Hackettstown’s 2013 record of 1-8 should’ve never happened. The Tiger’s had and still has great players, and most are two-sport varsity athletes. Even quarterback, Joe Renne, started on the football team as a sophomore and made it to the regional tournament for wrestling. There are a few key things to know about the 2014 Hackettstown football team: these are tough, athletic guys. And this year, they have eleven returning starters and a young head coach. 1-8 shouldn’t happen again. This year’s team is capable of starting a new chapter of Hackettstown football.
Hackettstown’s offense will only be stronger and faster this year led by returning junior quarterback Joe Renne and his core four senior runningbacks Matt Milelli, Mike Castellano, Nick Renne, and Tom Bordi, who all grinding out the yards last year. With a quick and agile backfield, I predict the Tigers’ option offense to be an even bigger threat this year.
Look for the big guys up front to include senior guards Teddy Gurnowski and Gus Semanchik, and senior tackle Mike Rossi who weighs in at 250 pounds. At tight ends, seniors Noah Aussems and Tahke Martin will help block, and provide hands for Renne to hit.
The defensive line will be led by Gurnowski, Semanchik, and Rossi, backed by Aussems and Nick Renne at inside linebacker. The Tigers’ outside linebackers, Castellano and Martin, are quick, athletic players who often blitz, leaving quarterbacks rattled. The secondary has some depth and experience including Joe Renne and Bordi at cornerback, and Milelli and Sullivan at free safety. Last year Milelli and Sullivan were key in preventing big plays.
What Went Wrong in 2013?
Last year the Hackettstown offense relied on their quickness around the edge, avoiding traffic, but had trouble in the short yardage, power plays like in their match-up with Kittatinny.
Forecast for 2014
With a young coach pushing players in the off-season, the 2014 Tigers should have more size and ability to control games when running the ball. Eleven returning starters and an experienced quarterback will lead the team this year, and the news only gets better. In 2013, Mountain Lakes, Hanover Park, and Dover dominated the North 2 Group 2 standings with exceptional senior lineups. But Dover lost key players RB George Scalley, QB James Quiles, and WR Omar Young. Hanover Park graduated QB Matt Hoberman, RB Anthony Bassolino, and FB Anthony Volante. Hackettstown might have the most returning starters in this group. These are games to watch closely.