2018 Academic Resources Football Predictions for Round 1

Every week Kevin, Brian and George slug it out to predict the most football games correctly. Morris Sussex Sports has incentivized these three knuckleheads with a prize to be determined to whomever picks the most correct games at the end of the season. Keep up with their progress every Thursday nights or Friday mornings when the 2018 Academic Resources Weekly Predictions come out.


The 2018 Football Predictions are sponsored by

North 1, Group 1

8-Pompton Lakes (4-4) at 1-Butler (7-1)

Kevin Saum from Heads ‘N Tales: QB Evan Smith and RB Sean Centinaro will set the tone for a playoff fun at home. PICK: Bulldogs 32-14
Brian Kenney: Butler is all about winning State this year. They had a fantastic season and earned the number 1 seed. Round 1 will not be easy, as Pompton Lakes had a good year and are looking to shock the world. I know about 6 guys who refuse to let that happen. Sean Centinaro and the front 5 of the Bulldogs’ O-line. Look for Sean to run for 220 and 3 scores as Butler rolls into the second round. PICK: Butler 34-18
George Muha: Butler’s been cranking all season long and I don’t see a little ole’ Round 1 playoff game slowing them down. Look for Sean Centinaro to rush for 150+ yards and QB Evan Smith to add another 150+ through the air in a convincing win. PICK: Butts 40-21

5-Wallkill Valley (8-1) at 4-New Milford (6-2)

Kevin Saum from Heads ‘N Tales: I have a feeling the Wallkill boys will be singing Country Road on the bus ride home from this one. Do they dare send a bus video instead of just a picture? How wild and wonderful would that be? PICK: Wallie’s 28-19
Brian Kenney: New Milford is a tough squad but Wallkill Valley is on a mission. I think Alex Mastroianni will run for over 175 yards and two scores in this one as the Valley escapes with a win and moves on. PICK: Wallkill 30-24
George Muha: I love how the NJSIAA’s new playoff system gives no home field advantage to Wallkill despite being one point a way from being undefeated. Regardless, I see the Rangers showing the state they got it wrong as they advance to the Round 2. I heard after the game, the team will be going to Brick & Brew in Franklin for brick oven pizzas and birch beer. I wonder if owner Bill Ilic will make employ and Wallkill player Steve Line wait tables to his own teammates. Who knows! Either way, it’s a great time to be a WV fan! PICK: Rangers 33-20

6-Emerson Boro (6-2) at 3-Boonton (6-2)

Kevin Saum from Heads ‘N Tales: Bombs away in Boonton this week. The dudes in the Boonton backfield run HARD and the guys up front block even harder! Corey Dempster and Joe “Cannonball” Cannizzaro have this one on lock.PICK: Boontoneer’s 24-12
Brian Kenney:  I have a friend who has the middle name Emerson. That is all I know about Emerson. The Boots though, whoa boy are they playing like they have a chip on their shoulder! They are going to run towards State and they won’t be looking back. Look for the O-Line to plow the way for over 400 yards on the ground for Das Boots as Joe Cannizzaro and Corey Dempster account for 4 scores between them. PICK: Boots 41-27
George Muha: Boonton is the Rocky Balboa of Morris-Sussex. They come out and tell you they are going to hit you with the left hook over and over and then they just pound, and pound, and pound, and pound, and pound until they hear your ribs crack (sorry for being so graphic but it does feel like that with this team) and then they pound, and pound, and pound until the final whistle. I guarantee the Bomber’s stands will be filled with all of their regular season opponents rooting them on. How can you not love this guys! PICK: Boots 40-14

North 1, Group 2

8-Pequannock (5-3) at 1-Newton (8-1)

