Last season, the Pascack Valley Indians played one game against DePaul, a Catholic school, and lost 35-14. But come next season, DePaul will not have the opportunity to play Pascack Valley.
It will also mark the first time in six seasons that PV will not have a non-public school on its schedule. The leaders of the Big North Conference made a ruling last week granting relief to four schools slated to take the field against non-public schools next season.
The three other schools granted relief were Passaic Tech, Old Tappan, and Wayne Hills. In fact, Passaic Tech will be the replacement for DePaul on PV’s schedule next season.
“[We are] very happy about [the Big North’s decision],” PV principal Mr. Tom DeMaio said.
DeMaio is a staunch believer in the fact that as a public school, PV should not be forced to play against DePaul. DeMaio’s issue is not that the Indians can’t compete with the Spartans or another Catholic school. In fact, in 2012 when the Indians went 11-1 and lost in the state championship, they beat DePaul, and over their last six seasons, the Indians have gone 2-4 against non-publics. Most public schools haven’t had even such modest success against non-publics.
“Our position is that the guidelines by which the parochial schools are playing don’t fit [those of] a public school,” DeMaio said.
Last season, PV’s new opponent Passaic Tech went 10-2, good enough to propel them to the title game against Montclair, in which PV lost 26-14. That was one of the only low points for a Passaic Team that shut out four of its opponents and allowed no more than 13 points in any of their wins.
The loss to DePaul was one of the only blemishes on PV’s record last year as the Indians (10-2) captured their second straight North 1, Group 4 state title.
DePaul finished 8-4 last season. It opened the season with five straight victories — four of which came against public schools. All four of its losses then came in succession at the end of its regular season against local non-public powerhouses Bergen Catholic, St. Joe’s, Paramus Catholic, and Don Bosco. The Spartans rebounded to win their three playoff games and nail down the Non-public Group 2 state title.
DePaul director of athletics Joe Lennon did not return two phone calls requesting comment.
In an interview three weeks ago, DeMaio expressed confidently, “we are also anticipating a change in transfer rules and league alignment.” In another piece, Bergen Record sports columnist Darren Cooper talks about the potential vote that may take place next December dealing with the possibility of an entirely non-public division.
And if the Big North didn’t make the decision it did? “We were prepared to explore all options,” DeMaio said. Now they may not have to.