Coach: CJ Robinson
Year on the Job: 4th
Home Field: Turf
2015 Record: 4-6
2016 Nemesis: Dover
Freakishly Talented: Quarterback Matt O’Brien brings the dynamic ability to run or throw on any given play. After missing his entire junior season to injury, he’s got a big chip on his shoulder.
Where’s the Beef: Senior guard Kyle Connelly and junior guard Joe Andes are two immovable objects up front who set the pace for the entire offense.
Will be a Household Name: Seniors linebacker Anthony Gonzalez and defensive backs JJ Carrara and Ryan Gallagher are the defensive leaders that seem to have fun hitting ball carriers and creating turnoffers in what should be a high flying kind of defense.
Beast Watch: I am loving the reports coming out of camp about junior linebacker Max Cash. He’s a throwback guy who only plays in 5th gear. Coach Robinson is actually afraid to practice in helmets only because he thinks Cash might tackle someone without any pads on.
The one thing you will always get with a Coach Robinson led Hackettstown Tiger team – a tough group of hard hitting teams that win or lose will take their pound of flesh out of you. This year the vibe feels a little bit different than years past though. After getting kicked out of the playoffs by Lenape Valley in Round 1 last season, it seems this team wants to avenge last season and go much further.
This team has the talent to do so. Navigating a schedule laden with booby traps is going to be the hard part. With teams like Dover, Lakeland, Mount Olive, Lenape Valley and Newton all slated to make a big splash this season, the Tigers will have their hands full.
However, if they can win their early match-ups that will pay dividends later on. The schedule down the stretch won’t be easy so having some wins in the bank will help them.
Getting to the postseason definitely won’t be a cakewalk but if they can get there with the teams they have had to face, they’ll be very prepared for the next part of their journey.
Their North 2, Group 2 playoff section is loaded with tough teams like Caldwell, Madison, Hanover Park, Rutherford, Mountain Lakes, etc. But the Tigers can be a dangerous team in that section too.
If you are a Hackettstown Tiger fan, you have a lot to be excited about. You got a great mix of varsity tested players and newbies who are looking to make a statement. If the cards fall the way they plan, there is no reason they can’t be walking out of the tunnel of MetLife Stadium in December to thousands of the H-Town faithful.
9/9 @ Dover
9/16 Wallkill Valley
9/23 @ North Warren
10/7 @ Mount Olive
10/14 Lenape Valley
10/29 @ Kittatinny
11/4 @ Warren Hills
Edited by Sara Grier