NORTH/CENTRAL JERSEY REWIND: WEEK 1
Madison ends Mountain Lakes streak: The Dodgers formed a balanced attack behind QB Nick Coviello and running backs Joe Mobley, Zach Shupe and Dom Luppino and dominated at the line of scrimmage to beat Mountain Lakes, 33-6, and end the state's longest current winning streak at 24 games, Saturday in Madison. Lakes had not found itself on the short end of the scoreboard since falling to Madison in the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 2 championship game in 2012.
The first half ended with things tied at 6-6 Saturday, but Madison clearly had demonstrated the upper had with superb ball control and a hard-nosed and timely defense led by Shupe, Luppino, Dante DiIonno, Justin Dalena, Matt Boyd, Mike Martirano and Petar Haboj. Martirano intercepted a pass on the Herd's third play of the second half and the rout was on. Shupe broke away from a tackle near the line of scrimmage and sprinted 57 yards on Madison's second play of the half for a 12-6 lead. It would find the end zone again on each of its next three possessions.
Sayreville returns in fine form: The Bombers played their first official football game since September of last year, but looked as though they'd never stopped at all, beating J.P. Stevens, 35-7,behind three touchdown passes by Jayson DeMild and three scoring runs from Michael Liberti, Friday night in Sayreville. The Sayreville season was cancelled following the third game last season when hazing charges were leveled against several senior players. Two of DeMild's TD passes Friday fell into the hands of Andrew Willie, who finished with four catches for 69 yards.
St. Joseph (Mont.) exacts revenge: Nick Patti's first-quarter touchdown pass to Austin Triglia Saturday indicated--all by itself--marked improvement from St. Joseph's loss a year ago to Ohio powerhouse St. Edward. The Green Knights, after opening the 2014 season with a victory over McDonogh (Md.), were walloped by Eagles, 42-0, for their first shutout loss since 2005.
One touchdown, though, is not revenge. The Green Knights carried a 22-7 lead into the fourth quarter and then held off the rallying Eagles to escape with a 22-20 win to improve to 2-0. St. Edward pulled to within two points with 1:08 remaining, but had their game-tying, 2-point conversion run foiled by Ibn Foster, Jack Agnew and Jake Trotter. Trotter made a huge play earlier in the game with a 36-yard interception return for a score and freshman kicker Angelo Guglielmello made a vital contribution with a 36-yard field goal in the second quarter.
Immaculate is back: Fifteen months after receiving a death sentence from the Newark Archdiocese, tiny Immaculate Conception of Montclair was partying like it was, well, 2013. Playing its first varsity game since that season, the Lions opened the 2015 campaign with a 20-0 victory over Marist Friday in Bayonne.
Immaculate was initially instructed by the Newark Archdiocese to cease operation after the 2013-14 academic year, but launched a massive fundraising effort that breathed new life into the school, which had long been struggling with shrinking enrollment and tight finances. The school decided to play only a JV schedule in 2014, but vowed to return to varsity competition the next season under first-year coach Fabian Alesandro. Senior Christian Marsette paced the attack for the Lions with two scoring runs and a third TD off a pass from Krevon Davis. Nahshon Bushrod and Keshaun Lumpkin led the defense for Immaculate.
Power moves in Power Rankings
Pascack Valley took down its second state-ranked opponent in as many weeks when Colin Dedrick, Mike Pimpinella and Joe Williams steered the ninth-ranked Indians to a 20-13 victory over 12th-ranked Montclair Saturday in Montclair.
On the road one week earlier, then-15th-ranked PV edged 10th-ranked Hackensack when Dedrick hit Pimpinella with a 16-yard TD pass with 1:36 to play to rally his club to a 34-29 win. The two hooked up again for the crucial points, this time a 26-yard pass play, with 7:08 left in the game. Andrew Flores paced the ground attack for Pascack Valley with 116 yards on 17 carries and Williams, a senior linebacker, was once again a defensive standout.
Kermit Hoffman, Ridge: The two-way senior back helped spark a 45-13 win over North Hunterdon Friday with two touchdowns and also two interceptions in the Red Devils' opener. Hoffman caught two passes from Duncan Roberts for 106 yards and a touchdown and also rushed nine times for 88 yards and a score. Hoffman and Roberts had hooked up five times for touchdowns last season.
Craig Merkle, Nutley: He rushed 16 times for a career-high 310 yards and also scored a career-best five touchdowns Saturday to lead his Maroon Raiders to a 62-15 win over archrival Belleville. Merkle, a senior running back, scored four of his five touchdowns in the first half when Nutley built a 48-0 lead and he added his fifth in the third quarter.
