[is_not_paid] [easy-pricing-table id=”2352″] [/is_not_paid]
This is what you need to know about Sparta: They are a machine. Since Coach Marchiano took over in 2010, they have gone 45-10-1, made it to the playoffs the last four years, and won two state titles in the last two years. Sure, he graduated a ton of players. Do you know what he told his incoming varsity team? “So what!”
Coach Marchiano allows no excuses. Ask senior lineman Dylan May. “Coach told us, so what if we lost a ton of last year’s starters. We have other guys that are just waiting to take their place. We know what it takes to win a championship because we just we part of two of them. We know all of the preparation and work that needs to be done and we just cannot wait to get onto the field and start playing.”
May’s mindset permeates the entire roster. And it’s not like they lost everyone either. In fact, they are bringing back three starting linemen and their tight end, which is the foundation of their offense. Dave Pesso (6-4, 280), Duffy Brennan (6-3, 280) and May (6-1, 260) are the big, returning horses up front. And, last season, Colin McBride (6-0, 230) would have been a starter on any other team in the division but had to wait for some All-Conference guys to graduate.
Dean Gennat (6-0, 215) is the returning tight end and an excellent blocker. However, he’s also a deadly threat in the passing game, accounting for ten touchdowns last season. Joining him in the offensive output will be junior runningback Alex Miliken (5-11, 185) who showed flashes of greatness while taking the load off a banged-up Lucas Faria.
Offensively, senior runningback Al Falco (5-10, 180) will also take the load while senior wideouts Matthew Freeman (6-0, 185), Matt Hastings (6-0, 185) and Andrew Taveras (5-10, 170) will join Gennat in the aerial attack.
Defensively, seniors Dylan Faner (6-0, 210) and Austin Reinauer (6-2, 225) will stifle offenses up front. The linebacker corps will feature seniors Michael Bomensatt (6-0, 215) and Falco while juniors Andrew Pondisco (6-0, 175) and Richie McDonald (6-0, 185) and senior Louis Ferrara (6-1, 190) will patrol the outfield.
When facing Sparta, defenses need to be in good shape and prepared to run. Marchiano plays a high tempo, fitness kind of game that’s difficult to defend when they pull ahead: They are a fast-break basketball team. Teams that try to control the ball seem to have a harder time against them than teams that like to pass.
Okay, now that you got a good idea of the core of this team lets talk about the elephant in the room. Can this team 3-peat? The problem is the Spartans are not sneaking up on anyone anymore. Teams like Roxbury, Pope John, Par Hills and Randolph are not too fond of all their winning so Sparta is the game they all are circling on their calendars.
But here is why I like their chances. They have all of the talent and have beefed up in the offseason, so personal is not an issue. These players know that with all the recent success it is going to be harder to win a championship, not easier. They know that what last year’s team did to get a ring isn’t going to be enough to get one this year. So long as they maintain that attitude and not let a loss or two trip them up, sky’s the limit.
2014 Record: (11-1-0)
Head Coach: Frank Marchiano
Assistants: Chris Kappelmeier, Bob Hast, Sam Slobodzian, Patrick McCarney, Ken Windt, John Procopio, Andrew Finland & Scott Turner.
League: Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference
Section: North 1, Group 3
High Point: Winning their second straight state championship.
Low Point: Losing to Roxbury 21-24 in Week 1.
Season Breakdown & Prediction
Games to Watch: Week 1 against Roxbury. Sparta is still PO’d about last year’s Week 1 upset – and only loss.
Position to Watch: The offensive line. These guys are huge, varsity veterans, state champs and brimming with confidence. When their dominating, this offense will be humming.
Young Guns to Watch: Junior runningback Alex Miliken. This guy did superb in taking the load off a banged up Lucas Faria last season. He’ll be the featured back this year and literally has all the moves. He can flare out for a pass, pound up the middle, juke a defensive back or jet past everyone. Most teams will have a hard time finding an answer for him.
In a Nutshell: After winning two state titles in a row, these players don’t know any different. What opposing teams should know is that this team is not a silver spoon group that thinks they’ll get another ring because of their bloodline. They’re the kind of team that knows the hard work and dedication it takes to get a ring.
Dream Season: Winning their third straight title.
Nightmare Season: Getting knocked out of the first round.
Tidbit: Sparta has ended River Dell’s state championship hopes three years in a row (twice by beating them in the finals and once in the semi-finals). They’ll likely be sitting in the tournament waiting to avenge past years.
Playoff Appearances: 22
Finals Appearances: 10
State Titles: 7
Playoff Record: 27-15 (.642)
|Fri, Sept 11, 2015||at Roxbury||07:00 pm|
|Sat, Sept 19, 2015||at Chatham||01:00 pm|
|Sat, Sept 26, 2015||Montville||01:00 pm|
|Sat, Oct 3, 2015||at Pope John||02:30 pm|
|Sat, Oct 10, 2015||Vernon||01:00 pm|
|Fri, Oct 16, 2015||at High Point||07:00 pm|
|Sat, Oct 24, 2015||Par Hills||01:00 pm|
|Sat, Oct 31, 2015||Morris Hills||01:00 pm|
|Fri, Nov 6, 2015||at Randolph||07:00 pm|
|First Name||Last Name||Year|