CCM Semifinal Football Predictions

The 2019 Morris Sussex Sports Football Predictions are sponsored by the County College of Morris, offering an an outstanding education at an affordable price with Division II athletics. Go to www.ccm.edu right now to learn more about this amazing educational institution that is right in our backyard in Randolph, NJ.

North 1, Group 1

4 Boonton (7-3) @ 1 Cresskill (7-2)
Ryan Sudol: It’s semifinal time! And we got PLENTY of Morris Sussex matchups to bring to you guys! Let’s start it out with one that’s sure to be a thriller! The Bombers and the Cougars are going to have a good ol’ Texas shootout with both of their offenses being real sights to see all year long. Boonton’s got their INSANE backfield of Portas, Dempster, and DeCosta that is involved in every single play. Cresskill has a great QB named Aidan Feulner and an incredibly productive QB in Tim Coffey. Boonton simply wants this one more! The Bombers have not made a sectional final in 16 years and they want to get back there so bad. This desire will show as the Bombers, led by DeCosta and Dempster’s combined 200 rush yards, pick up this win in the final minutes (maybe even in OT) to get to the final! PICK: Boonton 38-35
Brian Kenney: Cresskill will be looking to stop Corey Dempster, the man who scored 5, (count them, 5!) touchdowns last week for the Boots. But here’s the thing, to stop Dempster, you have to stop the Bombers offensive line, and they aren’t going to cooperate. While it’s not going to be easy, I think the Boots are going to win in an upset, as the O-Line for Boonton is going to open up holes Dempster, Danny Portas and Zach Maksimiak will be able to drive trucks through. PICK: Boots27-21
George Muha: Boonton got to the sectional semifinals last season too but ended up losing to Park Ridge. I know the current seniors remember that bus ride home and how those seniors felt. Cresskill is definitely battle tested after playing a tough schedule. And that’s a good thing they are because they are about to get a mouthful of red, white and black. I am doubling down on the Boots and so should you Bomber fans! PICK: Boots 44-40
Owen: Cresskill

3 Cedar Grove (7-3) @ 2 Butler (8-2)
Ryan Sudol: Are we gonna have a all-Morris County in the N1G1 final? Well, it’s certainly not gonna be easy. I saw Cedar Grove and how potent their offense was against Hanover Park. Their dynamic duo of QB Dario Bryant and WR Anthony Bilotta connected on three TDs in that game and I think they will replicate that against the Dawgs. But on the other hand, Butler’s offense is just as stellar with do-it-all QB Evan Smith and RB Joe Conti putting up constant 30+ point efforts. I say that Evan Smith will throw 3 TDs for Butler and Conti will run for 2 TDs to balance out Grove’s offensive attack. In the end, I think that Butler will have a killer two-minute drill and drive down the field for a FG as time expires to shock the Panthers and face their former Turkey Day rivals Boonton in the final! PICK: Butler 37-35
Brian Kenney: Cedar Grove. The bane of Florham Park/East Hanover’s youth football’s existence. They beat HP in shoot-outs the last two years, and their youth football team ended the FP/EH A team’s season in heartbreaking fashion two years in a row by knocking them out playoff contention. They are good and they are tough, and George Slattery is an example of their toughness, having a pick six and a receiving touchdown last week in their win against Emerson. Look for Patch “Adams” McCarthy to run for over 100 yards and a score for the Panthers as well. This game is going to be a shootout of epic proportions, with Evan Smith throwing for over 300 yards and three scores for the Bulldogs, (including two to Jason Polons), but it will come down to a last minute field goal, (kicked by none other than Evan Smith) to win the game for Butler. PICK: Butler 44-41
George Muha: Last season when I was on MetLife field watching Butler lose in the Bowl Game I just knew the Bulldogs were going to get back there and finish what they started in the 2019 season. There has been nothing that has changed my mind this season and you can expect Butler super fan John “Buzzy” Busseno to be in a good mood at about 9:30pm on Friday night. PICK: Butts 39-29
Owen: Cedar Grove

