Madison started its 2013 season with a 39-game winning streak—halted by a now-famous win by Hanover Park— but ended that same season needing to fight for a playoff bid in a must-win game versus Newton. They shut out the Braves, and went on to lose in the first round of playoffs.
In 2014, they went 9-2, falling only to Mountain Lakes and then Lincoln, in the semis of the state tournament.
Now, 2015, and “the bullseye is on Mountain Lakes,” Kubik says. “We are looking forward to seeing where we are.”
You might know, the town of Madison includes Drew University, Fairleigh Dickinson, the Jets training facility and…Dodgers football. I spent a few minutes watching the guys practice and wondered if I’d wandered onto the wrong campus.
First, the team is enormous—both in individual size and number, with over on the roster. Second, the coach is coolly dialed-in, and calmly ready-to-go. This is a serious program with top-notch athletes, and it’s busting at the seams with new recruits who want a chance to be household names.
“We have depth,” Coach Kubik says in his no-nonsense way. He casually mentions the names of a few returning starters, politely pausing to give me a chance to write their names, as though I hadn’t heard them or written them countless times before.
Yea, I’ve heard of them. All 5-8 175, 5-8 190 and 5-10 205 respectively.
Madison returns five RB’s and four out of six linemen, including Jake Ducey (6-4, 235), Santiago Arango (5-10, 235), Dante Dilonno (6, 190) and Petar Haboj (6, 210) who returns at TE.
Four kids are competing for QB position and according to Kubik they’ll use “whoever we need.” They’re all skilled, he explains. Of course they are, Coach. Madison takes kids and forges them like steel, sculpting them into weapons.
On defense, seven starters return including the aggressive Justin Dalena (5-10, 175) at LB, and shutdown defensive backs PJ Mulcahy (5-8, 175) and Mike Dalena (5-10, 160). Kubik says there are a lot of new players we “expect good things from.”
When it’s clear Coach is done, I ask for his can’t-miss game of the year. “Season-opener against Mountain Lakes?” I prompt him, feeling confident. Who doesn’t want to beat Mountain Lakes? Instead, Kubik dispassionately responds, “the state championship final. That’s the game to watch.”
I believe I’ll see you there, Coach.
2014 Record: (9-2-0)
Head Coach: Chris Kubik
Assistant Coaches: Kevin Chiodo, Marty Horn, Steve Hughes, Vito Luppino, Curtis Sallie, Dave Snell, Kevin Carroll, Mike Goodwin, Matt Ciampi and Bill Diefes.
League: Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference
Section: North 2, Group 2
High Point: Going 9-2 and wholloping most of their opponents in the process.
Low Point: Losing by a convincing 36-6 score in the semis to Lincoln.
Season Breakdown & Prediction
Games to Watch: Coach is focused on Mountain Lakes in Week 1. But Week 8 against bitter rival Hanover Park is the game we’re interested in seeing.
Position to Watch: The defense is loaded with Haboj and the Delena Bros. But keep your eye on linebacker PJ “Father” Mulcahy. He’s a total gentleman off the field but when he puts on his helmet he’s got the whole Irish ire thing going on.
In a Nutshell: This team has all the ingredients to make a state championship run. Getting to the dance won’t be a problem. However, navigating the North 2, Group 2 section is the tricky part.
Dream Season: Winning states.
Nightmare Season: Not making it to semis.
Playoff Appearances: 20
Finals Appearances: 12
State Titles: 8
Playoff Record: 27-12 (.692)
|11/6||@ Hanover Park|
|1||Brian Bradley||10||5' 9"||145||RB-LB|
|2||Joe Mobley||12||5' 8"||175||RB-LB|
|3||Dom Luppino *||12||5' 10"||205||RB-LB|
|4||Ryan Schmitz||10||5' 9"||165||QB-DB|
|5||Zach Shupe||12||5' 8"||190||RB-LB|
|6||Shaan Chaudhary||12||5' 7"||150||RB-DB|
|7||Mike Dalena||12||5' 10"||160||SE-DB|
|8||Brian Kraska||11||5' 11"||185||TE/RB-LB|
|9||Jonathan Butler||12||6' 0"||170||SE-DB|
|10||Santi Quintero||10||6' 1"||150||TE-LB|
|11||Griffin Lutz||10||6' 0"||150||SE-DB|
|12||Mike Martirano||12||5' 11"||155||SE-DB|
|13||Nick Coviello||12||5' 10"||152||QB-DB|
|14||Michael Kearney||11||5' 11"||190||QB-LB|
|15||Nick Taylor||10||5' 11"||130||QB-DB|
|16||Jack Tickner||10||5' 11"||155||TE-LB|
|17||Issac Zapata||11||5' 8"||155||K|
|18||Ryan Manna||10||5' 8"||130||SE-DB|
|19||Tommy D'Ambola||11||5' 8"||165||SE-DB|
|20||Matt Boyd||11||5' 11"||185||RB-LB|
|21||Mike Holland||10||5' 3"||110||SE-DB|
|23||Jimmy Harvey||11||6' 1"||165||RB-LB|
|24||P.J. Mulcahy||11||5' 8"||175||RB-DB|
|25||Bryan Builes||12||5' 7"||155||RB-DB|
|26||Pat Higgins||10||5' 6"||125||RB-DB|
|28||Matt O'Donnell||11||5' 10"||150||SE-DB|
|29||Kyle Monaco||11||5' 6"||145||RB-DB|
|30||Henry Pace||10||5' 9"||145||SE-DB|
|31||Justin Dalena||12||5' 10"||175||TE-LB|
|40||Max North||10||5' 10"||125||TE-DB|
|46||Stephen Esposito||11||6' 0"||190||TE-DB|
|50||Shane Horn||12||6' 2"||205||OL-DL|
|51||Trevor Jasen||10||5' 9"||165||OL-DL|
|52||Dante DiIonno||11||6' 0"||230||OL-DL|
|54||Santiago Arango||12||5' 10"||235||OL-DL|
|55||Max Downing||11||6' 0"||185||OL-LB|
|56||Brian Harris||10||5' 10"||145||OL-LB|
|58||Santiago Arcila||10||5' 11"||200||OL-DL|
|59||Yiakos Kostidakis||11||5' 11"||270||OL-DL|
|60||Damian Garrubbo||10||6' 1"||170||OL-DL|
|62||Nate Klimaszewski||10||5' 10"||150||OL-DL|
|63||Paul Links||10||5' 8"||170||OL-DL|
|64||Chris Rabel||12||6' 1"||195||OL-DL|
|66||Ian Ihnken||11||6' 1"||235||OL-DL|
|68||Anthony Vacchiano||10||5' 10"||135||OL-DB|
|72||Joey DeBiasse||10||5' 9"||240||OL-DL|
|74||Christian Watson||12||6' 4"||205||OL-DL|
|75||Griffin Meister||11||5' 10"||270||OL-DL|
|76||Jake Ducey||12||6' 4"||235||OL-DL|
|82||Petar Haboj *||12||6' 0"||210||TE-DL|
|83||Josh Kurkewicz||12||5' 9"||170||TE-LB|
|86||Peter Catalanello||12||5' 11"||200||TE-DL|
|88||Tyler Peterson||10||5' 10"||145||SE-DB|
|89||Tom Kiernan||11||5' 9"||145||SE-DB|