2017 Game Day Eateries Predictions for Round 1

Photo by Lisa Mita

Every week Dan, Brian and George slug it out to predict the most football games correctly. Morris Sussex Sports has incentivized these three knuckleheads with a $200 pot to who ever picks the most correct games at the end of the season. Keep up with their progress every Thursday nights or Friday mornings when the 2017 Game Day Eateries Weekly Predictions come out. Looking for a place to eat on Game Days? Please dine at one of our Game Day Eateries!

North 1, Group 2

5 Pequannock (9-0) @ 4 Newton (9-0)

Dan Exter for Layups 4 Life: Wow, what an opening round match-up! I don’t need to look at the rest of the games in the opening rounds as this one is by far the Game of the Week. Two undefeated teams meeting in the first round of the playoffs? Someone is going to go home very disappointed. Both teams put up crazy numbers on offense – video game-like in fact. I think it comes down to who has the ball with 2-minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Whoever that is, will win this game. PICK: Newton 45-35
Brian Daniel: Wow, you really can’t get a better first round game than this one. My only problem is I wish they didn’t have to play each other! While Newton’s Ryan Kaiser, Jaiden Elliott and Johnny VanNess will have a ton of tackles and cause 3 turnovers, in in the end the Quan’s Sean Klimek will rush for over 150-yards and 3 TDs and Dave Jachera will add another one on the ground and through the air. PICK: The ‘Quan 35-27
George Muha: I’ve literally been waiting for this game since last year. And all week I’ve been Tweeting the Westwood booster club to “get ready” because Morris-Sussex is coming with a vengeance in Round 2 of the playoffs (you can actually see check my Twitter account). Whether it’s Newton or Pequannock, I am totally comfortable that we’ll be bringing the best they’ve ever faced next week. I am sure Coach Kopp and Coach Parzero don’t appreciate the fact that I am leading with the chin against their opponents, but I literally can’t even help it (I’m actually friends with the guy so it’s all in good fun). I absolutely love both of these teams and I am 100% behind each of them. Newton’s got all the studs like Luke Young, Chase Cramer, Jonny VanNess, Will Larsen, Jaiden Elliott, Ryan Kaiser and Justen Samiljan…just to name a few. Pequannock’s got their share of stellar players too in Dave Jachera, Sean Klimek, Matt Unger, Billy Tedeschi, Matthew Spatucci, Matt Gallo, Joe Leszczynski and Kai Robinson…to name a few on their side. Each team has the personnel, each team has great coaching, each team has a ton of heart and each team has that special something in their eye. I don’t even want to pick against either of these guys. But out of respect for the fact that last season, when they were juniors, Pequannock kicked my 5-0 Hanover Park Hornets team butt (in the friggen Hive, no less), I feel obligated to give them the nod. This will be a 100% dog fight till the very last second. PICK: Quan 48-47

North 1, Group 3

5 Bergenfield (6-3) @ 4 Sparta (8-1)

Dan Exter for Layups 4 Life: Hi Bergenfield, thanks for playing, Sparta appreciates you making the trip. PICK: Sparta 35-7
Brian Daniel: Sparta’s Tommy Agudo and Anthony Broccoletti will account for 4 scores in this one as Sparta advances to the next round. PICK: Sparta 42-20
George Muha: Hi Bergenfield, please say hello to quarterback Anthony “Chompin” Broccoletti and his 300-yards, 4 touchdowns passing. I would also like to introduce you to defender Robbie Gennat and his two turnovers. And if you decide you want to try to mount a comeback, we won’t want to but we’ll have to, invite runningback Thomas Agudo to run the clock out and he’ll still rush for 100-yards and two TDs. PICK: Spartans 44-21