North 1, Group 2

3 Mountain Lakes (7-2) @ 2 Parsippany (9-1)
*Morris Sussex Sports will be broadcasting live from this game. Subscribe to the Morris Sussex Sports YouTube channel now so you are notified the moment we go live.
Ryan Sudol: Can’t pick this one since I am doing play-by-play for the broadcast, but I will say that I think whoever wins this game will be on the road for the sectional title game next week. I say #1 Lyndhurst wins the other semi against #4 Mahwah.
Brian Kenney: Ohhhh snap! In October, the Redhawks beat the Herd 13-7. It was bananas then, but it’s going to be @*#% bananas this time. The Herd wanted that game back, and they got it, with everything on the line. The Herd’s Peter Holmberg had himself a game against Hawthorne, throwing and running for the two Lakes’ scores. The defense stepped up big time as well, and will have to do so again, as they face Parsippany’s James Riedinger, who threw for two TDs last week, (both in the 4th quarter), but can run as well. Both of these teams escaped with one-score wins last week, but I see both scoring more in this matchup. Parsippany has had an amazing season, but the Herd has playoff experience. I wish they didn’t have to play one another, because I don’t want to see either team’s season end. That being said, the Redhawks have proved me wrong plenty of times this season, so maybe they will again. PICK: The Herd 21-20
George Muha: I have seen both of these teams play at an extremely high level this season. If booth of these teams come to play on Friday night, it literally could go to double OT or beyond. I literally want both of these teams to advance but I think the Herd’s Wesley “I’m not even close to” Dunn is the difference for the Herd. PICK: Lakes 37-34
Owen: Par High

North 2, Group 2

4 Newton (8-2) @ 1 Verona (9-0)
Ryan Sudol: Man, what a run Newton has had this season. EVERYONE in Braves Nation should be proud of how this team has turned around since September! 8 STRAIGHT WINS! That is a streak…that is getting broken on Friday night. Newton’s offense has not seen a defense like Verona’s since they faced Lenape Valley in Week 1, and Verona’s offense is even more potent than the Braves’ (48 points on average their last 3 games). The Hillbillies’ RB Nick Riggio ran for a whopping 6 TDs vs. Kinnelon last week, and though Newton will put up a good fight, I say he will come close to replicating this performance on Friday. But again, Newton has NOTHING to be ashamed of!! PICK: Verona 35-14
Brian Kenney: Newton has played great all year, and won on a blocked extra point to advance in the playoffs last week. How often do you see a blocked extra point? Especially to win a game??? How bad did the Braves want the W? It was fantastic, and they should be proud of their season, win or lose this week against the Number One seed Hillbillies. The key to beating the Hillbillies? Well in the 1800s, you might say education, electricity, take away their saloons, etc. But in the present day, the Braves will have to find a way to stop Frank “The Tank” Riggio, who rushed only 19 times for 314 yards and 6 touchdowns in Verona’s first round victory against Kinnelon. I mean, that is insane. That’s almost 17 yards a carry, for anyone keeping track at home. I think that the Braves’ defense will step up, and Peyton Nolan, Jack Young and Aaron Fantasia will all find the endzone at least once each, but at the end of the day Verona proves too much for the Braves. PICK: Hillbillies 34-24
George Muha: The Braves have totally surprised me this season and I love how they dug deep after starting 0-2 and have won out ever since. I know everyone is talking about Verona and their big back. Coach Parzero is definitely going to draw on his sectional final loss from last year when they also faced a big back in Kittatinny’s Jake Mafaro. I know for a fact that Parzero has rethought his strategy 50 different times from that game and that will pay dividends in this one. Teams win championships and if you don’t think Newton is a team, then you’ll find out after this one. PICK: Newtonians 45-43
Owen: Verona

