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The 2012 Morris Sussex Football Preview

Summer’s winding down, the nights are getting cooler, kids are getting ready for school again and…there is something else…oh yeah, its FOOTBALL SEASON!!!  Hold down the hatches baby!  No, its not the second coming of Hurricane Irene!  Its football time in Morris and Sussex counties!  You’ve been getting the football bug for some time and now, thanks to Morris Sussex Football, you’re going to get all you need to know about the 2012 season right here.  After a six weeks of camp visits, coach interviews and player observations the staff at MSF compiled an enormous amount of information.  We’ve spent countless hours pouring over this data to create the feature you are now reading.  In this preview you will find our preseason picks to win State Titles, the Top Teams in each NJAC division, our preseason Top Players and a breakdown of every single team in Morris and Sussex Counties.  Enjoy!

State Title Winners

Goodwin

The Rutgers bound Justin Goodwin looks to win his third State Championship in a row to leave Madison as one of the most decorated Dodgers ever.

Roxbury  This Gaels team has a special thing going on as a group.  They have the kind of team chemstry that gets stronger as the season goes on.

Sparta  The 2012 Spartans team is loaded from top to bottom.  A tough regular season schedule will prepare them to breeze through the postseason.

Madison  Justin Goodwin has been winning State Championships for a few years now.  There is no way his teammates let senior year be any different.

Division Winners

Freedom  Madison
Independence  Pequannock
American  Sparta
National  Roxbury

Preseason Player Awards

Most Valuable Player  Justin Goodwin – Madison RB
Top Offensive Player  Jamie White – Delbarton RB
Top Defensive Player  Michael Boryeskne – Sparta LB
Top Lineman  Brendan Mahon – Randolph OT
Top Junior  JR Reese – Jefferson QB
Top Sophomore  Willy Hansen – Morris Hills QB
Top Freshman  Sonny Abramson – Pope John QB

Individual Team Previews

Boonton
Coach  Bryan Gallagher
2011 Record  2-8 (2-6 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  Boonton is a team that can cause trouble in the Independence Division.  While Mt. Lakes, Pequannock and Butler are getting all the attention, Boonton has quietly put together an experienced team with a lot of talent.  Players like HB Isaac Spann and MLB Billy Nicholson have the ability to make big plays on either side of the ball.
Make or Break  This Bomber team is too good not to generate wins.  If they can catch a break here or there a postseason bid is imminent.
Poised for Greatness  Senior HB/LB Isaac Spann.
They Said It  Coach Gallagher about junior CB Mike Ferrante.  “He has worked his butt off this off season.”
Interesting Tidbit  Senior OT Billy Olson is 6’7”, 300lbs…and can move.
All Unruly Watch List  Isaac Spann, Alan Hill, Mike Ferrante, Billy Nicholson, TJ Stammer, Alber Tyma, Billy Olson and Tyler Salonia.

Butler
Coach  Jim Matsakis
2011 Record  8-3 (7-1 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  The 2012 Bulldogs have the talent, coaching and experience to make it their year.  Mix their potent offense led by senior quarterback Chris Heredia with their shut-down defense anchored by Billy White (6’6”), and sprinkle in talented two way starters Tom Arabia and Brian Ensley and you have a recipe that tastes just right.
Make or Break  Butler is good enough to snipe their way deep into the postseason.
Poised for Greatness  Billy White.  He’s already there and anything else he does just adds to his legacy..
They Said It  “Butler scares me.”  Opposing division coach.
Interesting Tidbit  Billy White had a whopping 8 sacks as a junior.
All Unruly Watch List  Billy White, Chris Heredia, Nick Ballistreri, Travis Canty, Tom Arabia and Brian Ensley.

Chatham
Coach  Don Morganroth
2011 Record  7-4 (5-3 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  Chatham is the sleeper of this division mainly because they are bumping up to the larger schooled National Division.  Despite losing 17 starters and only returning 7 players with varsity experience, this team is a well rounded mix of athletic juniors and seniors that are now getting their chance.  The keystones for what should be a gritty Cougar team are seniors RB/LB Will Weichert and WR/LB Chris Peters.
Make or Break  Considering Chatham is new to the National Division, adjusting to the bigger group teams will be a challenge.  Any positive that comes out of this season should earn Chatham big props.
Poised for Greatness  Junior QB Thomas Guida.  The third and last installment of the Guida family of footballers should have a breakout season.
They Said It  “Don’t count out Chatham this year.  They got moved up into our division but they have a good football tradition and they are well coached.”  Opposing division coach.
Interesting Tidbit  Coach Morgenroth runs an option style offense that mostly operates out of the shotgun.  His lineman are always in two point stances.
All Unruly Watch List  Will Weichert, Chris Peters, Brian Sardini, Vince Ziccolella and Thomas Guida.
Delbarton
Coach  Brian Bowers
2011 Record  11-1 (8-0 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  After buzz-sawing every opponent in the division in 2011, you would think the blade would get dull or slow down.  But the 2012 Debarton football team looks as formidable as ever with stud runningback Jamie White leading the way.  The three year starter came too close to a state title last season (lost in the Finals to St. Joe’s) to let it slip away this year.  Considering he’s got the support of seniors LB/TE Will Reynolds, OG/DT Niyi Odewade, OT/DE Rob Thoma and RB/LB Eric Fajardo this Delby team has a real shot at making it to the State Finals again.
Make or Break  If the goal going undefeated in the regular season, they will fall short.  Their division is just too stacked this year.  However, if the goal is to win a State Title they can pull it off.  The competition in their division will be a huge help in preparing for their tough Parochial playoff section.  Staying healthy will be the key.
Poised for Greatness  Jamie White of course.  White is probably the flat out quickest runningback in both Morris and Sussex counties.  After getting the injury bug as a junior, he’ll have something to prove this year.
They Said It  Coach Bowers on his prediction for this season.  “If we stay healthy, we should be able to compete.”
Interesting Tidbit  The athletic Will Reynolds is moving from offensive guard on offense guard to tight end on offense and from outside linebacker to inside linebacker on defense.
All Unruly Watch List  Jamie White, Eric Fajardo, Williams Reynolds, Niyi Odewade and Robert Thoma.

