This is a totally different team than last year’s Crimsons. They are not going to have a D1 caliber defensive end, a 6’6 pro-style quarterback and one of the top position-players in the county. Nope, this team’s identity is completely changed and to me they are much more of a handful than they were last season.
What is going to be really hard for opponents is the fact that they know what the Crimsons are all about but they can’t do anything about it. Let me explain. This team is going to lead with guard Markel Titus and tackle Alex Motley. The Crimson is going to put them next to each other and simply run behind them…over and over and over again. That’s it. End of preview!
Okay, okay…herein lies the problem. Titus is 6 foot 4 and 240 pounds, and can play point guard better than half the basketball players in the county. And Motley is 6 foot 5 and 265 pounds and is good enough to play college football right now. Opposing defenses can line up everyone against these two monsters (sorry mom, but in football terms that is a good thing to be called) and whoever runs behind them will still rush for 100 yards.
But don’t get me wrong, this team is no one-trick pony. Jim Zilinsky will be taking the helm at QB and he has an ax to grind. The 5-11, 200-pound senior is coming off an injury that kept him sidelined all last season. He’s a lead-by-example guy with a really smooth arm.
Zilinksky will likely be targeting the talented Nick Fazio (5-11, 185) who can run, catch and run after the catch. The athletic Fazio also plays centerfield in the secondary on defense.
Another guy that stepped up huge last season is linebacker Calvin Wetmore (6-1, 190). Wetmore found himself as a regular after an injury knocked out starter Matt Stark last season, and he made the most of his opportunity. Wetmore is one of those off-the-field workhorses and a strong kid who will be a big headache for opposing teams.
I personally like the makeup of this team, especially the idea of running Motley and Titus down people’s throats. In this division, teams like Hanover Park, Hopatcong and Butler will try to force the Crimson to play basketball up and down the field. But as long as the Beards stay true to themselves and control the clock with the run game, I can see them wearing opponents down.
Actually, the fact that we are even talking about Mo-Beard in this vain is incredible and a testament to coach Tim Fell. When Fell took over this program a few years ago they were getting beaten down by teams so bad it was flat out ugly. He had the foresight and frankly the guts to ask his administration to allow the team to be an independent team and play a JV schedule for a spell. The strategy paid off and now he’s built a reputation as a contender in the NJAC.
As for the outlook for this year, they are very much a contender indeed. They have a tough schedule but if they can win four games they will likely get a postseason bid. That is totally doable. Of course, from there the goal will be to walk through the tunnels of MetLife Stadium. I don’t know for sure if that is in their future. But this cast of characters, its possible.
2014 Record: (6-4-0)
Head Coach: Tim Fell
Assistant Coaches: Jared Cook – RB/OC, Anthony O’Hara – OL, Colin Larmond – WR, Kevin Meany – DL, Liam Fitzsimmons – LB/DC and Michael Briggs – DB.
League: Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference
Section: Non-Public, Group 1
High Point: Going 6-3 in a very tough division.
Low Point: Losing big to Mater Dei in the first round of the playoffs.
Season Breakdown & Prediction
Games to Watch: Week 1 against North Warren. Last year the Pats shocked a very solid Crimson team with a 17-14 loss in the first game of last year. Win or lose, this game will set the tone for the rest of the season.
Position to Watch: Definitely the line. Mo-Beard will be a power team and Motley and Titus will be a lot of fun to watch.
Young Guns to Watch: Sophomore Tahj Valentine. The brother of former Crimson stud Malik Valentine, this kid has all the moves. At 5-10, 160 pounds, Valentine is varsity-ready to contribute as a runningback, receiver, d-back, special teams or wherever Coach Fell wants to put him.
In a Nutshell: This team’s makeup is a lot different than last year’s. If they focus on being authentic to who they are, they could be a formidable opponent in this division. However, if they try too hard to be what they were last season, they could find themselves in trouble.
Dream Season: Getting to the semis.
Nightmare Season: Missing the playoffs.
Playoff Appearances: 6
Finals Appearances: 1
State Titles: 0
Playoff Record: 1-6 (.142)
|9/26||@Hanover Park||02:30 pm|
|10/10||@Montclair Kimberley||01:30 pm|
|10/17||@Morris Catholic||01:00 pm|
|11/7||@Glen Ridge||01:00 pm|