[is_not_paid] [easy-pricing-table id=”2352″] [/is_not_paid]
Just so you know the Dover Tigers are going to put a huge monkey wrench in the Freedom Division. Teams like Madison, Hanover Park and Lenape Valley all feel like this is their year to take the conference title. But Dover is so dynamic and versatile, they might just end up running away from the pack. I also like their chances at taking a shot at walking through the tunnel at MetLife Stadium in December.
There are a few reasons why these guys should scare everyone. First is their coach. Second-year head man Nick Gregorio is coming off a phenomenal year of instilling his mindset into this program. He comes from a great pedigree and knows how to run a football operation. He played for Frank Bottone in New Providence and he’s been around the coaching circuit in some really good programs. Success is in his blood and after one year he’s got Dover totally bought in.
Another big reason for Dover’s imminent success is senior runningback Dwayne Brown (5-11, 180). Brown might be the best pure offensive-skill player in Morris-Sussex. This guy has it all going on; size, speed and football IQ. Plus he is a total leader. During my visits to summer workouts he looked VERY crisp in every drill.
Opponents won’t want to contend with linebacker Jardy Mendez (5-9, 170) either. He’s another specimen who seems like he’s bred for hitting people. Mendez has no fear, and he is a ferocious tackler. Last season, wherever the ball was he was very close by.
At all times, everyone needs know where fullback/defensive end Dan Castro (6, 190) is going to be. He is a flat-out bull on both sides of the ball. On defense, he is so strong he can’t be contained and will it difficult for offenses to run in his direction. On offense, he dishes out crushing blocks.
Offensive line is where the Tigers really bring the beef. Junior tackle Rene Garin (6-4, 290) has the size and foot speed that every coach drools over. Making things worse for his opponents, Garin stays extremely even keeled and doesn’t get intimidated by anyone or anything.
The veteran of the line is center Ryan Bixler (6, 260 lbs). Bixler is another big man up front with very good technique. He’s wins most one-on-one battles and he’s the kind of player that makes everyone else on the line better.
The key thing to know about this year’s Dover Tiger team is that they are dynamic in places where teams usually are not. For instance, special teams. They’ll utilize guys like Masyn Sanchez who has blazing speed in the return game or Castro who has a big wingspan for blocking kicks.
The only way Dover falters is if they start reading the clippings about the other big boys on their schedule. Those teams are good, but Dover can hang with every one of them. It will be important for the Tigers to stay focused on their game and not worry about who they are playing.
I believe sky’s the limit for this squad. So long as they stay healthy, believe in themselves and follow Coach Gregorio’s lead, there is no reason they can’t find themselves at the top of the division and sitting comfortably in the playoffs when the regular season is over.
2014 Record: (6-4-0)
Head Coach: Nick Gregorio
Varsity Coaching Staff: John Whitehead, Rob Ambrosino, Justin Hartman, Steve Fortugno and Ken Quinones.
Freshman Coaching Staff: John McDonald, Vince DelleFave and Matt DeFranco
Athletic Trainer: Matt Walter
League: Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference
Section: North 2, Group 2
High Point: Dismantling a very good Lenape Valley team 19-14 down the stretch when it looked like they were going to make the postseason.
Low Point: Missing the playoffs by just a handful of Power Points.
Season Breakdown & Prediction
Game to Watch: I’d like to see how they handle Lenape Valley again. You know the Pats want revenge but I don’t see the Tigers backing down. This game should be a barn burner.
Position to Watch: I think this team could go from good to great depending on how the O-line performs. If the newer guys can step up, Dover can simply muscle their way to the postseason.
Young Gun to Watch: I can’t wait to see sophomore Lil’ Masyn Sanchez do his thang. He’s going to be a lot of fun to watch on kickoff and punt returns.
In a Nutshell: If these players can form a cohesive unit and step it up, I think they can do something special.
Dream Season: Getting to the semi-finals.
Nightmare Season: Not making the playoffs again.
Playoff Appearances: 16
Finals Appearances: 8
State Titles: 3
Playoff Record: 13-13 (.500)