Dover
Coach  Roger Kotlarz
2011 Record  4-6 (3-5 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  Back in the day, Dover was a perennial powerhouse year in and year out.  Teams would fear driving up to Hamilton Field on a Friday night to meet their dreary fate.  But in recent years, its storied program has struggled to put together a winning season.  To the credit of the administration, they’ve recognized that the town of Dover needs its program to get back into shape.  They’ve built a beautiful stadium (the best in the county), engineered a state of the art workout facility and hired new coach Roger Kotlarz; who has the resume for building programs from scratch (took a struggling Becton team and turned them into an regular in the State Tourney).  Mix all that with a team full of experience and talent and this could be the year the tide changes in Dover.
Make or Break  The only thing working against Dover is they’ve been bumped up to the Freedom Division which puts them up against teams like Madison, Lenape Valley and Jefferson.  But if they stay focused on Coach Kotlarz’s plan, they can play David to the division’s Goliath.
Poised for Greatness  Junior RB George Scalley.  He’s a junior who plays like a senior.  As a sophomore he accumulated 1,800 yards and 18 total TD’s.
They Said It  Coach Kotlarz on how his team took to his new leadership.  “They were great from right away.  They really bought into the level of commitment they need to take this program to where it needs to be.”
Interesting Tidbit  Dover line has three 300 pounders, one who’s 240lbs and one that is 230lbs.
All Unruly Watch List  George Scalley, Kye Desimone, Brandon White and James Quiles.

Sivilello

The versatile Jimmy Sivolello hopes to navigate this team its first State Title in 22 years.

Hanover Park
Coach  Gerry Moore
2011 Record 4-6 (4-4 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  Hanover Park has a reputation amongst its competition as a tough, hard hitting team.  As Coach Gerry Moore enters his third season as head man, he feels his squad has that tough quality mixed in experience in his style of football.  “What this team’s strength is they have commitment and leadership qualities.”  Coach Moore said about this year’s team.
Make or Break  Teams like Madison, Jefferson and Lenape Valley have all the expectations on them.  So the Hornets don’t have a whole lot of pressure on them.  That could bode very well for the Hornets to surprise a lot of teams and perhaps even play spoiler on their way to the postseason.
Poised for Greatness  Quarterback Jimmy Sivolella.  One of the best athletes in the school and is a very mobile and physical player.
They Said It  “Hanover Park always plays us very tough.”  Exact quote from more than one opposing coach in the division.
Interesting Tidbit  QB Jimmy Sivolella’s mobility and athleticism is very reminiscent of former 1990 State Champion Hornet QB Frank Franco.  Franco is now the quarterbacks coach for this Hornet team and Sivolella’s mentor.  By the way, Hanover Park has not won a state title since Franco was their QB.
All Unruly Watch List  Jimmy Sivolella, Jaquill Scott and John Cordovano.

Hackettstown
Coach  Tony Villante
2011 Record 5-5 (5-3 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  Hackettstown’s leads with their defense which can be stingy enough to keep opponents frustrated.  Defensive standouts Greg Castillo, Anthony Capra and Brian Wickkiser all have the experience and veteran leadership to stifle the big names in this division.  But this Tiger team is by no means flat offensively.  Wickkiser also can run the ball, scoring a whopping 19 TD’s on the ground last year.
Make or Break  The Tigers are good enough to make it far into the postseason against their Group 2, Section 1 opponents.  The trouble will be playing the top teams in their division for a second time in their playoff bracket.
Poised for Greatness  Brian Wickkiser.  He’s has the tools to have a monster offensive season.
They Said It  “Hackettstown will be very good this year, watch.”  Opposing division coach.
Interesting Tidbit  Division opponents Dover, Hanover Park, Lenape Valley and Madison all share the same postseason Group and Section with the Tigers.
All Unruly Watch List  Brian Wickkiser, Greg Castillo and Anthony Capra.

High Point
Coach  Bill Percey
2011 Record  5-5 (3-4 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  Second year head coach Bill Percey likes the makeup of his 2012 football team.  With only seven seniors, Percey will be relying on a lot of juniors to step it up in a very competitive league.  “We have a really great bunch of kids.  They are responding to the challenge and every day they are fighting hard for starting roles in positions.”
Make or Break  High Point does not have a ton of veteran experience on this team, but that could be an asset rather than a liability as they can’t fear what they don’t know.  Coach Percey recognizes that his team is on the younger side but has been impressed with their dedication and work ethic.  “We play in a very tough league.  But you’re gonna know when you play High Point.”
Poised for Greatness  Tackle/Linebacker Paul Stapel.  An under the radar guy who enters his senior season with something to prove.
They Said It  Coach Percey on the makeup of this team.  “We have a bunch of coachable kids that like to battle and don’t really complain…well, sometimes they do when it’s really hot!”
Interesting Tidbit  Coach Percey’s resume includes working under Greg Olsen at Wayne Hills where he was part of three State Championship teams.
All Unruly Watch List  Tim Lindner, Ken Christensen and Paul Stapel.

