Thursday Night, September 12 Games
Butler @ North Warren
George Muha: Luke “I am Your Father” Robertson and Greg Galente will be looking to continue on last year’s success for the Patriots. But Butler is loaded with all the familiar faces that ran the table in this division last season; Ryan Mack, Nick Ballistreri, Glenn Reger, Ryan Cirillo, Travis Canty, etc. North Warren coach Matt Parzero will keep it respectable but Butler is just too powerful to drop this one.
PICK: Butler 30-21
Morristown-Beard @ MKA
George Muha: Coming off a decisive win over Marist, the Crimson look to build on their success. The bruising back Nick Rella will be back for his first time, coming off a broken toe. Matt “Tony” Stark, Matt “The Irish Hurricane” Reilly and Matt McFadden will continue to dominate.
PICK: MoBeard 34-10
Hackettstown @ Lenape Valley
George Muha: Hackettstown will control trenches behind linemen Justin Hill, Mike Rossi and Tyler Wickkisser. New Lenape Valley signal caller Ryan “Ping Pong” Pangborn finally gets his chance to show that he’s a winner at the varsity level. The X-Factor of this game will be Lenape’s home field advantage. Playing under the lights, in the middle of Sussex County, with band members dressed in colonial outfits, and bats flying overhead (am I the only one who notices the bats?) provides a ton of mystique to the Lenape Valley lore.
PICK: Lenape Valley 21-10
Hanover Park @ Parsippany
George Muha: New Parsippany coach Phil McGuane will lead the Redhawks for his first game at home under the lights. I see the overall tide changing in Parsippany but they’ll have an uphill battle in this one. Hanover Park quarterback Matt Hoberman and runningback Anthony Bassolino will prove to be too high powered.
PICK: HP 30-10
Jefferson @ Newton
George Muha: There isn’t much Newton runningback/defensive back Ben “Cosmo” Cramer can’t do on the field. He’ll need to bring out all the stops and get a ton of help this Thursday night though. Jefferson QB JR Reese and RB Kyle Neuschatz are one of the best one-two punches in Morris Sussex.
PICK: Jefferson 35-21
Kittatinny @ High Point
George Muha: Garret “Arms are Strong” Armstrong and Joe Repasy, aka the “Kittatinny Konnection”, will generate a lot of offense this season. High Point QB Brandon Carr will keep the score close, but Kittatinny will play the spoiler at High Point’s home game opener under the lights.
PICK: Kittatinny 30-21
Madison @ Dover
George Muha: I hate to be the one to say it, but I believe Madison’s longest active win streak will finally come to an end; and I will give you a few reasons why. First, Dover coach Roger Kotlarz is in his second year coaching in this division and has studied the Dodgers for a whole year. Second, Dover has one of the most powerful and talented runningback’s in the state in George Scalley. But the X-Factor will be the home field advantage. Playing at Hamilton Field (which could be the nicest field in the state), under the lights in Dover in a big game that will bring out decades of old timers, with a student body that loves their Tigers along with one of the most passionate marching bands around, will prove to be what it takes to finally take down the Mighty Dodgers.
PICK: Dover 28-24
Montville @ Chatham
George Muha: Chatham will love to deliver a win on their home turf under the lights for their home opener. But Montville lineman Laurenco “Big Larry” Bueno will prove to be too much.
PICK: Mustangs 24-10
Morris Catholic @ Boonton
George Muha: Boonton RB Michael Ferrante and QB Ian Havran have the veteran experience to do something special this season. I believe they will too. But Matt “3M” MacMillan leads a tough group of linemen for the Crusaders that will be the difference in a very close one. PS: Morris Catholic’s uniforms are sweet this year.
PICK: Morris Catholic 21-20
Morris Hills @ Parsippany Hills
George Muha: Talk about game of the week! I can’t wait to see Morris Hill’s Willy Hansen this season! The kid is the real deal and has a ton of talent around him. Unfortunately, playing Par Hill’s defense is like sticking your hand into the garbage disposal. It just grinds you up once you turn it on. Defensive studs Stephen Hill and Michael Dogbe will live up to their hype and secure the early win.
