Out of the 37 teams that Morris Sussex Football covers, only nine still have their state championship hopes alive. Now that we are at semi-finals weekend, only the strong will survive. Who will advance to MetLife? We will soon find out.
NORTH 1, GROUP 2
6 Kinnelon (7-3) @ 2 North Warren (8-2)
George Muha: Check out this exchange I had with North Warren High School’s Twitter feed this week:
@NorthWarrenHS: Announcements: 11/27: Schedule: Today is Day B. Lunch: Pizza Sticks w/Marinara Sauce. Romaine Tossed Salad.
@UnrulyFan: @NorthWarrenHS Make sure Mr. Davalos avoids the pizza sticks and eats extra vegetables. Jonny Football has a big game this weekend!
I guess they were not humored because I didn’t get a response. Colleges have been dropping the ball by not paying attention to Jonny Davalos. One opposing coach said this to me this week, “I don’t care that he’s not a big guy, without a doubt Davalos is the best pure football player in the Independence Division.” I see Jonny D. advancing and start showing colleges that they’ve been asleep at the switch.
PICK: North Warren 28-27
Brian Kenney: This is going to be a great game but I think North Warren has the edge here thanks to Jonny D.
PICK: NW 28-17
NORTH 1, GROUP 3
5 Sparta (8-1) @ 1 River Dell (10-0)
George Muha: I just ran this game through a Madden ‘13 simulation. Here is how it turned out. River Dell was up 30-21 at the half. I couldn’t take it so I changed it back to user control and here is how I won. I blitzed Michael Boryeskne on every play and kept the defense in a Cover 2 formation. Guys like Michael Walsh, Eric Reinhard, Randy May and Christian Glew played total shutdown defense. In the end, Sparta delivered! The final score was 35-30.
PICK: Sparta 35-30
Brian Kenney: Sparta had a nice run but this River Dell squad is bananas. It ends now for Jake “Herman” Mellville and company, but at the hands of an opponent in Dell that may win States.
PICK: RD 35-20
NORTH 1, GROUP 4
6 Paramus (7-3) @ 2 Roxbury (9-1)
George Muha: Paramus, I have two words for you…Donny Pants. You will know exactly what I’m talking about come Friday night around 9:00pm.
PICK: Rox 35-10
Brian Kenney: I have faith in Roxbury and I don’t see them falling to Paramus, but it’s going to be close. Look for none other than Joey G (aka Garafalo) or Donny P (Panciello) to score the winning TD in this one.
PICK: The ‘Bury 21-15
NORTH 2, GROUP 4
4 Bernards (9-1) @ 1 Madison (10-0)
George Muha: I have all the respect in the world for what the Bernard’s connection of Devin Ray to John Maddalunn has accomplished this season. But I am telling you, when you have a Big Ten recruit like Justin Goodwin, who hasn’t even been tested that much this year, this close to another state title you are in for whooping.
PICK: Madison 54-12 (Will Mottola scores a defensive TD)
Brian Kenney: I saw Madison beat up on the Hornets in the first round of the playoffs and all I have to say is this Goodwin kid is a man amongst boys. He is a baller and he makes it look so damn easy. It’s no wonder he’ll likely be returning kicks for Rutgers next year as a freshman. Two things though – 1. I was shocked they left Goodwin on the field in the fourth quarter when the game was already in hand (didn’t they ever see or read “Friday Night Lights?”) 2. Bernands’ QB can apparently throw the ball pretty well. Pass defense could be the Achilles’ heal of the Dodgers. I’m just saying!!! I’ll still go with Madison, but it could be a barn burner! Look for Number 81 Nick Haboj on Madison’s defense to have a crapload of tackles and a couple of sacks.
PICK: Madison 35-31
3 Caldwell (9-1) @ 2 Mountain Lakes (10-0)
George Muha: Caldwell will be prepared to do their best to contain Uzoma Egbuchulam. But this Herd team is no one-trick pony. Look for Chris “Herren” Herring, Mike “The Samurai” Sammarro and Spencer Herman Munster to keep the Chiefs on their heels all after noon.
PICK: Herd 28-21
Brian Kenney: This one is going to go down to the fourth quarter. I can bet the house that Caldwell spent the past couple of weeks planning on how to stop Zoom Zoom. Hopefully Mt. Lakes was practicing some sweet play action passes to counter what I’m sure will be a jammed up middle of the field. I think the Lakes prevail after the dust settles.
PICK: ML 21-17
NORTH 2, GROUP 3
4 Par Hills (8-2) @ 1 Summit (10-0)
George Muha: Honestly, Summit coach John Liberato has to be one of the best coaches in the state. What he’s accomplished at such a young age is truly remarkable. But let me tell you about Par Hill’s coach Dave Albano. Every year he takes a team that is barely a Group 3 school and competes every year with much bigger schools like Randolph, Roxbury, West Morris, Delbarton and Morristown. Albano is a master at managing his personnel. If you have a helmet, you’ll likely get varsity playing time with his system. The keys to this game will be how well Michael Dogbe, Kyle Annese and Tyler Stecher do on the defensive side of the ball.
PICK: Par Hills 42-41
Brian Kenney: I really want to pick Par Hills here, even though Summit is playing at home and undefeated. Something about them has just convinced me that they are on a mission. If Tyler Simms throws for over 250 and a couple of scores Par Hills is in this game until the end, win or lose. I’ll call it my upset special of the week.
PICK: PH 27-21
NORTH 2, GROUP 4
4 West Morris (6-4) @ 1 Irvington (7-3)
George Muha: Believe it or not, my father was the captain of the Irvington football team in 1948 (I think that was the year). The old man is 81 now and will still get into a three-point stance if you start talking X’s and O’s with him. Not that has anything to do with this game. Regardless of the seeding, this section is actually a little skewed. I think WMC’s regular season has prepped them for Irvington’s style of play. I see Johnny Guts guiding his team to a spot at MetLife.
PICK: Wolfpack 21-14
Brian Kenney: Ok, ok, so the Millburn game wasn’t as close as I thought, I apologize to all you WM people out there. My pick this week isn’t going to make you happy either (since picking them to win wasn’t enough apparently), because I see Irvington winning this game going away. Austin Roland will score a couple for WM, but it won’t be enough.
PICK: Irvington 39-27
NON-PUBLIC, GROUP 3
6 Camden Catholic (7-3) @ 2 Delbarton (9-1)
George Muha: Good for Camden Catholic for driving three hours to Pope John’s home field and advancing to the semi’s. Unfortunately for them, the two and a half hour ride back from Delbarton on Saturday will not be as fun. Jamie White has been through too much in his varsity career not to will the Green Wave into the state finals.
PICK: Delby 35-14
Brian Kenney: CC upset Pope John last week, and Delby isn’t going to take them lightly. That being said Camden is going to play tough and take this game to its’ final minute. Look for Delby’s defense to make a stand in heck of a close game, maybe Matt Oplinger picks off the Hail Mary to seal the deal in this one.
PICK: Delby 28-27