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Old Tappan Finishes Undefeated Year With Football Title

Old Tappan fans cheer as the final seconds tick off the clock for the football team's state championship win over Wayne Hills Saturday, Dec. 5.
Old Tappan fans cheer as the final seconds tick off the clock for the football team's state championship win over Wayne Hills Saturday, Dec. 5. Photo Credit: Joshua Jongsma
The Old Tappan football team heads to midfield after winning the state title over Wayne Hills Saturday, Dec. 5.
The Old Tappan football team heads to midfield after winning the state title over Wayne Hills Saturday, Dec. 5. Photo Credit: Joshua Jongsma
Old Tappan defenders try to chase down Wayne Hills during the state finals Saturday, Dec. 5 at MetLife Stadium.
Old Tappan defenders try to chase down Wayne Hills during the state finals Saturday, Dec. 5 at MetLife Stadium. Photo Credit: Joshua Jongsma
Old Tappan puts pressure on the Wayne Hills quarterback during the state finals Saturday, Dec. 5.
Old Tappan puts pressure on the Wayne Hills quarterback during the state finals Saturday, Dec. 5. Photo Credit: Joshua Jongsma

OLD TAPPAN, N.J. — History did not repeat itself for the Old Tappan football team as the Golden Knights defeated Wayne Hills 17-0 Saturday at MetLife Stadium to win a state championship and finish the season undefeated.

Old Tappan avenged back-to-back losses to Wayne Hills in 2010 and 2011 by winning this year's North 1, Group 4 title.

For the Golden Knight fans, it offered another chance to see their team on the biggest stage. Terrence O'Neill, brother of Old Tappan assistant football coach Brendan, said he came to the Meadowlands for the other title games and hoped for a better outcome this time.

"There's a fair amount of history," O'Neill said, "but the players change, the coaches change."

Defense ruled the first half of the game as the neither team scored before the third quarter. Old Tappan broke through with a fumble recovery and two receiving touchdowns by Jedh Downey to seal the victory.

Old Tappan freshman Luke Conmy said his classmates' mood was all about the game leading to Saturday.

"It feels like more pressure to win because we lost to them last time," Conmy said. "We want to get them back."

Classmate Cory Boyle summed it up simply as "a little revenge."

Old Tappan capped off a 12-0 season with the championship.

Wayne Hills finished the year 9-3. Despite the loss, the team continued a winning tradition, former Patriot wide receiver Bill Monan said.

"Obviously we had a great year," the 2002 graduate Monan said. "It's a hard-working program day in and day out."

Mark McNerney said Wayne Hills' success created a "small-town feel."

"Wayne's a pretty big town," McNerney said, "but when one of the teams is in the championship game, we all feel we're a part of it."

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