Kevin Saum from Heads ‘N Tales: Pequannock is going to have to keep tabs on 34 all game because there is no catching Kaiser when he gets on a roll in the second level. PICK: Newts 34-24
Brian Kenney: ‘Quan got a rough draw in the first round. But let’s not forget they only lost by 1 point to Newton in Week 1. Either way, the ‘Quan will leave it all on the field in this one. Look for Newton’s Nick Brigante to run for 3 scores and 200 yards while Ryan Kaiser “Soze” is all over the field on defense, accounting for a baker’s dozen worth of tackles and two sacks. Newton, mind you, will not stop until they get to the championships. It won’t be an easy road, but it’s going to start against a good Pequannock team. PICK: Newtonians 33-27
George Muha: I know even Newton would agree that the best player on the field in this game is Pequannock TE Matt Spatucci. The 6-3, 215-pound senior has wide receiver speed and requires five players to take him down. The trick for Quan will be to get the ball to him 20+ times. I bet you see him lined up in the backfield as a RB or in the Wildcat. The problem is, I know Newton coach Matt Parzero and company are wise to that and are going to use their offense as their best defense and keep 2-5 off the field. I see the Braves riding the rushing duo of Brigante and Kaiser to control the clock and eat up the yards. PICK: Braves 38-29

5-High Point (5-3) at 4-Ramsey (6-3)

Kevin Saum from Heads ‘N Tales: High Point has to establish a solid running attack for this match up. Ramsey’s secondary looks like Jackie Bradley Jr. clones when the ball is in the air. PICK: High Point 14-12
BRIAN KENNEY: Ramsey is good, but I think High Point has the tools to beat them. That being said, it won’t be easy. Either way, I see High Point’s Alex Buchwald and Travis Tallamy tearing it up on defense, accounting for 20 tackles and 3 sacks between them. They will leave it all on the field but I think Ramsey edges them out at home. PICK: Ramsey 14-13
George Muha: All that weight room training in the off-season will pay off this time of year for High Point. All of those precision blocks and the attention to detail coach Jim Delaney is all about also pays dividends when you get to the Second Season. I have no doubt in my mind that HP advances. PICK: ‘Cats 33-29

6-Mahwah (5-3) at 3-Kittatinny (7-2)

Kevin Saum from Heads ‘N Tales: Jacob Mafaro must have turned into a zombie because no one wanted to touch that dude last week. I hope Mahwah got their zombie vaccinations this week. PICK: Kittatinny 32-24
BRIAN KENNEY: The Kits are having a heck of a season, and I think they deserved the 2 seed in this Group. But it is of no moment, as they are going to dispatch Mahwah in Round 1. Look for Jacob Mafaro to run roughshod all over Mahwah’s usually tough defense with 30 carries for a brutal 204 yards and 3 scores. PICK: Kitts 31-21
George Muha: I am sure Mahwah will be uber focused on 6-3, 220-pound RB/LB Jacob Mafaro. But I’d be just as worried about Cougar defenders Mike Lacken and Ryan Pollison. Those two tackle everything insight. It’s been awhile since the Cougs have been in the Second Season and I definitely see them advancing. PICK: Cougs 44-21

North 2, Group 2

5–Mountain Lakes (6-2) at 4-Hawthorne (6-2)

Kevin Saum from Heads ‘N Tales: Roll Herd. PICK: Herd 24-14
Brian Kenney: The Herd is going to have their hands full with this Hawthorne team. That being said, I think they can pull it off. Senior Jack Baker “The Touchdown Maker” will earn his namesake big time in this game for the Herd. He will throw for 2 scores and scamper for another 2 as the Herd wins a close one and moves on. PICK: The Lakes 28-24
George Muha: I know last week’s loss to Boonton stung the Herd but it couldn’t have gotten that out of their system at a better time.  I’ve said it multiple times and I am not changing my stance, Mountain Lakes is built to go the distance and I predict they make a big Round 1 statement to let everyone know exactly that. PICK: Herd 50-19

6-Hanover Park (4-4) at 3-Lyndhurst (7-1)