Hopatcong
Coach  Gary Andolena
2011 Record  6-4 (5-3 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  The Chiefs are a team that everyone has in their radar.  Although a young group, they bring a lot of experience that is motivated to make a run at the postseason.  They are headlined with second year starter, junior quarterback Ryan Clarke (6’4”, 205lbs) and the speedy junior runningback Johann Lara.
Make or Break  This team has all the pieces in place.  The only thing everyone else in conference has that they don’t is experience.  An early big win could set the tone for a successful rest of the season.
Poised for Greatness  Junior middle linebacker Tommy Rieg.
They Said It  “I am telling you, Hopatcong is going to be very good this year.”  Quote from an opposing coach in the division.
Interesting Tidbit  Coach Gary Andolena (6th year at Hopatcong) coached under Pope John’s Brian Carlson in the mid-90’s at Kean.
All Unruly Watch List  Stephen Rogers, Ryan Clarke, Tommy Rieg, Johann Lara and Colin Koets.

Jefferson
Coach  Joe Mattessich
2011 Record 4-6 (4-4 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  The Falcons are in an interesting situation this year getting bumped down from the National Division to the Freedom Division.  This could bode well for them as they are the only Group 3 team in a division with all Group 2 opponents.  Head Coach Joe Mattessich enters his 7th season leading the Falcons and has all the right players in place to compete for top spot in the Freedom.  Third year junior QB JR Reese has matured so much so that Coach Mattessich is allowing him to call his own plays.  “JR is really like a seasoned senior rather than a junior.  He is just so comfortable with the offense now that he knows how to read defenses right at the line of scrimmage.”  Daniel Brown and AJ Willard anchor a defense that is not very forgiving.
Make or Break  With everyone focused on Madison’s 25 game unbeaten streak, Lenape Valley’s winning tradition and Dover’s talent, Jefferson could come in and put a wrinkle in everyone’s plan.
Poised for Greatness  Junior quarterback JR Reese.  He has the skill but more importantly the confidence to be the talk of the conference at seasons end.
They Said It  “The fact that Jefferson got bumped down (to the Freedom Division) just makes this division that much more competitive.”  Opposing division coach.
Interesting Tidbit  Coach Mattessich says you have to watch Lolo Sanchez play defensive line.  “Just watch him when you are at a game.  He is just the kind of player that you appreciate and is a real pleasure to watch play.”
All Unruly Watch List  Daniel Brown, Jerry Reese, AJ Willard, Luke Bohn and Lolo Sanchez.

Kinnelon
Coach  Kevin White
2011 Record 5-5 (4-4 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  Kinnelon is the team to watch out for in this division.  Four year starting quarterback Sean Robbins brings a mix of refined talent, veteran experience and desire to win.  With tall receivers Joe Presti and Sean Walsh, the Colts will show off an aerial attack that can put teams away early and can help climb their way back from deficits.  Navigating through the big guns of this division will be a challenge but getting to the postseason is a real possibility this year.
Make or Break  Kinnelon is in their own drivers seat.  They are good enough to hang with everyone in this division.  If they can stay healthy, there are no limitations for the Colts.
Poised for Greatness  Senior QB Sean Robbins.  Has all the tools to do something special this year.
They Said It  Coach Kevin White on how his preseason is going.  “We are healthy for the first time without any injuries in camp.”
Interesting Tidbit  The Kinnelon football program has only made it to the postseason three times in school history and has never won a State Title.
All Unruly Watch List  Joe Presti, Sean Robbins and Sean Walsh.

Kittatinny
Coach  Jim Green
2011 Record 5-5 (4-4 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  Kittatinny is a high energy team that makes big plays on both sides of the ball.  Offensively they can gain big chunks of yardage off the arm of senior gun slinger Kyle Potten.  While senior runningback Jacob Brook is versatile enough to break long runs or grind out tough yards.  Defensively Brook anchors the unit with key cogs Patrick Lobban and Matt Moszczynski.
Make or Break  Kittatinny has their work cut out for them in this division.  But they have the weapons to upset the apple cart.
Poised for Greatness  Quarterback Kyle Potten.  He has the ability to do something special this year.
They Said It  “Kittatinny is returning some very good players.  We know they will play us very tough.”  Opposing coach in the division.
Interesting Tidbit  Five of the first six games are at home for the Cougars
All Unruly Watch List  Kyle Potten, Matt Moszczynski, Joe Repasy, Patrick Lobban and Jacob Brook.

nick rafferty

Senior back Nick Rafferty is one of the most accomplished players ever to play for Coach Smolyn’s Patriots.

Lenape Valley
Coach  Don Smolyn
2011 Record  9-2 (7-1 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  This Pats team is the epitome of “ground & pound”.  They return their all time leading rusher in Nick Rafferty and Mike Grieco; who came close to 1,000 yards of offense himself last season.
Make or Break  Opponents know that Don Smolyn coached teams don’t have off-years.  So long as the Patriots stay healthy, they should make it to the State Tourney no problem.
Poised for Greatness  Nick Rafferty.  He’s already among Lenape Valley’s all time elite.  This season he is just pouring gravy on his legacy.
They Said It  On what Coach Smolyn credits his career success on.  “One is a very stable coaching staff.  Some of us have been together for over forty years.  Two is a great community that really backs and supports our football team.  And three an administration and Board of Education that is also behind us and extremely supportive in getting us what we need.
Interesting Tidbit  Coach Smolyn retired this past June as Athletic Director and now solely focuses on coaching football.
All Unruly Watch List  Nick Rafferty, Mike Grieco, Jim Braun, Matt Hill and Dante James.

