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[is_not_paid] [easy-pricing-table id=”2352″] [/is_not_paid] Every week Morris Sussex Sports predicts football games across all 37 morris and sussex county teams, and the warren county teams we cover. Participating in these selections is Morris Sussex Sports’ Laura Byrne and George Muha, along with George’s long time friend Brian Kaes. In an attempt to make the predictions as objective as possible, Morris Sussex Sports will give the writer with the best prediction percentage at the end of the season a cash prize–which should make things interesting and impartial. Here are this week’s picks:

Friday Night Lights

Morris Hills (0-0) at Morris Knolls (0-0) 7pm

LA Byrne: Wrestlers bring good hands and great balance to their football game, and the Knolls squad has several, including the Drugac twins, both of whom when to Atlantic City last year. That athleticism is going to make the difference in this game. PICK: MK 28-14
Brian Kaes: This was a huge game last year and Hills was beyond pumped when they won it before a huge home crowd. Now Knolls will be rocking and Hills will have their hands full with that veer offense. Hills’ Captains Dajon Chappell and Nicky Walls will have to run for a combined 200 yards and 2 scores to get Hill past Knolls. I think they will do it.
PICK:Hills 20-17
George Muha: Jumpin’ Joe Fullum and the rest of his horses up front will protect rookie QB Nick Vittorio for Knolls while Hills’ run game headlined by Chappell and Walls will keep things very close. In the end, its the Grassy Knolls that will see greener pastures. PICK: Knolls 21-14

Mendham (0-0) @ Vernon (0-0) 7pm

LA Byrne: I asked my son, “Who was that Vernon player that gave you guys so much trouble last year?” He groaned. “VanLenten.” Tim VanLenten is fast, tough and has a huge winning attitude. This game’ll be a dogfight between two teams with pride on the line, and Mendham may prove to have that dig-deep drive to win, but after Vernon’s upset against Pope John we already know Vernon has it. PICK: Vernon 24-21
Brian Kaes: I was hanging out with some Mendham High graduates this weekend in Mendham. I will say this, they still have a lot of pride in their school, and this is almost 20 years later (for them, I have surpassed that time since leaving high school). There is no question there are a lot of big hearts on Mendham’s squad this year, but this season is not going to be easy. Vernon had a good year last year but could have done better. And they haven’t forgotten that. Look for QB Brandon Lavorini to throw for 2 scores and run for another to outplay his counterpart on Mendham Danny McHugh, who will also throw for two scores and play great, in one of the best games to start the season. IN the end look for Cole Nagel to make a big play on D for Vernon that makes the home crowd go nuts. Whoever loses this one isn’t done, but the winner will be carrying a ton of momentum forward after winning this battle. PICK: Vernon 24-21
George Muha: Mendham’s lineman Jeff Sica will be battling it out in the trenches against Vernon’s Troy Perry in a brawl of the strong men. But Vernon should score often with the arm of their stud junior quarterback Brandon Lavorini. PICK: Vikings 32-14

Mount Olive (0-0) @ Hight Point (0-0) 7pm

LA Byrne: Mount Olive’s 2014 season might have only recorded two wins but if you look at those games they scored a ton of points and ran option really well. This year they’re bringing back productive guys like QB Jason Drury and WR Zach Stanilious. PICK: MO 38-21
Brian Kaes: Look for Cliff Rutter to sack Mt. Olive’s Jason Drury a few times in this one but in the end Mt. Olive wins a close one because the Drury-to-Stanilious connection will hook up for at least one score if not two. PICK: Mt. Olive 14-12
George Muha: This one should be a wild shootout with the crazy-legged Mount Olive quarterback Jason Drury juking and jiving all game against a high flying High Point team that features some fiesty weapons themselves in runningback George “The Animal” Klag and quarterback Mike Yarosz. In the end, it will be the Wildcats that end up on top. PICK: High Point 28-24