North 1, Group 4

5 Morris Hills (7-2) @ 4 Wayne Hills (6-3)

Dan Exter for Layups 4 Life: This is a tough draw for Morris Hills. The Patriots from Wayne chew up teams from Morris County and spit them out. Wayne Hills plays a very tough schedule and that’s how they like it. It has been a helluva season for the Knights but the road stops at the House that Olsen built. PICK: Wayne Hills 28-10
Brian Daniel: Battle of the Hills!!! This is when Morris Hills leaves it all on the field. They remember what it was like to hoist the state championship trophy last year and they want that feeling again. Why not them? Devin Caruso will record 15 tackles, a sack and an INT and Angelo Macera will run for 100 plus yards and two scores in the win. PICK: Morris Hills 27-20
George Muha: I literally feel bad for Wayne Hills. Everyone in the state is picking them to win this game and I guarantee they are already looking ahead to Round 2. That is what is going to make this loss so much worse for them. I wish I was fly on the wall for Coach Sabo’s pregame speech. Macera, Caruso, Carlotti, Valerio, Rey Rey…just saying these names gives me a ton of confidence. Let’s do this boys and show the state the reason why you already have one ring. PICK: MoHills 38-35

6 Morris Knolls (7-2) @ 3 Mount Olive (8-1)

Dan Exter for Layups 4 Life: Another game consisting of teams that absolutely light up the scoreboard. This one should be exciting from the first drive of the game. MO and Knolls met in Week 1, with the Marauders walking away as winners from that one but this Knolls team is greatly different than they were way back then. The Eagles haven’t lost a game since Week 2 and have been absolutely dominating on both sides of the ball. They are one of the hottest teams in the county and MO should be worried. PICK: Knolls 35-28
Brian Daniel: Knolls had a fantastic season, it’s a shame it’s going to end this weekend. Derek Ferguson will rush for over 150-yards and two scores for Knolls, but Mt. Olive’s Liam Anderson will get in the endzone at least twice and Ryan Hodgins will go off the reservation with 20 tackles and a Pick-6. PICK: Mt. Olive 28-27
George Muha: After last week’s 240-yard, 5 touchdown performance Morris Knolls’ Fergie (Derek Ferguson) is going to convince his fellow Golden Eagles that “tonight is gonna be a good night” and he’s going to want the ball so he can “do it, and do it, and do it, and do it, and do it.” However, I think this is MO’s night and quarterback Liam Anderson is going to “paint the town” and FBU Player of the Week middle linebacker Ryan Hodgins is going to “shut it down”, followed by tackle Patrick Olson who will randomly “burn the roof” then the Marauders will “do it again”. Mount Olive receiver Lance Johnson will close it out by rapping, “easy come, easy go, now we on top”! PICK: MO 33-19

7 Northern Highlands (6-3) @ 2 West Morris (6-3)

Dan Exter for Layups 4 Life: Northern Highlands will be a nice prep game for the Wolfpack as they look to make a deep run into the post season. PICK: West Morris 21-0
Brian Daniel: West Morris will continue their quest for State and win this one easily. Look for Tom Pelligrino to record 3 sacks in this one for West Morris. PICK: WM 28-6
George Muha: Not for nothing but watching Northern Highlands drive up to West Morris is like seeing Barb walking around in the Upside Down for the first time in Stranger Things. You just know it’s not going to turn out good for them as they nervously walk onto the foggy field…despite the fact that the sun was out all day in Highlands. When the Wolfpack comes running through the middle of the bleachers, it might as well be a Demogorgon to Highlands. We all know how it ended for Barb. PICK: Wolves 35-21

