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The 2018 All Morris Sussex Sports Postseason Football Awards are sponsored by our friends at the Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey. OINJ has offices strategically placed within 10-15 minutes of every Morris-Sussex high school in Cedar Knolls, Roxbury, Newton, Sparta, Washington and Hackettstown. They are open till 8pm on weekdays and till noon on the weekdays in case an athlete needs to see an orthopedic specialist at any time.

Morris Sussex Sports Team of the Year: Butler

Butler did a fantastic job representing Morris-Sussex as they faced a new schedule that pitted them against mostly Bergen County teams. The Bulldogs went 10-2, won a state sectional championship title against Park Ridge and was one of only two Morris-Sussex teams to get a bid to a Bowl Game at MetLife Stadium.

Morris Sussex Sports Coach of the Year: Will Nahan – Randolph

Rookie Randolph coach Will Nahan took the reigns this year after waiting in the wings. He’s known around the area as a big weight room guy but he really flexed is coaching IQ muscles by aligning the right mix of legacy coaches and new hires (Mike Lyons, Joe Scali, TJ Hill, James Hickey, Ben Eaton, Paul Convoy, Nick Gangemi & Gary Buamwoll) to fit his players skills and abilities. Randolph responded by going on a 9-0 tear to start the season and being one of the most feared teams in Morris-Sussex in 2018.

Morris Sussex Sports Assistant Coaching Staff of the Year: Boonton

Boonton coach Bryan Gallagher tasked his staff with a big challenge this off-season – by changing the entire offense by switching from a Wint-T to a Triple Option. His assistants of Pete Llaneza (defensive coordinator/offensive line), Anthony Chierici (runningbacks/defensive coordinators), Ryan Connolly (offensive and defensive lines), Mike London (wide receivers/defensive coordinators) and Devon Engelberger (freshman) were not only up for the challenge, but they delivered in a big way. Boonton led the state in the most rushing yards in the state with nearly 4,000 and added 44 touchdowns which led them all the way to the state sectional finals.

Morris Sussex Sports Player of the Year: Jacob Mafaro – Kittatinny

This was the Year of Mafaro as Kittatinny junior Jacob Mafaro romped through his schedule with 2196 all purpose yards and 23-touchdowns on offense and 56 total tackles, 2 sacks and 2 INTs on defense to guide his Cougars to its first state sectional championship in school history.

Morris Sussex Sports Offensive Player of the Year: Anthony Sofia – Randolph

Up until his senior year, Randolph QB Anthony Sofia was a JV player waiting his turn to make an impact as a varsity player. Boy, was it worth the wait as the senior led the Rams’ high flying offense by passing for 235-120-1852-22 and rushing for 89-710-9 in a season where he took his team all the way to the state semi’s.

Morris Sussex Sports Defensive Player of the Year: Michael Jarmolowich – Delbarton

Senior Delbarton defensive back Michael Jarmolowich was superb on both sides of the ball this year by picking up 575 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns offensively and making 103 tackles at DB. He especially had a knack for scoring from the defensive side of the ball, adding 5 touchdowns when his opponents started with the ball. With Jarmo playing center field, Delby was able to 6-4 and play in the state tourney.

Morris Sussex Sports Quarterback of the Year: Kenny Oelkers – Sparta

Sparta senior QB Kenny Oelkers picked apart opposing defenses like nobody else, totaling 2003-yards and 25 TDs passing. The senior led one of the most dynamic Morris-Sussex teams this year by going 8-3 and thrilling fans all the way to the state sectional semi-finals.

Morris Sussex Sports Runningback of the Year: Austin Castorina – Sparta

No runningback packed more of a punch then Sparta’s 5-9, 185-pound Austin Castorina. The junior used his low center of gravity and North-South style of running to rush for 1660-yards and 23 TDs on 226 carries and lead his Spartans to the state semis.

Morris Sussex Sports Receiver of the Year: Deen Ninche – Montville

One major reason Montville went all the way to the state semi’s this fall was because of receiver Deen Ninche. The 6-1, 190-pound senior helped the Mustangs average well over 30-pounts per game with his 1027-yards and 10 TDs on 44 receptions.

All Unruly Offensive Lineman of the Year: Gio Potente – Pope John

No player in Morris-Sussex put on a clinic week-in and week-out like Pope John tackle Gio Potente. Because of Pope John’s schedule, Potente faced against some of the highest D1 recruited defensive linemen in the country and won those battles on just about every single play.  The 6-4, 285-pounder will be heading to Fordham where he’ll surely continue to deliver pancakes.

Morris Sussex Sports Defensive Lineman of the Year: Jimmy Harding – Newton

Newton senior defensive tackle Jimmy Harding rang the bell for all of Morris-Sussex at the end of Week Zero with a walk-off blocked field goal to beat Lenape Valley. The 5-9, 230-pound lineman terrorized teams through the rest of the season picking up 69 tackles and 9 sacks on the way to the state finals.

Morris Sussex Sports Linebacker of the Year: Ryan Nugent – Wallkill Valley

Junior linebacker Ryan Nugent was one of the key reasons the Rangers went 9-2 and went all the way to the state sectional semi’s for the first time in a long time. Nugent led all Morris-Sussex teams with 128 tackles and was a human wrecking ball in every game creating turnovers, sacking QBs and being in on just about every defensive play.

