Verona Tops Caldwell In Suicide Awareness Game

By on September 8, 2018

The Verona and Caldwell football teams reignited their storied rivalry last night in a game that kicked off the 2018 football season–and Suicide Awareness Month. The teams both wore ribbon decals on their helmets in the purple and teal colors of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Hillbillies took the field by tearing through a banner created by VHS cheerleaders that reminded those present to #BeTheVoice for suicide prevention. Elizabeth Roithmayr-Clemens, AFSP’s New Jersey area director, assisted the teams in the coin toss.

From the moment the game got underway in front of an enormous home field crowd, it was almost all Verona. In the first quarter, Nick Riggio scored the first of three touchdowns in what would become a 35-0 Verona victory. Matt Aldiero got the Hillbilly fans roaring in the second quarter after he turned a blocked Caldwell kick into an 80-yard touchdown run.

Cael Zebrowski, a freshman, had the quarterback duties for Verona in his first varsity start and he threw for 95 yards, including a 10-yarder that Jake McConnachie turned into a touchdown. The win was also the first Verona coaching victory for Kevin Batty, a Verona native and 1985 graduate of VHS who was named head coach in April.

The football team will be walking as a team in AFSP’s walk in Verona Park on Sunday, October 14. Rosemary Gabbe, who is organizing the walk, was grateful today for the effort by both teams and the support of their communities. “We need to be the voice and the inspiration to those who think about suicide,” she said. “If what we did last night can help one person then it is all worth it.”

Photos copyright Andy Yeates. Used by permission.

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