Kevin Saum from Heads ‘N Tales: Hanover Park’s secondary is going to have key in on Lyndhurst’s QB Brain Podolski. PICK: Lyndhurst 21-12
Brian Kenney: I mean, come on, you think I’m going to pick Lyndhurst just because they are the higher seed and 7-1? Nah. I’m a big believer in “Tuli Time,” having watched the kid sling it around and run over people in person last week. That being said, the defense, which has been improving since the Cedar Grove game, needs to really step it up this week. I think they will. Mike “Ferocious” Ferrone was all over the field last week, and will be again this week. Seniors Anthony “Tony” Salvemini, Kevin Julich and Dylan Iantosca will combine for over 25 tackles, and sophomore Luca Zirpoli will repeat what he did against Chatham, including having a bunch of tackles and defending a pass. I didn’t know D-Lineman covered backs going out for passes, but this kid doesn’t care. If there is a play, he will defend against it. Ismael Yasin made some fantastic plays in the secondary as well and will have to make some more if the Hornets want to escape Lyndhurst with a win. One thing HP cannot afford is penalties. I think the ref needs Tommy John surgery from throwing so many flags last week in the Chatham game. I’m sure Coach Fulton will set them straight this week and HP will pull out of Lyndhurst with the upset. PICK: Hanover Park 39-36
George Muha: How about a little love for rookie head coach Dan Fulton for taking his Hornets to the playoffs in his first season at the helm. Can he add a playoff win to his list of accomplishments? I say yes. PICK: Hornets 45-42

North 1, Group 3

5-Lakeland (8-1) at 4-Sparta (7-2)

Kevin Saum from Heads ‘N Tales: Sparta has beaten some Morris and Sussex County’s toughest and gave Randolph a run for their money. Not to mention Will Cisko and Austin Castorina have been highlight machines thanks to the down field blocking of guys like Tyler Lewis. PICK: Sparta 31-19
Brian Kenney: Wow, this is going to be a heck of a game. These Lakeland Bankers, they are no joke. Sparta is going to have to dig deep in the first round, something they have not done in a while as they usually have easier matchups. But I think the Spartans are up to the task. End of the day, Sparta’s Ken “Kenny” Oelkers will need to play mistake-free football (he will) and Ryan Richardson is going to have to tackle an entire bank (again, he will). Sparta’s home fans will have the place rocking, and that will help their team win a tough first round matchup. PICK: Sparta 41-30
George Muha: I’m sure Lakeland will be preparing for Sparta RB Austin Castorina who’s rushed for nearly 1,300 yards and 19-TDs. But I think the Spartans will reward their beefy back by giving him a little rest as Oelkers and Cisko connect for 175-yards and three TDs. PICK: Sparta 35-19

North 2, Group 3

5-Warren Hills (5-4) at 4-Montville (7-2)
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Kevin Saum from Heads ‘N Tales: This one is going to be a battle between the Streaks’ run game featuring RB Sean Morris and the Montville passing attack which has been money all season. PICK: Stangs 24-14
Brian Kenney: Montville had a couple of setbacks this year, including a tough loss to a great Sparta team, but there is no looking back now. They will win Round 1 easy and get ready for whoever faces them in Round 2, as the ‘Stangs have their eye on the prize this year. Mike “Get to Work” Burke will throw for over 300 yards for Montville, mostly to Colin “President” Regan as Aaron Warsaw records a bunch of tackles and two sacks on defense. PICK: Montville 34-21
George Muha: I totally respect Warren Hill’s RB turned center Dylan Stiles. After going 0-3, he told the coach he felt like he could help the team up front. Since then, the Blue Streaks have gone 4-1 and clinched a playoff spot. I do think the Streaks will hang with Montville’s high flying offense, but the difference will be Colin Regan’s return game. I predict Regan will return a punt or a kickoff to advance the Mustangs to Round 2. PICK: Stangs 45-42

6-Parsippany Hills (6-3) at 3-Rahway (7-1)

