When I was a junior player at Hanover Park, our first game was against Parsippany. We were on a total high because we just came off an 11-0 state championship season and we were returning a lot of key guys from year before. In fact, four or five guys from that team that would eventually go on to play Division 1 football. So we were thinking the score would be so lopsided by halftime that the JV would finish off the 3rd and 4th quarter. But Parsippany had something else in mind.
Truth be told, it seemed the Redhawks (actually they were the Redskins back then) wanted it more than us that game. The game finished in a 6-6 draw and to us it was a dismal failure. To them, it was a wasn’t a win but they knew they took a pound of flesh out of us. Parsippany head coach Jason Hurta was a senior player on that Parsippany team. “I remember that game. We weren’t a team of a lot of talent but we had a ton of heart.”
Hurta went on about growing up around the Parsippany football program. “Back then our program was good. We had great coaches and we all believed in what we are doing. That is the exact thing that I am trying to bring back here.”
Hurta, who has been part of this staff off and on since 1994 is making it his personal mission to turn things around and after one year he’s already made a big impact. In the 10 years prior to Hurta the Redhawks hadn’t won more than two games. In Hurta’s first year, he won three.
If someone can make a difference in this program it is Hurta. In the last 10 years, the Redhawks have gone through the coaching merry-go-around. The one constant has been Hurta himself who’s been an assistant on most of those teams. “This program has lacked consistency for years. That is one of the things I am trying to bring here. I’ll be here as long as they’ll keep me here.”
If you are a Redhawk’s fan you should feel good about this your team. Hurta and his young staff have a ton of energy that flows through the entire team. “You won’t see players standing around practice. We keep things going. We play our games with a high tempo kind of pace and that is the way we do everything. It makes it a lot of fun and makes players want to work hard.” Hurta said.
This season, Hurta has a nice looking core group of players. Headlining the pack is their 6-3 junior lineman John Burk. Burk has great size and really good footwork. Joining him up front is senior Rich Martin who brings a lot of strength and power. Together these two will help solidify the foundation of the offense.
Skill-wise, Parsippany has quite a few legitimate talented players. They bring back the highly talented track star Kwaku Agyemang. “Agyemang is just a very special player. I had a lot of opposing coaches comment to me about him last year.” Hurta said. Helping the offensive output will be seniors Joe Stanton, Nick Bucciarelli and juniors Robert Hockey and Mike Ilic. “We feel good about our weapons. A lot of those guys have good speed and can play [at a high level].”
As for the outlook for this squad, I can tell you that the Redhawks are not hard team to root for. They’ve been working hard all summer, their coming off a season of some nice wins and they have cool new uniforms (with matted red helmets and black facemasks) – and oh yeah, they got a brand new turf field as well. Is this a state championship team? I don’t know. But I will tell you that a four win season could get them a postseason bid in this division – that isn’t out of the realm of possibilities.
2014 Record: (3-7-0)
Head Coach: Jason Hurta
Assistants: Matt Lazzari, Chuck Anderson, Mina Kelaid, Grant Mayes, Anthony Pizzuta, Trevor Snyder, Steve Miller and Todd Pivnick
League: Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference
Section: North 2, Group 3
High Point: Winning more than two games for the first time in nine years.
Low Point: After such a long losing run, a season with three wins didn’t offer that much to be low about.
Season Breakdown & Prediction
Games to Watch: Week 1 against Wallkill. A first game win could be all the difference.
Position to Watch: Runningback. Kwaku Agyemang is the real deal and he’s going to be the main attraction.
Young Guns to Watch: Junior lineman John Burk has size and skill to be a real difference maker this year and beyond.
In a Nutshell: Coach Hurta is in his second year of a program that’s been hurting for a long time – no pun intended. He’s doing a terrific job of nursing them back to relevancy so far. Of course every teams wants to make a run a playing at MetLife Stadium every year. But little things like increasing the size of the roster and getting more involved in the youth football program would be huge victories for Hurta as well.
Dream Season: Winning four games would be a wild success for this rebuilding program.
Nightmare Season: Winning less than two games would sting.
Playoff Appearances: 3
Finals Appearances: 1
State Titles: 0
Playoff Record: 2-3 (.400)
|9/12||@Wallkill Valley||01:00 pm|
|10/2||Hanover Park||07:00 pm|
|10/30||Morris Catholic||07:00 pm|
|11/6||@Lenape Valley||07:00 pm|