Top-ranked ‘Liners look to keep it going when Phillipsburg and No. 8 Hillsborough Rumble on the Raritan Sunday

Phillipsburg’s Kevin Burgess crosses the goal line for a touchdown against North Hunterdon in a Big Central Conference game in Annandale, NJ on September 14, 2023. (Source: @LinersAthletics on Twitter)

Over the last year-and-a-half, Phillipsburg has stood up to every in-conference challenge it’s faced.

The Stateliners went undefeated in last year’s regular season and have started 2023 with three-straight wins, including two against fellow Big Central top-10 opponents. With the highest of expectations, the winningest program in the history of New Jersey high school football hasn’t lost a Big Central game since October 1, 2021 at Bridgewater-Raritan.

But new challenges await this weekend, and it’s not just the opponent.

No. 1 Phillipsburg draws No. 8 Hillsborough (3-1, 1-1 Big Central – American Silver) in the Rumble on the Raritan on Sunday at Rutgers’ SHI Stadium.

Such is to say that it’s actually three challenges: a top-10 division rival, a Sunday game, and a 53,000-seat stadium.

Ask head coach Frank Duffy, in his 8th season in charge at Phillipsburg, about the different elements and his tone doesn’t change. It’s exciting to play in a big-time venue, and while they’ve changed some things this week timing-wise, how Phillipsburg prepared remained a constant. The focus is on doing what it takes to beat a really good Hillsborough team and improve to 4-0.

Junior quarterback Jett Genovese has thrown for 477 and six touchdowns this season. Classmate Matthew Scerbo Jr. has 229 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Thunder and thunder backfield tandem Caleb Rivera and John Wargo have combined for 465 rushing yards and four scores. The defense has allowed just four touchdowns all season. There are few teams in the state, if any, playing better football than Phillipsburg is right now.

The Stateliners will put their 3-0 record to the test on Sunday, a test that includes a rainy Sunday forecast, a Division 1 stadium, and, of course, a stout Big Central rival in Hillsborough. Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe will call the action from SHI Stadium. Coverage begins at 11:40 with kickoff set for 12:00 on Central Jersey Sports Radio. Click here to listen.

Click below to hear Phillipsburg head coach Frank Duffy talk with Justin Sontupe about Sunday’s game:

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