One of the biggest stumbling blocks over the years – though it never seemed really all that complicated in retrospect – to determining public group champions in football was what to do about Thanksgiving. And say what you might, no game is bigger than Phillipsburg-Easton, even though it only has one Jersey team playing in it.
But somehow, the powers that be found a way, shortening the season a week, and with many teams starting on Week Zero.
What it will do for the Stateliners is allow then to play Easton on Turkey Day, and still compete for a sectional, regional and group crown.
P’burg’s last sectional title came in 2018, the first year of the “regional bowl” games, when they beat Irvington. But they lost to Easton the following week, and in fact, haven’t beaten the Red Rovers in eight years, 2014 being the last time, when the liners went 11-1, beating Colonia in the North 2, Group 4 title game at Rutgers.
While Phillipsburg would love another two-fer, everyone knows: Easton’s the thing.
This year will be a challenge, though, as the Stateliners will have to replace their leaders in passing, rushing, receiving, tackles, sacks and interceptions – yes, six different players in all.
But as head coach Frank Duffy tells it, the cupboard isn’t bare, just a little green.
Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Phillipsburg head coach Frank Duffy about the 2022 season: