Coach: Bill Regan
Years on the Job: Let’s put it this way, there are people who are grandfathers right now who played for Regan at Morris Knolls.
Home Field: Turf
2015 Record: 7-3
2016 Nemesis: MoHills
Freakishly Talented: Senior quarterback and defensive back Nick Vittorio is one of the most athletic players in all of Morris Sussex. He makes Coach Regan’s veer that much more potent because the defenses know that Vittorio is deadly if he keeps it himself.
Where’s the Beef: Senior offensive tackles Auggie Blumhoefer and Shane Beston will be the reason this offense has success. These two are big men that are hard to get around plus they are smart blockers who seem to get a kick out of decleating defenders.
Emotional Leader: Senior linebacker Mike Forsyth is Ray Lewis and Mike Singletary rolled into one player. He’s always chattering out there about the different looks the offense is giving them like Lewis but also has that Singletary stare when he’s looming over the quarterback before the snap.
Will be a Household Name: Senior linebacker Nick Donadio will be a name that you hear constantly over the loudspeaker. When you go to games just watch him when Knolls is on defense because he is in on every play.
Beast Watch: Senior NG Matt Grasso has an unbelievable first step. He seems to be in the backfield before the ball is snapped and when he tackles players he does this insane crocodile death roll thing. Opponents will not have an answer for this guy. Another guy who came on like a fire cracker as a sophomore is junior Derek Furgeson. He and Vittorio will combine for a ton of yards.
Here is what opposing coaches do on the Monday before they play Knolls. They tell their team to stay in their school clothes and come into the film room. There the coach erases everything that is on the chalk board and spends three hours explaining Bill Regan’s veer offense.
I remember that exact scenario when we played them in a consolation game back when I was a player at Hanover Park in 1990. I remember the coach shouting questions to me since I was the defensive end like, “Moo, if the quarterback hands it off to the fullback, what do you do?” Uh, tackle the fullback? “Moo, are you a mental midget?” No coach. “You stay home.” Okay coach.
When we played them it was so hard to figure out. I kept tackling the fullback who didn’t have the ball and the quarterback would run right past where I was supposed to be holding my ground. This happened play after play. They were running all over us because I was so darn tempted to tackle the guy who didn’t have the ball. I still remember coach’s irate red face with spit spewing all over me. “Muha, what were you supposed to do on that play?” I thought… “That is your problem. You thought. If you would stop thinking we’d be winning this darn game!” Yes coach.
I was so obedient back then. But we actually won that game. It took me all game to figure things out. So on the second to last play the quarterback went to fake it to the fullback. But instead of tackling the empty handed back like I did all game, I ran as fast as I could at the quarterback. I hit him so hard that his helmet flew off and he fumbled the ball 25-yards behind the line of scrimmage. Knolls recovered and they had one play left in the game and they were down by four points. Sure enough he faked it to the fullback again and sure enough I got suckered into tackling emptied handed ball carrier for the umpteenth time that game. The QB ran all the way to the three yard-line where thankfully one of my teammates stopped him and we were the victors.
That was actually one of the most fun games of my football career…even though I was played a fool and got yelled at by my coach the entire game. But this preview isn’t about me so I’ll stop telling my Al Bundy football stories.
However, I think I did a pretty good job of explaining how frustrating it is playing this crazy offense. Bill Regan is a very smart guy and he knows opponents need to spend a lot of time and focus preparing for his team.
Morris Knolls did lose a lot of guys to graduation but they bring back Vittorio who is a total stud. And the guys who are stepping up are well coached and total football players who are ready to be compete at a high level.
Can this team win a state championship? Knolls has a very tough schedule with many of there regular season foes in their state playoff section. Wins can be very rewarding and losses can be very detrimental. Catching momentum will go a long way for the Golden Eagles. If they can get on a roll at the right time the sky is the limit.
9/10 Mount Olive
9/16 @ Morris Hills
9/30 @ Wayne Valley
10/14 @ West Morris
10/21 @ Millburn