Coach: Brian Meeney
Year on the Job: 1st
Home Field: Grass
2015 Record: 4-6
2016 Nemesis: Boonton
Freakishly Talented: There is no hiding that senior Jake Wilkerson is the featured play-maker on this team, especially after his 1,200-yard, 10 touchdown debut as a junior. At 5-8 and 190-pounds of mostly muscle, Wilkerson is built to ground and pound for the length of the season.
Where’s the Beef: Big bad 6-4, 300-pound Vin Costanza has come into his own his senior year. He’s put his time in the weight room and waited his turn and now it is all coming together for the big man. Coach Meeney loves what Costanza brings to the table this year.
Emotional Leader: Veteran lineman Steve Lengkong is the seasoned vet who sets the pace of the team up front. Having his leadership up front makes the entire line better.
Will be a Household Name: Not that he’ll be coming from obscurity because he’s been a starting quarterback since his sophomore year, but senior Bart Yarosz will be all the rage this season. He’s got the mental, physical and emotional parts of the game down and now he’s got some nice tools around him. Having Wilkerson establishing a strong run game will allow Bart to show off his creative side.
Beast Watch: Something happens when linebacker Joe Walthouer straps on his helmet. A switch turns on. One minute he’s 5’11, 180-pound friendly ole Joe, the next he’s 6-2, 255-pound, 4.4 forty, bench 225 forty two times, I am going to rip your head off, Joe…or at least that’s how he plays.
Nothing inserts energy into a program like a new coach. And nothing inserts energy into a coach like a new team. That is the vibe that is coming from Hopatcong Nation with new head man Brian Meeney…who is actually quite nice. “I couldn’t be happier. Hopatcong has a long tradition of being a good football school and they have a very strong youth program too. When I was researching where I wanted to be, this team had everything I was looking for,” says Meeney about his new gig.
And he definitely made a good choice. Hopatcong has an excellent tradition of football prowess that goes back decades. Their legacy includes multiple state championships and is headlined by Joe Martinek who still holds the New Jersey state record for most rushing yards in a career while donning the green and black.
The team he is inheriting has all of the intangibles within itself from a personal standpoint. Yarosz and Wilkerson can combine for a high production offense. While Costanza and Lengkong will keep things in control up front. Defensively, when you have someone like Walthouer at the helm you have to feel like you are in good hands.
Hopatcong’s trick will be navigating a challenging schedule. Kittatinny, Butler, Newton, Verona and Boonton will be a mouthful this year. And teams like North Warren, Shabazz, Wallkill Valley and Morris Catholic could all be big surprises as well. But DaCong has the fire power to hang with all of them.
I predict Meeney’s first year will be a successful one. Will they be hoisting the NJSIAA trophy at MetLife Stadium? “We don’t talk about that,” Meeney says. “Our goal is to get better each week.” But don’t be surprised if you see this squad sitting in the state tourney in November with the same chance everyone else has.
9/9 North Warren
9/17 @ Shabazz
9/23 @ Newton
9/30 Morris Catholic
10/14 @ Boonton
10/21 Wallkill Valley
11/4 @ Verona
|Last Name||First Name||Grade||Position|
Edited by Sara Grier