2015 Mountain Lakes Herd Football Preview

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When you get to the third year of an unbeaten streak, the pressure starts heaping on. Coming into this season, the Mountain Lakes Herd have won twenty two straight games – including two state championships. Living up to the Herd’s expectations is hard enough, but being the team to have to keep up the momentum of years past makes it even harder.

“Everyone on this team has been hearing about the streak for so long we’ve just tuned it out.” Senior fullback Jake Spagnola told me in a tone that said the team is tired of the topic. “We literally don’t even think about it. The standards are much higher at Mountain Lakes without the streak. We are just focused on the day to day.”

Coach Fusco feels confident his senior quarterback Griffen Baker (12) can continue his success as field general (photo by Benny Muha).

Coach Fusco feels confident his senior quarterback Griffen Baker (12) can continue his success as field general for the 2015 season (photo by Benny Muha).

Streak or not, Mountain Lakes is fielding yet another team of hard nosed, athletic players who are dedicated to helping Herd Nation continue it’s winning tradition. Coach Darrell Fusco will keep his way of rewarding his incoming seniors with the opportunity to step up into the roles left empty by the graduating class. “We’re a senior focused team every year. We have some key returning players, but we’ll have a lot of guys stepping up. They seem to be doing a good job at embracing the challenge so far.”

One of the key cogs coming back is senior quarterback Griffen Baker (6, 190). Baker has a really nice arm and has emerged as a true leader of the team. “I think Griffen will be a big surprise for opposing teams. He can do a lot and he can make all of the tough throws. He gives us an element that we don’t always have at Mountain Lakes.”

Senior wideout Jimmy Schicke (81) gives the Herd big deep threat (photo by Benny Muha).

Senior wideout Jimmy Schicke (81) will give the Herd a big player threat in the 2015 season (photo by Benny Muha).

Getting most of the touches carrying the ball will be Spagnola (6-2, 210) and fellow senior halfback Dylan Gottesman (6-1, 200). As fullback Spagnola will open a lot of holes through blocking but can show finesse carrying the ball as well. Gottesman didn’t get a lot of carries last season but is a tough, every down kind of back. Fusco loves to control the ball so his foundation will be focused on these two players.

Up front, the Herd will feature its 6’4″, 210-pound senior tackle Felix Boerstoel. He’s is an athletic type of blocker who can power block or run ahead of ball carriers down field. “Boerstoel is returning for us and is a very good blocker.” Fusco said.

The Herd players know the standards are set extra high when they suit up in orange and blue (photo by Benny Muha).

The Herd players know the standards are set extra high when they suit up in orange and blue (photo by Benny Muha).

Rarely are the Herd known has a pass happy offense, but along with Griffen’s arm they have a nice big target who can run all the routes. Senior Jimmy Schicke (6-4, 215) gives Lakes a down-the-field threat. Together the Herd now has big-play ability and can be deadly in short yardage situations in which Schicke will be asked to out jump a cornerback – which he can do to most corners in this division.

Defensively, most of the guys above will contribute. They’ll be headlined by the super-talented Mike Aiello (6-3, 235) at nose tackle. Aiello is the anchor in which the entire defense is centered around. “Aiello is one of our key guys.” Fusco said. “He gives us an advantage because he is so disruptive. He’s just so big and fast that teams have a hard time containing him.”

Mike Aiello is has his eyes set on his third state championship in as many years (photo by Benny Muha).

Mike Aiello is has his eyes set on his third state championship in as many years (photo by Benny Muha).

As for my outlook, Mountain Lakes is always Mountain Lakes. I wouldn’t get all caught up with the whole streak thing. It’s inevitable it will end at some point. Fusco has lost four games in five years so it’s not like the football program is going to collapse if they do. Frankly, I feel it will probably take the pressure off these guys if they did end up losing one.

Looking too far ahead is never healthy, but the Herd hasn’t missed the playoffs since Carter so I think its okay if we make an exception this one time. What worries me about this season is their playoff section. Local teams Hanover Park, Madison and Dover are all strong this year and will be waiting for Lakes in the state tournament. All three of which matchup very well against the Herd. Yes, there is a lot of football yet to be played so we don’t have to get too carried away at who’s lurking in the distance. The point is, you can expect Mountain Lakes to be very much in the conversation come the end of November, beginning of December – whether the streak is intact or not.

Mountain Lakes Herd

2014 Record: (12-0-0)
Head Coach: Darrell Fusco
Assistant Coaches: Jeff Reid, Matt Stanzione (Defensive Coordinator), Dan Capriola, Nick Lane, Brian Capriola, Jason Doniloski, Mike Johnson, Steve Feltmann and Kevin Wallace.
League: Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference
Section: North 2, Group 2

2014 Recap

High Point: The entire season was basically a high point.
Low Point: There literally wasn’t a low point during last season.

Season Breakdown & Prediction

Games to Watch: Week 1 against Madison. The Dodgers are loaded at every position and they want nothing more than to end the Herd’s streak.
Position to Watch: You have to key on wideout Jimmy Schicke. He’s a weapon that has all of the skills that could alter the Herd’s game plan.
In a Nutshell: Its been literally eons since Mountain Lakes wasn’t in the state finals or semi finals. There is no indication that this year won’t be any different.
Dream Season: Going 12-0, winning the state finals and keeping the streak alive.
Nightmare Season: Not making it to the semi finals.

Postseason History

Playoff Appearances: 32
Finals Appearances: 14
State Titles: 7
Playoff Record: 32-25 (.561)

Schedule

DATEOPPONENTTIME
9/12@Madison02:00 pm
9/18Butler07:00 pm
9/25@Kinnelon07:00 pm
10/2@Boonton07:00 pm
10/10Newton01:00 pm
10/16Kittatinny07:00 pm
10/24@Wallkill Valley02:00 pm
10/30@Pequannock07:00 pm
11/6Whippany Park07:00 pm

Roster

#NAMEGRADEHT/WTPOSITION
10MICHAEL DELMAURO125'9"/160CB
11PATRICK ALBERTS116'2"/180QB/S
12GRIFFIN BAKER126'/190QB
13KEVIN LENTHE125'11"/160K
14WIL HAGEN116'2"/175QB/LB
15HUNTER BATESKO116'2/205HB/LB
16BEN ADAMS116'1"/155 SE/CB
17JIMMY HENRIQUEZ125'10"/165HB/CB
18BUBBA BRENNAN126'1"/175SE/S
19JORDAN KERN125'9"/180HB/CB
20WILL PIROLO116'/165SE/CB
21JAKE SPAGNOLA126'2"/210HB/LB
22JEREMY ALEXANDER115'8"/140HB/CB
23MICHAEL AIELLO126'3"/245TE/NG
24ALEC RATCHFORD106'2"/170HB/CB
25MICHAEL HAMILL106' / 165HB/CB
26JOHN NATOLI115'8"/145SE/CB
27ZACH DEXTER126' / 155CB
28JAKE CONNER105'9"/130HB/CB
29DYLAN GOTTESMAN126'1/200HB/LB
31JAKE MARSHALL106'2"/145SE/S
32WILL CINNAMOND105'5"/125HB/CB
33COLLIN POND115'9" / 160HB / LB
34FRANK PATRACUOLLA105'9"/180FB/LB
35NICK PALAZZI115'7"/150HB/S
36THOMAS WALSH116'0"/185TE/LB
37JAKE ROSSETTO115'7"/150HB/S
40BEN SALVATORE125'11"/165LB
41JOEY GOODWIN125'7"/170HB/LB
42MATT RICCARDI105'11"/160HB/LB
44NAIM WEBB115'8" / 160 FB / LB
45JOEY GOODWIN115'4" / 145HB/LB
47MATTHEW BARKAUSKAS105'9" / 165FB / LB
49GRAHAM FALK125'10"/160SE/LB
50BENJI WUERSCH115'9"/155G/LB
51AJ KLOZA105'10"/195G/LB
52BOBBY VOLOSIN115'10"/195T/DE
53DANYAL ZUBERI115'8"/175G/DE
54RYAN HATTON105'9"/160G/LB
55CADE SIDDRON126'5"/215T/DE
56MIKE RICCARDI105'10"/175G/LB
57MILES HARRIS-HOHNE116'3"/190T/LB
58JACK GOODWIN115'8"/185C/DE
59JACK WYCISKALA126'/195G/DE
60MATT CABANA105'9"/160C/DE
61KEVIN O'CONNOR115'11"/175G/DE
62RYAN BRENNFLECK115'11"/195G/DE
63TOMMY WYCISKALA105'8"/210G/NG
64ALEX DIXON116'3"/250C/NG
65ALEX SOWA105'8"/170G/DE
66HENRY TULLY106'/195T/NG
67SAM LOEFFLER125'10"/200G/DE
68ANDREW DINKA125'8"/180G/LB
69WILL WESTENBERGER115'9"/185G/DE
70RORY DANIEL126'4"/275T/NG
71MICHAEL KUCHINSKI126'3"/260T/DE
72MATTHEW PATIERNO126'1"/325C/NG
73STEVE HOLT115'10"/200T/DE
74ANDREW DONOHUE106'2"/250T/NG
76PAUL BOERSTOEL106'2"/182T/DE
77DAN GOETZ106'2"/195T/DE
78JOHN HODGSON116'5"/270T/NG
79FELIX BOERSTOEL126'4"/210T/DE
81JIMMY SCHICKE126'4"/215SE/S
82ALEC KRUSE105'7"/130SE/CB
83NICK WEXLER106'2 / 165SE/S
85CIARAN STEPHENS106'/190TE/DE
87DANNY ALLISON126'4"/185SE/S
88BRANDON MCNULTY105'8"/120SE/CB

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  1. Pingback: The Ultimate Preseason Guide to Football – Morris Sussex Sports

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