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It’s amazing that we are already at Week 7 – which, by the way, marks the forth quarter of the football season.  Even though there is a nine game schedule, only the first 8 games count toward the postseason.  So with many Morris Sussex teams on the playoff bubble, these next two games are imperative.  There are a ton of great match-ups this week.  Check out how we think its going to all shake out this weekend.

Friday Night Lights

Delbarton (4-2) @ Roxbury (6-0)

LAByrne: It’s Delbarton/Mendham, last Saturday, second quarter, and Delbarton is fourth-and-five. The Wave decides to go for it. Delbarton gets a delay-of-game, it brings them back five, and guess what. They STILL go for it. With that confidence in who they are and what they can do—and talent like Zgombic, Zebrowski and Hartley on the field—they’re going to hand this talented Roxbury squad their first loss. BTW, Delby got their first down, and two plays later they found the endzone. PICK: Delbarton 28-14
Brian Kaes: This is some serious stuff right here. Whoa boy. Roxbury is on fire on coming off their slaughter of Mt. Olive. Delbarton has won 4 straight and just destroyed Mendham. Considering I was almost perfect in my predictions last week I have to say whoever I pick to win is going to win this one. I have a real strong feeling about Delby in this one, with Andrew “Barry” Sanders rushing for over 100 yards and a few scores (not as many as he had last week with 4), and their defense is firing on all cylinders. But then you look at Roxbury and Grant Dixon and his 10-for-10 last week throwing and running it’s hard to say. I think that Roxbury’s home fans need to bring it big time so they have a real home field advantage. If that happens and Delby doesn’t shut down Sir Dixon (and oh that’s gotta be their game plan) then Roxbury wins in a barn burner. Look for Roxbury’s Brandon “The Claw” Yaw to nab a pivotal sack in this one in the fourth quarter. PICK: Roxbury 28-24
George Muha: These two teams match-up very well up against each other. Delby’s defensive backfield with Matt Douglas and Anthony Siragusa have been shutting their National Division opponents down all season. I see them causing a lot of trouble for Dixon and his arsenal of receivers. Green Wave QB Matt “Fear the Brow” Zebrowski is someone who can be the X-factor if he has a big game. But I am going with the hometown team because their 12th man will literally make a big impact on this game. PICK: Gaels 42-40

Hackettstown (3-3) @ Jefferson (3-3)

LAByrne: Jefferson’s RB Conner Brown has been burning holes in the turf alongside bruising FB Avery Sheruda. And Jakob Jakova is a beast on defense. Hackettstown’s productivity might take a beating this week. PICK: Jefferson 14-7
Brian Kaes: Seriously? JJ Carrara and Joe Renne from H-Town had 31 combined tackles? That’s crazy. If the rest of their D catches fire I see this one being pretty lopsided, even with the crazy J-Towners going crazy for their team at home. PICK: H-Town 21-17
George Muha: The next time I get into a street fight (which happens all the time, by the way) I am going to bring the Hackettstown football team for two reasons, 1) because I am a big wimp and 2) because these kids are just tough. Jefferson will soon find out what I mean. In the end, Jefferson will win because Big Daddy Sheruda is just too big to stop. But the Falcons will come out of it all bruised up. PICK: Jefferson 42-30

Hanover Park (6-0) @ Butler (4-2)

LAByrne: Butler’s Gentile and Castiglia played like there was no one else on the field last week. But, at the start of the season, we were talking about superstud Radomski at Hanover Park. Then, we’re talking about Casolaro who keeps going to the air with those huge yardage plays in addition to Radomski. Now let’s throw in the magnificent Eric Magnifico, Casolaro’s target who has glue on his hands, and Junaid Olanipekun ripping down the field, and Rory Deluca racking up the yardage, and Anthony Olivieri who could be the entire offense on any other team. And these players credit the big guys up front like Ryan George and Drew Croessmann. HP looks like a college team right now. PICK: HP 35-14
Brian Kaes: HP seems to be getting better every week. I’m not kidding. I don’t think Butler is going to slow them down much, and that is saying a lot because Butler is having a good year. There is no question that Danny Castiglia and John Taggart will make some plays on defense for Butler and HP will have to find a way to stop Dom Gentile from passing for 300 yards. That being said, HP has too many weapons on offense. Behind that great O-Line, they have Donato Casolaro leading the passing attack with backs/WRs Junaid Olanipekun, Tomasz Radomski and Rory DeLuca making play after play week after week. Let’s not forget about AO and Mikey “Rads” Radomski on defense for the Hornets as well. PICK: HP 35-20.
George Muha: This game scares this hell of out this HP alumn. Okay, Hornets, here’s the deal. Castiglia has been banged up all season but now he’s healthy. Their freshman running back is bigger and stronger than most runningbacks you’ve faced this season. Gentile the QB is 6’2 and for whatever reason much more underrated than he should be. He can throw 50-yards down field on the run. And he’s got a collection of receivers. As a team, these guys are VERY fast. They can score 21 points in five minutes. Please come out firing on all cylinders. PICK: Hornets 42-39

Lenape Valley (5-1) @ Dover (3-3)

LAByrne: Dover’s starting to play like we knew they could but I’m afraid this week the Valley is going to swallow that swag, with guys like Brandon Reis smoking the turf with his cleats. PICK: Lenape Valley 35-14
Brian Kaes: Dover is playing well this year and is tough at home. Look for Dwayne “What Can He Do for You” Brown to run for 2 scores and over 100 yards for the Tigers this Friday. But the Valley’s D-Line will be causing the Tigers problems all night, and Michael “Saint” Josephs will run for at least 2 scores for the Valley as well in their win. PICK: The Valley 35-22
George Muha: My favorite player of all time is now Michael Josephs – in case I haven’t told you. I saw him run a punt back for a TD last week and not one defender even touched him. Unfortunately it got called back because of some silly penalty. This kid is the real dealio. PICK: LV 28-24

Mendham (1-5) @ West Morris (4-2)

LAByrne: All right, Mendham, you’re past that Delbarton mess and now it’s time for the game you’ve been waiting to play all year. Spinelli and Morrell will relentlessly rattle the West Morris offense and Jack Anderson will frustrate their D with his screaming-fast moves. But West Morris has this tendency to settle down, correct, and then play disciplined, nearly perfect football. PICK: Wolfpack 28-21
Brian Kaes: Unfortunately Mendham’s troubles will continue this week against a tough WM team. The same WM team that ruined my perfect prediction record last week. Well, I won’t make that mistake again. Look for Cole Draghi to score three times in this one as WM rolls. PICK: WM 38-19
George Muha: Last year WMC fed Mendham their lunch in this game. I am sure the Minutemen are looking to get some payback. But I just don’t see them slowing down The Dragon (RB Cole Draghi). PICK: Wolfpack 45-18

Montville (0-6) @ Vernon (1-5)

LAByrne: This Montville squad has way too much talent to keep that zero up there for much longer. But Vernon’s a never-give-up team that’s going to avenge last year’s one point loss to the Mustangs. PICK: Vikes 21-14
Brian Kaes: I think that this is the week that Montville may earn their first victory. Both teams got shut out last week, so at the very least one of them will score (I assume, unless the D holds them each to a 0-0 tie). I honestly am picking this one out of a hat, because Montville is due. In the end Vernon’s home fans make the difference. PICK: Vernon 12-7
George Muha: This will be a good game. Montville is totally due for a W. But I see inspiration coach Tommie Martino getting his Vikings amped up for this one so they can get their second win of the season in front of their home crowd. PICK: Vikings 21-18

Morris Catholic (2-4) @ Boonton (5-1)

LAByrne: With Pete Palumbo on the ground, Zach Poreman getting it downfield to Ben Levitt, and Joe Lipinski leading the horses up front—you hear that sound? That’s an entire school pivoting toward a future with competitive program, and these leaders are making it happen. On the Boonton side, TJ Green’s been an explosive RB who also picked off the Whippany Park QB 5 times last week. Gallagher has this entire team is so focused and so disciplined they’re like Navy SEALs playing ‘ball. PICK: Bombers 35-14
Brian Kaes: Morris Catholic’s Joe Lapinski had a great defensive game and was a ball hawk last week recovering 2 fumbles. He will recover another one this week but that my be the highlight for MC. Boonton is hot, playing well, and while MC is focusing on stopping Gage Cabalar look for “Mean” TJ Green to run for 100 yards and at least 1 score along with making 12 tackles and an INT in a tough one for MC. PICK: Boonton 35-13
MattGeorge Muha: One of my oldest friends in the world Matt DiLauri is actually running for mayor of Boonton. Matt is one of those guys that everything he touches turns out awesome. He also has a magical way of bringing everyone together and making them all feel special.  I guarantee that if he is elected mayor he’ll have everything from the schools to the downtown to the housing market humming in no-time. Plus he’s the kind of guy you wouldn’t mind kissing your baby. In support of my old buddy I wanted to help my Boonton audience get to know Matt by allowing him to predict this week’s games. PICK: Boonton 32-14
Matt DiLauri: Don’t let Boonton’s one loss fool you. Boonton has done nothing but demonstrate their dominance on defense and offense this season. Gage Cabalar is our superstar QB, TJ Green is also on fire with 3 INTs last week and Quinn Sweeney is the kind of linebacker every team needs when their opponent has the ball. This is a team effort and every player is bringing it at game time. Change is in the air in Boonton both on the field and off. I’m running for Mayor ( and as a town government, we can match the performance our Boonton Bombers are showing up with each and every game. PICKS: Boonton 28-7

Morristown-Beard (0-6) @ Hopatcong (2-4)

LAByrne: These two teams have talent that exceeds their records. MoBeard’s Alex Motley is a 6’5, 290-pound top NJAC linemen and Yale commit who bench presses the O-line during strength training. But last week I watched Hopatcong’s Giordano carry the ball. It was first and ten, somewhere around mid-field. But Giordano twisted and turned and scraped for every inch—as though the endzone was right there, within reach. The image stuck with me: this team plays like every down the endzone is right there, within reach. PICK: Chiefs 28-10
Brian Kaes: The Beard has a shot in this one, even though it is in Hopatcong. Jake Wilkerson didn’t find the endzone for the ‘Cong last week even though he rushed for over 100 yards. That will change this week when he scores 2 TDs. Tahj “Won’t you be my” Valentine is a workhouse and will also score despite not scoring last week either for the Beard. In the end I think the ‘Cong edges the Beard out. PICK: The ‘Cong 17-15
George Muha: Hopatcong HAS to win this weekend. They have no choice if they have any hope of getting a postseason bid. Lucky for them, Bart “Simpson” Yarosz will throw for two TDs and the Jakes (Wilkerson and Dorman) with both run for one a piece in a convincing win. PICK: DaCong 37-21

North Warren (5-1) @ Kittatinny (3-3)

LAByrne: Last week North Warren lost to Lenape Valley and Kittatinny got picked apart by Mountain Lakes, and both teams were on winning streaks prior to that. The difference maker might be the bull Brandon Mickelson, who works as hard as any linemen I’ve ever seen. He’s the kind of tough that helps a defense earn two shut-outs. PICK: NW 21-7
Brian Kaes: North Warren lost it’s first game of the season against a tough Lenape Valley team on the road. That is the bad news. The good news (for them) is that they are pretty mad about it. The Kitts got smoked by Mountain Lakes last week and they aren’t thrilled either, because both teams could have played better in last week’s losses. NW’s Sean Thornton “in your side” will run for two scores and throw for another in this one. PICK: NW 28-14
George Muha: I love the North Warren’s defensive line. These guys have year-old beards, their guts are hanging out and after they sack the quarterback they act like they are unimpressed. These guys actually look more like a biker gang rather than a bunch of high school football players. And they are my kind of guys. PICK: NWR 40-38

Parsippany (0-6) @ Madison (3-2)

LAByrne: In a suffocating defensive game Madison blanked Jefferson last week, and I believe guys like Zack Schupe are going to deliver more bad news any team that lines up across from them this week. PICK: Madison 20-7
Brian Kaes: The Madison Dodgers are pretty scary and they are warming up to make a run in the playoffs. So Parsippany should be a little worried. Madison is not taking anyone for granted. Dom Luppino will score once in this one for Madison. PICK: The Dodgers 38-6
George Muha: Madison will roll in this one. PJ “Father” Mulcahy will score twice, once in the air and once on the ground. PICK: Dodgers 40-12

Pequannock (5-1) @ Newton (3-3)

LAByrne: Chase Cramer’s spectacular four touchdowns in the big Braves win over Wallkill Valley gives this team the rebar reinforcement it needs to face a Pequannock squad. Because this squad’s been mowing over teams, with guys like do-everything, be-everywhere, make-it-happen Tom Crooks on the field. PICK: Pequannock 28-14
Brian Kaes: Newton is coming off a big win last week and playing at home they are going to be tough to beat, even for Pequannock. The main reason why Newton is so tough is because of Chase Cramer, who ran for over 250-yards and 4 TDs last week! Does Pequannock have an answer for Chase? I don’t know. But they play as a team and it’s going to take a team effort to stop him. PICK: Pequannock 21-20
George Muha: Thank you to my main man Chase “Cosmo” Cramer of Newton. You keep rushing for 300-yards and 4 TDs and I’ll share the pot of my fantasy league with you. I give a ton of credit to the guys in the trenches for the G-Pants. Big Mike Yaconis on offense and Jake “The Snake” Foukas on defense have been key. However, this one will be closer than everyone thinks and Pequannock kicker Dan “The Duffinator” Duffy will win it with his foot in dramatic fashion. PICK: Pequannock 33-30

Randolph (2-4) @ Mount Olive (1-5)

LAByrne: Randolph has had three losses against powerhouse teams—a losing streak that doesn’t speak to the talent and tenacity of guys like Carlo Zarro, churning out the yards rushing, and Carmine Capalbo commanding under center. This week this team will show what they can do. PICK: Rams 28-14
Brian Kaes: How do you come back from a 50-point loss? Practice and a short memory. That is what Mt. Olive is working on this week. Where are the Men in Black agents when you need them? Do any kids know about that movie anymore? They were probably in 3rd grade when the first one came out. Anyway, the Rams played well last week even in a loss and I think they will win a close one. Again, Carlo Zarro will rush for over 100 yards and two scores, as he has been doing all season for the Rams it seems. Mt. Olive is going to play better, which is encouraging, but it won’t be good enough. PICK: Rams 19-12
George Muha:  I think when Coach Luciani came up with the slogan What’s Your M.O. this preseason he was thinking about games like this.  I see the Marauders pull it out.  PICK:  MO 30-21

Whippany Park (1-5) @ Kinnelon (0-6)

LAByrne: Whippany Park’s sophomore QB Kyle Lisa had a big game against Wallkill Valley so he’s going to need to draw on that mojo for this matchup. And, with Andrew Lake in the middle, the Wildcats are going to keep it rolling this week. PICK: WP 21-7
Brian Kaes: Well, WP can’t seem to buy a win, even with their QB throwing for almost 300 yards a game. Kinnelon’s workhouse Chris Hausler will run for over 100 yards and two scores, but I don’t think it will be enough. I think Kyle Lisa will break the 250 yard mark and complete over 50% of his passes while doing so. Look for Mark Bafista to catch the game winner for WP in a close one. PICK: WP 21-18
George Muha: My brother has Kyle Lisa on his fantasy team and he’s mopping up the league right now. He’s receivers Joe Michalewsky and Michael Lacitignola are guys you should trade for if you don’t already have them. Look for Lisa to put up 300-yards and 4 TDs in this one (no pressure bro). PICK: Whippany Park 40-30

Saturday Afternoon Specials

High Point (0-6) @ Morris Hills (2-4)

LAByrne: Mo Hills is decimated by injuries right now but that’s only going to make the last men standing play harder for their fallen brothers. PICK: Hills 28-13
Brian Kaes: Morris Hills learned some things last week when they got beaten by Pope John, and that is a good thing. High Point is looking for that first W, but it’s not going to come in the Hills this week. PICK: The Hills 20-13
George Muha:  Back in early July I met with some of the High Point players while they were lifting.  They had this edge to them that I loved.  I looked into the eyes of these guys and could tell there was a fire in there.  This weekend, I predict, that fire ignites.  PICK: High Point 28-14

Morristown (3-3) @ Morris Knolls (5-1)

LAByrne: Senior running back Jayson Parisi and sophomore Derek Ferguson led that ground attack in a huge win against Randolph. This week, they’ll need to work around Morristown senior middle linebacker Sami Cazimoski, who’s like a brick wall with an attitude, in the middle of the field. PICK: Knolls 21-14
Brian Kaes: Boy I was way off on Morristown last week, and I’m still kind of surprised about that. Knolls is having a heck of a season and while this is going to be a rough game for them I think they will pull it out. Look for Derek Ferguson to run for 150 yards and 2 TDs for the Knolls as they squeak one out against Morristown. I see Jayson Parisi making at least 12 tackles in this one for Knolls as well. PICK: Knolls 28-26
George Muha: I just tip my cap to what Knolls is doing this year. They are out-pacing every opponent they face. Motown would guarantee themselves a playoff bid if they can win here because the residual PPTs Knolls comes with is like hitting the jackpot. But I don’t think even the Colonials will be able to trip up this team. PICK: Knolls 45-30

Mountain Lakes (4-2) @ Wallkill Valley (2-4)

