2015 Roxbury Gaels Football Preview

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Let’s just cut to the chase: Roxbury is the team to beat this season. I’ve covered Coach Lorusso enough to know that every four years he takes his team to MetLife stadium to bring his Gaels’ a ring – or at least that’s the way the it’s been playing out for him (the Gaels won it all in 2009 and 2012). Roxbury is on schedule to do it again.

Well, I’ve also covered high school football enough to know that’s not the way it works. But I do feel that this is the year of the Gael. This team is loaded from top to bottom with a cast of characters who bring a mixture of sheer talent, over-achieving hard work and passion. Best of all, they are a tight knit group that has only one thing in mind – lifting that NJSIAA State Championship Cup in December.

For opposing teams, slowing down the passing game is going to be the goal. Quarterback Grant Dixon (6-3, 200 pounds) is coming off a 2,300 yard, 22-touchdown junior year and is only bigger and stronger than last season. And he’ll have his two favorite receivers back, Stephen Loreng (5-10, 170) and Jack Clevenger (6-0, 185) who combined for 1,644 of those yards and 20 of those touchdowns. You can count on Roxbury to lead with their aerial attack.

Quarterback Grant Dixon comes into the 2015 season as one of the top players in Northern New Jersey.

Not only is quarterback Grant Dixon coming into the 2015 season as one of the top players in Northern New Jersey, he also has an amazing group of weapons to throw to (photo by Georgi Muha).

But don’t think they can’t ground-and-pound it. Runningback Craig Roumes (5-10, 185) and his horses up front (James Roberts at 6-3, 260; Connor Young at 6-0, 250; Jake Babus at 6-0, 240) were part of a ground game that put another 1,700 yards and 20 touchdowns on the books.

Roxbury has all the firepower it needs to be successful in the National Division. Although they are poised to put up a serious amount of production, I would argue that their best asset is actually their defense.

Up front Brandon Yaw (5-11, 220) and Nasear Robinson (6-0, 215) are two guys who are always in the backfield. Yaw is coming off a tremendous junior season where he was the second leading tackler on the team.

Malik Goldberry (5-11, 190) and Matt Galante (5-10, 200) will shore up the linebacker corps while the talented Jack Clevenger (6-1, 190), Roumes and Tucker Voelbel (6-0, 185) will mind the outfield. These three in the secondary combined for 6 interceptions and 85 tackles.

Although the Gaels take themselves very seriously, they also know how to keep things loose as evident from our photo shoot (photo by Georgi Muha).

Although the Gaels take themselves very seriously, they also know how to keep things loose as evident from our photo shoot (photo by Georgi Muha).

At the end of the day, Roxbury will need to get through a tough schedule that includes strong teams like Randolph, Motown, Mount Olive, Delbarton, Par Hills and Sparta (Par Hills and Sparta are both coming off state championship seasons and Delbarton lost in the finals). Then their journey will take them through the North 1, Group 4 playoff section.

Here’s my outlook for the Gaels. Last season this group snuck up on everyone and caused an incredible amount of havoc. The difference this year, everyone knows who they are and Roxbury is the game every single team in their division has circled on their schedule. But I don’t think its going to matter.

I looked into these players eyes this summer and they just look like they are hungry – really hungry. With that in mind and the firepower they have this season, I just can’t imagine how Cosmo doesn’t keep his every-four-year state championship pace.

Roxbury Gaels

2014 Record: (8-3-0)
Head Coach: Cosmo Lorusso
Assistant Varsity Coaches: Derek Bischoff, Frank Dekmar, Frank Misurelli, Kevin Poggi, and Justin Spargo
Freshmen Coaches: Jim Dolan, Ryan Roumes, and Greg Trotter
Equipment Manager and Multi-level Coach: Brett Douglas
Statistician: Patrick Falco
Trainer: Joe Koch
League: Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference
Section: North 1, Group 4

2014 Recap

High Point: Going 7-2 in a very tough division.
Low Point: Getting shutout in the semis.

Season Breakdown & Prediction

Games to Watch: I’d like to see how this team handles Delbarton. The Gaels certainly are well rounded enough to make this game a thriller.
Positions to Watch: Quarterback and receiver. Dixon and Loreng have the chance to do be one of the best QB-WR duo in the state.
Young Guns to Watch: Junior Jake Babus is the center and defensive tackle that will be stepping up in a big way this season.
In a Nutshell: All the stars are aligned here in Roxbury Nation. This is their year to bring Coach Cosmo another ring.
Dream Season: Winning it all.
Nightmare Season: Not winning it all.

