. [They] love the culture and the fact that everyone’s got their back.” This awesome brotherhood made this crucial game an even more exciting one for our Byram football team.

The game started slowly, but about halfway through the first quarter, things began to heat up. On a fourth down and long, Nic Picca threw a 32 yard reception to Ben Weinhoff. A few plays later, Picca set up Steven Franco in the end zone for a touchdown. Throughout the game, Coach Carpenter put a lot of trust in his offense to convert on huge fourth down plays. Byram’s receivers including Juniors, Steven Franco and Ben Weinhoff, and Senior, Aaron Falto, are versatile and quick, allowing them to make crucial catches throughout the game. The game slowed down until the beginning of the second quarter, but Byram’s defense really fought hard. Ardsley’s star running back Jalen Osbourne was difficult to stop, but Byram’s monster defensive players such Bobby Chicoine and Ryan Abedamarco made huge tackles for this Byram defense.

A few minutes into the second quarter, junior Jack Tillinger rushed it in for a Byram touchdown to increase the lead to 14-0. Byram’s star running back Matt Wiler, injured in their first game against Putnam Valley, has been out for a few weeks; however, this is no problem as running back Jack Tillinger and Michael Rocco have really stepped up their game to lead Byram. Halfway through the second, Ardlsey’s running back Jalen Osbourne scored on an outside handoff making it 14-7. As the first half came to an end, Ardlsey was pushing down the field, but Steven Franco made an incredible interception. Byram takes the locker room at half leading 14-7.

The third quarter was scoreless for both teams, except for a great field goal by Byram kicker David Gold that made the score 17-7 heading into the fourth quarter. At the start of the fourth, Ardlsey quickly scored, and about 5 minutes later, running back Jalen Osbourne threw a 24 yard touchdown to give Ardsley the lead 24-17. Byram had some crucial missed conversions and fumbles and they gave up a 17 point swing to Ardsley in the fourth, ultimately allowing Ardsley to finish off the game and win 24-17.

Although the game ended poorly for Byram, we saw great things on both sides of the ball for this talented team. It was a tough matchup playing against Ardlsey’s huge linemen and their quick running back, but Byram showed they can handle one of the top teams in the section. The fans are all still excited to see Byram play the rest of the season. Lohud quotes Ardsley’s Jalen Osbourne in an interview regarding Byram: “They’re our toughest opponent and their going to stay that way.” Expect big things for Coach Carpenter and the bobcats because they are still one of the teams to beat in this competitive class B.