LAByrne: You know how sometimes you start out on your run and the first quarter-mile is slow and stiff? Then, you settle it and that’s it. You can go forever. That’s the way Mountain Lakes has settled into their season with Griffin Baker throwing all over defenses, Jake Spagnola rushing for a thousand yards, and Zach Dexter in the secondary, prowling for that pick. They can go forever. PICK: ML 35-14
Brian Kaes: The Valley’s Justin “Word is” Bond played well defensively last week with a sack, fumble recovery and a few tackles. He is going to need to bring that and more this week against a determined Mountain Lakes squad. Jake “Spags” Spagnola makes the most of his rushing attempts, and will score in one of the 7 or 8 he gets on Saturday. He will also be a beast on defense, as he usually is. PICK: The Lakes 30-20
George Muha: Aiello and Patierno will surely get their chops busted on the bus as they drive past Action Park – where they almost tipped over the water slide because they were too big. But guard Sam Loeffler’s temper will kick in once he arrives at Wallkill and buckle’s his chin strap. The Herd will continue their success. PICK: Herd 32-14

Parsippany Hills (4-2) @ Sparta (4-2)

LAByrne: Sparta has huge options on offense—like big downhill ‘back Dean Gennat—along with so much size upfront, it’ll be hard to slow these bulls down let alone feed them at a pasta party. PICK: Sparta 28-21
Brian Kaes: Par Hills has come alive and is on a tear. Sparta is Sparta, kicking butt and taking names. Nicky V is going to throw for 200 yards for Par Hills and 2 scores. Dylan “Old Man” McDonald will almost break the century mark for the Hills as well, while collecting a baker’s dozen worth of tackles on defense. Will workhouse Alex Miliken score as many times as he did last week this week for Sparta? Will the Spartan home fans make it a home field advantage? Ugghhhh this one is too close to call. I don’t want to mess up my prediction winning percentage, but I don’t know who to pick! In the end I guess I’ll go with the home team, but that could be good luck for Par Hills, whenever I pick against them in big games they pull it out! PICK: Sparta 33-30
George Muha: I actually think both of these teams are much different teams than they were in Week 1. They both have gotten A LOT better. My bet is that this game goes into OT with the Spartan’s edging the Vikes because of their 12th man on their home field. PICK: Spartans 24-21

Pope John (5-2) @ Chatham (5-1)

LAByrne: SONNY CAN’T BE HURT! I refuse to believe it. But if he’s not on the field, Chatham will have a chance to take advantage of a new QB. Of course, they’ll need to get over the Berlin Wall upfront. PICK: PJ 35-21
Brian Kaes: This is another game of the week! Chatham definitely is surprising me this year. Pope John, I am pretty sure, has won 5 in a row after playing out-of-conference teams the first couple weeks of the season. PJ’s starting RBs ran for a combined 300 yards last week. If you asked them they would say it was all the O-Line. That O-Line is going to make the difference in this one. Chatham will play well, but PJ is not messing around as the playoff deadline approaches. PICK: PJ 28-13
George Muha: I am so bummed out that PJ’s Sonny Abramson is going to miss some games due to injury. The guy has been an iron man for four years as a starter. Speedy recovery big man, we’re pulling for you. Insert sophomore Ty Hranicka who will get his first dunk as QB. The kid is a total athlete. That is good because he is going to need to be to try to stay out of reach of Chatham animal-of-a-linebacker Ryan Burnett. This one has barn-burner written all over it. I think it might come down to the foot of PJ kicker Mateo Zapata. PICK: PJ 24-21

Sussex Tech (2-4) @ Long Island Lutheran (2-3)

LAByrne: Sussex Tech’s Hoffman brothers, Frank and Richie, and DB Evan Janiec have been all over the field and this week they’re going to shut down the LI offense. With fewer penalties, this game’s all theirs. PICK: ST 21-10
Brian Kaes: Jeez Louise, another out-of-state game against a random opponent? And the Techies only scored a safety last week? Man-oh-man, I can’t pick these games. This isn’t even fair! I wonder if George on Laura had their scouts out to Long Island to see how LIL is? They probably did! I’m going to just go ahead and guess, and when I guess I will always pick the NJ team (for the most part anyway). I think Evan Janiec’s defensive play will help spurn the Techies to victory in this one. A healthy dose of Mr. Outland won’t hurt either. PICK: ST 16-10
George Muha: Sussex Tech has a lot going for it this season. They just need to win the next two and they are basically in the playoffs because their state playoff section has a lot of parody. But this four-game skid has got me concerned. I am optimistic that they will turn this around this week. PICK: ST 31-30

How We Did Last Week

Laura: 16-2
Brian: 17-1
George: 16-2

How We’re Doing So Far

Laura 82-33 (71.30%)
Brian 85-30 (73.91%)
George 81-34 (70.43%)

Last Year’s Prediction Percentages

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

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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