September 30, 2011 Volume-I / Issue-2 N J AC N o t Si tt i n g St ill In Y ear Th ree Pa g e 4
Morristown-Beard Football Returns Pa g e 6 For Love Of The Game Pa g e 8 A Winning New Look Pa g e 1 0 Football Report: An Awesome Autumn Pa g e 1 2-13 County Tournaments Underway Pa g e 1 5
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September 30, 2011 I Volume-I I Issue-2
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The newspaper you’re holding in your hand is an exciting new way to follow Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference sports. But it’s only one half of the way we cover local high school action. For day-to-day coverage of sports in the NJAC, you can visit our multimedia website, www.allsportsmedianorth.com (or www.asmnorth.com for short). The site contains a wide variety of features and content that’s hard—or impossible—to find anyplace else:
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Not Sitting Still: Change Still Lies Ahead For 3-Year-Old NJAC By Paul Mencher – ASM Northern Review Managing Editor
I t w as b ig at th e time o f its bir th , an d its f ir s t mo nths b r o ugh t a lo t o f no is e, s o mu ch s o th at th e peop le ar ou n d it w o nd er ed if their liv es w o u ld ever be th e s ame.
gr o u ping of larg e s ch o ols in cen tr al M o r r is Co unty : M en d ham, D elb ar ton , M o r r is tow n, Ro x bu r y an d Ran d olp h . “Th ey’ r e clo s e, and ath letically talented. A n d n ow they can p lay each oth er a lo t,” he s ay s .
M y, h ow th e N o r th w es t J er s ey A th letic Co n f er ence has g r ow n.
A n o th er is s u e at th e s tar t r evo lved ar o un d th e M o r r is Cou n ty to u r n ament. S u s s ex Cou n ty s ch o ols w an ted to ch an ge the cou nty ev en t in to an N J A C to ur n ament. Bu t th e M o r r is s cho ols r es is ted .
Th e leag u e en ter s its thir d y ear w ith th e s tar t of s ch o ol this f all, an d ap p ear s to be o n s o lid f o o tin g. I n f act, th e co nf er ence’s new o r d er q uickly b ecame accep ted as the new no r mal. Bu t r ew in d jus t a cou ple of y ear s , and th at s ens e o f s tability har dly ap p ear ed to be a s ur e th in g.
“P eo ple d id n ’t w an t to g ive u p th e M o r r is Co un ty tr aditio n ,” s ay s D iCo lo , no tin g th at th e to ur n amen ts d ate b ack near ly a h alf - cen tur y. F o r tu nately, an o th er op tion o pen ed u p. “The cr eation of th e H u n ter d o n/War r en /S us s ex tou r n ament r eally helped the co nf er en ce, ” D iCo lo s ay s . The H /W/S ev en t g iv es th e S us s ex s cho o ls a s imilar large- s cale to ur n amen t in w hich to co mpete and pr o vides a meas u r e o f eq uity.
Th e N J A C comb in ed teams f r o m f iv e p r eviou s co nf er ences , bu t the b ig ges t is s u e S o af ter all the h ar d w or k an d had mor e to d o w ith chang e, the N J A C w ill no w s ettle geog r aph y. “I t w as in to a per io d of calm w itho ut any diff icu lt at th e s tar t Jefferson’s J.R. Reese up h eav al, r ig ht? Th ink ag ain. w ith th e M or r is S us s ex d ivid e,” s ay s Co me next year, th e leag u e leag u e p r es id en t J o h n D iCo lo , th e J eff er s o n H ig h w ill w elco me a n ew memb er, as N or th War r en leaves S choo l athletic dir ecto r. O f th e N J A C’s 3 9 s ch o ols , th e S k ylan d Con f er ence to jo in th e N J A C. The 28 ar e b as ed in M o r r is Cou n ty, w ith ju s t 1 0 in P atr iots w ill jo in near by H acketts tow n and th e S u s s ex an d on e ( H ack etts tow n ) in War r en Co u n ty. s maller S u s s ex Cou n ty s ch o ols in the F r eed om D iv is io n. “I t’s s o s pr ead ou t, ” n o tes M or r is H ills A D Ro b H ar aka, th e leag ue v ice- p r es id ent. “H ig h P o in t to “N o r th War r en Ch atham is a lo n g w ay. We had s ome lo n g meetin gs geo gr ap hically in the b eginn in g .” f its in to that d ivis ion ,” s ay s Th o s e mileag e is s u es , co mb ined w ith th e H ar ak a, “and th ey tr adition al r ivalr ies w ith