Let’s make it perfectly clear: everyone who put up big numbers for Hillsborough’s undefeated, 13-0 state championship team in 2021 is gone.
You wouldn’t know it by looking at the scoreboard.
Just like last year’s team, which had played together since their days with the Junior Raiders, the 2022 version of Hillsborough High School football has some kids who’ve done the same. And Friday night, in their season opener at home, the Raiders found that connection as quarterback Ryan Tasetano found receiver Shane Donoghue for two long touchdowns, as the Raiders scored the first 35 points of the game in a 42-6 blowout of East Brunswick.
The win extends the Big Central Conference’s longest active winning streak to 14 games. That’s also the second longest active streak in the state, tied with Bergen Catholic, which has won 14 in a row, including a 12-0 state championship season last year, and a win in its final game of the 2020 COVID year. Only Caldwell – last year’s North Group 2 Regional Champion – has won more consecutive games: 15 and counting, with their season opener coming up tomorrow night at Morris Catholic.
It was the opening game for both teams, and next week, Hillsborough will play at arch-rival Bridgewater-Raritan Friday night, in a game that can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio. Rick Mantz, who won a title as a player (1980) and head coach (2020) at Hillsborough is now the Panthers’ head coach, adding even more juice to one of the Big Central’s biggest rivalries.
Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko with postgame reaction from Hillsborough’s season-opening win over East Brunswick: