Coach: Jason Luciani
Year on the Job: 4th
Staff: Dan Arabia, Bill McKenzie, Gary Struble, Mike Meyers, Dave Tadros, Andrew Vanderhorn, Kevin Monahan, Mark Mickens, Eddie DeMarchi, Ryan Kelly and Steve Ianotta
Home Field: Grass
2015 Record: 6-4
2016 Nemesis: Verona
Freakishly Talented: Sophomore Sean Centinaro came on the scene as a freshman and made a big name for himself. Centinaro’s as dynamic as they come and is a big threat in the both the passing and running game.
Where’s the Beef: Big bad senior guard and defensive lineman Mike Warren is bringing the beef up the middle for the Bulldogs. Look for him to be making plays in the backfield more than anyone else on the team.
Emotional Leader: 6-2, 220-pound senior middle linebacker Cory Mack is a wrecking ball. When he starts making plays (which he does all the time) the Bulldogs rally around him.
Will be a Household Name: Everyone will know transfer Will Verrico’s name by Week 1. The senior was the featured back for Pompton Plains last year and will be a huge weapon for Luciani’s offense.
Beast Watch: Third year QB Dom Gentile has the ability to absolutely destroy teams with his arm. I don’t know who has a better gun than this guy. Even if you don’t have a vested interest in the Bulldogs, just go to a Butler game just to see this kid’s arm in action. His touch is amazing and the ball slices through the air like butter. The deadly part about Gentile is he puts the ball in the perfect spot every time so they don’t have to break stride. Trust me, when this guy starts slinging the ball around the field is curtains for the opposing squad.
Here’s what you need to know about Butler. Yes, they did just graduate a ton of athletic guys, but they have a whole group of skill guys ready to fill the void. Along with Centinaro and Verrico, you got Davon Smith and Austin Mickens who will keep everyone’s legs fresh in the offensive game and give Gentile multiple weapons to throw to.
I think the strongest part of this offense is their line. They have four out of five guys returning and there are no fatties (I’m allowed to say that because I was one) up front. All of these guys are well built strong men who are focused on execution. They consistently carve out a nice pocket that Gentile can operate out of.
Defensively the Bulldogs are strong as well. Mack is the monster in the middle of course but there is a ton of other cast members who make up this unit. Cornerback Dylan Brancaccio is one of those guys who seems to be all over the outfield.
I really think this can be the Year of the Bulldog. Coach Luciani is a guy who likes to throw it all over the field. With Gentile’s insane accuracy, I can see these guys putting up massive amounts of numbers on opponents.
Some teams need to go back to basics. I don’t think that applies to this team. This is a veteran team who has shown they are most comfortable running and gunning. If they can stick to that mindset and play with an edge, there is no reason these guys won’t be playing in December.
9/9 Glen Ridge
9/16 @ North Warren
10/8 @ Morris Catholic
10/14 @ Parsippany
10/28 @ Hopatcong
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Edited by Sara Grier