in th e tw o co u n ties , mad e o ff er a lot o f s ched ulin g a majo r ch alleng e. A f ter man y meetin gs , s po r ts .” the co nf er ence f in ally came up w ith a d iv is io n al alig n men t f o r its f ir s t y ear. Bu t a co mp r o mis e p lan D iCo lo s ay s the f or th e tw o div is io ns w ith th e N J A C’s larg es t leagu e w o uld lo v e s cho ols h ad th os e teams p lay in g each o th er ju s t on ce to ex p an d even each in 2 0 09 - 1 0. f ur th er. “We have “I t w as a big mis take, ” D iCo lo s ay s . “F o r tu nately, app r o ach ed Wes t M ilf or d an d it w as jus t f or o ne year. ” The leag u e s o o n ad o p ted Lakeland and n ew ru les , p lacing th e 1 6 larg es t s ch o o ls in th e s o me oth er N atio nal and A mer ican d ivis io n s , d iv id ed s tr ictly b y s ch o o ls , ” h e s ays . n orth- s ou th g eog rap h y. Th os e div is io n s p lay a The th ou g ht is to tradition al h o me- an d- ho me f or mat. balan ce the leagu e by f in din g s cho o ls Th at p lan has its flaw s , to o, as it p u ts s ch o o ls lik e th at mak e s en s e to M on tv ille, M o r ris H ills an d M ou n t O liv e in a p lay in th e divis io n w ith th e larg er S u s s ex Cou n ty s ch o o ls , n or ther n mos t in clu d ing far- off H igh P oin t an d Vern o n . Bu t div is io n, bu t n o no th in g w ill ev er be p erfect. H ar ak a s ay s , “Th ere’s o ne has accepted a lot of giv e-an d-tak e in th is , y o u d o n ’t g et th e o ff er. ev er yth in g y ou w an t. ” Wh ile th e new div is ion al plan p u t s o me trad ition al rivals in d ifferent d iv is io ns , th at d id n ’t mean th o s e match u ps h ad to en d . “They ’v e main tain ed th eir riv alries th r ou gh in d ep en d ent games , ” s ay s D iCo lo . Ev en better, new rivalries emerg ed . D iCo lo cites a
Mount Olive's Anna Poggi Bu t even if no o ther s ch ools jo in , mo r e ch ang es ar e coming . “Th is O cto b er is a big mo nth ,” d eclar es D iCo lo. That’s w hen th e new en r ollmen t f ig u r es f o r th e leagu e’s s cho ols ar e f in alized . Bas ed o n th os e
n u mber s , th e makeu p o f th e leagu e’s to p tw o divis io ns w ill b e alter ed. “We an ticip ate Chatham mo ving u p, ” D iCo lo s ays , “w hich mean s on e team w ill mo ve d o w n . ” M or r is H ills and J eff er s o n ap pear to b e th e mos t likely cand idates . The n ew alignmen t w ill take eff ect f o r 20 12 - 13 an d h o ld f or tw o year s .
Randolph’s Sean Murphy
A n o ther po ten tial f u tu r e s h ak e- u p cou ld b e to th e leag ue’s f o o tb all align ment. Wh ile the N J A C us es f ive div is ion s f o r almos t all s p or ts , it has jus t f ou r f o r f o otball, as th e thr ee s maller- s ch oo l divis io ns ar e comb in ed in to tw o . “A lmos t ever y meetin g , w e talk ab ou t th e f oo tb all s ched ule, ” s ay s D iColo . “We’ v e talked abo ut chang ing to s maller div is io ns . S o me peop le w an t mo r e f lexib ility, b u t s o me w an t co mplete s ch edu les .” O n e las t ch ang e o n th e h or izon co uld b e a n ew leagu e p r es id en t. D iCo lo is the o n ly p r es id en t the N J A C has k no w n . H e w as a n atu r al cho ice w hen the co nf er ence f o r med , as J eff er s o n is a M or r is Cou nty s cho ol bu t pr eviou s ly p layed in th e S u s s ex Co un ty I n ter s cho las tic Leag ue. “I f elt w hat the S us s ex Co un ty s cho o ls f elt,” he s ays , “bu t I h ad a lo t of ex p er ience in M o r r is Cou nty to o .” N ow, h e s ug g es ts th at th r ee y ear s in th e to p p o s t may be en ou gh . N o matter w hat adju s tmen ts lie ah ead , th e cr eatio n o f th e N J A C ap pear s to hav e b een a plus f o r th e leag ue’s athletic p r og r ams . “I w o uld p ut this con f er en ce u p agains t any in th e s tate as f ar as the s u cces s w e’ v e h ad in the ( s tate) to ur namen t, ” D iColo s ay s . They may n o t ag r ee o n ever y thing , bu t th at’s on e tr end ev er yo ne in vo lv ed w ith th e N J A C h op es to s ee co n tinu e.
