New York Jets On Wayne Valley Turf

Amanda Vogt, Editor-in-chief

New York Jets Quarterback Zach Wilson and star Wide Receiver Elijah Moore surprised the Wayne Valley Girls Flag Football team at their practice on Tuesday, May 10—not just visiting but providing instruction and encouragement on the day before a huge matchup against Ridgewood.

When the New York Jets provided Valley with an $8,000 grant in order to start a flag football team this year, the program was an instant success. The talented WV team has gone 5-1 to start their season and should they win tonight, they have an excellent chance of making the playoffs and a championship run. Even in the team’s inaugural season, head coach Andrew Imperatore and assistants Roger Kotlarz and Lauren Larcamp lead a roster full of playmakers including captains Emily Bolson, Erin Clark, and Vivian Testa. 

Upon Wilson and Moore’s visit, it was a perfect spring evening: as the sun set behind the bleachers at Wayne Valley’s football field, the high school players were thrilled to be in the presence of renown.

After the initial excitement, Coach Imperatore brought the focus back to the importance of that day’s practice. To prepare the girls for success the next day, Wilson and Moore coached them through several drills focused on timing, flow and execution. After putting in the work, the two shared some advice with the Valley players at midfield. 

“Yeah, [I told them to] just have fun,” Wilson explained to TAPinto after practice. “Compete every single day, enjoy football—everything the game has to offer.” 

Moore was clearly impressed with the athletic Wayne Valley team.“I am already seeing a lot of talent, so the sky’s the limit for them,” he said, and added that he anticipates that their great run will continue. That is, as long as trust exists between the coaches and the athletes. Throughout the season, “you gotta keep going, gotta believe in yourself, gotta believe in the coaches, and gotta give everything you’ve got.”

Likewise, Wilson was not surprised by the quick growth and positive attitude of Valley’s team. He reflected, “I know what football’s brought me in my life, and I’m just so excited to share it all the way across.” 

Overall, Wilson “[thinks] that it would be huge” for other schools to implement girls flag football teams because “the game of football just needs to be spread all around, and the more they keep playing, the better.”  

In the huddle Moore told the girls to “be legendary,” and so far, this season has been nothing short of legend. The team will carry Moore and Wilson’s inspiration with them throughout the rest of their inaugural run and in the years to come.