Madison
Coach  Chirs Kubik
2011 Record  12-0 (8-0 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  The Dodgers have a 25 game win streak going on right now and they are basically returning everyone.  Add that to a gelling Coach Kubik led coaching staff and this team is poised to their third undefeated state championship season.
Make or Break  The only thing that will get in the way of the Dodgers is the Dodgers themselves.  Everyone is gunning for their winning streak to end.  Don’t worry about their game with Lenape Valley because they’ll be well prepared for that game.  Its teams like Hanover Park, Dover and Jefferson who have the firepower to catch this Madison team sleeping.
Poised for Greatness  Justin Goodwin of course!  Everyone in the conference needs to see a Madison game once this year just to see him play.  There is not much he hasn’t accomplished stat-wise.  But you don’t appreciate him unless you see him in person.  Just ask Coach Kubik.  “The thing about Justin is not his flat out speed.  It’s the the fact that he doesn’t lose speed when he makes cuts.”
They Said It  Coach Kubik about their twenty five game win streak.  “We really don’t talk about it.  We’re really just focusing about our first game against Dover.”
Interesting Tidbit  This senior class has not lost a single game in their whole high school career (except for Goodwin who played varsity as a frosh).  They went undefeated as freshman and didn’t lose a varsity game in either their sophomore or junior years.
All Unruly Watch List  Justin Goodwin, Shone Register, Matt McDonald, Nick Haboj and Will Mattola.

Mendham
Coach  Doug Kirk
2011 Record  1-9 (0-8 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  Mendham could be the sleeper of the year.  The Minutemen have quietly put together a solid core.  Senior runningback Anthony DelRusso rushed for 700 yards last year in a winless regular season when the Minutemen were mostly playing catch-up through the air.  Senior TE/DE Matt Flanagan stands at 6’6”, 235lbs and is getting big time college looks.  Senior C/DT Matt Kuhn is a solid 6’2” 255lbs and can squat 605lbs…that wasn’t a typo.  Senior LB/FB Luke Tamburello who started as a sophomore and got the injury bug as a junior, is due for a monster year.  Mendham also has a deep supporting cast that can fill in the blanks and really make this team a formidable contender in the National Division.
Make or Break  Mendham comes into this season with low outside expectations which will allow them to play very loose.  If they can get a few early wins, they could push their way into postseason play.
Poised for Greatness  Tight end Matt Flanagan.  If Mendham gets their running game going, the big receiver will get some favorable mismatches and could become a deadly weapon.
They Said It  Coach Kirk on this year’s team.  “Our strength is not in one player.  Our experience is on our line and with our runningbacks.  We also have a lot of young talent.”
Interesting Tidbit  This is Coach Kirk’s 34 year on the coaching staff at Mendham and 8th year as head coach.
All Unruly Watch List  Matt Flanagan, Anthony DelRusso, Matt Kuhn, Luke Tamburello, Joe Beneducci and Sam Ridenour.

Montville
Coach  Jim Delaney
2011 Record  0-10 (0-8 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  Montville is coming off a winless season.  However, second year head coach Jim Delaney has a year under his belt with implementing his own system.  Look for Montville to bounce back in a big way returning five starters on offense and five on defense.  The 2012 Mustangs will be giving opponents a heavy dose of a ground attack behind fullbacks Parker Maytrott and Austin Strictland and HB Joe DeLesandro.
Make or Break  Montville can’t catch a break schedule-wise.  Even there out of division game is against a very tough Mt. Lakes team.  But coming off an 0-10 season, the Mustangs outside expectations are minimal.  Teams that over look this team could be in for a surprise.
Poised for Greatness  Montville’s senior QB John Jaspersen.
They Said It  Jim Delaney on last year’s tough season.  “One good thing about last season is the kids never quit.  Just to give you an idea of the team’s heart, the day before our consolation game was our best practice.”
Interesting Tidbit  Coach Delaney has a proven history of turning programs around.  In four years at High Point, his record improved every single season.
All Unruly Watch List  John Jaspersen, Parker Maytrott, Austin Strickland and Joe Delesandro.

Morris Catholic
Coach  Greg Lusardi
2011 Record 2-8 (1-7 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  The Crusaders bring a young but hard working team to the 2012 season.  Their experience is up front on both sides of the ball which Coach Greg Lusardi knows is important in this division.  “I feel very good about our team.  Our strength lies in our offensive line.”
Make or Break  Lusardi will use backs Joe Vidal, Dave Ferrara and Ryan Hall to push their way down the field.  Slowing teams down by controlling the ball will be the way Morris Catholic claws their way through this division.
Poised for Greatness  The offensive line.  Michael Masotti, Patrick Vidal, Matt Weathersby, Michael Levitt and AJ Trillo have a chance to do great things as a unit this season.
They Said It  Coach Lusardi on the Independence Division.  “We play in a very competitive division in which every team we face is good.”
Interesting Tidbit  Coach Greg Lusardi is cousin’s with Randolph head coach Joe Lusardi.
All Unruly Watch List  Joe Vidal, Dave Ferrara, Matt Sinatra, Joe Rosenski, Steve Lahoe, Ryan Hall, Michael Masotti, Patrick Vidal, Matt Weathersby, Michael Levitt and AJ Trillo.