Paul Swenson www.photosbyswens.zenfolio.com
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Morristown-Beard Football Bringing Its Program Back By Mark Kitchin – Staff Writer Delbarton School and Villanova University graduate. A stockbroker at one point, he instead opted to teach and coach (basketball and football). Most of his football training came at Seton Hall Prep where he taught math and spent 10 seasons on the football sideline at a variety of levels.
Tim Fell had little time to lose and didn’t seem to be wasting a second of it. The MorristownBeard varsity football coach moves like a blur – questioning, instructing, beseeching, patting one player on the back and shouting encouragement to another as a busy practice moves along. Watching him in action can be tiring for most spectators, but the Crimson players seem to feed off his energy. They understand, because unlike most high school football players in Morris County, they know what it is to lose something they treasure and they know how important it is for them to work hard so that the privilege is never lost again. That is the privilege of playing on a varsity football team.
When the opportunity to be the head coach of the Morristown-Beard varsity football squad came in 2009, it was a dream come true. When the school decided to drop the varsity program in 2010, it gave him pause for thought --but only temporarily.
Morristown-Beard varsity football is back after a one-year hiatus. The Crimson were strictly jayvee in 2010 after a big drop-off in the number of players. There is the feeling of a new start, a new beginning and a sense of determination that will boost the Morristown-Beard program into something better than it’s been in recent years.
“I tr u ly b elieve th at win n in g is a s id e eff ect of h a r d wo r k, ’’ Fell s a id. “ I t’s n o t th e go al o f h a r d wor k. W h eth er it’s win n in g a lot o f g ames , win n in g all you r games , win n in g th e ch a mp io n s h ip o r win n in g th e tr o ph y, yo u h a ve it if you do it r ig h t.’’ The season has been a whirlwind of activity for Fell, with preparing the Crimson and the birth of his second child (a boy). It was only a day after the blessed event that he was back on the practice field prodding the Crimson players. Fell is a
“It was disappointing, sure, but it didn’t change the way I do things,’’ Morristown-Beard head Coach Tim Fell Fell said. “In the beginning when we announced it they (players) were disappointed and unsure of how it was going to all play out. I think that as we got into the season they realized that there are some really good football teams in this county, varsity and jayvee. We won some games but we lost some games, too. Some of the games were not as well matched, but it was a good experience for the majority of the players.” In some ways the jayvee season was an eye-opener at a school whose football alumni included Wake Forest’s Jyles Tucker, who until recently was a linebacker for the San Diego Chargers, and Colin Larmond, Jr., currently a starting wide receiver at Boston College. Morristown-Beard did lose a number of athletes that had no interest in playing for a program without a varsity team, but there were others who believed that football was football regardless of the level. “We had seniors that
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prepared for the season as if they were going to be playing varsity games,’’ senior lineman Alex Bruno said. “There were a couple of kids that wanted to play college ball and they were preparing for varsity and we just forgot it was a jayvee season and we went out and played football.’’ Surprisingly a couple of seniors that played jayvee football did get recruited by colleges, including John Fay, a defensive back who made the Gettysburg College roster. There were other kids that believed that playing strictly jayvee would not be a wasted year, and that if they committed to the program Morristown-Beard would bring the varsity team back. “We saw the varsity as our goal during freshman year,’’ junior lineman Billy Brauer said. “We always thought it was something we wanted to do. When the news broke that we weren’t going to play varsity (my) sophomore year, it just made us want to work harder. We wanted to prove to people in the school and outside the school that this is a
serious football program.’’ The decision to bring back the varsity squad and to play an independent schedule did bring in some athletes that had not considered the sport in the past. This year Morristown-Beard has 15 first-year players on their team such as Tom DePoalo, who is more known at school for his ice hockey play. The 6-foot, 195-pound linebacker is having fun and learning on the go. “It made it much easier knowing that they didn’t have a lot of experienced guys,’’ DePoalo said. “I could just come out here and play and learn like everyone else. I knew with my size I can be out here helping the team as much as I can.’’ Zaki Williams wasn’t going to play unless they brought back the varsity program. His appearance has given everyone a lift. The 6-foot-1, 160pound athlete is a track and basketball standout who helps the Crimson both with his play and his confidence. “I have no doubt in my mind that we are going to go .500 or better definitely,’’ Williams said. “I love the competition and I like a challenge. This is Mo-Beard. We always come back. We’re fighters. We’re never going to stay down.’’ But the first varsity game back was a struggle. Morristown-Beard traveled to Montclair Kimberley Academy and suffered through a 70-6 drubbing. “We were going against a really good team,’’ middle linebacker Tom Verno said. “I think the next game, even though we lost, it gave us some hope for the future and made us feel pretty good.’’ Many of the first-year varsity players shook off their opening day jitters and played inspired football but fell to Montclair Immaculate 35-27. The result put the Crimson back to work with more resolve to learn and desire to win. A recent 46-0 loss to Moore Catholic of Staten Island put them at 0-3. Obviously, the Morristown-Beard players would like to get a win or two before their first home game on Oct. 6 vs. Sussex Tech, but that particular contest is circled on every Crimson schedule. It’s the day Morristown-Beard students, teachers and friends can welcome home their varsity team back where it belongs -- as if it had never left. As Bruno put it, “We just want to put this program back to where it used to be.’’
