NEW MILFORD – With the rain starting to fall heavier and heavier by game time, Hawthorne head coach John Passero knew that he had to scrap plans to throw the ball and win or lose with the run.
“We stressed all week ball security in the rain,” Passero said after the Bears’ 29-7 win over New Milford on Thursday. “Incredibly, we moved the game from Friday to Thursday to stay ahead of the rain and what happens? It rains. So because of the rain, we wanted to give everything we had in the run game.”
That was great news for senior running back Abdullah Elailla.
“I love the rain,” Elailla said. “I have a lot of fun running in the rain and mud. It’s my kind of weather. I just had to concentrate more on holding onto the ball.”
The same could be said for senior quarterback Ryan Vander Werf.
“I wouldn’t say the rain changed our game plan that much, but we decided to stick to the run game,” Vander Werf said. “We knew we had to try to keep two hands on the ball at all times.”
The running back Elailla and signal caller Vander Werf were the two key reasons Hawthorne beat New Milford.
Elailla had 102 yards on 17 carries, scored one touchdown and added two PAT runs. Vander Werf ran for 71 yards on eight carries and had two touchdowns.
The victory enabled the Bears to improve to 3-1 overall, while the Knights fell to 2-2.