No. 6 Phillipsburg confident heading into opener despite losing several key parts

Phillipsburg coach Frank Duffy (center) with his seniors, from left to right, Mulik Warren, Nolan Chiulli, Stephan Gural, Luke Slack, Tristen Canzano and Tim Pherson.

It’s a refrain you hear every single year from almost every single high school football coach, unless that coach happens to be in the lucky position of having every single one of his starters back (think Ridge, 2013).

Team X loses a bunch of players to graduation and will have to find new blood to replace all the production from Players A, B and sometimes C.

Phillipsburg is in that boat, too, like just about everyone else in the Big Central Conference – to varying degrees – but head coach Frank Duffy is confident.

Gone are quarterback Matt Garatty (1,050 passing yards, 214 TD, 2 INT), runningback Matt Quetel (749 rushing yds, 12 TD, plus three more and 138 more yards receiving), and the Stateliners’ top four receivers: Jalil Terrel (352 yds, 6 TD), Declan Marron (212 yds, 1 TD), Quetel and Michael Wambold (171 yds, 1 TD).

The names may change, but in Phillipsburg, the stats – they hope – will largely remain the same.

And their strong suit will be running the football. “We want to make sure we control the clock,” Duffy says

Young runningbacks Xavier Moore (junior) and Caleb Rivera (sophomore) will figure primarily into that plan, while Duffy says QB Tristen Canzano can run the ball, too.

P’burg willl put all that to the test Friday night at 6 pm in the “Big Central Game of the Week” driven by Mark Montanero and his team at the world-famous Autoland, when the Stateliners travel to Piscataway for the 2021 season opener for both teams.

You can hear the game live on Central Jersey Sports Radio by clicking here, with pregame set for approximately 5:45 pm.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Phillipsburg head coach Frank Duffy about his team, and the season opener against Piscataway:

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