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For Love Of The Game: Zimmerman Battles Back To Lead Madison By Mark Kitchin – Staff Writer It was about a month ago on Madison’s turf field and--with the exception of a few joggers and a young couple teaching their daughter to ride her bicycle without training wheels--the Dodgers’ Catherine Zimmerman was alone, happily blasting away at the soccer net. Dedication to duty comes easy to the senior forward with a big foot, but there was a time when she couldn’t do what she loves more than anything else -- put the soccer ball into the net.
“She loves the game,’’ Madison coach Kevin Lynott said. “It’s just in her nature. She doesn’t hold anything back. She has that passion, that desire. It’s great just to have her.’’ Although she hasn’t scored many goals this year, she is the focal point of the Dodgers offense which is off to a 4-2-1 start. If she isn’t scoring, Zimmerman is drawing defenders so her teammates can get better scoring opportunities, but don’t leave her alone. She has a very strong left and right foot and she needs just a bit of space and a split second to launch a soccer ball into the back of the net. “Shooting is definitely one of my strengths,’’ Zimmerman said. “I work really hard to give myself options to score as well as help other teammates.’’ Perhaps her desire comes from the fact that she knows how easily the game can be taken away from her. Zimmerman missed her whole sophomore season due to a concussion she suffered in a summer club tournament. She attempted to head in a cross. The ball hit the top of her head and she admitted she “saw stars’’. She continued to play until the pain in her head became unbearable. She figured that eventually it would stop. It didn’t. “For the first few months it was just constant,’’ Zimmerman said. “I wasn’t supposed to do anything. I wasn’t supposed to watch the TV. It was the most frustrating thing I’ve ever dealt with. I couldn’t do anything athletic for about six months.’’ Even after she was cleared to run, she wasn’t allowed to have contact for Senior Catherine Zimmerman
three months afterwards. When she finally had to opportunity to play, she felt more relief than trepidation.
“It was a little scary but I was more excited and happy to be back on the field,’’ Zimmerman said. “I missed the competitiveness because I’m a very competitive person. It was hard seeing everyone, competing and playing and having fun while I was just sitting there watching.’’ If there were a comeback player of the year award for Morris County girls’ soccer, Zimmerman would probably have won it last year. She finished with 12 goals and helped the Dodgers to a 9-5-4 record. Her future is secure. She has already committed to Providence College. Now her focus is on winning for Madison. Her Dodgers are off to a good start and seem ready to post another stellar season. One of Madison’s challenges is to get the rest of the Dodgers to play better off the ball rather than watch Zimmerman take on opponents. So far she has racked up six assists to go with two goals in her first seven games. Her Madison teammates have been beneficiaries of her unselfishness. Lynott admits that it’s a happy problem to have. “The concussion injury is always a concern because it only takes one that sets you back,’’ Lynott said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt of her determination and strength and desire.’’
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Morris County Tournament Preview By Mark Kitchin – Staff Writer This year ’s field looks like a hodgepodge with no dominating team and a variety of talented squads capable of taking home a title. The Dodgers have emerged as one of the better teams in the county this year but it will be interesting to see where teams will be placed this year since there are few squads without a blemish or two. A loss to Hanover Park may keep Madison from a top seed but the Hornets (after a 0-2 start) have been rolling lately, too.
offensive opportunities and score some goals as well. Kerri Clifford has also lifted her game on the offensive end. Kathleen Moyer and Lauren Belinski are among their most experienced defenders. Villa Walsh is off to a 6-0 start but some of the team’s most challenging opponents are yet to come.
The same may be true with Morris Catholic and Parsippany. The Red Hawks knocked the Crusaders out of the Morris County Tournament last year. Parsippany defeated Morris Catholic again this year in early season play. However, the Red Hawks have also lost to Madison.