Kevin Saum from Heads ‘N Tales: Rahway has a ton of speed and based on some Hudl tape, they swarm the ball and they like to hit. If JD Breslauer’s O-line can give him time in the pocket they have a chance to come out on top. PICK: Rahway 24-21
Brian Kenney: The Hills have been here before. A lower seed, a tough first opponent, people are saying “they aren’t going anywhere this year” etc. But does everyone realize how great a coach they have? And how much playoff experience has been attained by this staff? They have been here before, they will be again, and they know how to handle it all. It translates to their players, and their players are up to the task. This is the “Greatest Show on Turf” by the way! JD Breslauer throws for over 250 yards including scores to his main target Dennis Wilson and Kevin Minardi while Alex Copeland records 15 tackles on defense. PICK: The Hills 27-24
George Muha: I think you have to tip your cap to Par Hills’ Kevin Minardi on a fantastic career for the Vikings. He’s a total warrior and will go down as one of the greats for the Vikings. As much as I want Hills to get this, I think the fun stops here. PICK: Rahway 30-21

North 1, Group 4

8-Mount Olive (5-3) at 1-Wayne Hills (7-2)

Kevin Saum from Heads ‘N Tales: There is great talent on both sides of the field in this matchup, but Wayne Hills wide out Charles Njoku has a gear that not too many high school kids have. PICK: Hills 31-21
Brian Kenney: At beginning of the season I saw Mt. Olive getting higher than an 8 seed, and they will have their hands full with Wayne Hills. That being said, they are by no means going to roll over, and it will be a battle to the end. I see Flynn Brown running for 100 yards and a score, while Chris Cherry and Paul Moore combine for 4 sacks and Nolan Claruk collects a bunch of tackles for Mt. Olive. In the end, Wayne Hills has a little too much firepower to stop. PICK: Hills of Wayne 27-24
George Muha: I love what my old Hanover Park teammate Brian O’Connor is doing as head coach of Mount Olive. He’s a pro and everyone in North Jersey knows Mount Olive is a formidable opponent every year. If the Marauders get past this game, they can absolutely go the distance. I hope I’m wrong, but I think the 2018 season ends here for the Pirates. PICK: Wayne Hills 44-20

5-Northern Highlands (4-5) at 4-Morris Knolls (6-3)

Kevin Saum from Heads ‘N Tales: Didn’t these two teams play last week? This is like Hollywood stuff. I think after preparing for the veer two weeks in a row NH might be able to right their wrongs from last week. Let’s see if Knolls has some tricks up their sleeve. PICK: Northern Highlands 12-7
Brian Kenney: Wow, two weeks in a row for these two squads. It’s not easy to beat the same team two weeks in a row, but when I was coaching little league I beat the same team 4 times in a season (where were only 4 teams so we played each other lot) by a combined score of 5 runs. What does this have to do with anything? Well, besides me being a decent little league coach, it is possible to just own a team. I think Knolls has the Highlanders number. Senior Knolls RB Chris Marra does not want his season to end, as his coach once told him, “Enjoy what you guys do right now because there are the good old days.” Something tells me Marra and the rest of the Golden Eagles want these good old days to continue. PICK: Knolls 21-20
George Muha: It’s kind of crazy that Knolls and Highlands play two weeks in a row but I guess that’s the way things happen sometimes. I do not like that Highlands has another week to prepare for the Veer. That’s why I think Coach Regan mixes some other ingredients into the mix. PICK: Knolls 50-32

6-Wayne Valley (5-4) at 3-Morris Hills (6-3)