Derek DeLaCruz, Paramus: The senior RB/LB erupted for four touchdowns Friday to guide the Spartans to a 35-27 win over Lakeland. He caught three passes for 63 yards and two touchdowns from fellow senior Chris Regalbuto, rushed 29 times for 129 yards and a TD and also scored with a fumble return.
Nick Goodwin, Wayne Valley: The senior QB completed 13 of 15 passes for 187 yards and four TDs and ran 11 times for 96 yards and one touchdown in a 37-0 win over Passaic Valley.
Top Special Teams Performers
Steve Leyden, Lenape Valley: The junior returned kicks of 85 and 75 yards for touchdowns Saturday in the Patriots' 35-14 win over Kittatinny. His second return, the 75-yarder, came seconds after Cody Romano of Kittatinny opened the second half with an 85-yard kick return.
Joe Norton, Cranford: The senior kicked a 36-yard field goal and was 3 of 3 on extra-points to help the Cougars edge Warren Hills, 24-23, on Friday.
Other top performances
Noah Abdalla, Northern Highlands, completed 9 of 15 passes for 175 yards and four TDs in a 54-6 win over Teaneck
Siraj Abdul-Malik, Hillside, carried 15 times for 200 yards and two touchdowns in a 34-13 win over Dayton. That snapped a six-game losing streak for the Comets.
Elijah Barnwell, Piscataway, rushed 15 times for 120 yards and scored three touchdowns in a 42-7 win over East Brunswick.
Dante Casolaro, Hanover Park, completed 15 of 20 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns and also carried 12 times for 103 yards and a score in a 41-6 win over Newton.
Brendan Coffey, Cresskill, ran 15 times for 166 yards and two TDs in a 36-6 win over Weehawken.
Dylan Connolly, River Dell, completed all four of his pass attempts for 88 yards and a touchdown and carried 10 times for 100 yards and two TDs in a 37-0 win over Ramsey.
Kevin Copper, Passaic Tech, ran 13 times for 172 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-0 win over Paterson Eastside.
Jayson DeMild, Sayreville, completed 8 of 10 passes for 163 yards and three TDs in a 35-7 win over J.P. Stevens.
Zachary DeNike, Old Tappan, carried only four times, but accumulated 170 yards and scored three TDs in a 68-13 win over Tenafly.
Grant Dixon, Roxbury, completed 26 of 35 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns and carried 12 times for 43 yards and a score in a 33-23 win over Sparta.
Joe Ferry, Saddle Brook, carried 12 times for 111 yards and four touchdowns in a 35-7 win over Wallington.
Zymire Gordon, Lincoln, completed 10 of 14 passes for 210 yards and three touchdowns and rushed four times for 57 yards and a score in a 50-7 win over Caldwell.
Luca Grave, Wayne Hills, rushed for 144 yards and three touchdowns on just five carries in a 47-0 win over Demarest.
Al-Jaqua Hawkins, Orange, rushed seven times for 140 yards and three TDs in a 41-0 win over Ferris.
Joe Hayford, Spotswood, rushed 11 times for 108 yards and two touchdowns and he returned an interception for a TD in a 37-6 win over Dunellen.
Austin Hopler, West Milford, scored on a 35-yard punt return and a 30-yard pass from Anthony Hanratty and he also came down with an interception in a 17-14 win over Paterson Kennedy.
Jake Lebovits, Metuchen, rushed four times for 127 yards and three TDs and was 5 of 5 passing for 69 yards in a 42-0 win over South River.
Ricky Lorenzo, Morristown, caught four passes for 145 yards, three of them going for touchdowns, in a 49-14 win over Montville.
Christian Marsette, Immaculate Conception, rushed twice for touchdowns and also caught a TD pass from Krevon Davis in a 20-0 win over Marist.
Will Modla, West Morris, recorded 10 tackles, two sacks and a fumble recovery in a 21-0 win over Parsippany Hills.
Eric Nickel, Bridgewater-Raritan, completed 17 of 26 passes for 185 yards and three touchdowns in a 29-14 win over Hunterdon Central.
Corrado Nirchio, Northern Highlands, caught three passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns in a 54-6 win over Teaneck.
Mark Riggio, Verona, scored on a 43-yard run, a 5-yard fumble return and 14-yard interception return in a 55-0 win over Newark East Side.
Duncan Roberts, Ridge, completed 12 of 23 passes for 283 yards and four touchdowns in a 48-13 win over North Hunterdon.
Manny Romero, Phillipsburg, caught a 79-yard TD pass from Danny Fisher, scored with an 85-yard kick return and had two interceptions in a 33-12 win over Union.
Corey Shedlock, Delaware Valley, rushed for 244 yards and three touchdowns on only nine carries to fuel a 42-19 win over Somerville.
Darius Stone, St. Mary, rushed 19 times for 191 yards and four touchdowns in a 30-6 win over Secaucus.
Sean Thornton, North Warren, completed 8 of 14 passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns, ran 12 times for 60 yards and made six tackles in a 26-19 win over Morristown-Beard.
Nile Uzzell, Franklin, rushed 32 times for 302 yards and broke off four long TD runs in a 34-27 win over Hillsborough.
Chris Vassallo, West Essex, rushed 22 times for 119 yards and two touchdowns and also recorded a sack in a 31-21 win over Irvington.
Joe Williams, Pascack Valley, compiled 10 tackles, including four for losses, had one sack and a caused fumble in a 20-13 win over Montclair.
Zamar Wise, Barringer, completed 9 of 14 pass attempts for 205 yards and two touchdowns in a 54-14 win over Memorial.
Keith Woetzel, Ramapo, completed 14 of 19 passes for 165 yards and one TD in a 42-6 win over Bergenfield.
Tough loss, good show
Ryan Beadle, North Hunterdon, kicked field goals of 32 and 39 yards in a 45-13 loss to Ridge.
Wykeel Johnson, Shabazz, rushed 18 times for 158 yards and a touchdown in a 24-20 loss to Hoboken.
Danny Mullin, Lakeland, passed for 307 yards and four touchdowns in a 35-27 loss to Paramus,
Jeremy Nurnberger, Manville, came up with eight tackles, 3.5 sacks and a fumble recovery in a 33-20 loss to Bound Brook.
Elijah J. Robinson, Montclair, caught scoring passes of 20 and 47 yards from Tarrrin Earle in a 20-13 loss to Pascack Valley.
Hoboken 24, Shabazz 20: The Red Wings snapped a 12-12 tie in the fourth quarter behind a 2-yard TD run by Wilden Germain and an 11-yard scoring run by Marquis Roberts for a 24-12 lead Friday in Newark. Germain, a senior QB, had knotted the score at 6-6 with a 6-yard run in the first quarter and provided a 12-6 lead the next quarter with a 1-yard run.
St. Joseph 22, St. Edward (Oh.) 20: The Green Knights built a 22-7 lead after three quarters, then stopped a two-point conversion attempt with just over 1:00 to play to hold on Saturday in Montvale.
Cranford 24, Warren Hills 23: Ryan Baker scored on an 8-yard run in the fourth quarter and Joe Norton booted the decisive PAT to rally the Cougars Friday in Washington.
Rutherford, 26, Glen Rock 22: Nick Birchby rallied the Bulldogs when he connected with Tom Reid on a 21-yard scoring pass in the fourth quarter Saturday in Glen Rock. That was Birchby's second scoring pass of the evening.
Hamilton 10, Princeton 7: Dayzjohn Dunston erased a 7-3 deficit for the Hornets with his 17-yard run in the fourth quarter Saturday in Hamilton. Jake Elmer kicked a 32-yard field goal in the second quarter to help Hamilton avenge a 28-7 season-opening loss last year.
Mahwah head coach Jeff Remo earned his 100th career win Friday with the Thunderbirds' 48-7 decision over Fort Lee. Zayjay Colon-Carrera rushed for two touchdowns and James Ciliento found Mike Teltekian twice for scores to spark the offense.
Balance it out
New Providence used 11 ball carriers to rack up 230 yards and score four touchdowns Friday in the Pioneers' 34-0 road win over South Hunterdon. Joe Barletta led the way with 69 yards on 11 attempts and Nick Falkowski ran for 43 yards and a touchdown on three attempts.
Boonton scored twice on fumble recoveries Friday to help the Bombers to a 42-7 win on the road against Butler. James Roberts covered 20 yards on his recovery in the second quarter and Amaro Anderson broke off a 60-yard scoop-and-score in the fourth.
GROUP 3 TOP 10
It's too big to be considered in the (Groups 1 and 2) small-schools poll and has difficulty competing for space in the big-schools rankings with all those non-public and Group 5 powerhouses on the block. Here, Group 3 gets its day in the sun with its own North/Central Jersey Top 10.
1. Pascack Valley (2-0)
2. Rumson-Fair Haven (0-0)
3. River Dell (2-0)
4. Matawan (0-1)
5. Ramapo (1-0)
6. West Essex (1-0)
7. Cranford (1-0)
8. Paramus (1-1)
9. Nutley (1-0)
10. Parsippany Hills (0-1)