2018 Academic Resources Football Predictions for the Sectional Finals

Every week Kevin, Brian and George slug it out to predict the most football games correctly. Morris Sussex Sports has incentivized these three knuckleheads with a prize to be determined to whomever picks the most correct games at the end of the season. Keep up with their progress every Thursday nights or Friday mornings when the 2018 Academic Resources Weekly Predictions come out. *From now till the end of the playoffs, Senior Broadcaster Ryan Sudol will also be involved in the prediction action.

 

The 2018 Football Predictions are sponsored by

North 1, Group 1 Sectional Final

2 Park Ridge (9-1) @ 1 Butler (9-1)

Kevin Saum from Heads ‘N Tales: Butler QB Evan Smith was 15-for-21 for 134 (in the rain!) with a touchdown and ran for 119 yards against one of the toughest teams in Morris-Sussex (Wallkill). Evan has been making a name for himself all season, but this game impressed me the most. Best part is, he is only a junior. Even if Park Ridge key’s on Smith for this match-up they still have to worry about running back Sean Centinaro. Oh, and don’t forget about that Butler defense, which is led by Steven Schubert and Jake Luciani who shutout a Wallkill team that averaged over 24 points/week going into that game. PICK: Butler 32-17
Brian Kenney: Wow, 1 vs. 2 seed, and one team’s defense hasn’t allowed a point (Butler) and the other scored almost 100 in two games!!! This is going to be a battle. You know what say in baseball, pitching wins championships (unless you are the Mets unfortunately), well defense wins championships in football. That being said, this kid Vinny “Del” Pinto is unreal for Park Ridge. He ran for 4 TDs and threw for 2 more TDs last week against Boonton. Obviously, if Butler can stop Vin then they have a shot to win. Evan Smith and Sean Centinaro will power the offense behind the Bulldogs’ powerful O-Line, but the defense will really step it up and seal the victory for Butler. Look for Steve Schubert and Jake “The Snake” Luciani to combine for 20 tackles, a couple of sacks and a forced fumble or two as Butler wins a close one. PICK: Butler 24-20
George Muha: I feel bad that all the Morris-Sussex love this week has been for the Kittatinny-Newton game since we are broadcasting it. But don’t you fret Butler, we have your back 100%. And even though Park Ridge’s Vinny Pinto is a beast, I trust your D. And Sean Centinaro’s four year career is far too storied to end here. PICK: Butts 34-24
Ryan Sudol: It is guaranteed that one Morris-Sussex team is going to make it to MetLife, so how about we make it two? Butler showed their true colors in the semis after shutting out Wallkill Valley. That coupled with the fact that Butler has not won a sectional title since 1997: These Dawgs are HUNGRY! Expect “Speedy” Sean Centinaro to score twice and also a FG in the final seconds to put this one away for Butler to send them to The Rock with a win. PICK: Butler 23-21

North 1, Group 2 Sectional Final

3 Kittatinny (9-2) @ 1 Newton (10-1)

Morris Sussex Sports will be broadcasting this game live. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel right now so you are notified when we go live. 7:00pm kickoff, 45 minute pregame show from the sidelines starts at 6:15pm

Kevin Saum from Heads ‘N Tales: Can you ask for a better rematch than this?! In week 8, Newton won the turnover battle and was able to keep the ball out of Mafaro and Franco’s hands. Kittatinny also played tough defense in this game and was able to get pressure on Newton QB Michael Freda on multiple occasions. Whichever defense comes into this game most prepared will come out on top. I’m putting my faith in the Newton seniors at home for this one. PICK: Newts 24-21
Brian Kenney: I always hate when Morris/Sussex teams have to face each other so far in the playoffs. This situation is no different. Kittatinny is 9-2 and Newton 10-1 and both teams are having a fantastic season. The game being in Newton gives the Newtonians a distinct advantage. The crowd will be loud and crazy the entire game. The Kits’ Jacob Mafaro and James Franco are no joke and will leave it all on the field. Mafaro is averaging 8.2 yards a carry and had over 1500 yards rushing this year. Franco threw for almost 1000 yards and rushed for over 650 as well. They combined for over 340 yards in the Kits’ win over Westwood and there is no question they can bring it against Newton, as they scored the most points of any time that played Newton when the two clashed in October. Speaking of that clash, in Newton, the Braves won 28-17. Ryan Kaiser “Soze” scored twice and Nick Brigante added another TD in that contest. I mean, both teams have fantastic offensive lines, but Newton’s crazy O-line is doing something special. They have run over teams all year long, and Jimmy Harding and Justin Mayhood have been messing people up on offense and defense. But with Newton’s O-Line (and you have to read the interview from last week), Brigante and Soze and their stout defense, I don’t see Newton losing this game. PICK: Newton 21-14
George Muha: In the preseason, I saw Kittatinny scrimmage a tri-scrimmage and Dover couldn’t practice kicking extra points with Jake Mafaro on the field – he would bust through the line and block them every time. Coach Coltelli literally had to tell him to just stand there so Dover could run their play (that’s no indictment on Dover either…it’s just how disruptive Mafaro is). Mafaro is even better than the hype everyone is saying about him. What scares me about Newton, though, is they swarm tackle better than anyone and their pass rush is second to none led by James Frederick Harding. Also, no coach thrives this time of year more than Newton coach Matt Parzero. This is by far the absolute most evenly matched game of the year and I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes to multiple overtimes. In the end, I think Parzero’s game plan to hit Kittatinny with a little mental gymnastics and window dressing and Marfaro’s freakish football playing ability will cancel themselves out. I believe the X-factor will the Cougar’s QB James Franco. PICK: Kittatinny 36-35 2OT
Ryan Sudol: I obviously can’t pick this game as I will be in the booth calling it, and even if I could I STILL wouldn’t be able to pick a winner because both teams are dead even! However, here’s my prediction that is sure to make EVERYONE happy: whoever wins this game will come back to Newton (both schools are in Newton) from MetLife Stadium with the North Group 2 title. You heard it here first, folks!

How We Picked Them Last Week

Kevin 7-4 (63.63%)
Brian 9-2 (81.81%)
George 4-7 (36.36%)
Ryan 7-3 (70.00%)

How We’ve Been Picking Them So Far

Kevin 153-64 (70.50%)
Brian 161-56 (74.19%)
George 151-66 (69.58%)
Ryan Sudol 7-3 (70.00%)

About the Predictors

Kevin Saum is a former captain of the West Morris Central Wolfpack and founder of the Heads ‘N Tales Podcast where he interview’s amazing athletes who’ve discovered the true meaning of toughness through adversity.  Have an opinion about Kevin’s picks? Tell him what you think via his Twitter handle:  @headsntalespod

Brian Kenney is a Hanover Park alumni who really has nothing to do with high school sports. But he’s George Muha’s oldest friend and while he’s a better lawyer than high school football predictor, George gets a kick out of his comments and nicknames. 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: @MorrSussSports

Ryan Sudol is a Senior Broadcaster for Morris Sussex Sports, producer of Football Fanatics and A Night in the Student Section and current broadcast journalism major at William Paterson University.  Have an opinion about his picks?  Tell him what you think at his Twitter handle:  @birdieguy13

One Comment

  1. John Busseno

    November 18, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    You were all right on Butler winning the title. But I was looking at your scores and George was closer, since we won 35-28. I say way to go George. Friday, we have a rematch with Hasbrouck Heights at MetLife Stadium. Regardless of the outcome, we are still champs! I hope to see you guys at The Meadowlands. Or during the winter.

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