The other finalist, West Morris, may be in for a long year. They still have scorers Jess Angle and Megan Monaco but something is just not clicking for them so far this season and the Wolfpack has gotten off to a slow start.
The Red Hawks have taken to new coach Greg Cleary and the Kelly sisters (Tiffany and Melissa) are among the players competing with more experience and confidence. Morris Catholic has plenty of talent, but it might be the first time in years that they do not have an experienced finisher. Junior midfielder Tara Sobierajski may be among the most talented playmakers in the county but the Crimson haven’t shown they have anyone to finish the plays that Sobierajski can’t finish herself. Last year’s finalists could return but it won’t be easy for either of them. Villa Walsh stunned everyone last year with a 1-0 triumph over West Morris to earn their first MCT soccer title. The Vikings have been able to prevail so far this year because of solid defense but they will eventually miss the scoring touch of Krista Longo, who virtually willed her team to the title last year. Still, the Vikings have plenty of players that experienced the thrill of winning a county title. Julia Esposito moved forward from the midfield position in order to create
Another team that should register a high seed is Kinnelon. The Colts tested themselves early against BridgewaterRaritan and, although they lost in double overtime, the close contest showed the players what they can accomplish this year. They have a dangerous scorer in Chalen Noble, good workers in the midfield and a strong defense anchored by senior Aine Schanche. Looking for a dark horse capable of making a mark this year? Look no further than Mount Olive. The Marauders are off to a quick start. They have firepower with Victoria Portesy and Nicole Amada stepping up.
Mendham won its first five games Where does this leave the old favorites but no team is safe in the National Roxbury and Morris Knolls as Division. The Minutemen found some tournament time approaches? Both are players capable of filling in for last not off to great starts. The Gaels are year’s standouts. Faith Sugerman young and inexperienced and may be seems to have picked up where suffering a bit from Jess Musmanno’s goalkeeper Robin Chernow left off. Villa Walsh's Kerri Clifford loss. The Golden Eagles stumbled early They have also found a new scorer in against Kinnelon and have alternated Alex Young. The sophomore sensation good and bad performances. However, don’t be surprised scored five goals in the team’s first three games and her if these teams straighten themselves out and make nice patience and composure in taking the ball to the net is tournament runs. They have done it in the past. reminiscent of another former Mendham scorer Jess Bitsack. Randolph entered the picture with a 1-0 victory over the Minutemen. At this writing, the defensive-minded Rams are 4-0-2. Randolph has allowed only two goals in six games and has found just enough offense to win its games.
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A Winning New Look: Montville Still a Force Despite Loss of Key Players By Mark Kitchin – Staff Writer valuable. We definitely have some depth in seniors that are hard workers and have been waiting to put in their time on the field. A lot of guys are hungry to play. We’ve been successful so a lot of the guys didn’t see much of the field.’’
It’s not easy for teams to reinvent themselves, especially squads that have gained success year after year. However, when the personnel of a team changes, it becomes almost a necessity to alter the style of play to fit the squad. When Montville opened its boys’ soccer practice this season, the changes were stark, most noticeably the loss of Morris County Player of the Year J.P. Correa, who is now starting at Rutgers as a freshman. Mustangs coach Jon Lopuski was undeterred. He and his team realized right away that it would take more than one or two players to replace someone that talented. “J.P. made it less tiring for all of us,’’ junior midfielder Jack London said.
”Every time he took on eight players, we would get our breath back. You never see a talent like that in this town. This year we don’t have a kid that is going to score 36 goals. It’s more about working as a group.’’ It’s not just Correa the Mustangs had to replace. Target forward Austin Okereke, standout goalkeeper Rob Swallow and dynamic finisher Andreas Georgiades were among seven seniors that contributed to a 24-2 record and a team that won conference, county and state sectional titles. Replacing that kind of athletic talent and experience is extremely difficult but the Mustangs may have some assets that could keep them on the winning track and not far off from their predecessors.
This season he will use his crafty playmaking skills to push the Mustangs forward. “I have a whole different position from last year,” London said. “Our offense has to step up because we don’t have a guy that can score that many goals. We have the same exact defense as last year and they did really well so I’m expecting the same as this year.’’ He’s found a good target in Mikey Georgiades, Andre’s younger brother. The senior midfielder is finding his form and has had two-goal games in solid wins against High Point and Jefferson.
Head Coach Jonathan Lopuski
Defenders Eric Manning and Jared Weiner played roles in last year’s squad. Having a more defensive mentality may be one of the keys to the new look Mustangs. “We’re going to have to play a lot
The Mustangs started off the season 6-0 and even though they know that tougher competition awaits them, the opening victories have put them in a good groove and given them the confidence to reach for those high expectations after all.
different style,’’ Manning said. “We’re going to have to move for each other. Not a lot of dribbling, more passing and we just have to work a lot harder. I think everything needs to improve. Defense needs to get better.’’
Junior Jack London
“We have some younger guys,’’ Lopuski said. “We have three sophomores on the squad that have proven to be
juniors and even some sophomores have stepped up. Everyone is stepping up to the plate. We are all moving the ball pretty well. I like how we are playing so far.’’
London has taken on the responsibility of generating offense, either by scoring himself or setting up others. The junior midfielder was able to flash some of his talents last year.
“We will take it game by game,’’ Lopuski said. “If we play as a team, defensive all the way up to our attackers, we have a good chance of having a really good year.’’ Senior Mikey Georgiades
“Last year’s team was a little different because the seniors were the playmakers,’’ London said. “Now the
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A Sneak Peek At The Morris County Tournament By Mark Kitchin – Staff Writer Whether th e M u s tan g s can mak e it to th e title g ame th r ee year s in a r o w is debatab le. M on tville d o es h av e s o me s tiff co mp etition , mos t no tably D elbar ton . A f ter a f ew year s o f mis s ing th e f in al, th e G r een Wav e s eems r ead y f or a r etu r n to p r o min en ce. O th er th an a 1- 0 d ef eat to Ch r is tian Br o th er s A cad emy, w hich s ome o rg an izatio ns r ate as the top team in th e s tate, D elb ar to n r attled off f ive co n s ecu tiv e tr iump h s and outs cor ed th eir o p p o n en ts 1 7 - 2. M att Clau s en , M ike M o s h ier, G r eg S eif er t an d M ik e Villar o h av e helped to g en er ate p lenty of o ff ens iv e o pp or tun ities . Th e d ef en s e h as b een s tellar and Lu ke Ro s s i is s olid and co n s is ten t in th e n et. Bu t th at G r een Wav e s tr eak en ded in a 2 - 1 lo s s to Ran do lp h , w h ich w on th e game o n a late J ames U r b an g oal. Th e w in kep t th e Rams un b eaten ( th ey have o n e tie to d ate) an d mak es th em an oth er f av o r ite f o r th e co u n ty to ur n amen t. A n gel Baen a, K y le M ah on ey, J oe D o b bin s an d go alkeeper M ich ael Lan s in g ar e o th er memb er s of a s id e w h ich w ill b attle D elbar to n f or N atio n al D iv is io n h on o r s . Randolph's Joel Potter (#7) & Joseph Dobbins (#11)
Ch ath am, las t y ear ’s f inalis t, h ad a s ur pr is in g lo s s to H an o ver P ar k b ef or e g oin g o n a victor y r u n, w innin g s ix o f s ev en . Tr ip Bu r k e, Th omas S tep han , Q u in n F r en zel an d go alkeeper Br ian P etr u nic ar e s av v y player s and ar e p o is ed f or an o th er s u cces s f u l to u r n amen t r u n.
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Th er e ar e o th er s qu ad s emerging that may p o s t s o me s ur p r is es . O n e Chatham's (#23) Trip Burke & teammates team w hich may b e cap ab le of g oing deep in th e to ur n amen t is M o u ntain Lakes . Th e Lak er s p os ted f ou r co n s ecu tiv e s h u tou ts to s tar t th e s eas on altho u g h a r ecen t los s to Whipp an y P ar k may h av e hu r t th eir co nf iden ce a b it. J ake Wickham, Er ic D ir ck s , J on Br o o me an d Ch r is Ro b er ts o n ar e go o d ath letes an d the Lak er s h av e alw ay s b een a co mp etitiv e b u nch th at s tep s up w hen neces s ar y.
Kinnelon team on the bench with coach Nick Stokes
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Th r ee o th er teams f r o m th e Lib er ty D iv is io n mig ht als o be r ead y to mak e s o me n o is e in the tou r n amen t. K in nelon lo s t man y key p layer s f r o m las t y ear ’s s u cces s fu l s q u ad bu t s till app ears s tro n g. M o rr is to w n-B eard p u lled out a 2 -1 w in o v er K in n elo n an d is allow in g les s th an a g o al p er game. A n d Wh ip pan y P ark p r o v ed its elf in its v ictory over M ou n tain Lak es and is als o a to ug h d efen s iv e team.
