By Soccer Correspondent Bill Blanchard
For the first time since the 1987 team – led by Coach Tom Wilson – Glen Rock had a boys Varsity soccer team in the County semifinals. This year’s game was just as heated as the one 30 years ago.
During the first 20 minutes there was plenty of end-to-end/back-and-forth play. Near misses occurred on both sides, the closest being when Ramapo beat the GR goalie, only to be turned away by the post! Ramapo then scored with 11 minutes left in the first half; a long throw-in from the right sideline just eluded the GR keeper’s hands and allowed a Ramapo attacker to tuck the ball into the corner of the net.
During the final 6 minutes of the first half, after a shot skipped off the post, Ramapo buried a shot in the upper 90 to lead 2 to nil. Soon after GR returned the favor, cutting the lead to 2-1 with 31 minutes left.
With 15 seconds left in the first half, GR again came close to scoring, placing a shot that skimmed the top of the crossbar as it sailed over.
With 17 minutes left in the game, GR tied the game on a penalty kick, and then played with new momentum.
With two minutes and 46 seconds left, there was controversy when Ramapo apparently scored on an indirect throw from the sidelines. The ball was called back as a violation and the goal did not count at first, but the referees changed their minds and allowed it to count. Ramapo added one more goal for good measure.
The final score was Ramapo 4 – Glen Rock 2
Looking back 30 years to the last Boys varsity team to make the County semifinals, the 1987 squad won the game, beating Ridgewood 3-1.
At that time, GRHS was a Group 1 school – meaning they were competing in the group of schools with the smallest enrollments. They were also the first Group 1 school to reach the county championship game – losing to Don Bosco 2-0 – and finishing the year 20-3-2, having also lost in the state semifinal to an undefeated Chatham team. The ’87 team was arguably the most successful boys team in GR school history at that time.