Kevin Saum from Heads ‘N Tales: Wayne Valley has a couple strong linebackers and they will have to keep Lucas Novack in check if they went to keep their MetLife dreams alive. PICK: Wayne Valley 21-19
Brian Kenney: Morris Hills had an up and down year but did what they needed to do to earn a 3 seed. Can they repeat what they did two years ago and be State champs? Yes. Will it be easy? Oh heck no. All that being said, they are going beat a tough Wayne Valley squad to take one step closer to State. Look for Tyler Palermo to record a dozen tackles and a sack and Sam Valerio to harass Wayne Valley all day on defense with 10 tackles including two sacks while forcing a fumble. PICK: Mo’ Hills 34-20
George Muha: Last December I bumped into MoHills Angelo Macera, Francis Babe, Sam Valerio and Luke Malatesta at a football combine. I could tell these kids had a fire in their eyes and a hunger to do better than last year. You put all that time in for this exact moment boys. Let’s take care of business and play Red Knight football! PICK: MoHills 34-10

North 2, Group 4

6-West Morris (5-3) at 3-Irvington (6-3)

Kevin Saum from Heads ‘N Tales: If this was back in 1947 when All-State QB, Richard Saum (my grandfather) was at the helm for Irvington High School I think the Pack would be in trouble. But thankfully its not 1947 and I think the Wolfpack looks like they have gotten hot at the right time. PICK: Pack 18-14
Brian Kenney: The Wolfpack is riding a nice momentum going into the playoffs but Irvington is no joke. Plus they are tough at home. This is the type of game that can go either way though, and I think West Morris is going to give Irvington a run for it’s money. I will tell you one thing, Seniors Jake “The Snake” Ligos, Anthony Ruggiero and Joey Vazquez and the rest of the defense will do everything they can to keep Irvington’s offense in check. Ligos will ensure his legacy at West Morris in this one, scoring twice and flying around the field on defense, recording a bunch of tackles and forcing at least one fumble. I think it will still go Irvington’s way thanks to QB Taylon Batle, but I’ve been wrong before, that’s for sure! PICK: Irvington 24-20
George Muha: My father was actually the captain of the Irvington football team in 1950. I actually asked him about Kevin’s grandfather today and he absolutely remembered him and said he was a great player. Back then Irvington was called the Camptowners, now they are the Blue Devils. No offense to my dad and Mr. Saum but I like Blue Devils better. While part of me want’s the Devils to win so not to disappoint my father, I don’t think Irvinton has faced a team that hits like the Pack. PICK: Wolfpack 40-29

7-Colonia (6-3) at 2-Randolph (8-1)

Kevin Saum from Heads ‘N Tales: Sometimes a loss before the playoffs isn’t always a bad thing. PICK: Rams 17-12
Brian Kenney: Randolph had a rough one last week against Ramapo. But Colonia, while decent, is no Ramapo (not many teams are). I think the Rams rebound this week and get back to their winning ways. Look for Anthony Sofia to run a score and throw for two more for the Rams. Seniors Ryan Knox and Derek Rooney will light it up on defense for the Rams, combining for 3 sacks and 20 tackles and the Rams win big at home. PICK: Rams 40-20
George Muha: The best thing that could have happened to Randolph was getting smoked by Ramapo just before the playoffs. 1) they get that out of their system and 2) they will not face anyone else like them the rest of the way. It’s going to be business as usual for the Rams. PICK: 44-19

Non-Public Group 2

7-Morris Catholic (4-5) at 2-Holy Spirit (6-3)

Kevin Saum from Heads ‘N Tales: If Morris Catholic can get some hats on Holy Spirit’s TE consistently I think they move on to the next round. PICK: Morris Catholic 21-17
Brian Kenney: Morris Catholic had a decent season, and it’s a shame it’s going to end this weekend, but Holy Spirit has too many weapons on both sides of the ball to be stopped. Look for senior Dom Castellano to have an awesome final game of his high school career, with 3 sacks and a forced fumble (along with several great blocks on the offense). MC goes down fighting in Atlantic City. PICK: Holy Spirit 21-12
George Muha: I have to give it to Coach Hack and the Crusaders for fighting their way into the postseason. They should be proud of what they’ve done and use this as a stepping stone to make a run at MetLife next season. While I would love to eat this prediction, I just think this is Holy Spirit’s game. PICK: Holy Spirit 44-21

