Bernards High School football has lost just six games over the last three-plus seasons, tallying 24 wins over that same timeframe. But four of those losses have come at the hands of one foe: Hillside, who Bernards prepares to battle Sunday afternoon in the Rumble on the Raritan at SHI Stadium.
It’s Game One of Central Jersey Sports Radio’s season-opening “Big Central Game of the Week” doubleheader, driven by Mark Montenero and his team at the world-famous Autoland.
Coverage begins approximately 1:45 pm on Central Jersey Sports Radio, with Mike Pavlichko hosting the pregame show. Justin Sontupe and Tim Catalfamo will call the action, with Bernards sports broadcasting student Matt Lesnik joining the broadcast as well. Kickoff is scheduled for 2p. Click here to listen to the game live.
“They’re just a very good football program,” said Bernards Head Coach Jon Simoneau. “They just happen to be in our league, so we have to play a very difficult team. They’ve all been close games.”
Bernards will have a golden opportunity to change that narrative Sunday afternoon in front of the Rumble on the Raritan crowd. But it won’t be easy. The Mountaineers are replacing a senior starter at quarterback in Teddy Gouldin and 2020’s leading receiver, Pat Caldwell. In Bernards’ season opener last week at Penns Grove, the Mountaineers struggled following a mid-game weather delay, falling 40-20.
Mike Leanza will be the focal point of Bernards’ attack. The senior running back led the team in rushing last season and ran for 146 yards and a score in the season opener.
At stake Sunday is the chance to snap the skid against No. 10 Hillside and avoid opening the season 0-2 for the first time since 2017. But if the last few years are any indication, one can expect Bernards to be prepared for the challenge.
“We’re past this as a program, saying we are in a rebuilding year,” Simoneau said. “Everything at this point is a reloading year. Seven wins is the goal.”
Click below to hear Justin Sontupe talk with Bernards head coach Jon Simoneau about his team and the Rumble on the Raritan contest against Hillside: