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2020 Week 1 Football Predictions

The 2020 Morris Sussex Sports Football Predictions are sponsored by the Orthopedic Institute of NJ with locations in Newton, Sparta, Cedar Knolls, Morristown and Hackettstown.  If you get injured on the field, visit them for urgent care and see an orthopedic specialist with in minutes.  And they’ll see you after-hours up to 8pm on every week day and 8am to 12pm on Saturdays and Sundays.


 

Friday Night Lights

Pope John (0-0) @ DePaul (0-0)

Brian Kenney: First, I want to say, and this applies to all the games, thanks to all the coaches who are out there coaching all these players (in every fall sport) this season. They deserve a ton of credit, when a lot of time the schools are being conducted remotely. They truly care about the players and the sport, and they should be applauded! As for this game, how about the Johnnies’ QB Peter Delaportas, already a commit to Boston College? He’s going to do his thing in this game, throwing for two TDs and running for another, but I think DePaul still has their number. Last year they dropped 52 on Pope John, but this year it’s going to be a close one. PICK: DePaul 38-28
George Muha: I like Pope John to get some mojo early and I see them starting the season with a dub. Tyler and Luke Ruscher are in excellent shape and are both poised to have an awesome senior season. I’m doubling down on the Johnnies getting an early jump on 2020. PICK: PJ 30-24

Lenape Valley (0-0) @ Hanover Park (0-0)

Brian Kenney: Bigger, faster, stronger – that’s how I would describe HP’s Mikey Filippone. He made the most of his quarantine time by working out and getting faster. But he wasn’t the only one. These kids are going to come out swinging, and are making the most of their season. Christian Valvano is working off the experience he got last year under center to make some waves in Coach Fulton’s fast-paced offense. Valvano has a host of weapons to throw to, including Brett Behre (who made a sick one-handed catch in the last scrimmage), Justin Tuli and Johnny Borrello. Look for Valvano to connect with Tuli and Borrello for a couple of scores while Filippone runs for a couple more on the ground, with socially distant-sized holes made for him by Luca Zirpoli, Pete Sodano and the rest of the line. The wild card in the HP offense? Anthony Dellanno, who came back from the mountains of Colorado (where he was a stud QB) to wreck havoc on both sides of the ball for the Hornets. Look for Owen Feldman to record a dozen tackles and Paul Cosentino to snag at least one interception on defense for the Hornets. All this being said, the Valley is stacked with lots of two-way players, none better than Sean “Coop” Cooper, who is a one-man wrecking crew on defense with great hands on offense. It will come down to the final drive at the Hive. PICK: HP 34-27
George Muha: The trick to this game for Hanover Park will be somehow containing 6-5, 245-pound TE/DE Sean Cooper who plays both sides of the ball like a basketball forward. Double teaming him is a must with guys like Zirpoli, Gregory and Sodano. Lenape Valley will win as I have them going undefeated this year but Hanover Park will send a message to their division opponents by making it too close for the Patriot’s comfort. PICK: LV 35-34

Butler (0-0) @ Park Ridge (0-0)

Brian Kenney: Joe Conti is going to “carry a heavy load” according to Coach Luciani and he ain’t kidding. Look for him to run for a buck eighty on over 20 carries with a couple of scores. Meanwhile Garrett Koppenal will tackle everyone (except for the water boy since I don’t know if they have those anymore in Covid times) on the field for the Bulldogs as they beat a tough Park Ridge team. PICK: Butler 30-21
George Muha: Cris Verrico will transition well to the QB position by throwing for two TDs and rushing for another two. Look for the Bulldogs upset the defending Group Champs on their home turf. PICK: Dogs 40-34

Boonton (0-0) @ Hopatcong (0-0)

Brian Kenney: The Boots lost their million-yard rushers to graduation, but they are still tough as nails and will have other kids step up. The ‘Cong’s’ Frankie Mastroeni will have a big day on the ground, and look for Anthony “Tony” Rodriguez to rack up over a dozen tackles. That being said, I think Danny Portas will throw for a score and run for another, while Hunter “Little Steven” Van Zant will break for a big run late in the game to seal it for the Bombers. PICK: Boonton 27-17
George Muha: Boonton’s Isiah “Big Daddy” Anthony will make Fantasy owners that have the Bomber’s defense very happy this week as I predict the senior stud to have at least two sacks and a forced fumble in an opening day dub. PICK: Boots 33-12