North 2, Group 2

5 Hanover Park (5-4) @ 4 Lenape Valley (6-3)

Dan Exter for Layups 4 Life: While LV has been inconsistent throughout the year, if there is a time to get on a roll it is right now. Look for the Patriots to take care of business in their opening round game vs. HP. PICK LV: 21-7
Brian Daniel: Listen, I am out of the running for the highest prediction rate, so I’m going to go with my alma mater here. However, if HP doesn’t figure out how to stop Troy DuPont then they have no shot to win. Look for Troy to rush for over 100-yards and 2 scores in this no matter what. I have some faith in the Hornets defense though, and it may bend but it won’t break. Look for Ryan “Grizz” Gryzmala, Teddy Hsi, Bobby “Loops” Lupo, Sebastian Bassolino, Connor Mildon, John Malrechauffe and Anthony Salvemini to stop the Valley when they absolutely have to on defense. Sean Conley will score twice on the ground and Mikey Rads will catch at least one TD pass from Tyler Scaff in the upset. PICK: HP 35-34
George Muha: Believe it or not, Hanover Park has only one state championship in school history in 1990. I bet that is surprising to a lot of people since they rarely miss the postseason. And believe it or not, I was actually a member of that team (I was fifth in the depth chart at DE that year…maybe sixth, but I was on the roster). That is a long time to go without a state championship, and I am growing impatient. I am a big believer that big time players make big time plays in big time games. And I don’t think Morris-Sussex has a more talented of a pure play-maker than Hanover Park’s WR/DB Michael Radomski. Look for this to be a dog fight in Don’s House but I think Radomski will help carry the Hornets into the 2nd Round with some dazzling plays that will leave even Lenape’s “Sign Guy” Walt Wormann speechless…er, signless. PICK: Hornets 45-44

6 Hackettstown (6-3) @ 3 Mountain Lakes (7-2)

Dan Exter for Layups 4 Life: It has been nice to see the Herd bounce back from the season they had two years ago. It is not very often you see the word “losing” and “season” next to each other in the same sentence when describing Mountain Lakes. Look for the Herd to keep their season alive as they welcome the Tigers to their home turf. PICK: ML 17-7
Brian Daniel: This is a rough one, because Lakes is lacking some playoff experience in recent years. H-Town’s Christian Maciak will run for over 100-yards and a score, but in the end I think the Herd will pull this one out. Look for Jack Baker to throw for over 200-yards and account for three scores in a Herd victory. PICK: Herd 27-20
George Muha: Hackettstown has shown they can hang with anyone which I know is worrisome for the Herd. I bet this ends up being the of the best games of the weekend in Morris-Sussex. However, I am doubling down on the Herd simply because Wilkins Field has ghosts of past champions that seem appear this time of year. PICK: Herd 33-31

7 Whippany Park (7-2) @ 2 Caldwell (7-2)

Dan Exter for Layups 4 Life: Caldwell has great weapons on offense and can get you in the air or on the ground. They handled their business against Whippany Park two weeks ago with a 29-7 win. Look for them to maintain their dominance over the Wildcats. PICK: Caldwell 35-14
Brian Daniel: Whippany Park played great this year, and I’m hoping they pull off an upset, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. That being said, Luke Papa, Michael Roma and Jake Crane will run for over 300-yards and 3 scores combined. It’s going to be a crazy game. PICK: Caldwell 42-40
George Muha: I hate it that the Caldwell varsity players didn’t dress for their Week 9 game against Pequannock. But whatever, that was their choice. As for my Wildcats, we are not done bros. We have three more games and this is the first one. I believe if we, with the personnel on this team, leave it all on the field, we will be playing in Round 2. And I believe that is what is going to happen so let’s abandon any fear and just go play the Wildcat brand of football that Caldwell will hate. PICK: ‘Cats 44-21 (let’s do this!)

North 2, Group 3

7 Cranford (6-3) @ 2 Par Hills (8-1)

Dan Exter for Layups 4 Life: I have made my bed and I intend to sleep in it. Par Hills to MetLife. PICK: 28-10
Brian Daniel: This is a warmup for Par Hills, which is just getting started. Look for EJ Comerford to turn it on with 20 tackles while causing two turnovers. Wilson “Nowhere Near” Done will score twice on the ground for the Hills. PICK: Hills 41-20
George Muha: I heard Cranford was going to forfeit this game but they wanted to get Nick Verducci’s autograph before he retires (or graduates). Look for the Vikings to stay laser focused as the advance to the semi’s. PICK: Par Hills 35-21

