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Sophomore coach Joe Coltelli laid a strong foundation last season and is looking to build on his 3-7 record in the extremely competitive Independence Division. This season he brings back a collage of varsity-tested players that are sure to help the Cougars against the likes of Mountain Lakes, Pequannock and Kinnelon.

Kittatinny's QB/DB Chris Russell is poised to have a big season on both sides of the ball.

Kittatinny’s QB/DB Chris Russell is poised to have a big season on both sides of the ball (photo by Georgi Muha).

The headliner of this team is the extremely athletic senior quarterback Chris Russell (6’, 195) who led the team in passing, rushing and touchdowns as a junior. Russell is an explosive player and has a cannon for an arm and can make all the reads. However, Coach Coltelli also designs plays that has his quarterback carrying the ball.

You have to love Russell’s chances this season, especially given that he has a returning varsity-tested line. Senior linemen Griffen Waldron (6-2, 230), Nick Simpson (6’, 185), Chris Gorab (6-2, 190) and senior tight end Tyler Foster (6-4, 200) bring the size, power and technique to assure that the Cougars’ offense will be pushing around most defenses in the division.

Taking the load off Russell in the running game will be senior Jeremy Cerbo (6’, 185) and juniors Josh Klimek (5-11, 185) and Cody Romano (6’, 185). These three bring thunder, lightning and hail with their size, speed and power.

Defensively, the Cougars bring back veteran experience as well. Senior safety and last year’s leading tackler Tommy Hunt (6-3, 200) is the biggest defensive back in the division and a fierce defender in the outfield. He’ll be helped by a very good line including junior Josh MacMillan (6-3, 200) and seniors John Gallagher (5-11, 190) and Stone Munguia (6’, 180).

Cougar junior --- will use his athleticism to contribute to the team's success.

The Cougars will rely on some of their athletic underclassmen to help Kittatinny battle through their schedule (photo by Georgi Muha).

This could be a very interesting year for Kittatinny. The division is basically up for grabs. These guys have a lot of varsity experience and seem energized by their new coach. The only thing that I don’t like? They open with an out-of-conference Lenape Valley game in week 1, and then Hopatcong in week 2, and both teams are slated as favorites to win their respective divisions.

My prediction is, win or lose, if the Cougars can come out of those first two games with their heads up and focused they can have success with the rest of their schedule. If they can make it to the postseason, those out-of-division games will have helped them to prepare for all they’ll face in the playoffs.

Kittatinny Cougars

2014 Record: (3-7-0)
Head Coach: Joe Coltelli
Assistants: Bob Kylish, Ed Mabel, Bill Percy, Jeff Gely, Nick DeGennaro (Freshmen) and Joe Boyle (Freshmen).
League: Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference
Section: North 1, Group 2

2014 Recap

High Point: Handedly taking down a very good Whippany Park team.
Low Point: Being 3-5 at the playoff cutoff, basically not having a chance at a playoff bid.

Season Breakdown & Prediction

Kittatinny gathers together at the end of a summer practice.

Kittatinny gathers around Coach Coltelli at the end of a summer practice (photo by Georgi Muha).

Games to Watch: Week 1 home game against Lenape Valley. If they win, it will give them a huge boost. However, if they lose they are still not out of it. How they carry themselves, even if they lose, will dictate the rest of their season.
Position to Watch: Offensive line. If these big boys can give Russell even an extra half a second on any given play, this offense can be extremely potent.
Young Guns to Watch: Junior defensive linemen Josh MacMillan and Justin Decker will be interesting to watch. If these two come on strong, they could shake things up for the Cougars in this division.
In a Nutshell: Kittatinny has some extremely tough foes in this division. They also have some winnable games. If this team can play consistent all season (even in defeat), they could find themselves in a bracket come November.
Dream Season: Making it to the Playoff Party.
Nightmare Season: Not going .500.

Postseason History

Playoff Appearances: 10
Finals Appearances: 0
State Titles: 0
Playoff Record: 2-10 (.166)


9/12Lenape Valley1pm
9/18@ Hopatcong7pm
9/26@ Whippany Park7pm
10/16@ Mountain Lakes7pm
10/24North Warren1pm
10/31Wallkill Valley1pm
11/6@ Pequannock7pm


Home #Away #NameGradeOff. Pos.Def. Pos.HeightWeight
33Nick Geimer11QBDB5'-10"145
44Mason Brooks12SEDB5'-7"135
66Joey Lobb10QBLB5'-8"145
77Mike Campanella10SEDB5'-9"145
88Chris Russell12QBDB6'-1"175
1111Drew Walker12SEDB5'-11"125
1414Jeremy Cerbo12RBDB5'-11"165
2222Calvin Brook10RBDB5'-8"140
2323Jack Sikora10RBDB5'-10"160
2424Cody Romano11RBLB6'-0"160
2626Ryan Rigby10RBDB5'-9"165
3939Derek Kays10SEDB5'-9"130
4040Justin Voss10RBLB5'-9"160
4444Bryce Willeford10SEDB5'-9"140
4646Tommy Hunt12RBLB6'-2"180
4840Josh Klimek11RBLB5'-9"165
5050Josh MacMillan11OLDL6'-3"180
5151Chris Gorab12OLDL6'-2"180
5259John Gallagher12OLDL5'-8"175
5454Parker Lobban11OLLB5'-9"140
5555Graham Harpell11OL DL5'-11"205
5656Billy Connors10OLDL5'-11"155
5757Derek Michelman10OLLB5'-5"140
5959Jimmy Ogle10OLDL5'-7"150
6060Griffin Waldron12OLDL6'-2"240
6161Austin VanGorden10OLDL5'-8"190
6363Jarret Giaguzzi10OLDL6'-1"160
6666Darien Manguia12OLLB5'-10"145
6767Luke Degroat12OLDL5'-11"215
7075Nick Simpson12OLDL6'-0"170
7171Justin Decker11OLDL5'-9"245
7373Gavin Apgar11OLDL5'-7"170
7979Brenden Gullette10OLDL5'-10"175
8181Jake McMullan10SEDB5'-8"140
8282Matt Cerbo11TELB5'-10"170
8383Justin Modafferi10TEDL5'-11"185
8888Tyler Foster12TEDL6'-3"185

What do you think the 2015 Cougars will accomplish in 2015? Comment below.

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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