Edison-North Brunswick rivalry is a friends and family affair as they meet again, this time for a chance at a title

Edison wide receivers coach Brian Calantoni (in black pants) on the sideline at football practice on November 2, 2022. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Whenever Edison and North Brunswick face each other, especially recently, the games have been epic, knock-down, drag-out battles.

But regardless of whether it’s been close, or not, there’s this fact: the Eagles haven’t won a game against the Raiders since 2014, so there are some streaks involved.

A Mike Cipot-coached North Brunswick team has never lost to Edison (5-0).

And the Eagles’ fourth-year starting QB, Matt Yascko, has never beaten the Raiders in three tries. He became the starter in 2019, when Lucas Loffredo suffered a season-ending injury, but Loffredo started the Edison game that year.

They meet Friday night at Steve Libro Field in North Brunswick in the Central Jersey Group 5 semifinals, with the Eagles (7-3) the 6th seed, and the Raiders (8-1) the 2nd seed, and a lot on the line.

Edison last made a title game in 1991, when they won it all, to go along with their only other title, in their only other finals appearance, in 1976.

North Brunswick has made two finals appearances under Cipot: in 2018 – when they droppee an epic Central Jersey Group 5 title game at Sayreville, 6-0 – and last year, in a loss to Hillsborough’s greatest team ever. They’re 0-3 all-time, their only other appearance coming in the Central Jersey Group 2 finals in 1979 to South River.

But for all that’s at stake Friday in that regard, there’s still more.

Yascko and his North Brunswick counterpart – Frankie Garbolino, a three-year starter in his own right – are good friends. They both play baseball for their respective schools, and play on the same team in the summer. Their families are close.

That’s because their fathers played together when they were in high school – at Edison. So this one has extra juice for them, too.

Justin Garbolino, Matt Yascko (Edison’s offensive coordinator) and Brian Calantoni (Edison’s wide receivers coach and president of the Edison Boys’ Baseball League) were practically inseparable growing up, through their early school years and into high school – where they won the 1991 Central Jersey Group 4 title – and then into college, where all three roomed together – though only Yascko and Garbolino played – at Monmouth University, on the Hawks’ inaugural football team in 1993.

Media guide bios for Matt Yascko and Justin Garbolino, in the inaugural season for Monmouth University football, 1993. (Source: monmouthhawks.com)

This week, Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko visited Edison to sit and talk with Calantoni, about the ties that bind: growing up in Edison, never really leaving, and how that’s fueled the program’s recent success.

Click below to listen:

Edison alum and wide receivers’ coach Brian Calantoni. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

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