PICK: Par Hills 35-28
Morris Knolls @ West Morris
George Muha: We should be calling Morris Knolls’ QB Joe Leonardis, JLIII. After a few years running the Veer offense, he’s practically mastered the Read Option offense. He’ll have success faking out the Wolfpack for a big part of this game, but defending state champs West Morris defenders Kevin Hennelly and Jake Butkus will eventually catch on.
PICK: Wolfpack 35-28
Mountain Lakes @ Hopatcong
George Muha: Hopatcong QB Ryan Clarke and RB Johann Lara run a very high powered, efficient offensive engine. In fact, I am predicting great things from the ‘Cong. Christian “The Cooch” Cucinello is a fierce defender for the Herd and will make it close.
PICK: Hopatcong 30-28
Pope John @ Randolph
George Muha: Okay, I know the Randolph faithful are probably reading this, knowing they have a good team this year and expecting to see some kind of analysis of how they match up against Pope John. Look, I actually think Randolph can do something very special this year. Maybe even make it to MetLife. But Pope John is in a different stratosphere. Let’s put it this way, they have a guys that could actually start on a D1 football team this year. Their sophomore quarterback already has a scholarship offers from D1 schools. That said, if Randolph does win, they will be ranked in the top five in the state.
PICK: Lions 40-14
Roxbury @ Vernon
George Muha: It looks like all the stars are aligning for Vernon quarterback Tyler Soltes and the rest of his supporting staff. They’ll fight to make this one very close but Roxbury’s Sean Leyden and company want their second state title in a row and will make sure they secure the necessary Power Points to get into the postseason.
PICK: Roxbury 35-27
Sparta @ Bayonne
George Muha: Sparta has the talent to make things ugly for opponents this season. They’ll be a major player in their division this season and will start out by making a statement. Look for Teddy Fischer and Randy May to make big plays on the offensive and defensive side of the ball respectively.
PICK: Sparta 34-21
Wallkill Valley @ Pequannock
George Muha: New Wallkill coach Jim Delaney takes over a team with a ton of tradition. He’ll be leading heavily on veteran Calvin Kassarate in this one. Pequannock is young and tough but I see the Kassarate Kid rushing for 150 yards in the win.
PICK: Wallkill Valley 24-13
Friday Night, September 13
Mount Olive @ Mendham
George Muha: These two teams match up very well together. Three year starter and two year All Conference lineman Ethan Weiss and Big Zach Heeman lead a very tough line. But being reinvigorated by the new-old coach Bill Carpluk, fired up by playing on a rare night home game and led by quarterback (Jack Horan) who is out to prove his name deserves to be amongst northern NJ’s best, I think this is Mendham’s game to lose. It will be a wrestling match, but the Minutemen will prevail.
PICK: Mendham 24-21
Saturday, September 14
Kinnelon @ Whippany Park
George Muha: Dante Stefanelli and Danny Karovic are the one-two punch at the QB and RB positions that can win Whippany Park games. But Kinnelon is coming off a state title with most of the starters returning. QB Kyle Presti has a ring as a receiver and now wants one as a QB. Look for Kinnelon to make an early season statement.
PICK: Kinnelon 35-10
Paramus Catholic @ Delbarton
George Muha: Hey Delby, can you get Jabrill to sign a football for me? Just kidding! Look, it’s obvious that Paramus Catholic is basically the University of Michigan. But that doesn’t mean the Green Wave won’t take a pound of flesh from them. Matt Oplinger is not afraid to tackle anyone and Rob Arancio is just the kind of runner that will let PC know that Delbarton is no push over. Delby won’t be victorious on the scoreboard but come away learning what they are made of.
PICK: Jabrill Peppers Catholic 40-28
Sunday, September 15
Morristown @ Seton Hall Prep
George Muha: Some people call last year’s Morristown-Seton Hall Prep game the best game they ever saw. Something happens when these two play each other that brings out the best in both teams. Motown’s Jordan Powell is the real dealio and we’ll all get a flavor of what he’s made of in this one. Motown will compete in this division, but I don’t see them winning this out of conference game.
PICK: SHP 45-43
Sussex Tech @ Snyder
George Muha: Kyle “The Birdman” Bergman had an awesome 2012 and has the talent and ability to rush for 1,000 this year. Look for ST to establish the run game to get an early lead and not let go of it to till the final whistle.
PICK: Sussex Tech 35-21