Chatham (0-0) @ Randolph (0-0) 7pm

LA Byrne: In the Chatham/Mendham scrimmage Zack was shutting things down, Nestler was pounding out the yardage, Brady caught everything, and Sands was loose, accurate, and all over the field. But Jeramie Simmons went the wrong way on Columbia Turnpike and ended up in Randolph rather than Florham Park. Rumor has it, Coach Holman slapped a blue jersey on him and the 6-5, 235-pound Simmons has been playing for Randolph ever since. PICK: Rams 28-21
Brian Kaes: New Coach for the Rams won’t slow down this team. Their offense will not skip a beat. Look for Nick Hafner and Carlo Zarro to each run for at least one score (each) in a rough game for the Cougars. I also don’t see how they are going to stop Jeramine Simmons on defense. That dude is huge. Good thing going for Chatham is their experience, but their schedule doesn’t get any easier next week. I like Alex Sands at QB for the Cougars, and he will throw at least one score. PICK:Rams 28-13
George Muha: Chatham will have a tough time slowing down Randolph’s 6-5, 235-pound tight end Jeramie Simmons. If they can keep the ball out of his hands Cougar quarterback Alex Sands and runningbacks Justin Hays and Matt Nestler should be able to put up enough points to pull off Week 1 upset in front of the Ram faitful. PICK: Chatham 24-21

Hanover Park (0-0) @ Newton (0-0) 7pm

LA Byrne: I’m not talking about HP’s Radomski and Magnifico this week because I’ll talk about them before and after every other game this season. This week, I’m just going to say that Hanover Park is busting out the starting blocks with all the peripherals in place: strong leadership, desire to win, drive to work hard, a need to prove themselves. I predict they’re going to leave everything on that field on the first drive, and then every drive thereafter they’ll try even harder. PICK: HP 35-7
Brian Kaes: And so HP starts their long season on the road in Newton. I don’t know if the kids from HP, my alma mater, have ever been up the country. But they are not going to feel comfortable up there, and it won’t just be the bears sniffing around their bus. Newton has some experienced players on their squad, including senior TE/LB Cole Van Luvender, and their offensive core of Cramer and Young can put together some points. However, I think the Hornets get off to a good start and win this one on the road. They better get used to playing on the road, because God only knows when that turf field will be done. I hope soon, for the kids’ sake and my tax dollars are at work there. Anyway, look for Anthony Olivieri to score a couple of TDs in this one and Radomski to get in the endzone somehow, be it a pick 6 or a TD catch. PICK: Hornets 31-13
George Muha: Despite this being Week 1, Hanover Park is well-oiled and they will be coming out of the gate on a scoring rampage. Expect a lot of points from Tom “The Dark Knight” Radomski and Eric Magnifico through the air. The Newton Braves dish a lot of Patrick O’Doherty onto the Hornets but they’ll be playing catch-up most of the game. PICK: HP 42-10

Dover (0-0) @ Pequannock (0-0) 7pm

LA Byrne: Pequannock’s d-tackle Jake Foukas is going to dominate on defense this year, along with linebackers Matt Forrest and Jake Kershaw—all varsity-tested in a successful 9-2 2014 season. But Dover’s got the unstoppable Dwayne Brown. PICK: Dover 28-21
Brian Kaes: Pequannock lost a lot of players, but a lot of good ones are coming back as well. Tommy Crooks is now the QB for the Golden Panthers and he has been waiting to seize this opportunity. He will.
PICK: Golden Panthers 21-14
George Muha: Look for Pequannock’s quarterback Tommy Crooks to be potent through the air while runningback Justin Brunda moves the chains on the ground. They’ll have success but Dover’s Duane Brown behind the blocking of Rene Garin will be too much offense to handle. PICK: Dover 35-21

Kinnelon (0-0) @ Jefferson (0-0) 7pm

LA Byrne: Kinnelon’s Chris Hausler is going to make the difference in this close match-up. PICK: Kinnelon 21-14
Brian Kaes: Unfortunately Kinnelon is to rain on J-Town’s home opening parade. While junior QB Logan Holleritter throws for 2 scores in a barn burner it will be Kinnelon’s “Pick Up Where We Left Off” offense that scorches J-Town’s D for at least 5 scores. Look for Ireland’s native son Seamus O’Nelson to get into the endzone twice in this one. Jon Toye “With Other Team’s Secondaries” (need to work on that one) will throw two or three scores. Should be a fun one to watch! PICK: Kinnelon 34-21
George Muha: Kinnelon is going to be the real deal this season with super studs Chris Hausler and Seamus Nelson in the lineup. But stopping Jefferson fullback Avery Sheruda – who is built like a college senior – is something that I don’t think can be done. PICK: Jefferson 28-24

