If there is a word that describes the 2015 Morris Hills Scarlet Knights it’s tenacious. Coach Mike Sabo’s teams always have a reputation of having a scrappy, never-say-quit attitude. But this year’s team is taking it to the extreme.
The personality of this team can be summed up by observing senior captain Chris Caruso (6-3, 335). As a sophomore the offensive and defensive tackle tore his ACL in the Week 3 game against Pope John, ending his season abruptly. Last year, his junior season, he only played five games because of some serious shoulder injuries. Then this summer, during Hills’ first scrimmage, he gets what would be a season-ending injury for anyone else–but he is still attempting to play.
Caruso’s tenacity for coming back flows up and down this entire lineup. That’s MoHills for you. Opponents will battle them and even knock them off their feet. But just when you think they are dead, they’ll limp back up with a is-that-all-you-got kind of gumpshun.
But don’t think they’re all fight and no punch. This team has studs that will make them a viable contender in the American Division. Caruso’s sophomore brother Devin (6-3, 190) is another weapon at tight end and linebacker. Junior captains Dajon Chappell (5-11, 175) and Nick Walls (5-10, 210) will bring firepower to the run game while junior quarterback Daymon Fleming (6-1, 180) is potent with his arm and his feet.
There are some younger players that will need to step up to fill in key roles but Sabo thinks that will develop during the season. “The key to the season will be staying healthy and our inexperienced players getting acclimated to varsity football.”
As for my outlook, I believe MoHills can throw a monkey wrench into this division. If they play their cards right, they could be 3-0 when they host defending champs Par Hills at home at Week 4. That kind of momentum will give that game a playoff atmosphere at Gifford Field.
I predict this will be a playoff-bound season for the Red Knights. Making it through multiple rounds in their state section will be the trick. But this is a group of fighters. That attitude may make the difference between who walks through the tunnels of MetLife Stadium in December and who does not.
Morris Hills Knights
2014 Record: (4-6-0)
Head Coach: Mike Sabo
Assistants: Chris Canning, Jeff Danyus, Mike Gallucci, Bert Giovine, Keith Heineman, Willie Rzucidlo and John Struck.
League: Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference
Section: North 2, Group 3
High Point: Defeating sister school Morris Knolls in front of 4,000 people for the programs’ 300th victory in an electric environment under the lights on Gifford Field.
Low Point: Finishing the season with a 2-6 record after a 2-0 start.
Season Breakdown & Prediction
Games to Watch: Week 1 against Knolls is always a favorite but its going to be interesting how things shake out for the last three games before the eight game cutoff against Pope John, High Point and Sparta. That stretch will likely determine whether Hills makes into the playoffs or not.
Position to Watch: Chappell and Walls will be fun to watch in the running game.
Young Guns to Watch: The younger Caruso can be a deadly threat at tight end. He can be a difference maker in close games.
In a Nutshell: MoHills has a tough schedule but you can count on them bringing everything they got to every game. As long as they do that, they always have a shot.
Dream Season: Making it to semis.
Nightmare Season: Having a sub .500 season.
Playoff Appearances: 13
Finals Appearances: 4
State Titles: 1
Playoff Record: 6-12 (.333)
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