West Milford (0-0) @ Jefferson (0-0)

Brian Kenney: J-Town’s Mike Gould has toiled away for three years as a starter on this Falcons team and this year he and his teammates have a shot at getting to the postseason. Look for him to lead by example with a couple of scores on the ground along with a baker’s dozen worth of tackles on defense in this one. PICK: J-Town 21-17
George Muha: West Milford will have a hard time getting their offense going because of  J-town’s 6-4, 245-pound linebacker Michael Gould (well he’s actually 5-8, 185-pounds but he 100% plays like he’s 6-4, 245-pounds…if not bigger).  As for you Fantasy Owners, definitely start Caleb Rippey. I predict he’ll have at least 80-yards receiving and two TDs. PICK: J-Town 33-17

Madison (0-0) @ Kinnelon (0-0)

Brian Kenney: Dodgers’ QB Jack O’Hearen is a man on mission this year. Look for him to throw for over 200 yards and run for at least one score in this one. John Geier will bust for at least one long run for a score as well. However, I think the Colts’ defense will bend but not break. I see Jeff Krippner picking off at least one pass, and Brett Lewis will have a big day on defense for the Colts as well, including a couple of sacks, a dozen tackles and at least once forced fumble which ends up being the difference. PICK: Colts 24-20
George Muha: I am doubling down on Madison this year (except when they play my alma mater Hanover Park Hornets of course) as I believe Coach Kubik and QB Jack O’Hearen are just too in-tune with each other. I just think between O’Hearen’s talent and experience with Kubik, these two are gelling too well not to do something special. Kinnelon won’t be a push over but I predict the Dodgers eke out a dub. PICK: Madison 32-29

Morris Hills (0-0) @ Montville (0-0)

Brian Kenney: I have to say I love the nickname “Awesome” Joe Dawson, and he’s going to run about 25 times in this one, probably for close to 200 yards and a couple of scores. But the ‘Stangs aren’t going to just sit on their heels and wait for Dawson to find open space. If they have any shot, they need to get to AJD before sees a sliver of promised land. Montville’s Mike Marucci and Zach Stolz-Illge will leave it all on the field, with 30 tackles between them. In in the end I think the Hills come alive and escape with a victory. PICK: Hills 28-24
George Muha: Awesome Joe Dawson was the #1 pick in all three Fantasy Leagues I am in and there is good reason for that. He’s a legit scoring threat every time he touches the ball no matter what down it is or yard-line they are on. The coolest part of the way this kid plays is the way he barely gets touched no matter if he runs up the middle or around the end. PICK: Red Knights 23-15

Pequannock (0-0) @ Morris Catholic (0-0)

Brian Kenney: Morris Catholic lost a bunch of seniors but has re-tooled in the off-season and I think they are still in good shape. Look for Tommy “T Squared” Tsangaropoulos to run for over a hundge with a couple of scores with Mike Richards (no relation to Kramer) collects at least 10 tackles on defense. Meanwhile the ‘Quan will be in this game until the final minutes, with Dennis Jarensky and Andrew “Jefferson” Davis rushing for a score each as well. PICK: MC 17-14
George Muha: I cannot wait to watch the Crusader’s 5-10, 270-pound freshman lineman Jake “The Tank” Lukasko. I’ve literally been hearing about this kid since he was wrestling 8th graders when he was in 3rd grade…and winning (that is not an exaggeration). It looks like the Crusaders are retooling just fine after losing some key pieces to graduation. PICK: MC 38-30

Mount Olive (0-0) @ Warren Hills (0-0)

Brian Kenney: Mount Olive was preparing for another squad, but they will adapt to Warren Hills quickly under Coach O’Connor. Hunter Perez will record over 10 tackles while Justin Schmidt runs for a buck ten and a score as well. PICK: Mount Olive 21-14
George Muha: Guys like Hunter Perez and Gavin Lockwood are definitely going to rack up all the Fantasy Points this weekend. But I encourage you to key on 6-2, 260-pound lineman Mason Cosenzo. He a big man that plays cranky and you can definitely count on him delivering a few pancakes a game. PICK: Marauders 33-10

Mountain Lakes (0-0) @ Parsippany (0-0)

Brian Kenney: Remember last year when Parsippany beat the Lakes by one score two times in a month? Yeah, I thought so. I think that this game is the only game that matters in the world to every single returning varsity player for Mountain Lakes. I also don’t think it’s going to be close. Look for Peter Holmberg to throw for a couple of scores while Jack Buzby makes a few tackles for loss and forces a fumble for the Lakes. Meanwhile, Parsippany, despite losing a couple of key players in last year’s phenomenal team, hangs tough until the very end, showing that they are no flash in the pan. PICK: Lakes 27-21
George Muha: I know Mt Lakes wants revenge in a bad way after losing two games last season, including the semi-final to Par High. But I still cannot get over the vibe the Red Birds have cooking. I predict Derrick Eatman starts his head coach career with a dub in dramatic fashion in front of the Par High faithful. PICK: Par High 35-34

Mendham (0-0) @ Parsippany Hills (0-0)

Brian Kenney: Declan McKevitt is going to have himself a day against Par Hills. Look for him to break through and get a couple of sacks on defense, and run some folks over on his way to scoring at least one TD. That being said, Par Hills is just so darn good. I mean they lost three great players, including their four-year starting QB, but they still have two Rutgers commits (Jordan Thompson and Zack Taylor), Dominick Verducci running the ball and wideout/DB Ty Sallie, among others! Look for Sallie to break up a few passes in this one, but he will score on either a reverse or a screen, while Verducci runs for a buck fifty and a couple of scores. PICK: Hills 35-18
George Muha: Grab your popcorn for this one and key in on the line as Mendham’s 6-4, 235-pound TE/DE Declan McKevitt faces off against Par Hills’ TE/DE Jordan Thompson. Yes, there will be a game happening around these guys with touchdowns, interceptions and the like, and I do think Par Hills comes away with the dub. But this will be a game within the game as both of these guys are stellar athletes and big time college recruits. PICK: Par Hills 28-24

Roxbury (0-0) @ West Morris (0-0)

Brian Kenney: This game wasn’t that close last year, but I expect a better match up this year. Look for the Pack’s Kevin Findlay to throw for a couple of scores, one of them to Andrew Pruss. The Bury’s Garret Sloan will have at least one sack in this one, while Jacob Fichter records ten tackles on defense in a tight game. PICK: WM 20-13
George Muha: I just bought my #54 away Felice Montella jersey and plan on sitting socially distanced in the stands with my mask on so I can thoroughly enjoy this senior stud do his thing. Montella is going to be a big problem for opponents all season long because he’s big, strong and fast and most opposing linemen won’t have much of an answer for him. I predict two sacks and a force fumble in this one for my favorite Wolfpack player (well, second favorite next to my nephew Nick Muha). PICK: ‘Pack 44-19

Morris Knolls (0-0) @ North Hunterdon (0-0)

Brian Kenney: Northern Hunterdon QB Christian Solino got a great amount of experience last year and it will pay off in spades this season. Meanwhile the offensive backfield of the Golden Eagles is stacked! Look for the “Patrick Brothers”, Patrick Kaiser and Patrick Sinegra, to account for over 250 yards and offense and a couple of scores. I think in the end NH pulls out a tight one at home. PICK: NH 30-24
George Muha: I know both of these teams were grateful to have linked up to play a game after both of their initial opponents went into quarantine due to Covid-19. But North Hunterdon drew the short end of the stick because there is no way they can prepare for Bill Regan’s Veer offense in one day. Throw in the fact that senior Chris Velardi tackles everything in sight, I think it is going to be a long night for the Lions. PICK: Knolls 38-20

Saturday Afternoon Delights

Delbarton (0-0) @ Seton Hall Prep (0-0)

Brian Kenney: Cole Freeman is a stud for the Green Wave. Look for him to light up the Prep in the air this Saturday. Jake Jarmolowich will grab a pick and Elijah Hills will lead Delby’s defense in tackles as well. PICK: Delbarton 31-20
George Muha: This is Delby’s year to run through their Parochial opponents and SHP will be their first casualty. I am doubling down on Cole Freeman to have four passing TDs in Week 1. PICK: Green Wave 35-29

Whippany Park (0-0) @ North Warren (0-0)

Brian Kenney: Whippany Park’s QB Hunter Morgenroth will throw for a score and run for another one, as the Wildcats stay in this one until the final minutes. Look for Robbie Ramundo to cause problems for the North Warren offense all day by busting through the line and causing all sorts of havoc in tough one. PICK: NW 28-14
George Muha: I believe this year will be Whippany Park’s Hunter Morgenroth’s year to really step up as one of Morris-Sussex notable players. He’s a gamer and I don’t see him dropping this Week 1 game even though it is away. PICK: ‘Cats 21-14

Sussex Tech (0-0) @ Wallkill Valley (0-0)

Brian Kenney: Not gonna lie, the Techhies lost a ton of players, and it’s going to sting. That being said, they beat up on the Valley last year and are coming into the game with a ton of confidence. Look for Chris Conyers to run for over a hundred yards and a couple of scores behind that Tech line. Hunter Nolan will have at least one sack for the Valley in this one, while Romeo Vuevas has an interception as well. PICK: ST 30-13
George Muha: I cannot envision anyone having an answer for Wallkill TE Hunter Nolan. At 6-4, 235-ish he’s just too big and athletic, and he catches everything. Unfortunately, Sussex Tech will find out first hand how tough this guy is. PICK: Wallkill 30-21

Dwight-Morrow (0-0) @ Dover (0-0)

Brian Kenney: I’m just glad Dover is playing sports this fall. I give the coaches, parents and players a lot of credit for making their voice heard. It is incredibly impressive, and they should be proud of themselves. I think DM is a winnable game, but they have only been practicing for less than a month. That being said, I see Daniel Barker and Milton Ochoa making some plays on both side of the ball for the Tigers as they lose a close one. PICK: DM 14-10
George Muha: In Justin Hartman I trust. He’s heading into his second season on a 2-0 win streak and I predict he’ll make that 3-0 after this weekend. PICK: Tigers 21-20

Hackettstown (0-0) @ Roselle (0-0)

Brian Kenney: H-Town got a heck of a draw the first game out. Roselle is a beast, and is going to win this one. That being said, Will “The Thrill” Peterson will get in the backfield early and often while recording several tackles, and John Alitz will break at least one long run for a score. They will work off this game and get some confidence in the process. PICK: Roselle 34-20
George Muha: When I was in HS my Hanover Park team beat Roselle 52-14 in the state sectional finals. It capped such an amazing season and that I’ll never forget. While that was literally 30-years ago (which is absolutely crazy to even think about), Hackettstown still needs to play this game. But I think defensive linemen Will Peterson will have a baker’s dozen worth of tackles to ensure the bus ride home is a happy one. PICK: H-town 29-14

Vernon (0-0) @ Passaic Valley (0-0)

Brian Kenney: Justin Simone will score somehow for the Vikes, with either a pick-six or a one-handed grab in the corner of the endzone. Robert Baumann is reportedly so thrilled he is back on the field after missing last season that he plans on tackling everyone but the cheerleaders on the Valley side of the ball. Is this enough to beat a decent squad? Is Vernon back after a brutal 2019? Meh, not sure. But why not. PICK: Vernon 17-13
George Muha: I guarantee Passiac Valley has no idea where Vernon, NJ. But I predict after this game they will definitely look it up to see where John Kowalski and company learned how to play football so well. PICK: Vikes 34-28

How We Predicted them in 2019

Brian 160-73 (68.66%)
George 165-68 (70.81%)

About the Predictors

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

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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