Non-Public, Group 3

5-Pope John (1-8) at 4-St. John Vianney (4-4)

Kevin Saum from Heads ‘N Tales: St. John Vianney will most likely try to establish a run game behind senior tackle CJ Hanson. Lets see if Pope’s D can disrupt the rushing attack. PICK: St. John Vianney 24-14
Brian Kenney: What are the records of the 6, 7 and 9 seeds? I’m not taking away from PJ playing decent competition, but they had a rough year. St. John’s is decent, and will be too much for PJ to stop. That being said, I will always root for the Johnnies because of all the people I know that went there. Pope John’s Mike DeNucci and Chris Sabo (wasn’t he a third basemen for the Reds?) will combine for 30 tackles in a fight until the end. PICK: St. John 34-17
George Muha: Just trust me on this, Pope John will be advancing. I predict Jake Huhn rushes for 125-yards and Taj Jones receivers for 125-yards for a convincing dub. PICK: Johnnies 30-12

Non-Public, Group 4

5-Delbarton (6-3) at 4-Don Bosco Prep (5-4)

Kevin Saum from Heads ‘N Tales: I like how Gary Lewis has been running the ball lately. PICK: Delby 14-13
Brian Kenney: Delby got better and better as the year went on, and is going to bring it against the Don this year. That being said, it’s the Don. They are always ridiculous. They probably lost to teams from Florida and Nevada and a couple of Division 2 colleges this year. Gary Lewis is going to run for over 100 yards and 2 scores for the Green Wave while Cole Freeman throws for over 200 yards and two scores himself. Mike Jarmolowich will record a bunch of tackles for Delby but in the end I think the Don is too much for the Green Wave to handle. PICK: The Don 44-33
George Muha: Delby’s been playing like they own the NPG4 section and I predict they make a big statement to the other Big Boys in this bracket that they are here to make a run at MetLife. PICK: Delby 35-25

How We Picked Them Last Week

Kevin 14-7 (66.66%)
Brian 17-4 (80.95%)
George 16-5 (76.19%)

How We’ve Been Picking Them So Far

Kevin 130-57 (69.51%)
Brian 139-48 (74.33%)
George 131-56 (70.05%)

About the Predictors

Kevin Saum is a former captain of the West Morris Central Wolfpack and founder of the Heads ‘N Tales Podcast where he interview’s amazing athletes who’ve discovered the true meaning of toughness through adversity.  Have an opinion about Kevin’s picks? Tell him what you think via his Twitter handle:  @headsntalespod

Brian Kenney is a Hanover Park alumni who really has nothing to do with high school sports. But he’s George Muha’s oldest friend and while he’s a better lawyer than high school football predictor, George gets a kick out of his comments and nicknames. Have an opinion about Brian’s picks? Tell him what you think via his Twitter handle: @bdk29

George Muha is a Hanover Park alumni who has been covering high school football for nine years. George is the founder of MSS and is also on the board of the Greater Morris Chapter of the National Football Foundation.

George Muha is a Hanover Park alumni who has been covering high school football for ten years. George is the founder of MSS and proud board member of the Greater Morris Chapter of the National Football Foundation. Have an opinion about George’s picks? Tell him what you think via his twitter handle: @MorrSussSports


  1. SCIL Fan

    November 2, 2018 at 6:07 am

    Wallkill lost by 17 @ High Point George :/

  2. SCIL Fan

    November 2, 2018 at 6:13 am

    My picks (only on the old SCIL teams):

    N1 G1
    Wallkill Valley 20, New Milford 13

    N1 G2
    Newton 27, Pequannock 12
    Mahwah 21 Kittatinny 6
    Ramsey 27 High Point 14

    N1 G3
    Sparta 35 Lakeland 27

    Kittatinny has beaten nobody good, same with High Point. Parzero is a stud coach, they will not lose in Round 1. Same goes for Leach. Sparta gets 1 win, then loses big at Ramapo next Friday night.

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