Coach: Kevin White
Year on the Job: 11th
Home Field: Grass
2015 Record: 2-8
2016 Nemesis: Madison
Freakishly Talented: Senior hockey captain Sean Grant is probably the flat out best athlete in the school. After sophomore year he decided to stop playing football to focus on hockey. Well, now with one year of high school eligibility left he decided to strap on a football helmet and help his long time buds win a state title. Don’t think for a second that there is a learning curve needed since he hasn’t been around for a few years. He’s the kind of kid that can master a golf swing in an afternoon.
Where’s the Beef: Senior Dillon Chiuchiolo is around 6 foot, 200-pounds and although he’s not your prototypical 300+ pound lineman, he delivers pancakes like he is.
Emotional Leader: Senior co-captain Seamus Nelson, who is a receiver turned runningback, is the emotional heartbeat of this team. He knows when to make sure to keep the team cool and can get them fired up when they need to turn up the dial.
Will be a Household Name: Junior receiver Tim Elefonte’s might just be the hottest selling jersey the Kinnelon boosters will have for sale in their apparel section. The kid has been scoring all of the touchdowns in the preseason and is dynamic as they come.
Beast Watch: Something happens when 6-1, 250-pound senior lineman Rich Hoffman straps on his helmet. He goes from this funny, down to earth friend that is fun to be around to a fire breathing monster that can’t be contained. Opponents will soon find out.
Although they went 2-8 in 2015, Kinnelon was by far not a push over. Most of those losses were very close battles where they just came up short. Now Kinnelon returns most of their key starters, including their 6-3, 200-pound quarterback Jon Toye who threw for closed to 2,000-yards as a junior.
From a personnel standpoint, this team has got it all going on. They have the horses up front, their skill guys are as good as they come and their defense looks like they can hang with anyone.
The trick here is going to be getting through a schedule that is full of pitfalls. Right out of the gate they have to face two very feisty teams in Wallkill Valley and Whippany Park. After that they have to face a Madison team who is coming off a state title, a very good Dover team and a Hanover Park team that made it to the semis last year.
Quarterback Jon Toye is fine with the way the schedule is laid out this season. “To be the best, we have to play the best,” Toye explains. “Playing those good teams only helps us to raise our game.”
To me this team has all of the makings for a playoff team. The problem for the Colts is that going 5-3 might not be good enough to get themselves in to the postseason by the eight-game cutoff. A scenario they faced when they got left out of the playoffs in 2014.
Kinnelon will need to stay laser focused all season to get through the regular season. I believe once they do that, they can relax and have fun playing playoff football. When they’re there, I think this team can make a real run at a trip to MetLife Stadium.
9/9 Wallkill Valley
9/17 @ Whippany Park
9/24 @ Madison
10/21 @ Hanover Park
10/28 Pascack Hills
11/4 @ Newark Central