Boonton (0-0) @ Butler (0-0) 7pm

LA Byrne: Dom Gentile was a solid sophomore quarterback. He’s back and he’s bigger and better. Dan Castiglia was a productive junior tailback. He’s back and he’s bigger and better. Butler’s going to light up the scoreboard on Friday. PICK: Butler 35-14
Brian Kaes: George is high on this Butler squad and he may have convinced me to go with them this week. Running behind that line I see Butler’s Danny Castiglia rushing for over 170 yards and 2 scores. Butler will get off to a good start but they need to keep their foot on the pedal all year. PICK: Butler 27-20
George Muha: You got to love this divisional matchup! Gage Cabalar and the rest of the Boonton Bombers will be heavily focused on Butler’s Castiglia and Gentile. But I think its going to be the super skilled Sean Mefford that will deliver the biggest bite for the Bulldogs. PICK: Butler 34-20

Sparta (0-0) @ Roxbury (0-0) 7pm

LA Byrne: I hope Roxbury has new ‘bulbs in their scoreboard because it’s going to light up all night. Roxbury is more experienced, bigger and faster than last year. And last year I lost count how many times they flew by the Mendham bleachers with the ball. PICK: Roxbury 35-28
Brian Kaes: This is going to be a heck of a game. Last year Roxbury handed Sparta their only loss of the season while Sparta bounced back and won a State Championship. They haven’t forgotten. But after graduating a lot of talent I am not sure Sparta has enough depth to make another run this year. Of course, the Spartans would disagree! Roxbury is locked and loaded, senior QB Grant Dixon is going to try to lead this team to the promised land. Sparta’s Al Falco will rush for about 100 yards and 2 scores in this one. And he will have earned every yard against that tough ‘Bury D. My advice would be get extra ice for everybody after this one, it’s going to be a battle! PICK:Sparta 24-21
George Muha: Pound for pound, Roxbury was the most impressive team I saw all preseason. I know Sparta’s full of players with two championship rings. But this is the Gael’s year. PICK: Rox 42-32

Morristown (0-0) @ Montville (0-0) 7pm

LA Byrne: Watch out: Morristown’s Justin Contreras healed his knee, and has a season to make up for. He’ll have a monster game, and be the difference-maker on Friday. PICK: Morristown 21-13
Brian Kaes: I have to say I like how the Montville Mustangs are called the Mustangs down to their recreation football teams. In fact, the team I coach is battling the Junior Mustangs this weekend as well. But I digress. I have a feeling Morristown is going to ruin the ‘Stangs home opening and Justin Contreras is going to rush for over 150 yards and two scores in the Morristown win. It is imperative Justin get off to a good start coming off a rough injury. It will not only give him confidence but it will set the tone for how this team is going to battle this year. Montville will have a better year than last year but this one is going to be tough. PICK: Morristown 27-17
George Muha: Montville quarterback Graham Jespersen gives the Mustangs the ability to bring the firepower. That will be important because this one will be a shootout. Motown will be just a little too much with Justin Burke flying all over the field on both sides of the ball. PICK: Motown 30-28

Whippany Park (0-0) @ Hackettstown (0-0) 7pm

LA Byrne: Whippany Park’s Andrew Lake trained with super-defender Mike Poulter last year—and this is Lake’s big debut at MLB. All over the field, size is going to be a WP advantage in this matchup. PICK: WP 21-14
Brian Kaes: This one can go either way. Look for Andrew Lake to be all over the field making tackles for the Whip. However, H-Town’s linebacking corps of Finn, Castellano and Renne will shut down the Whip’s offense and keep this one low scoring. In the end Synder and Rodriguez will get into the endzone one time each to win it before the home crowd. PICK: H-Town 13-10
George Muha: I really like how these two teams match up. The Renne Bros bring a toughness to the H-Town Tigers while Andrew Lake is a beast at linebacker for the Wildcats. It will definitely be a cat fight with the home team coming up on top. Tigers 34-30

