Morris Sussex Sports Team of the Year: Par High
No Morris-Sussex football program struggled over the last decade in a half than the RedHawks. Prior to coach Jason Hurta taking the reigns in 2014, the team went through six head coaches in 10 years. Hurta brought quite a few things to the table to the team during this tenure. For one, consistency. But he also changed the identity of the squad from an easy-win on opponents’ schedule to feared foe. And no team seemed to have more fun with that identity than the RedHawk players and coaching staff. The Birds had an amazing season that consisted 10-game win streak, a 1-point victory over the defending champion Kittatinny Cougars and two epic battles against rival Mountain Lakes. Parsippany capped the season by going to the Group 2 State Sectional Finals, something the school never did before this year.
Morris Sussex Sports Coach of the Year: Bryan Gallagher
Anyone that knows Boonton coach Bryan Gallagher knew that it was only a matter of time before he got his first State Sectional Title. Gallagher always has his team prepared for every facet of the game. His squads are always schooled in the game plan, well conditioned and ready to do what it takes to get the job done. Gallagher also seems to have a knack for getting the best out of his players. Case in point, this year’s Bomber team was among the best in quite a few statistical categories including having the most rushing years of all teams despite being a Group 1 school. The best part is his teams are never flashy, always respectfully handing the ball to the referee after they score a touchdown – something they did A LOT in 2019.
Morris Sussex Sports Assistant Coaching Staff of the Year: Par Hills
Parsippany Hills head coach Dave Albano quickly credits his entire staff this year for helping his entire team to get refocused after a shaky start. “Every single coach knew we needed to change things. We refocused and got back to taking this one game at a time as cliche as that sounds,” coach Albano says after a few early season losses. Albano touts this year’s success on his coaching staff and players being in total sync. The 2019 Morris Sussex Sports Coaching Staff of the Year going to Ross Tarlow (assistant head coach), Brian Fancis (offensive coordinator), Dan Henry (defensive coordinator), Carmine Verducci (special teams), Dan Olsen (freshman head coach) and Steven Hill (assistant freshman coach).
Morris Sussex Sports Player of the Year: Corey Dempster (Senior) – Boonton
No player impacted all facets of the game more than Boonton’s Corey Dempster. Offensively, Dempster finished the season with 1,622-yards and 22 touchdowns rushing and 92-yards and 2 touchdowns receiving. Defensively, he was dominant collecting 87-tackles, five tackles for loss, one sack, one interception and altering the way opposing offenses prepared their game plan. Dempster only got stronger as the season went on, rushing for 735-yards and 11 touchdowns in Boonton’s four playoff games as the Bombers won the Group 1 State Sectional Championship.
Morris Sussex Sports Offensive Player of the Year: Austin Castorina (Senior) – Sparta
Sparta’s Austin Castorina was a nightmare for opposing defenses all season long. The four-year varsity player rushed for 1,623-yards on 216 carries and 27 touchdowns and added 562-yards and six touchdowns receiving. His rushing yards were the 5th best in the state. Castorina leaves Sparta with 3,457 career rushing yards, 878 receiving yards and 62 career touchdowns.
Morris Sussex Sports Defensive Player of the Year: Jacob Mafaro (Senior) – Kittatinny
While Mafaro’s 49 total tackles, three tackles for a loss, one sack and one interception 29 Tackles 3 for loss and 1 sack are impressive, but doesn’t nearly tell the story of the senior’s domination in 2019. Mafaro was a game-changer for the Cougars since his time as a four-year varsity player for Kittatinny, which included an MVP season in 2018 in which he helped them win a Group 2 State Sectional Championship.
Morris Sussex Sports Quarterback of the Year: JD Breslauer (Senior) – Par Hills
Par Hills quarterback JD Breslauer was absolutely brilliant this season, bringing the Vikings a State Sectional Title and getting them to the pinnacle Group Championships at MetLife Stadium. He completed 208 passes on 327 attempts for 3209-yards and 37 touchdowns.
Morris Sussex Sports Runningback of the Year: Nick Molinari (Senior) – Lenape Valley
Molinari was a dynamo for the Patriots this season, taking them all the way to the State Sectional Finals. The bigger the game the bigger he played, being flat out dominant at times. He finished the season by by rushing 198 times for 1,488-yards and 22 touchdowns.
Morris Sussex Sports Receiver of the Year: EJ Comerford (Senior) – Par Hills
Comerford played like he was on a different plane this season. After missing most of his junior year with injury, he more than made up for it by catching 75 passes for 1,220-yards and 14 touchdowns as the Viking’s play-maker. His heroics was one of the key reasons Parsippany Hills won a State Sectional Championship and made it to the Group Finals at MetLife Stadium.
Morris Sussex Sports Lineman of the Year: Matt Cannizzaro (Senior) – Boonton
Morris-Sussex is fortunate to have some of the best linemen in the state, with recruits heading to continue their playing careers at some of the top universities in the country. So prospects of awarding a 5-9, 180-pound tackle with the Morris Sussex Sports Lineman of the Year seemed just unlikely at the beginning of the season. But if you saw Boonton’s Matt Cannizzaro this season, you would agree nobody was more deserving. The senior delivered nothing less than pure domination as he paved the way for a backfield that finished 1st in the state in rushing yards (with 4,881) and rushing yards per game (with 374) on the way to bring the Bombers a Sectional State Championship.
Morris Sussex Sports Defensive Lineman of the Year: Jordan Thompson (Junior) – Par Hills
Par Hills defensive end Jordan Thompson was a menace for the Vikings this season, giving opposing offenses heartburn all season long. His 15 sacks were in the Top 10 in the state and he was just as potent against the run as he was against the pass.
Morris Sussex Sports Linebacker of the Year: Mike DeNucci (Senior) – Pope John
Pope John linebacker Mike DeNucci was a battling ram week-in and week-out for the Lions. The Lehigh commit amassed 89 total tackles, 1 interception and 1 fumble recovery. DeNucci was especially impressive because most his damage was done against some of the best teams in the state.
Morris Sussex Sports Defensive Back Player of the Year: Alex Picinich (Senior) – Par High
Parsippany defensive back Alex Picinich was one of the key building blocks for a Redhawks team that made it all the way to the State Sectional Finals. His 9 interceptions tied him for 1st in the state and his walk-off interception against Mountain Lakes in the State Sectional Semi’s propelled his school to it’s first Sectional Final’s appearance in school history.
Morris Sussex Sports Special Teams Player of the Year: Peter Schelling (Senior) – Chatham
According to MaxPreps, Schelling led the country in kickoff returns for touchdowns with four and average yards per return with 48.45. The dynamic returner would have likely had more but opposing coaches eventually caught on how lethal he was and avoided kicking to him after awhile.
Morris Sussex Sports Kicker of the Year: Sean Tucker (Junior) – Boonton
Tucker was Mr. Reliable as he was 54 for 58 on extra points and 2 for 2 on field goals. His 54 extra points was second in the state for kickers. His consistency helped pile on the points to help propel his Bombers to a State Sectional Championship.
Morris Sussex Sports Most Versatile Player of the Year: Bo Maroney (Senior) – Sussex Tech
Bo Maroney barely ever left the varsity field during his tenure at Sussex Tech. This season, the senior rushed 104 times for 1,147-yards (that’s an 11-yard average) and 12 touchdowns. He was second on his team in tackles with 58. He kicked off 52 times, 7 of them for touchbacks. He punted the ball 16 times, half of which went inside the 20-yard line. He went 40-43 on extra points. He was 2 for 2 on field goals. And he even had a Pick-6. He leaves the Mustangs as one of the all time school greats.