Morris Hills
Coach  Mike Sabo
2011 Record  5-5 (4-4 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  There’s good news and bad news about this Scarlet Knights team.  The good news is they are loaded.  That also happens to be the bad news…for the rest of the division, that is.  Morris Hills leads with their high octane Wing-T offense led by senior runningbacks Eric Turner, Steve Rome and Kyle Corry; all of whom were major contributors last season’s playoff team.  They also return their sophomore quarterback Willy Hansen who is now a varsity veteran and very comfortable in Coach Sabo’s offense.  Anchoring an aggressive offensive line are veterans Conor McClain and Dan Whelan.  Defensively the Knights will keep opponents points low behind linebacker Whelan and senior DB Brendan McCormick.
Make or Break  All the pieces are in place for something special to happen.  Staying healthy could quite possible get them deep into the postseason (and dare I say a trip to MetLife Stadium).
Poised for Greatness  Senior linebacker Dan Whelan.  He’s a hard hitting, aggressive kid who has the size and speed to be a playmaker on defense.
They Said It  Coach Sabo on the depth of his team.  “We are good in a lot of positions.  If opponents focus on one or two of our players they will be making a mistake.”
Interesting Tidbit  As a freshman quarterback Willy Hansen threw for 10 TDs and only 3 INTs.  His last INT was against Pope John in the second game of the 2011 season.
All Unruly Watch List  Conor McClain, Brendan McCormick, Dan Whelan, Kyle Corry, Eric Turner, Steve Rome, Willy Hansen and Jose Delgado.

Morris Knolls
Coach  Bill Regan
2011 Record  6-4 (4-4 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  After four years as the star of this team the Cody Greenhagen era is over.  Now a new there are new faces that will plug into Coach Bill Regans Veer Triple Option offense.  This year, Nick Patterson dons the gold and green jersey as the featured back while second year QB Joe Leonardis drives the Veer..
Make or Break  Knolls will not catch a scheduling break this season.  First they need to navigate a very tough National Division; which even if they get five wins they are not guaranteed a spot in the postseason.  Because the Golden Eagles are in the Group 5 classification, playing the National’s Group 4 and 3 teams may not given them enough Power Points to break into the Top 8 of the G5S1 bracket.
Poised for Greatness  Quarterback Joe Leonardis.  Another year running the Veer has made Leonardis very comfortable calling plays.
They Said It  West Morris coach Kevin Hennelly on Knolls coach Bill Regan.  “In my opinion Bill Regan is one of the best all time coaches in the county.”
Interesting Tidbit  The last time Knolls came off a 6-4 season they ended up going 12-0, winning a State Title (2005).
All Unruly Watch List  Nick Patterson and Joe Leonardis.

Morristown
Coach  Chris Hull
2011 Record  4-6 (3-5 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  The one thing you don’t want to do is face a Morristown after a losing season.  This Colonial team is made up of a lot of returning starters who want to prove last season was an anomaly.  The scintillating combo of offensive threats QB Kamau Dumas, RB Sean Reed and FB Daniel Miller will keep opponents gasping for air.  While sackmasters Andres Rodriguez and Ji Vaughn Jones will stifle opposing offenses.
Make or Break  This Colonial team will not break.  They have enough pieces in place to make a run at conference and beyond.
Poised for Greatness  Quarterback Kamau Dumas.  The senior has been patient and now its his time to show what he’s got.
They Said It  “Morristown is Morristown.”  Opposing division coach simply describing how Morristown is always a very competitive team.
Interesting Tidbit  The current seniors know what its like to taste a championship as they were sophomores when MoTown won their State Title against Nutley.
All Unruly Watch List  Sean Reed, Kamau Dumas, Daniel Miller, Ji Vaughn Jones and Andres Rodriquez.

Morristown-Beard
Coach  Tim Fell
2011 Record  2-8 (2-6 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  Mo-Beard is a program on the rise.  Two years ago they made the decision to step out of the NJAC Conference to an independent schedule to allow coach Tim Fell to build up the program.  Now in his fourth season, Fell’s team is turning the corner and the Crimson look to soon re-apply to the NJAC.  This year they return two runningbacks who have a lot to prove.  The very talented senior backs Malik Valentine and Corey Betz battled injuries last season but are healthy now and poised for breakout seasons.  Also look out for sophomores Nick Rella and Matt McFadden to build on their solid freshman seasons playing varsity.
Make or Break  There is no reason this Mo-Beard cannot get the necessary wins to earn a playoff birth.
Poised for Greatness  Malik Valentine.  A meniscus injury robbed him of his junior season and much needed college recruiting highlights.  Look for Valentine to use his senior season to showcase his skills.
They Said It  Coach Fell on Mo-Beard’s maturing program.  “I think joining an independent league was the best thing for us to do.  We are a smaller school and we needed to build up the program.  I like the idea of rejoining the NJAC Conference.  We kind of had to take a step back to take a step forward.”
Interesting Tidbit  Coach Fell’s resume includes a long stint as a Seton Hall assistant.
All Unruly Watch List  Malik Valentine, Corey Betz, Nick Rella and Matt McFadden

JJ Moore

High Point transfer JJ Moore will be a key piston in Mount Olive’s engine as they face a tough division.

Mount Olive
Coach  Garry Lucianni
2011 Record  2-8 (1-8 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  This year’s Mt. Olive team has the firepower to throw this whole division upside down.  Anchoring a veteran offensive and defensive line are seniors Andrew Trejo and John Martinez.  The Marauders also bring back an explosive array of offensive threats which include QB Mike Moran, TE Nick Behrens, WR Cody Mott and FB Justin Maksimow.  If Mt. Olive wasn’t loaded enough, they also landed transfer runningback JJ Moore who made all the headlines in High Point last season.
Make or Break  If Mt. Olive wins two out of the first three games they will set the tone for the rest of the season.  If they can make it through this division for a playoff berth, this is good enough to make it to MetLife Stadium.
Poised for Greatness  Senior linebacker Justin Maksimow.  He sets the tone for this defense.
They Said It  “Mt. Olive is loaded this year.”  “Mt. Olive is a dangerous team.”  “I think Mt. Olive is going to be excellent.”  Quotes from opposing coaches about the 2012 Marauders.
Interesting Tidbit  This is Coach Garry Luciani’s 3rd year at Mt. Olive.  His resume includes long stints at Pompton Plains and Elmwood Park.
All Unruly Watch List  Andrew Trejo, Nick Behrens, John Martinez, Justin Maksimow, Cody Mott, JJ Moore and Mike Moran.