3 Lenape Valley (9-1) @ 2 Waldwick (8-1)
*Morris Sussex Sports will be broadcasting live from this game. Subscribe to the Morris Sussex Sports YouTube channel now so you are notified the moment we go live.
Ryan Sudol: Both of these teams LOVE to run, so expect a game like we saw last week with LV vs. Sussex Tech. Will the Patriots have a similar result, though? I don’t know, Waldwick is tough. Specifically, the Warriors have a defense that has allowed 9 PPG over their last 5! This makes LV’s already-stellar defensive unit look bleak in comparison! Plus, I think the unfortunate season-ending injury to LV D-lineman Rocco Bonavolonta leaves a rift that Waldwick will certainly exploit. LV will put up a fantastic fight, as is standard for Smolyn squads, but the Pats’ defense will be the one to break in this one. Just like Newton, though, you guys have NOTHING to be ashamed of! What a freakin’ turnaround! PICK: Waldwick 19-10
Brian Kenney: I admit I was wrong about the Patriots last week, but I won’t make that mistake again. What else can we say about Nick Molinari that hasn’t already been said? Dude is an animal. He ran for 290 yards on just 24 carries. He had 152 yards in the fourth quarter alone against a good Sussex Tech defense! He scored four touchdowns, which were, incidentally, all the touchdowns the Valley scored. I don’t think the Warriors could stop Nick “Money” Molinari even if Scandal was playing “I am the Warrior” non-stop though the stadium’s speakers on a constant loop (that would make everyone insane). I think it’s a close one, but I’m going with the Pats, and my money is on Nicky Bags (get it, money bags, because I nicknamed him Money two seconds ago? I know, it’s a lot, and so late in the game for a nickname – whatever, it’s the playoffs). PICK: LV 34-26
George Muha: When I was in high school I wanted to be number 44 because I loved the Redskins RB John Riggins. I loved how he would run over linebackers and how it would take five defenders or more to tackle him to the ground. He reminds me of Lenape’s #44. I don’t even have to bother saying his name because the Waldwick announcer will be saying it plenty enough on Friday night. PICK: Leanpe Valley 41-7
Owen: Waldwick

North 2, Group 3

4 West Essex (8-2) @ 1 Sparta (9-1)
*Morris Sussex Sports will be broadcasting live from this game. Subscribe to the Morris Sussex Sports YouTube channel now so you are notified the moment we go live.
Ryan Sudol: Sparta hasn’t been to a sectional title game since 2014. They also haven’t had a TEAM like this since 2014. All things considered, West Essex is gonna have a hard Knight (thank you, I’m here all week) against the Spartans. I also think that is going to be yet another special night for RB Austin Castorina in particular, as I see him scoring 4 or 5 TDs on the ground. At the end, it will be Sparta that will come out on top in convincing fashion to lead into next week’s sectional title game at home! Still sounds so weird to say that, by the way. PICK: Sparta 40-21
Brian Kenney: Sparta beat Nutley pretty handily last week and West Essex dispatched a great Montville squad by a touchdown. Sparta’s Austin Brothers (different spelling) went off the chain last week, accounting for over 500 yards of offense and 5 TDs. Castorina had 243 yards rushing and three scores on the ground with another 30 yards TD catch. Frattura threw for 5 TDS and almost 300 yards. The Spartans are a powerhouse and on a mission. They will not be stopped, this week or any other. PICK: Sparta 31-20
George Muha: Back when I first started covering high school football 13-years ago my favorite place to cover football games was West Essex. Their snack shack was insane. It was like an Italian gourmet deli with all of these Italian treats. I remember one game I didn’t even start watching the game until the 4th quarter because I was stuffing my face. I hope they still do that there. Anywho, back to this game. Austin and Austen will account for over 500-yards together as they punch their ticket to the sectional state final. PICK: Sparta 48-19
Owen: West Essex

3 Par Hills (8-2) @ 2 River Dell (7-3)
Ryan Sudol: Okay everyone, will we have TWO Morris-Sussex vs. Morris-Sussex title games next week? Well, let’s see. First things first: just like their matchup earlier this year, this game is going to be a defensive battle. The Vikings and the Hawks will force at least two turnovers each. Secondly, Par Hills will certainly know River Dell’s tricks and trades as they have already faced them. This is as even as any game can possibly get, so I’m gonna pull out the one defining stat for you all: River Dell has won 4 out of their last 5 home playoff games vs. Morris-Sussex opponents. Due to this and River Dell being a traditional thorn in the sides of folks in this area in regular seasons past, as well, the Hawks will move on to the title game. I’m thinking this is gonna come down to a last-second FG, too. Congrats to the Vikes on an INCREDIBLE season, though! PICK: River Dell 16-13
Brian Kenney: Back on September 13, these two teams battled and River Dell prevailed 20-14. Needless to say, that was like 100 years ago. Both teams have gotten better, and as I always say, it’s hard to beat the same football team twice in a season. Dom Verducci carried most of the load last week for the Vikings, which he did well, running for 115 yards and 2 TDs, but JD stepped up when he had to, throwing for over 100 yards and a score. This week the Vikes may stay more balanced then they did back in September when these two teams last clashed, but their defense will have to win this game. I think it will. Look for Ty Sallie and Jack Bellardino to each pick off a pass in this one, and for EJ Comerford, Alan Copeland, Dennis Wilson and David Giraldo to combine for over 40 tackles in this one. They are four of many seniors on this squad (Breslaur included), who want one more ring before they end their high school careers. PICK: PH 30-27
George Muha: When these bracket’s came out I was hoping we’d have a Par Hills vs Sparta state sectional final. And I predict Ty Sallie has at least one INT and Jordan Thompson has over 100-yards receiving in a convincing Viking dub to make that happen. PICK: Par Hills 30-21
Owen: Par Hills

