Coach: Joe Coltelli
Year on the Job: 3rd
Staff: Jeff Gely, Bill Percey, Nick DeGennaro, Bob Kylish, Joe Boyle, Rob Vesper and Auggie Meyer
Home Field: Grass
2015 Record: 3-7
2016 Nemesis: Newton
Freakishly Talented: Runningback Cody Romano (6-1, 185) is a specimen of an athlete who can beat you in a race or run you over…in no particular order.
Where’s the Beef: Senior lineman Graham Harpell will be the beef for the Cougars at 6-2, 230-pounds. He’s a battering ram who makes it easy for runningbacks to get through the line.
Emotional Leader: Middle linebacker Derek Michelman (5-6, 145) is the guy who gets everyone fired up. Once he starts making tackles his energy permeates throughout the entire defense.
Will be a Household Name: Sophomore defensive back James Franco (5-9, 153) is as legit as they come and will be making a huge impact on this team in center field. He’s nursing an injury but when he comes back everyone will know his name.
Beast Watch: Senior Josh Klimek (5-11, 180) is a total beast. The more carries he gets the more powerful he seems. Klimek is going to be a 1,000 yard, 10 TD guy for sure.
With Josh MacMillan (6-3, 200) as the only lineman returning there was some preseason speculation about how they would be able to fill those spots. Well guys like Austin VanGorden (5-10, 220), Carson Powell (6, 245), Parker Lobban (5-10, 145) and Brenden Gullette (5-11, 185) are up to the challenge and are filling that void just fine.
The Cougars also lost several very good skill guys to graduation but they are replacing them with a lot of the names above as well has a host of underclassmen. These players are ready to step up, like the skilled Joey Lobb (5-8, 152) who can play QB, defensive back or anywhere else you want to put him. Sophomore defensive back James Franco is also a ball hawk on defense and is slated to make an immediate impact.
Driving this ship will be senior Nick Geimer (5-11, 155) who is a total gamer (no pun intended). He proved that last season during his junior debut where he threw for 700-yards and made some nifty plays with his legs.
Navigating this new schedule will be the trick, especially with only four games in front of their home fans. They contend with mostly familiar foes so there won’t be anything that Coach Coltelli and his staff hadn’t seen before.
You have to love the backfield of Romano and Klimek. Having two high caliber backs is hard for opponents to prepare for. Throw in a big line an a QB who has a cannon and this offense can really pile on the points if given the chance.
Will these guys be running out of the tunnel at MetLife Stadium come December? They have as good a chance as anybody. If they catch a little confidence through this schedule, I see these guys riding that into the postseason. Once there, they control their own destiny.
9/9 @ Newton
9/24 Lakeland Regional
9/30 @ Kinnelon
10/7 @ Hopatcong
10/14 High Point
10/21 @ Lenape Valley
11/5 @ Wallkill Valley
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