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Prepare For An Awesome Autumn: Scene Set For October Football Showdowns In The NJAC By Paul Mencher – ASM Northern Review Managing Editor
So far, the 2011 NJAC football season has something for everyone. If you like parity and unpredictability, you’ve got to love the league’s large-school divisions. If you prefer powerhouse programs and despise upsets, then the small-school divisions are for you. Already we have a number of great storylines developing with the prospect of some huge games on the horizon. And maybe we’ll even see a big surprise among the smaller schools.
GReeN WAVe SURGING: Delbarton opened its season with an impressive victory at Pope John, and followed that up with a dominant win over Morris Knolls. In both cases, the Green Wave knocked off a team that beaten them a year ago. With hyperfast running back Jamie White tearing through the opposition and the Fajardo brothers, Eric and Rob, making huge plays on defense and special teams, Delbarton was beginning to look unstoppable. But on a rainy night in Long Valley, West Morris came close to putting the brakes on the Green Wave train. The Wolfpack managed to keep the Delbarton offense in check for much of the game. The Green Wave’s first two touchdowns came after turnovers gave them possession in West Morris territory. But after the Wolfpack took a 21-14 lead with under five minutes to play, Delbarton came through when it mattered most. A swing pass from John Shaffer to White went for a huge gain, setting up Delbarton inside the 15. Three plays later it was White bursting into the end zone. Then coach Brian Bowers made two gutsy calls: first deciding to go for two points and the win, and secondly Delbarton’s Jamie White electing to throw a pass on the conversion try in the pouring rain. Shaffer got the ball to Cole Riccardi and Delbarton escaped with a 22-21 win.
While Delbarton stands alone atop the wild National Division, its path to a league title and a top playoff seed is hardly clear. Games with Parsippany Hills, Randolph and Morristown stand as serious obstacles for the Wave.
their first three games despite a key injury. Now Chatham will put itself to a real test, taking on division heavyweights Madison and Lenape Valley in back-to-back games.
VIKINGS UPSeT THe APPLe CART:
Heading into Week Three, Delbarton and Morristown seemed to be the clear top dogs in the National Division. Yet had it not been for the dramatic rally by the Green Wave, both teams would have come up on the short end. Parsippany Hills pulled off the shocker of the weekend, posting a dominant 31-13 win over Morristown that wasn’t even as close as the score indicates. The Vikings controlled the line of scrimmage while quarterback Tyler Simms had a huge day, throwing for over 200 yards and four touchdowns. The Par Hills defense limited star Colonials running back Zac Carter while C.J. Joyce ran for more than 100 yards for the Vikings. A key lesson learned in both of these games is that a grass field—especially a wet one—can make a big difference when a team is used to artificial turf. Both Delbarton and Morristown play on turf and use their speed to great advantage on the fake stuff. But a soft grass field can nullify the speed edge. The good news for the Colonials and the Green Wave is that each team has only one more regular-season game scheduled on grass: Delbarton at Randolph the last weekend in October and Morristown at High Point the following week.
It’s just two weeks into league play, but the battle lines are clearly drawn in the race for American Division title. And it’s looking like a throwback to the days of the Sussex County Interscholastic League as Sparta, Jefferson and Pope John will fight for the crown. The Spartans continued their impressive start to the season with a 42-21 triumph over Vernon. Quarterback Jake Melville had a huge game, running for three touchdowns, throwing a TD pass and also returning an interception for the clinching score. The first of the showdown games in this division takes place this Friday when Jefferson hosts Sparta. Both teams come in at 3-0 after Jefferson escaped an upset bid by Mount Olive in the pouring rain this past weekend, pulling out a tough 147 triumph. The Falcons’ defense
RAINING POINTS IN MAdISON: The favorite to repeat as Freedom Division champions has done nothing in its first two games to raise doubts about its chances. Madison has scored 100 points in those two victories and looks like an offensive juggernaut once again, despite the graduation of many key players. Junior Justin Goodwin is smoothly taking over the lead running back role. He has more than 300 yards and seven touchdowns in the first two games— despite only carrying the ball a total of 18 times. Expect Goodwin’s workload to increase when the Dodgers face tougher opponents, such as this week’s foe, Chatham. The Cougars are the pleasant surprise in the Freedom Division thus far, winning
gave up an early touchdown but then shut down Mount Olive the rest of the way, despite four turnovers by the Jefferson offense. Sparta vs. Jefferson looks like a great game, featuring Jefferson’s J.R. Reese
Con tinue d o n next p ag e
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www.asmnorth.com the Spartan offense which has scored 87 points the last two weeks against a Falcon defense that has permitted just 14 points all season. Yet the key to the game could come on the other side of the ball. Jefferson’s offense, led by sophomore quarterback J.R. Reese (son of New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese), has shown promise but has not posted a real breakout performance yet. The Falcons will surely need to make some big plays to beat Sparta. The winner of that game still must face Pope John, which showed signs of putting everything together in its 47-14 win over High Point. After their lopsided loss to Delbarton and a struggle to beat Morris Hills, the Lions looked like a much improved team against the Wildcats. The spread offense made a number of big plays (mostly in the running game, it should be noted) while the defense was better able to get off the field.