North 1, Group 4

6 Randolph (6-4) @ 2 Woodbridge (9-0)
Ryan Sudol: WHAT DID WE SAY??!! Me and my man Owen were the only ones who picked the Rams to beat Montgomery last week and look what happened! Ok, calm down Ryan. This is a different opponent and a different week: undefeated #2 seeded Woodbridge. But let’s take a look at what the Barrons have done these past three weeks. Upon further review, they have a +12 point differential over 3 opponents with a combined record of 10-19. Randolph over this same stretch has a +34 point differential over 3 opponents with a combined 23-7 record! Simply put, the Rams have a resumé, Woodbridge does not, and the NJSIAA did ‘Dolph dirty by not seeding them higher! All of this will come into play this Friday as Morris-Sussex’s Road Warriors beat Woodbridge and move onto the sectional title game for the first time in 9 years! P.S.: QB Matt Kleiven will throw 3 TDs! PICK: Randolph 24-16
Brian Kenney: Jimmy Pepe should be named Player of the Week by somebody. Kid went banana-grams last week against Montgomery. His rush and receiving yards combined were over 160 with three touchdowns, and he ran back a kick for a touchdown! Matty Kleiven threw for a buck sixty and two scores while busting off a 21-yard score on the ground as well. The Rams are playing well, and will put up a fight against the undefeated Warriors the entire game. At some point though, Woodbridge team MVP Ali Lee will find some space and bust a long scoring run to seal the victory for the Warriors. PICK: Woodbridge 28-21
George Muha: I literally went to Dick’s in the Rockaway Mall today and told them I wanted to buy 25 Jimmy Pepe jerseys. They said they only sell NFL jerseys. Their loss because they’d be selling Pepe jerseys like hot cakes. They’d especially sellout after this Friday night’s game. PICK: Randolph 44-40
Owen: Woodbridge

North 2, Group 4

3 West Morris (8-2) @ 2 Old Tappan (7-3)
Ryan Sudol: I said to my broadcast partner, Rob Roche, at the end of the MK-WMC game last week that Old Tappan should be VERY worried about the ‘Pack following their 42-0 win. I still stand by this. However, this does not completely write off Old Tappan. Everyone here knows that the Knights have drawn the ire of many-a-foe in Morris-Sussex with their consistent play their (what seems to be) yearly defeat of an area opponent in the postseason. Well, even though OT has their x-factor in QB Niko Orecchio, WMC has found a new x-factor in recent weeks: “Taysom Hill 2.0” Joey Spano. Against Knolls last week Spano ran for a TD, threw for 3 TDs, made all but one PAT, and kicked a FG. This is a utility QB that WMC has been looking for for YEARS and he has emerged in the latter half of the season. Expect him to be the difference maker as the Pack wins it late in the 4th to move onto their first sectional final in 7 years! P.S.: I think it’s gonna be against P-Burg and I get goosebumps just thinking about that matchup!!! PICK: West Morris 27-23
Brian Kenney: Old Tappan dispatched a tough Mt. Olive squad to advance, where they will play the Pack, which is coming off a drubbing of a decent Morris Knolls squad. Here’s what I can tell you about Jack DiPietro, the kid is a gamer. He almost topped out 100 yards combined rushing and receiving with a score, all while collecting eight tackles and being all over the place on defense. But Joe Spano found his groove throwing (three touchdowns in the air, two to Ryan Schilling) and running last week, and it will continue into this week against the formidable Golden Knights. Look for the Wolfpack’s Adam Smith to collect another two sacks this week, along with at least three QB hurries. I think the Pack is back! PICK: Wolfpack 22-17
George Muha: It would have been so fun if West Morris could have played all of their playoff games at home because the Valley is insane on Friday nights. Even so, it won’t matter where they play on this Friday night. I know Old Tappan plays good.  But I believe the Pack is playing great.  PICK: WMC 35-28
Owen: Old Tappan

