Former VHS Football Champs Head To Playoffs

By on December 1, 2018

Lou Racioppe, the former football coach at VHS, continues to mentor players from his 2014 championship team. When Bill Ferrari’s Johns Hopkins team played Mark Riggio’s Muhlenberg in October, Racioppe was there.

Julia Ashley isn’t the only former Verona High School athlete in a national playoff this weekend. Bill Ferrari (VHS ’15) will be on the field at noon today for an NCAA Division III quarterfinal game. Ferrari plays tight end for the Johns Hopkins University Blue Jays, who will be squaring off against the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers. Kick off is at Hopkins’ Homewood Field at noon and the game can be watched through Hopkins’ website.

Mark Riggio (VHS’ 16), is now a running back for Muhlenberg College, which is playing in the quarterfinals of NCAA Division III for the first time in program history. The Mules will be in Alliance, Ohio, on Saturday, for game against the University of Mount Union. You can watch this game through Mount Union’s website.

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Now here’s where things could get really interesting: The winner of the Johns Hopkins-RPI game will play the winner of the Mount Union-Muhlenberg game in the semifinals on Saturday, December 8. The Blue Jays are favored to win their contest, but Muhlenberg faces a challenge in Mount Union. Hopkins defeated Muhlenberg 27-16 in a regular season game in October.

Racioppe with Colgate QB Frank Ferrari.

But there’s more. Bill Ferrari’s twin brother Frank plays quarterback for Colgate University, and the Raiders are in a NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision game today against James Madison University. That second round game will be on ESPN3 at 1 p.m. Colgate, which was the undefeated champion in the Patriot League, earned a first round bye in the NCAA FCS playoffs.

Both of the Ferraris, and Riggio, were part of VHS’ 2014 state championship football team, the only undefeated team in the history of VHS football. Also in that lofty crowd was Matt Riccitelli, who has been on the defensive line at Ithaca College. The Bombers’ playoff hopes this year ended with a 42-44 heartbreaker against Utica College just before Thanksgiving.

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UPDATE: Bill Ferrari’s Johns Hopkins team is headed to its first NCAA semifinal game after defeating RPI 37-14. It will go up against Mount Union, which defeated Mark Riggio’s Muhlenberg. Frank Ferrari’s Colgate advances to the NCAA quarterfinals after defeating JMU 23-20 with a field goal at the buzzer. It will face No. 1 North Dakota State next weekend in Fargo.

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