PATRIOT POWeR: Speaking of Lenape Valley, the Patriots have quietly opened the season with three easy wins. Of course, that’s how they do it in Stanhope, as coach Don Smolyn plugs in new players and churns out another competitive team each year. This year’s schedule saw Lenape Valley open by facing all of the other Sussex and Warren County teams in the division, and the Patriots are proving themselves the clear top squad among that group. Life gets a bit tougher when Smolyn’s team moves on to the Morris County portion of its schedule. Games against Chatham, Hanover Park and Madison will prove the real test to see just how good this year’s Patriots are.
NO ReWRITeS YeT: Remember that script we wrote about in our football preview that the Independence Division has followed each of its first two years? It looks like they dusted off the same script for another sequel. Of the first 12 division games, only one contest had a different result compared to last year. And just like last year, league favorite Mountain Lakes faced an upset bid and had to come from behind to pull out the win, this time rallying past a dangerous Dover team 21-14. Once again, it’s Butler that appears to be the biggest threat to the Herd’s reign over this division. Despite losing nearly all their top skill players, the Bulldogs have scored 142 points in their first three games. Most impressively, Butler steamrolled rival Pequannock 59-26 in their Week Three showdown. Senior Mike Tenned, until this year mainly a defensive player, has blasted onto the scene with over 500 yards rushing and 12 total touchdowns. While nothing is guaranteed, if they keep following the script, the Butler-Mountain Lakes game on October 22 will—for the third straight year—decide the division winner.
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County Tournaments Underway By Paul Mencher – ASM Northern Review Managing Editor While a state championship may be the ultimate goal for a high school sports team, it can prove quite elusive. And even when a team does reach a state final, it usually faces a foe from the southern part of the state which it has never played before—and very well may never play again. For those reasons, many times the county tournament stirs more emotion for players and coaches than even the states. For teams in the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference, that means two separate events: the venerable Morris County tournament or the new Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex tournament, depending on the location of the school. The start of October means these tournaments are getting underway. Here’s a quick look at the schedules for both events. Of course, all dates are subject to change due to weather—which is a real concern considering the events of the past month.
Defending champion: Montville
Defending champion: Hunterdon Central
Defending champion: Voorhees
Preliminary round – Sunday, Oct. 2
Preliminary round – Friday, Oct. 7
Preliminary round – Saturday, Oct. 1
First round – Sunday, Oct. 9
First round – Saturday, Oct. 15
First round – Friday, Oct. 7
Quarterfinals – Sunday, Oct. 16
Quarterfinals – Saturday, Oct. 22
Quarterfinals – Saturday, Oct. 15
Semifinals – Sunday, Oct. 23 at Morris Catholic
Semifinals – Wednesday, Oct. 26
Semifinals – Wednesday, Oct. 19
Finals – Saturday, Oct. 29 at Roxbury, 5:30 (part of a doubleheader with the girls’ final)
Finals – Saturday, Oct. 29 at Vernon, 10:00am (part of a doubleheader with the girls’ final— alternate site: North Hunterdon)
Finals – Saturday, Oct. 22 at Vernon, 2:00
Girls’ soccer Defending champion: Villa Walsh Preliminary round – Sunday, Oct. 2 First round – Sunday, Oct. 9 Quarterfinals – Sunday, Oct. 16 Semifinals – Sunday, Oct. 23 at Morris Catholic Finals – Saturday, Oct. 29 at Roxbury, 7:30
Girls’ soccer Defending champion: Vernon Preliminary round – Friday, Oct. 7 First round – Saturday, Oct. 15 Quarterfinals – Saturday, Oct. 22 Semifinals – Wednesday, Oct. 26 Finals – Saturday, Oct. 29 at Vernon, 12 noon (alternate site: North Hunterdon)
Field hockey Defending champion: Chatham Preliminary round – Saturday, Oct. 1 First round – no later than Saturday, Oct. 8 Quarterfinals – no later than Saturday, Oct. 15 Semifinals – Wednesday, Oct. 19 Finals – Saturday, Oct. 22 at Boonton, 6:30
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Keep up to date with the schedules & results of these county tournaments on our website, www.asmnorth.com. You can also find updated tournament brackets.
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