Non-Public, Group 3

7 Donovan Catholic (3-5) @ 2 Pope John (5-3)

Dan Exter for Layups 4 Life: I told you that Pope John had to win their first five games if they wanted to have a shot at the playoffs and that is exactly what they did. They beat Delbarton, Seton Hall Prep, some out-of-town teams and even an impressive win against Paramus Catholic. The other three against St. Joe’s Montvale, Bergen Catholic, and DePaul, they were expected to lose. Granted the loses to St. Joes and Bergen, the Lions had upsets in the works, especially against the Crusaders. I also did think they would of had a shot in beating DePaul but I let my emotions get the best of me there. Anyways, I digress and think Pope John survives and advances PICK: PJ 28-20
Brian Daniel: Pope John is ready to put all the pieces together and make a run for State. It’s now or never. Berrell Neal will run for a buck sixty and two scores for PJ. Look for Jake “What can” Brown “Do for you” to do a lot for Pope John on defense, to the tune of 15 tackles and a couple of sacks. PICK: PJ 30-24
George Muha: Pope John will not bother getting cute here. They’ll just run the ball and play tough D. Look for Big Nick Denucci to have a defensive touchdown as well.  I also predict Lion’s kicker Vincent Antoniello kicks a 40-plus FG just to send a message to whoever they play in the semis that the Johnnies have that weapon in their arsenal.  PICK: PJ 33-21

Non-Public, Group 4

5 Delbarton (2-7) @ 4 Seton Hall Prep (2-7)

Dan Exter for Layups 4 Life: Does the loser of this one get a consolation game? I mean come on! Is that all it takes to get into the playoffs? You just need to win two games. I understand it is one of the toughest football conferences in New Jersey, let alone the entire east coast but cry me a river. Winner of this one will most likely get Bergen Catholic so…yeah. PICK: Delbarton 28-21
Brian Daniel: The Green Wave’s season has been pretty dismal. No other way to say it. This is their chance to right the ship. I think they will. Look for Anthony Siragusa to play like there’s no tomorrow and run for over 100-yards and 2 scores for Delby. He will also record a bunch of tackles on defense. PICK: Delby 24-20
George Muha: I don’t know who spit in Dan Exter’s breakfast but the Green Wave is our only hope to get a championship in this section and I am, by no means, about to give up on them. Their best game of the season was against Seton Hall and there is no doubt in my mind they can win this one. I predict Delby starts this round of the playoffs playing the spoiler to the Prep’s state championship hopes. PICK: Delby 28-21

How We Did Last Week

Dan 20-4 (83.33%)
Brian 18-6 (75.00%)
George 21-3 ((87.50%)

How We’re Doing So Far This Season

Dan 171-47 (78.44%)
Brian 151-67 (69.26%)
George 164-54 (75.22%)

About the Predictors

Dan Exter spent eight years as a producer for MSG Varsity and is the founder and director of Layups 4 Life, a non-for-profit that uses a wildly popular 3-on-3 basketball tournament to raise money for cancer research.

Dan Exter is a Roxbury HS alumni that spent eight years as a producer for MSG Varsity and is the founder and director of Layups 4 Life, a non-for-profit that uses a wildly popular 3-on-3 basketball tournament to raise money for cancer research. Have an opinion about Dan’s picks? Tell him what you think via his Twitter handles: @d_exter15 and @Layups4Life

Brian Kenney

Brian Daniel is a Hanover Park alumni who really has nothing to do with high school sports. But he’s George Muha’s oldest friend and frequent crasher of his couch so George feels obligated to give him something to do. Have an opinion about Brian’s picks? Tell him what you think via his Twitter handle: @bdk29

George Muha is a Hanover Park alumni who has been covering high school football for nine years. George is the founder of MSS and is also on the board of the Greater Morris Chapter of the National Football Foundation.

George Muha is a Hanover Park alumni who has been covering high school football for ten years. George is the founder of MSS and proud board member of the Greater Morris Chapter of the National Football Foundation. Have an opinion about George’s picks? Tell him what you think via his twitter handle: @UnrulyFan

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