Par Hills (0-0) @ West Morris (0-0) 730pm

LA Byrne: Every Par Hills player I’ve run into this pre-season is smiling and won’t say why. It’s like they all KNOW what’s going to happen when they’re finally allowed on the field for that opening drive, but they’re too well trained to be over-confident. PICK: PH 21-7
Brian Kaes: I am still mad at myself for not picking Par Hills to win it all last year. Man oh man, I learned that going with your heart is the way to go. Clearly PH had plenty of heart to go around when they made their run last year, along with a lot of talent. They lost their number one back Gallego but they have been preparing all summer without him and will be fine. Jared Salgado will get at least a baker’s dozen tackles and will be all over the field for the Hills as well. In the end, the Hills will get it done on offense just enough to squeak this one out against a tough West Morris squad. PICK: Hills 24-20
George Muha: There are two reasons Par Hills will win this one: Ryan Hill’s left and right arms. I call he has five tackles behind the line of scrimmage in a convincing win. PICK: Vikings 28-10

Saturday Afternoon Sepcials

Parsippany (0-0) @ Wallkill Valley (0-0) 1pm

LA Byrne: Parsippany wheels Kwaku Agyemang is ready to show his team and his coach this is going to be a very different year for the ‘hawks. PICK: Parsippany 21-14
Brian Kaes: Parsippany is doing a little better each season, and the Valley had a rough season last year with no wins. This one could go either way, but on paper I have Parsippany winning this game. The Valley will have a tough time stopping Parsippany’s Kwaku Agyemang, who will run for over 100 yards and 2 scores in a close one. But the Valley is going to improve, so stay tuned. PICK: Parsippany 20-14
George Muha: Par Hills has a ton of fire power this year which will be fun to watch. But newly acquired quarterback Marko Bakovic and veteran runningback Justin Bond will team up to combine for 21 points between the two of them. PICK: WV 21-14

Lenape Valley (0-0) @ Kittatinny (0-0) 1pm

LA Byrne: Greg Cooper has been preparing for this opening senior-season football game like it’s his personal combine—and that’s going to a 6-4, 225-pound problem for Kittatinny. Bring your clipboard to this game. PICK: LV 28-10
Brian Kaes: Kittatinny’s Tommy Hunt is a ball hawk on defense, but he also likes to hit. He is going to keep Kittatinny in this game throughout and will make enough tackles to establish and maintain his leading tackler status for the team the entire year. On the other side, L Valley’s Greg “Short Sleeves” Cooper and the rest of the Valley’s D will make moving the ball pretty darn difficult for Kit’s offense. I see the Valley escaping with a victory in a low-scoring affair. PICK: LV 10-6
George Muha: Kittatinny should scare everyone. They are big and fast and can compete with anyone. Chris Russell and company will take Lenape too the edge to send a message to the rest of their schedule that they should be prepared. The Patriots Greg Cooper and Brandon Reis will pull it out but they will have to work hard for it. PICK: Lenape Valley 34-33

North Warren (0-0) @ Morristown-Beard (0-0) 1pm

LA Byrne: North Warren’s experience at the quarterback position with the returning Sean Thornton as well as the seasoned run game with Ricky Baird are going to make the difference in this very close match-up. PICK: NW 20-14
Brian Kaes: Beard will control the ball most of the game but North Warren will find a way to get the ball in the endzone twice in this one. But Mo-Beard is on the upswing this year and won’t let Week 1 dictate their season. PICK: NW 14-10
George Muha: It’s always fun to play a Saturday game on the beautiful turf at MoBeard in early September. But unfortunately for them, it will be a different kind of Baird that will be going home victorious. PICK: NWR 21-14

