Coach: Chuck Tepper
Years on the Job: 19
Home Field: Turf
2015 Record: 3-7
2016 Nemesis: Montville
Freakishly Talented: Senior QB Brandon Lavorini (6, 205) is a well built pocket passer who can make all of the throws. He’s also a tremendous athlete who has no problem putting his head down to run for a tough first down if need be.
Where’s the Beef: Senior tackle Connahr Lalley is 6-4 and 295-pounds of pure power. He’s a pancake machine that can block two players at a time.
Emotional Leader: Senior runningback and linebacker Mike Stefkovich sets the tone for the team on both sides of the ball. When this guy starts getting fired up, everyone else follows suit.
Will be a Household Name: Junior OLB Matt Musciotto and sophomore DB Zack Biango are all the rage this summer in football camp. Both of these will be key parts of this defense.
Beast Watch: Defense linemen Austin Krzyzak and Vinny Rapisardi and DB Sean Sabol seem to gel really well together. Whether Sabol keeps things shut down in the outfield to force a sack or Kryzak and Rapisardi force a QB to force a bad pass for Sabol to capitolize on, these guys work in unison to make defensive plays.
You have to love Vernon coming into the 2016 season. With many of their seniors having a ton of varsity experience, you can just sense this team is oozing with confidence.
The front half of their schedule is what scares me. Montville, Jefferson, Sparta and Newton are all exceptional teams. Staying .500 or above will be the goal because anything less than that might be a confidence killer going into the second half of the season.
However, with the combo of Lavorini passing and Stefkovich running this team will pose a big challenge to opponents. Stefkovich can grind out the tough yards and Lavorini can make a big play with one throw.
If the Vikes can navigate this schedule enough to get a playoff bid, I really like their chances in the postseason. Once there, they’ll likely face regular season foes Jefferson and Sparta so they’ll know what to expect.
It’s been awhile since Vernon has taken its game all the way to the state finals. And if there is a squad who is poised to get themselves there again it is this one. Can these guys get to MetLife this season? The road won’t be easy but they have just as much chance as anyone else.
9/16 @ Jefferson
9/24 @ Sparta
10/8 @ Mendham
10/14 Mount Olive
10/21 @ High Point
10/28 @ West Milford
11/4 Morris Hills