Mountain Lakes
Coach  Darrell Fusco
2011 Record 8-2 (7-1 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  Last season was the first season since 2008 that the Herd wasn’t in a State Final.  It doesn’t matter that they went 8-2, in Mt. Lakes standards are set high.  Coach Darrell Fusco enters his third season with a mix of hungry seniors and talented juniors.  Anchoring a stifling defense will be senior DTs Scott Flynn and Sam Walsh.  Offensively, Mt. Lakes will be playing a smash-mouth/drive-it-down-the-field football behind senior fullback Uzoma Egbuchulam.
Make or Break  There are high expectations in Mt. Lakes.  The Herd will win no doubt.  But remaining perfect with Butler and Pequannock in the league will be a challenge.
Poised for Greatness  Fullback Uzoma Egbuchulam.  The senior stud is due.
They Said It  Coach Fusco on this year’s outlook.  “Last year we lost in the first round of the playoffs.  These players are motivated to go further than that.”
Interesting Tidbit  Coach Fusco coached for 13 years under Mt. Lakes legend Doug Wilkens before taking the head job three seasons ago.
All Unruly Watch List  Sam Walsh, Scott Flynn and Uzoma Egbuchulam.

Newton
Coach  Jim Rabbitt
2011 Record 3-7 (1-7 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  Here’s the deal, Newton is coming off a tough decade.  Second year coach Jim Rabbitt is the man to turn things around.  The Braves look to build upon their two game win streak from last season.
Make or Break  This Brave’s team has a ton of pride.  They’ll give their opponents everything they’ve got.
They Said It  “Newton is due.”  Opposing division coach.

North Warren
Coach  Matt Parzero
2011 Record  6-4 (5-3 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  North Warren enters its first year in the NJAC and really the first year playing Morris County schools.  They head into a bit of uncharted territory in this league but should hold their own.  They bring a very experienced defense led by three year starters LB Nolan Robertson (100 tackles last season), FS Jon Davalos, Chris Longyhore (6’4”, 315lbs) and SS Trent Simmons.
Make or Break  The Patriots should benefit from the fact that their opponents have no experience playing against them.
Poised for Greatness  Sophomore Luke Robertson is coming off a freshman year in which he had 50 tackles.  He also is the punter.
They Said It  Coach Matt Parzero on playing in the NJAC Conference.  “Morris County has a great football tradition and is filled with great coaches.  I’m looking forward to being a part of this league.”
Interesting Tidbit  Senior Lucas Kiernan, who was an athletic TE last season, was asked to switch positions because the team needs him as a pulling guard.  Kiernan unselfishly traded in his #34 jersey for a lineman number.
All Unruly Watch List  Trent Simmons, Luke Robertson, Nolan Robertson, Chris Longyhore, Lucas Kiernan, Greg Galante and Jon Davalos.

Parsippany
Coach  Guy Bertola (1st year as coach)
2011 Record  0-10 (0-8 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  New head coach Guy Bertola has been brought in to resurrect the Parsippany Football program.  With a history of experience at Palisades, Bayley-Ellard, Pope John and Kean College his impact should be felt amongst the Redhawks community.  Workhorse runningback Tyler Whihalme and senior quarterback Max Berns will use Bertola’s new energy as a springboard to battle through the tough Freedom Division.
Make or Break  Parsippany can only go up from their 0-10 season.  Bertola has no pressure on himself and he’ll use this as motivation to pick off Freedom Division opponents.
Poised for Greatness  Runningback Tyler Whihalme (5’8”, 160lbs) will breakout under Bertola’s tutelage.
Interesting Tidbit  Coach Bertola played under current Pope John coach Brian Carlson during his college days.
All Unruly Watch List  Max Berns and Tyler Whihalme.

Par Hills
Coach  Dave Albano
2011 Record  8-4 (5-3 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  Par Hills comes off a season in which they scratched and clawed their way through the National Division to a State Final appearance.  In so doing, they earned the respect of all of the other powerhouses in this league.  The 2012 Vikings are led by their returning senior quarterback Tyler Simms who threw for 2,000 yards and 26 TDs last season.
Make or Break  Par Hills will not win every division game.  Their style is to wear teams down so watch for them to win a lot of games later in the season when opposing teams are struggling to stay healthy.
Poised for Greatness  Linebacker Michael Dogbe.  The 6’3, 215lb junior is a ferocious hitter and is already getting some big time looks.
They Said It  Coach Albano on his feeling about this season.  “If we can stay close in games and stay healthy toward the end of the season, we can make a late push (for the postseason).”
Interesting Tidbit  Tyler Simms threw 26 TD’s to seven different receivers.
All Unruly Watch List  Tyler Simms, Kire Mielvski, Carmine Verducci and Michael Dogbe.

Pope John
Coach  Brian Carlson
2011 Record  5-5 (5-3 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  Second year coach Brian Carlson is coming off a 5-5 record and a loss in the first round of the North Parochial Group three State Tournament.  This year brings is a mix of a handful senior players and a lot of talented young guns.  Underclassmen like Noa Merritt (DT), Mason Shaw (FS), Mark Dimatteo (SS) and Noah Brown (RB) all have the experience and skill to compete in the National Division.
Make or Break  This team is just too talented to fall off the map.  Despite being young, this team is a good bet to make it far into the postseason.
Poised for Greatness  Offensive tackle Seamus Ryan.  The 6’4”, 260lb senior runs a sub 5.0 forty and is getting looks from big time colleges.
They Said It  Seamus Ryan on Coach Carlson’s style of offense.  “Coach Carlson likes things moving very fast.  Once we get going, we get defenses on their heels and are able to drive all the way down the field.”
Interesting Tidbit  Coach Carlson playing years were at Montclair State where he shared the field with former NFL All Pro linebacker Sam Mills.
All Unruly Watch List  Noah Brown, Mark Dimatteo, Mason Shaw, Noa Merritt, Jeremy Rodriquez and Seamus Ryan.

