Wallkill says goodbye to SCIL rivals

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:17

    HARDYSTON-Wallkill Valley will trade a rivalry for a win any day. Fed up with playing bigger schools in football, the Rangers pulled out of the Sussex County Interscholastic Athletic Association (SCIL) to play an independent schedule for the first time in 22 years. "It was something we had to do," said Athletic Director Mike Van Zile. "Schools like Vernon and Sparta were just getting too big and there was no way to compete with them. We have to take care of the kids at Wallkill Valley before we worry about anything else." The transition looks as if it paid immediate dividends for the Rangers. Last week they would have faced defending state champ Sparta. Instead, they hosted fellow group II school Hackettstown and coasted to a 30-12 victory. Sparta lost to Lakeland 17-10. Mark Castiglione rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown and quarterback Mike Hern threw three touchdown passes to lead Wallkill Valley to their second triumph of the year. "We went out there this week and won a game," said Van Zile. "If we had to play Sparta I don't know if we would have done that." Wallkill Valley has already won two games this year, after compiling a 4-14 record over the last two seasons. Vernon Athletic Director Bill Edelman anticipates some problems that will be heading their old rivals way. The Vikings play an independent schedule in volleyball, lacrosse, and ice hockey and Edelman says that schools outside the SCIL are not very cooperative. Edelman sites concerns with travel distance and schools arriving on time for contests. "In the SCIL we have professional people that operate in a professional atmosphere," Edelman said. "Once you get out of this conference they don't act like that. I was very disappointed when I heard they were leaving the conference. But Wallkill has to do what is best for their student athletes." Familiar faces Lenape Valley, Newton, and Hopatcong, still remain on the Rangers' schedule later this year. But with neighbors Vernon, High Point, Sparta, Pope John, and Jefferson out some of Wallkill Valley plays more competitive opponents like Ramsey, Mahwaw, David Brearley, and North Warren. But with the competitive balance comes long bus rides. The Rangers travel to Ramsey, to Kenilworth to play David Brearley, and to Blairstown to play North Warren. All three trips are over an hour. "Travel is a problem when it comes to playing the independent schedule, "said Edelman. "I hope it works out for them." Asked if he thought if the Rangers would have more success on the football field, Edelman declined to comment.