Morris Sussex Sports Defensive Back Player of the Year: Ryan Richardson – Sparta

Ask any opposing coach that played Sparta this year and they will tell you the player they had the most challenging time containing was Ryan Richardson. The senior center fielder caught, tackled or swatted everything that came within 10-yards of him all season long.  Richardson was the reason most teams couldn’t score more than a touchdown or two.

Morris Sussex Sports Special Teams Player of the Year: Bo Maroney, Sussex Tech

If you watched a Sussex Tech game this season, you would have thought there were multiple Bo Maroney’s on the field at one time. The junior QB/DB/K/P/PR/KR had 58 carries for 423 yards, 15 pass completions for 258 yards, 5 rushing TDs, 2 passing TDs and 1 two-point conversion, 51 tackles with 9 for a loss, 2 punt returns for 57 yards, 22 punts for 951 yards (averaging 43 yards), 41 kickoffs for 1829 yards with 3 touchbacks, 1 field goal from 33 yards and 28 of 33 PATs completed for a total of 75 points. Oh yeah, and Bo also knows winning as he led the Mustangs to a 7-3 record, the best in school history.

Morris Sussex Sports Most Versatile Player of the Year: Drew Brennfleck – Mountain Lakes

Another player that seemed to do it all was Mountain Lake’s Drew Brennfleck. The senior led team in total points scored, was third on the team in tackles, had six TDs (including a Pick-6 and a fake punt for a TD), set the school record for most touchbacks (season and career), averaged over 40-yards per punt and was 4-for-4 on fake punts for 1st downs.

Morris Sussex Sports Heart of a Lion Player of the Year: James Franco – Kittatinny

Kittatinny senior James Franco played this season like he would not accept anything less than a state sectional championship. He threw for 663-yards, rushed for 981-yards for a total of 28 offensive touchdowns to lead his Cougars to its first title in school history.

Morris Sussex Sports Unsung Hero of the Year: Robert Smith – Mendham

Mendham went 4-5 and wasn’t really in contention for a postseason bid at the playoff cut off. But you wouldn’t have known that if you were watching special teams phenom Rob Smith. The junior is one of the hardest working players on the team and lets his actions do the talking. His effort pays big dividends on the field too. This year he blocked and amazing 3 PATS and a FG and made a whole host of other key plays throughout the season.

Morris Sussex Sports Rookie of the Year: Michael Gould – Jefferson

While Jefferson struggled to get wins as they battled the injury bug all season, hey had one huge bright spot of this season. It was sophomore linebacker Michael Gould who had 80 tackles, 22 for loss and 11 sacks. No a bad rookie debut!  Jefferson’s future is very bright with Gould to build around.

Morris Sussex Sports Leader of the Year: Alex Khalaf – Montville

Montville senior Alex Khalaf started in 38 high school games for the Mustangs since his freshman year and was the offensive center of the team that totaled about 4500-yards from scrimmage and was the middle linebacker that was 1st on the team in tackles with 76. While Alex is a leader on the field, he is also a leader off the field by representing Montville Football in many community activities including Pathways Football Mentoring Program, organizing get well cards from the football team for sick children in town, being involved in the Toy Drive for the football team.  Khalaf’s selfless ways helped create a winning culture for the Mustangs in 2018.

Morris Sussex Sports Marching Band of the Year: Randolph

If you ever watch a high school football game that doesn’t have a marching band present, it feels like there is something just missing. These young men and women add so much to the football community, that we’d be remiss if we didn’t honor all of these kids. If we had to pick a Marching Band of the Year, we’d have to give it to Randolph. It seems as if there are about 1,000 students in this club and their halftime show is like a watching the Ice Capades with all of the movement, costumes and musical numbers.

Morris Sussex Sports Cheerleader Team of the Year: Whippany Park Cheerleaders

It was hard to select a Cheerleader Team of the Year among the 37 Morris-Sussex teams we cover. There are several teams that compete at the highest level, as well as teams that have achieve champion status in different competitions. However, the cheerleader team that impressed us the most was the Whippany Park Cheerleaders. Although the varsity team went 0-9, you would never know it if you watched the cheerleaders. They rooted on their beloved Wildcats week-in and week-out and helped to keep the team upbeat and positive despite the lack of dubs.

Morris Sussex Sports Booster Club of the Year: Wallkill Valley & Boonton

We interacted with a lot of booster clubs throughout the season. We are always impressed with how much these parent organizations support their boys. But Wallkill Valley and Boonton get our nod for the Booster Club(s) of the Year. Both groups have created a family atmosphere that is so incredibly supportive. However, what set these two clubs apart for us is the fact that they welcomed the opposing teams and their fans as warmly as their own fans and players.

Morris Sussex Sports Student Section of the Year: West Morris Central

It’s hard to explain what it’s like going to a West Morris Central football game to someone who hasn’t gone.  The best thing to say is just see for yourself.  The pride these students take in supporting their Wolfpack on Friday nights is amazing.  We broadcasted the Morris Knolls game and arrived three hours before kickoff to set up.  There were already students filling the stands when we got there.  The way they chant, cheer and sing is better than many college student sections.

Morris Sussex Sports Most Amazing Play of the Year: Morristown’s Kevin Hasenbein 80-Yard Touchdown vs. Delbarton

No play was more impactful than Morristown senior Kevin Hasenbein’s first varsity touch against Delbarton’s stellar defense. Well, just see for yourself and tell us that isn’t the Play of the Year for 2018.

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George Muha has been covering high school sports since 2006. He feels high school scholar-athletes are the most important part of the community and highlighting their achievements on the field, in the classroom and within the community is his personal mission.

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