Pequannock
Coach  Ed Kopp
2011 Record  7-3 (6-2 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  Pequannock lost a lot of experience through graduation but is returning some key cogs; like QB Luke Foukas (3,000 yards of offense), MLB Dan Mormillo (107 tackles) and OT Dan Kica (benches 365lbs plus).  The Golden Panthers core will be a talented bunch of junior athletes who want to win.
Make or Break  Pequannock has the firepower to go all the way.   Regular season opponents Butler, Mt. Lakes and Kinnelon will help them gear up for a post season run.
Poised for Greatness  Quarterback Luke Foukas.  The senior is coming off a season where he scored 33 TD’s on the ground and in the air.  Is rated as a Top 5 quarterback prospect for a several colleges.
They Said It  Coach Ed Kopp on this season.  “I am going into this season with humbled expectations.”
Interesting Tidbit  Senior WR Tom Zaher is a total stud in baseball.
All Unruly Watch List  Luke Foukas, AJ Adamczyk, Tom Zaher, Mike Blakely, Dan Mormillo, Vinny Perrotta and Dan Kica.

Randolph
Coach  Joe Lusardi
2011 Record  4-6 (4-4 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  Randolph might be the perfect storm.  The current senior group were sophomores when Randolph won a State Title in 2010.  Then in 2011 they had a disappointing 4-6 record but they got a ton of varsity experience.  Now these guys are more mature, have varsity experience and know what it takes to win a championship.
Make or Break  Randolph is pretty stacked.  Brendan Mahon (6’5”, 315lbs) is a legitimate D1 recruit and can block one side of the field himself.  James Gangemi and Aaron Harris are explosive offensive weapons and linebacker Mike Turner is a tackling machine.  The tough part for the Rams will be navigating through a very tough Group 5, Section 1 postseason bracket.
Poised for Greatness  Runningback James Gangemi.  Hampered by some injuries as a junior, Gangemi will bust out in his senior year.
They Said It  “Randolph is loaded with everyone coming back this year.”  Everyone in the division.
Interesting Tidbit  The last time Randolph went 4-6, they won a state title the following season.
All Unruly Watch List  Mike Turner, Brendan Mahon, Aaron Harris, James Gangemi and Jon Mambelli.

Roxbury
Coach  Cosmo Lorusso
2011 Record  5-5 (4-4 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  This Roxbury team is polished and well oiled.  They are stacked at with talented studs like OT/DT Kyle Adams, QB/DB Kyle Young and FB/LB Donald Panciello.  This senior group wants this to be their year and they’re trying to prove to Coach Lorusso they got what it takes.  “These guys are a very motivated group.  They are the kind of guys that keep each other accountable.  If one guy doesn’t pick up a bag, the other guys will get on him.  These guys just want it.”
Make or Break  This senior group is impressive.  Sky is the limit for the Gaels this season.
Poised for Greatness  Wideouts Joe Garafalo and Matt Sivertsen.  If Kyle Young starts slinging it around, these two will be human highlight reels.
They Said It  Coach Lorusso on this year’s work ethic.  “Every year we try to instill it in the team.  This team brings it themselves.”
Interesting Tidbit  This is Coach Lorusso’s 7th year as head coach of Roxbury.  Before that he was head coach at Pequannock where in his last four years his record was 44-4.
All Unruly Watch List  Kyle Young, Matt Sivertsen, Joe Garafalo, Chris Colucci, Peter Sutton, Donald Panciello, John Magi and Kyle Adams.

Sparta
Coach  Frank Marchiano
2011 Record  9-1 (8-0 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  Sparta just seems to breed football players.  Second year coach Frank Marchiano likes the hand he’s dealt this season coming off an undefeated regular season last year and returning most of his key weapons.  The Spartans lead the way with an experienced line that weighs an average of 220lbs.  Their offense is lead by QB Jake Melville who passed for 9 TD’s and ran for 10 in 2011.  But their biggest asset is their shut down defense led by senior linebackers Micheal Boryeskne and Randy May.
Make or Break  This is a good team, no doubt.  But they don’t exactly have a cushy schedule.  If Sparta stays focus they can go undefeated all the way to MetLife.
Poised for Greatness  Linebacker Michael Boryeskne.  The senior stands a 6’3”, 225lbs, runs a 4.72 and benches 225lbs twenty two times.
They Said It  Coach Marchiano on QB Jake Melville’s athleticism.  “To give you an idea, in 33 total career plays of playing defense for us he has four picks.”
Interesting Tidbit  Sophomores Teddy Fischer and Lucas Faria are both coming off freshman years in which they both accumulated four varsity TD’s a piece.
All Unruly Watch List  Jake Melville, Codie Aromando, Tommy Keller, Nick Bevacqua, Michael Walsh, Joe Whitney, Ryan Sisco, Kevin Foulds, Michael Boerskne, Randy May and Zach Davis.

