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Finishing 1-9 means last season had its share of low points for the Mustangs. But there were positives as well. They actually gave Pope John a scare in the first half of their game. And they stung Vernon in a very tight 28-27 win that showed a ton of resiliency. But the best thing they did was gain much-needed varsity experience.

Senior quarterback Graham Jespersen is dedicated to helping his Mustangs have a winning season in '15 (photo by Georgi Muha).

Senior quarterback Graham Jespersen is dedicated to helping his Mustangs have a winning season in ’15 (photo by Georgi Muha).

“We’ve been a young team. But this year we bring in twenty one seniors. And they all have a lot of experience playing varsity football,” Coach Don Morganroth says of this year’s squad. “After last season, this group put in a great winter in the locker room and they came into this summer very strong.”

The Mustangs have worked hard all off season in preparation of a clean slate (photo by Georgi Muha).

The Mustangs have worked hard all off season in preparation of making noise in the division this year (photo by Georgi Muha).

Quarterback Graham Jespersen echoes his coach’s sentiment. “Last year we gave Pope John a run in the first half. We can compete with any team. We are capable of winning many games this year. We just have to come to play each and every week.”

That’s the kind of attitude that runs up and down this lineup, and also with their senior center and defensive lineman Hubert Bakowski. Joining him on both sides of the line is fellow senior Nick Khalaf. Both Bakowski and Khalaf bring a mixture of technique and power to open up lanes for the Mustang running game, as well as the ability to protect Jespersen in passing situations.

The Mustangs line up while practicing kickoff formations in an August practice (photo by Georgi Muha).

The Mustangs line up while practicing kickoff formations in an August practice (photo by Georgi Muha).

Jespersen is an impressive offensive weapon that can make every throw on the field and has the legs to run for a first down. He’s also a competitive teammate that will make plays happen even if the defense isn’t giving the his team much room to work.

Navigating a schedule with two defending state champs and a private powerhouse can be tough. But Sparta, Par Hills and Pope John are not the only teams on their schedule. Morristown, Vernon and High Point are also coming into this year with preseason hype.

Assistant Coach Ian Schwindel runs through a passing route for the benefit of the Mustang receivers (photo by Georgi Muha).

Assistant Coach Ian Schwindel runs through a passing route for the benefit of the Mustang receivers (photo by Georgi Muha).

But Montville has the personnel, coaching and ability to shake up this division. Finishing undefeated might be difficult to do. But the Mustangs will get awarded a lot of power points for any win so a four-win season should get them a postseason pass. I know they have their sights set a lot higher than four wins, but that will be their minimum.

Montville’s regular season will certainly help them get prepared for their North 1, Group 4 section. Once they get there, they’ll only need two wins in order to walk through the tunnel at MetLife Stadium in December.

Montville Mustangs

2014 Record: (1-9-0)
Head Coach: Don Morgenroth
Assistant Coaches: John Immediato, Rick DeBonta, Keith Runne, Andy Scalone, John Gauweiler, Ian Schwindel, Ken McIver and Matt Chierici.
League: Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference
Section: North 1, Group 4

2014 Recap

High Point: Beating Vernon 28-27…a Vernon team that also beat Pope John I might add.
Low Point: Having Vernon as the only team they defeated all season long.

Season Breakdown & Prediction

Games to Watch: I’d like to see how Montville does in their first two games against Motown and then MoHills. A little momentum there could really springboard this Mustang team.
Position to Watch: Keep an eye on the line. Bakowski, Khalaf and company are laying down a foundation for the team to build upon.
In a Nutshell: If Montville just focuses on just winning one quarter at a time that could translate into more wins than losses.
Dream Season: Making it to the postseason.
Nightmare Season: Winning two or less games.

Postseason History

Playoff Appearances: 8
Finals Appearances: 1
State Titles: 0
Playoff Record: 2-8 (.200)

Schedule

DateOpponent
9/11Morristown
9/18@ Morris Hills
9/26@ Sparta
10/2Chatham
10/10@ Pope John
10/17Parsippany Hills
10/23@ Vernon
10/30High Point
11/6Mendham

Roster

#PlayerGradePos.HTWT
2Graham Jespersen12QB/DB6' 2"185
3Casey Hojecki12RB/DB5' 11"170
5Dominick Caccavella11RB/LB5' 9"165
7Michael Trezza11QB/DB5' 9"165
8Matt Hager11QB/LB5' 10"170
9Kevin Temple12WR/DL6' 5"195
10Anthony Manna10WR/DB5' 10"140
11Matthew Burke11WR/LB6' 1"190
12Vince Striglia10RB/DB5' 8"135
13Dean Manetta12RB/DB5' 8" 165
14Eric Leong10RB/DB5' 6"130
15Mike Riola10QB/DB5' 10"140
17Alec Lewis12RB/LB5' 9"170
18Rob Manetta12OL/LB5' 8"165
19Kevin Kahwaty10RB/DB5' 6"130
20Tyler Weiss11RB/DB5' 11"165
21Roy Russo12RB/OLB5' 10"160
23Brian Van Koppen10RB/DB5' 6"130
24Rob Speer12RB/LB5' 10"160
25Kyle Cooney10RB/D B5' 5"130
27Jake Jennis12WR/LB5' 10"185
28TJ Palmisano10WR/LB5' 5"150
29Tanner Grevesen12WR/DB5' 10"150
30Hanhee Son11RB/DB5' 6"140
32Steve Chirico12RB/DL5' 7"175
37Dimitri Bramwell12RB/DB5' 6"130
40Vincent Acquaviva10OL/LB5' 9"160
45Jason Archer11RB/OLB5' 8"160
46Dillon Fazliu12WR/OLB5' 11"175
47Wes Zabransky10WR/OLB5' 9"170
50Ronnie Gaudiosi12OL/LB5' 6"190
51Nick Gauweiler10OL/LB5' 7"165
52Ethan Mersing10DL/Ol5' 10"170
53Eric Walker11OL/LB6' 0"170
54Kyle Riccelli10OL/LB5' 8"160
55Mike Palma12OL/LB6' 1"195
58Nick DeFrank10OL/DL5' 7"150
60Matt Fall10OL/DL5' 8"160
62Nick Khalaf12OL/DL5' 9"205
61Albert Hsiesh11OL/DL5' 9"165
66Corey Mazucco12OL/DL5' 10"180
67Lian Hobal10OL/DL5' 11"225
69Steve Shabazain12OL/DL5' 11"185
71Jonas Bassil12OL/DL6' 1"250
72Nick Recchia11OL/DL6' 2"205
75Hubert Bakowski12OL/DL6' 3"265
77Nick Cocomello10OL/DL6' 0"200
78Parker Fox11OL/DL6' 1"280
79Matt Cuozzo12OL/DL6' 0"305
81Sal Assante10RB/DB5' 6"140
83Daniel Burkert10WR/DB6' 0"150
91Jake Brindisi10OL/DL5' 7"150

George Muha has been covering high school sports since 2006. He feels high school scholar-athletes are the most important part of the community and highlighting their achievements on the field, in the classroom and within the community is his personal mission.

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

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