The word that best describes the Vikings is dynasty. I don’t care if coach Dave Albano is coming off his first state championship and first state title in school history. In the last four years, you can argue that no team has had more success against better competition than his Vikings. He went 8-4, 8-3, 9-3 and 10-2 respectively, and then made trips to the finals three times and the semi’s once.
His recent success isn’t what makes his team a dynasty. His 15-year career at Par Hills, with a system he has pumping all the way through the Little Vikings, is what should scare opposing coaches.
There are people in town who can’t tell you the name of their own mayor but can tell you where Albano’s favorite deli is. Little boys go to games with Viking horns on their heads, aspiring to be players one day. Little girls go to games with pompoms, aspiring to be cheerleaders one day. These are some of the little things separate the Par Hills program from your everyday high school football team. Trust me, Albano has nine more fingers to put rings on and he is just getting started.
If you want to get a taste of what the 2015 Vikes are all about, you have to look no further than middle linebacker Jared Salgado. Salgado is 5 foot 11 inches and 235 pounds of pure intensity who makes 15 solo tackles a game and sweats X’s and O’s.
Par Hills will lead with their defense behind Salgado but it’s no one-man show. There are a lot of others that make up an aggressive D including lineman Ryan Hill. Hill is another guy who brings an incredible amount of strength and speed. He’s a mismatch for every lineman he faces with his uncanny quickness.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Vikings bring back their scintillating sophomore sensation of a quarterback Nick Verducci. Verducci came a long way last year and looks scary comfortable throwing the ball. That’s good because his favorite target is the athletic senior wide receiver Alex Lerman who’s coming back as well.
The line is still materializing but one thing’s for sure is 6-3, 285 pound Chris Wojtukiewicz will return and move from right to left tackle. Wojtukiewicz had a monster game in the state title contest and is only bigger and stronger than last season.
As for an outlook for this season, I had a chance to speak with Chris Pietrowicz who was the starting center on last year’s championship team. The first thing he told me was the secret to Par Hills success rides with Ablano and his staff. He said his incoming freshman class was a mediocre team but once the coaches got their hands on them, they converted them into a hard nose team that fought for every yard.
He told me that this 2015 team is full of a lot of hungry, scrappy kids that want to get a state championship ring themselves. He said Hill and Salgado are the best he’s seen. That Verducci’s hard work is unmatched. And he predicts the Vikes will be back at MetLife because they know what it takes. Like I said, dynasty.
Parsippany Hills Vikings
2014 Record: (10-2-0)
Head Coach: David Albano
Assistant Coaches: Brian Francis, Ross Tarlowe, Rich Guglielmo, Keith Koellhoffer, Adam Pavese, Dan Olsen and Ron Cupid.
Team Manager: Shane O’Connor
League: Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference
Section: North 2, Group 3
High Point: Winning the state title, of course!
Low Point: Losing convincingly to Sparta and Pope John.
Season Breakdown & Prediction
Games to Watch: Week 1 against West Morris. They seem to have a little bit of a rivalry going and always play each other tough.
Position to Watch: I’d be curious to see how they replace Gallego who ran for 1,800 yards and 18 touchdowns last year. Although, knowing Albano, the Vikes will probably just throw more now that he’s gone.
Young Guns to Watch: Juniors Dylan McDonald and Marco Falivene both played all last season as sophs and will be a key part of this year’s linebacker corps.
In a Nutshell: Par Hills has just raised the bar with last year’s state championship. But that was Albano’s fifth attempt so he’s got the machine in motion and now expectations will be to win another one.
Dream Season: Winning back-to-back championships.
Nightmare Season: Going one and done in the playoffs.
Playoff Appearances: 10
Finals Appearances: 5
State Titles: 1
Playoff Record: 13-9 (.590)
|9/11||@West Morris||07:30 pm|
|9/24||Pope John||07:00 pm|
|10/3||@Morris Hills||02:30 pm|
|10/9||High Point||07:00 pm|
|65||Shane O’Connor||Team Manager|
|69||Donald MacNaughten III||12||OL/DL|