Sussex Tech
Coach  Bob Leach
2011 Record  2-8 (1-7 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  Like Mo-Beard, Sussex Tech plays in an independent league.  So the only Morris Sussex teams they play are Lenape Valley, Mo-Beard and Parsippany.  Sussex Tech will get contributions from seniors Dylan Johnson and Dan Fazio.
Make or Break  If Sussex Tech can manage to get into the postseason its possible they could meet fellow Morris Sussex teams Butler or Boonton.
Poised for Greatness  Junior runningback Kyle Bergman has the skill and experience to build onto his highlight reel.
Interesting Tidbit  This is coach Bob Leach’s second year as head man.
All Unruly Watch List  Dylan, Johnson, Dan Fazio and Kyle Bergman.

Vernon
Coach  Chuck Tepper
2011 Record  5-5 (5-3 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  Vernon brings a dangerous offensive attack headlined by seniors Ryan Ward and Justin Dinelle.  Coach Chuck Tepper signature is bringing a well coached, disciplined team to the division.  He feels especially well about the 2012 Vikings team.  “This particular group is very hard working and takes to coaching well.”
Make or Break  Navigating through this division will not be easy.  But if the Vikings can stay healthy they are good enough to make it to the playoffs.
Poised for Greatness  Senior runningbacks Ryan Ward and Justin Dinelle.  These two have the ability to combine for 2,000 in total yards from scrimmage.
They Said It  Coach Tepper on his team’s willingness to learn.  “In the film room, the kids really pay attention to where they need to be on any given play.  They really take ownership if they made mistakes.”
Interesting Tidbit  Senior Kerolos Mikaeil was first in his class as a junior.  He is also the president of his own company.
All Unruly Watch List  Ryan Ward, Justin Dinelle and Kerolos Mikaeil.

Wallkill Valley
Coach  Daryl Jones
2011 Record 3-7 (2-6 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  Wallkill Valley got bumped this year from the Freedom Division to the Independence.  This should bode well for WV considering they are used to playing schools with a much bigger pool of players.  They also return a lot of experienced athletes who have been working hard in the off season.  Seniors QB Mike Astor, TE/LB Bobby Russell, RB Mike Buvis and OT/DL John McKeever bring experience in all the right spots.
Make or Break  The only thing Wallkill has to worry about is they just don’t have experience playing Mt. Lakes, Pequannock and Butler.  But they know football so they have a very solid chance to make it to postseason play.
Poised for Greatness  Bobby Russell no doubt.  At 6’3”, 230lbs and the leading tackler as a junior, he’s getting looks from all the big boys.
They Said It  Coach Jones on junior stud FB/TB/LB Nick McLean.  “He’s just a tough player that has been playing since he was a freshman.
Interesting Tidbit  Wallkill Valley has made it to the State Tournament three times in school history (since 1974).  In those three times they’ve made it to the State Final twice, taking home one State Title.
All Unruly Watch List  Bobby Russell, Mike Buvis, John McKeever, Mike Astor and Nick McLean.

headerWest Morris
Coach  Kevin Hennelly
2011 Record  7-3 (7-1 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  The skinny about West Morris is it never matters what kind of talent they have.  They are ALWAYS a contender to win a State Title.  This season is no different…except this season they happen to have some real talent.  The Wolfpack bring back third year senior quarterback John Gutowski, runningback Austin Roland and the athletic receiver Tyler Amandos.  Anchoring both sides of the line will be Brown bound Rob Hughes.  Coach Kevin Hennelly enters his 15th season as one of the most decorated coaches in the state during that time frame.
Make or Break  Getting through this division will be a challenge.  So long as WMC can get to the postseason somewhat healthy, they could be knocking on MetLife Stadium’s door.
Poised for Greatness  Quarterback John Gutowski.  He’s been the Wolfpack QB for a long time and is now due to do something special this season.
They Said It  Coach Hennelly’s secret to his success.  “You know, I really don’t think if I have a state champion type team in the summer.  I really take it one game at a time every single week.  I don’t think too much past that.”
Interesting Tidbit  Coach Hennelly has been to the State Finals seven times in his coaching career at West Morris.  Two as an assistant under longtime Wolfpack coach Pete Piccirillo and five as head coach himself.  He has been part of three State Title winning teams, all as head coach.
All Unruly Watch List  John Gutowski, Austin Roland, Rob Hughes and Tyler Amandos.

Whippany Park
Coach  Todd Callaghan
2011 Record  2-8 (2-6 at the postseason cutoff)
The Skinny  Whippany Park hasn’t had a winning seasonin a long time.  It didn’t help a few years ago when they were thrown into an extremely competitive NJAC conference.  But the tide is turning with second year head man Todd Callaghan who’s successfully working on changing the Wildcat culture.  With a healthy number of experienced seniors, Whippany Park should continue its trend of success.
Make or Break  In the past, Whippany Park has always had nothing to lose.  However, with the success Coach Callaghan had in his first season keeping the upward trend is a must.
Poised for Greatness  Senior QB/DB Joe LaBracio.  LaBracio bleeds talent and can make big things happen on any given play.
They Said It  “Coach Callaghan is going to great things at Whippany Park.  We cannot over look them this year.”  Opposing division coach.
Interesting Tidbit  In 2010, points against the Wildcats were 423 vs. 294 in 2011.  Points scored went from 60 to 74 in that same time frame, highlighting a significant trend in the right direction for this Callaghan coached squad.
All Unruly Watch List  Joe LaBracio, Dante Stefanelli, Nick Fano, Jonathan Kelly, Tim Kelly and Dan Linfante.

This preview is  sponsored by:  JointCare Physical Therapy in Florham Park, Mendham Creative Web Design and Drugs are for Idiots.

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George Muha has been covering high school sports since 2006. He feels high school scholar-athletes are the most important part of the community and highlighting their achievements on the field, in the classroom and within the community is his personal mission.

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