Coach: Jim Delaney
Year on the Job: 7th
Home Field: Grass
2015 Record: 1-9
2016 Nemesis: Montville
Freakishly Talented: Junior Gavin Hunsicker (5-10, 170) and sophomore Jacob Liscinky (5-11, 172) are both great athletes and are both competing for the QB position. Really doesn’t matter who wins QB because the other will be a big part of the offense. Oh by the way, these two are also the starting linebackers.
Where’s the Beef: At 6-foot, 216-pounds OL/DL Cliff Rutter may not be your typical XXXL jersey wearing lineman. He’s built like an ox with technique and quickness which makes him much bigger than he is.
Emotional Leader: Junior runningback Jake Phillip (5-8, 180) is a key cog in this offense and once he starts getting fired up, the entire team rallies behind him.
Will be a Household Name: Two guys to watch out for are 6-1, 205-pound senior TE Levi Burnell and junior RB/DB Rob Turro (5-10, 175). Both guys are quiet leader-types who have put the time in the off-season. Footage of both of these guys will get a lot of rewind time in opposing coaches film sessions.
Beast Watch: A guy who I can’t wait to see is 5-9, 181-pound fullback/tailback Chad Musilli. He can pound through defensive tackles, pancake linebackers or break the ankles of a defensive back…all on one play.
High Point went 1-9 last season but don’t think for a second it was a washout of a season. Many of those players were sophomores and juniors who got a tremendous amount of varsity experience. Now this group is another year older and had an off-season that included a significant amount of time in the weight room to build strength…which they did.
The other thing you have to love about this High Point team is that its led by 7th year coach Jim Delaney. Delaney is a total X’s and O’s guy who always has his team prepared and well schooled on traditional football fundamentals – blocking, tackling and execution.
Our staff was observing during High Point’s scrimmage against Hanover Park this August. “Hanover Park seemed to be a lot bigger but the High Point line was getting so low and blocking so well. You could see the Hanover guys getting so frustrated because they couldn’t figure out how to be past these blocks,” Lisa Mita, Morris Sussex Sports photographer, said.
There are some real reasons why you should be a High Point season ticket holder this season. First of all every single game will be a barn burner. You have to like every single match-up on their schedule.
Secondly, no team has much more of a home field advantage than the Wildcats. Because High Point is basically located in upstate New York opponent’s head start playing games with them as they make the long trek on Friday evenings. Opposing coaches hate it because by the time they get off the bus, they barely have enough time to get their team stretched before the opening whistle blows.
The third reason is this Wildcat team has a quiet edge to them. “This is a hardworking group of kids,” Delaney says. “They are quiet. They are not hooting and hollering. But they are very serious about what they are doing.”
My prediction is if teams overlook this Wildcat team they will be in for a surprise. If you let High Point get ahead early, they are the kind of team that will squeeze tighter the better grip they get. Will they be hoisting the NJSIAA trophy at MetLife Stadium in December? Gaining confidence through wins will dictate that. Once this team realizes they can hang with anyone, then the sky will be their limit.
9/9 @ Jefferson
9/16 West Milford
9/23 @ Mount Olive
10/8 @ Morris Hills
10/14 @ Kittatinny
10/28 @ Parsippany