Wayne Hills knew they had a challenge going up against undefeated Pascack Valley for the North Jersey Section 1, Group 4 semi-final. But costly turnovers and a potent defense kept Wayne Hills just one step behind throughout the game.
There was no doubt that Wayne Hills was going to leave it all on the field. Down 7-3 and pressing for a score at the end of the half when time ran out, it looked like Hills would have the momentum in the second half.
A nip and tuck battle, a Wayne Hills drive in the third period stalled at midfield. When Erik Moskal punted the ball, a roughing the center call on Pascack Valley gave Hills back the ball, 15 yards and a first down.
On the next play, quarterback Kevin Olsen struggled to find a receiver and rolled right trying to the advance the ball. As Olsen went to the sideline, Pascack defenders slammed the quarterback to the ground and received a another 15 yard penalty.
A costly Hills fumble turned the ball over to Pascack Valley who advanced the ball 55 yards on the play. Two plays later, Pascack Valley scored a touchdown.
Olsen came to life after a Pascack Valley fumble and turnover. He found Kyle Huntzinger and Erik Moskel, but he also gave up an interception. As the clock wore on in the half, Wayne Hills mounted a strong drive with a mix of runs and passes culminating with a 3 yard run by Cristian Rodriquez and a two point conversion.
Pascack Valley would in turn march down the field and score making it 20-11 after a blocked extra point.
Wayne Hills would make one more drive, but Olsen was unable to mount the charge. On fourth down, with 1:22 to go in the game, Wayne Hills' Erik Martinez would try for a field goal but it would come up short. Pascack Valley had only to run out the clock.
It was Hills' second loss to Pascack this season. The Patiots lost 35-21 in October, but Olsen did not play in that game due to a foot injury.
It was the final game for Olsen. The All-American and University of Miami recruit was named one of the top 11 quarterbacks in the country earlier this year.
It was also the final game for Olsen's father Chris, a legendary coach who led eight teams to state sectional championships in nearly three decades of coaching at Hills.
"It is going to be hard to walk away, but I realized this week that next week would be the latest we'd be around. I am going to miss the kids, it was a great group to work with," the older Olsen said. "All 28 years at Wayne Hills, it has been a pleasure to be around them, a pleasure to be around their parents. I am certainly going to miss them."