Non-Public, Group 2

5 Immaculate Conception (6-2) @ 4 Morris Catholic (6-3)
*Morris Sussex Sports will be broadcasting live from this game. Subscribe to the Morris Sussex Sports YouTube channel now so you are notified the moment we go live.
Ryan Sudol: These two teams faced off earlier this year and Catholic picked up the win 21-14. Immaculate will definitely have a better idea of the Crusaders’ game plan this time around, so expect this one to be even closer than their first encounter! In fact, I think I got this all figured out. QB Jeff Chaplin will do his usual throw-a-perfect-game gimmick and toss 3 TDs for MC. It will be enough to put them up 30-23 with 2:00 left. Then, Immaculate will drive all the way down the field and score a TD with under 30 seconds to go. What will they do? I say they will elect to go for two…and MISS IT. The 2-point conversion curse will work in Morris-Sussex’s favor this time around as MC hangs on by a thread to move to the semis! PICK: Morris Catholic 30-29
Brian Kenney: This game is going to go down to the wire, just as the last game between these two squads in October did. Like I said before, it’s not easy to beat the same team twice in a season. But again, I am picking the winner of the first game to win. Senior QB Jeff Chapin wants to go all the way to the Championship in this, his final year. Look for him to throw for over 200 yards and 2 scores (one to his buddy Ryan McAndrew) in this one. Brian Keigher will be involved in at least one turnover on defense as well as Morris Catholic wins a barn burner. PICK: MC 28-24
George Muha: Morris Catholic hasn’t won a playoff game in 30-something years. That was before I was born (not).  That streak will end this Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders cruise to the Sectional Final baby! PICK: MC 40-30
Owen: Immaculate Conception

Non-Public, Group 3

6 Pope John (1-8) @ 3 Mater Dei Prep (6-3)
Ryan Sudol: Don’t worry, guys. This is NOT the same Mater Dei High School that is ranked #1 in the country. With that said, though: these guys are pretty good! They have a capable QB in sophomore Alex Brown and a great RB-by-committee backfield. Pope John has a similar tandem in QB Peter Delaportas and RB Tyler Ruscher that has showed that they can bring the fire against the right opponent. However, just like most of the Lions’ opponents this year, Mater Dei are not that “right” opponent. Man, these guys have had a rough go at it with their schedule these past couple years. PICK: Mater Dei 30-14
Brian Kenney: Things have not shaken out as planned for the Johnnies but knowing their coaching staff they will learn from this year and come back better than ever for next year. This game is not a walk in the park for Mater Dei, even at home. Sophomore Peter Delaportas will throw for over 150 yards and 2 TDs but win or lose the experience he gained this year is going to make him so much more improved for next year. Billy Gould is going to record a baker’s dozen worth of tackles and a pick six in this one, but in the end Mater Dei is escaping with a W. PICK: MD 28-24
George Muha: One of my favorite podcast interviews of all time was this past week with PJ guard Mike Maglio. He’s such a dedicated athlete and his hudl video is like a training video for IHOP employees. I think PJ advances by running behind guard Maglio for half their plays. PICK: Johnnies 33-23
Owen: Pope John

How We Picked Them Last Week

Ryan 15-2 (88.23%)
Brian 12-6 (66.66%)
George 13-5 (72.22%)
Owen 8-10 (44.44%)

How We’ve Been Picking Them So Far

Ryan 112-34 (76.71%)
Brian 149-68 (68.66%)
George 157-40 (72.35%)
Owen 8-10 (44.44%)

About the Predictors

Ryan Sudol is a veteran play-by-play broadcaster for Morris Sussex Sports and current broadcast student at William Paterson.  Have an opinion about Ryan’s picks? Tell him what you think via his Twitter handle:  @birdieguy13

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 13-years. George is a 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

Owen is 5-year old sports nut who calls it like he sees it.  He loves his mom, goes to bed at 7pm and believes Saturday’s and Sunday’s are for wearing eyeblack (even when it’s not football season). Have an opinion about Owen’s picks? You best keep that to yourself because you don’t want this guy knocking on your door.

 

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