Postseason History

Playoff Appearances: 19
Finals Appearances: 5
State Titles: 3
Playoff Record: 18-16 (.529)

Schedule

DATEOPPONENTTIME
9/11Sparta07:00 pm
9/19@Mendham01:00 pm
9/25Morris Knolls07:00 pm
10/3@Morristown01:00 pm
10/9@West Morris07:00 pm
10/16Mount Olive07:00 pm
10/23Delbarton07:00 pm
10/30@Randolph07:00 pm
11/6@Parsippany Hills07:00 pm

Roster

No.First LastGradeHeightWeightPositions
1MikeCaggiano115'9"140 lbs.WR, S
2Jack Clevenger126' 0"185 lbs.WR, S, K
4StephenLoreng125'11"175 lbs.WR, CB
5GrantDixon126'2"190 lbs.QB, S
6MarkSalotti115'11"140 lbs.WR, S
7TuckerVoelbel116'1"180 lbs.HB, S
8EstebanHoyos125' 11"185 lbs.WR, DB
9DonovanBrady105' 9"170 lbs.QB, DB
11MattLupinacci126'2"175 lbs.WR, CB
12AnthonyPerhacs105' 9"155 lbs.WR, DB
14SeanKondra105' 7"120 lbs.WR, CB
15NickAmendola106' 0"155 lbs.QB, DB
16CraigRoumes125 9"175 lbs.RB, DB
17JacaszHickenbottom115'6"155 lbs.SE, CB
19JonKempton105' 5"125 lbs.WR, S
20MichaelRoumes105' 8"155 lbs.RB, CB
21AnthonyHayek105' 7"135 lbs.WR, CB
22Mike Alecci125' 11"160 lbs.SE, CB
23NickPascua115'6"140 lbs.TE, CB
24DonteGibson105' 10"215 lbs.RB, LB
27MattGalante125'10"205 lbs.FB, LB
28TommyMiller125'8"170 lbs.RB, LB
30EricNovillo105' 5"125 lbs.HB, CB
32AndyAxelson105' 10"175 lbs.HB, LB
35WilliamSuitt126' 0"180 lbs.WR, CB
36ConnorMahoney105' 10"155 lbs.HB, LB
38MalikGoldberry126' 0"195 lbs.HB, LB
39KevinSembrat106' 0"150 lbs.RB, S
40DominickLaRusso105' 7"145 lbs.HB,S
45TommyVasta115'7"190 lbs.HB, LB
49MichaelChristiansen105' 11"160 lbs.WR, LB
50StephenFowler105'11"180 lbs.OT, DT
51BrandonYaw125'11"205 lbs.G, DE
52ZacharyTedesco125'9"215 lbs.G, DT
53DavidBiank115'9"195 lbs.G, DT
54MattGarofalo116' 0"170 lbs.G, LB
55Na'searRobinson125'11"225 lbs.OT, DE
56DanielMecca116'1"185 lbs.G, DE
57WayneSafreed115'8"190 lbs.C, LB
58ConnerHageneder105' 11"175 lbs.OT, DE
59MikeAemisegeo106' 0"180 lbs.OT, DT
62JosephHills106' 0"200 lbs.C, DE
63Jack Moore105' 10"185 lbs.G, DE
64Kyle Kaiser105' 11"180 lbs.G, DT
66JakeBabus115'11"255 lbs.C, DT
67MarcoDeSario115'10"189 lbs.DT, OT
70ConnorYoung125'11"240 lbs.OT, DT
71ZacharySutton115'10"180 lbs.G, DT
72Patrick Tucker105' 10"175 lbs.OT, DE
74StevenLewza116'2"245 lbs.OT, DT
75MattMeola116'3"205 lbs.G, DE
77Nick Roddy105' 11"215 lbs.C, DT
78MattCordileone106' 6"260 lbs.OT, DT
79JamesRoberts126'3"265 lbs.OT, DT
80TylerLucas115'5"125 lbs.WR, LB
85JamesDombrowski105' 11"155 lbs.SE, LB

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

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