Hopatcong (0-0) @ Morris Catholic (0-0) 1PM

LA Byrne: Hopatcong’s bruising Jake Dorman at FB/LB is bad enough to deal with. But to also have to go up against Vince Giordano, a quarterback who can throw, run, lead the team on interceptions, kick, and punt, and playing the Chiefs just seems downright unfair. PICK: Hopatcong 28-10
Brian Kaes: Jack of all trades Vinny Giordano will throw for three scores and probably pick off a pass or two while leading Hopatcong to a win over Morris Catholic. MC’s Ben Levitt and Madison Evans won’t make it easy for him, but Vinny won’t be stopped this week. PICK: Hopatcong 27-13
George Muha: Morris Catholic has it all going on; the new coach, the new field, some new players. But this is the year of DaCong. FB/LB Jake Dorman will score two and have 10 tackles in a convincing win. PICK: DaCong 35-18

St. Anthony’s NY (0-0) @ Delbarton (0-0) 2pm

LA Byrne: St. Anthony’s has all-systems-go to make it through the New York post season but they’re still not going to shut down a stacked Delbarton team lead by the yard-hogging Papantonis. PICK: Delbarton 35-14
Brian Kaes: This is always tricky because I know nothing about these out-of-state schools. I do know that Delby is good and they have a lot of weapons on both sides of the ball. All that being said, I will just go with my brother’s alma mater, Delbarton. Look for Matty Ice Zebrowski to connect with Andrew Papantonis for two scores in this one. Papantonis, by the way, is going to the same college as my brother who went to Delbarton, UVA. That has nothing to do with anything, but I’m scraping the barrel here. PICK: Delby 24-20
George Muha: Some early season injuries are hampering Delby from being as well oiled as they can. However, Andrew “The Colonel” Sanders will pick up the slack as the Green Wave pushes edges a victory in a close one. PICK: Delby 24-21

Mountain Lakes (0-0) @ Madison (0-0) 2pm

LA Byrne: Mountain Lakes lost to Madison in 2012 and decided they’d never do that again. In fact, they were so mad they decided they’d never lose to anyone, anytime, anywhere ever again. PICK: ML 21-20
Brian Kaes: Holy cow this a big game to start off the season for both teams! I have to say I was reading MSS’ excellent pre-season articles on all the teams and I had to say that the Jets facility is technically in Florham Park, not Madison. Just saying! Other than that the preview was on the money. Madison has great players returning and depth all over the team. Mountain Lakes, on the other hand, was undefeated and a state champ last year and has won 22 games in a row. So while this isn’t going to be easy, I think the Lakes will overflow and the Herd will win a nail biter. Look for Herd QB Baker to throw for a score and watch Jake Spagnola run for another two in a great one. PICK: The Herd 20-17
George Muha: Madison knows all about mutlti-year streaks. They also know how much they hurt when they end, as theirs did two years ago. They’re going to enjoy being on the other end of the streak-ending this Saturday on their home turf. PICK: Madison 42-35

Pope John (0-1) @ Paramus Catholic (0-1) 4pm

LA Byrne: You know that whole thing about no pain/no gain? Last week, PJ was IN that game against DePaul and this week we’ll see the gains that follow that tough loss. By the time week one is over, PJ will be battle-hardened and ready to destroy anyone in the path. PICK: PC 48-35
Brian Kaes: I have to say Pope John is the opposite of almost every D-1 college team in the country. They play their toughest opponents in the beginning of the season! It’s unreal! While Rutgers is playing a glorified high school in its first game Pope John is playing NFL teams. Unfortunately, they are going to drop another one against a team that also doesn’t shy away from great competition, Paramus Catholic. Look for Sonny to bounce back from a tough game and throw for over 200 yards with a few scores but it won’t be enough in a tough one. PICK: PC 35-24
George Muha: Burrel Neal had a tough game at the beginning of last week’s game with carrying the ball. Look for him to bounce back in a big way as he produce over 100-yards on the ground while the Sonny-to-Denucci connection combines for two scores in a barn burner. PICK: PJ 34-30

Last Week’s Predictons

Laura 2-0
Brian 2-0
George 1-1

Last Year’s Prediction Percentages

Laura (67.54%)
Brian (68.21%)
George (70.19%)

*Drawing by the talented Emily Cody.

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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