Morris Sussex Sports Heart of a Lion Player of the Year: Travis Tallamy (Senior) – High Point
Travis Tallamy is the epitome of a leader who set the tone for his team. He was the leading rusher and scorer on the team and he didn’t miss a game, despite playing three games with two separated shoulders. Tallamy’s presence on the field alone made the Wildcats a better team.
Morris Sussex Sports Unsung Hero of the Year: TJ Lesko (Senior) and Declan Ambrosiani (Senior) of Mountain Lakes
TJ Lesko, the starting QB/CB, and Declan Ambrosiani, the starting NG/OT, both were slated to have stellar seasons but both unfortunately had season ending injuries by Week 3. This was not only a setback for themselves individually but it was a big blow to the team as a whole. Despite being sidelined, Lesko and Ambrosiani didn’t miss a practice or team meeting and rallied around their teammates to help them make it to the Sectional Semis.
Morris Sussex Sports Rookie of the Year: Austen Frattura (Freshman) – Sparta
The freshman sensation dazzled fans all season long with his amazing arm and football IQ. Frattura finished 5th in state in passing yards with 2,382. He also was 60% accurate and threw 26 touchdowns. Oh yeah, he didn’t even play the first game of the season and left the last game early with an injury. The future is bright for the Spartans and their golden armed phenom.
Morris Sussex Sports Leader of the Year: Lukas Ungar (Senior) – Delbarton
Ungar is one of New Jersey’s top recruits and he is headed to continue his playing career at Stanford in the fall.
But unfortunately, we haven’t been able to see him play the last two seasons as he was sidelined with injury most of his junior year and all of his senior year. Despite this, he was unanimously named captain by his teammates and never missed on activity or practice on or off the field. He helped with anything that the coaches asked and was often seen helping young players. His humble nature and tremendous character set the tone for this Delbarton team.
Morris Sussex Sports Marching Band of the Year: Randolph
Randolph’s marching band was superb this year, entertaining half time crowds with an array of impeccable instrumentals and an amazingly choreographed color guard team. Their in-game music set the tone for Randolph on the field and their half time shows alone were worth the price of admission.
Morris Sussex Sports Cheerleader Team of the Year: West Morris Central
Wolfpack Nation did an excellent job of supporting their team and creating home field advantage for their beloved team. At the heart one of the best fan sections of area were the Wolfpack cheerleaders who were leading way with dramatic entrances, inspiring chants and acrobatic choreography.
Morris Sussex Sports Booster Club of the Year: Par High
Every successful always has a successful parent group supporting them. Parsippany booster president Cindy LaPresti and her supporting cast were incredible in making sure the Redhawk players and coaches had everything they needed so they could focus on just playing games. It takes a village and LaPresti and company can hang their head high that they did their part to help the team be a big success in 2019.
Morris Sussex Sports Fan of the Year: Noah Lorencovitz
Noah would be a senior at Par High this year but in 8th grade he suffered cardiac arrest which left him in a wheel chair and unable to talk. Up until that point he was an athlete and would most likely have been on the field if he had been healthy. So since he couldn’t be on the field, he watched his beloved mates every game either in-person or online as they made it all the way to the State Sectional Finals. The Redhawks felt Noah’s support the entire season, especially during the Kittatinny game when Noah was the honorable captain and they beat the defending champs 14-13. See more about Noah’s amazing story at the Noah’s Comeback Facebook Page.
Morris Sussex Sports Student Section of the Year: The Bomb Squad
Boonton’s student section, the “Bomb Squad”, was amazing this season. At the beginning of the season, they came out in droves during an August Double Zero game before school had even started. They stood by their Bombers through thick and thin and when they needed them the most at MetLife Stadium, they could be heard from the parking lot.
Morris Sussex Sports Most Amazing Play of the Year: Newton Hook & Ladder
Morris Sussex Sports will also be selling official 2019 All Morris Sussex Sports Team t-shirts with 100% of the profits going to Geoffrey’s MVP, a local non-profit that raises money to provide scholarships to a member of a Morris County football team.