High School Football

Somerville football players run at the end of voluntary summer workouts on August 1, 2022 behind the bleachers at Brooks Field in Somerville (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Ten questions as football practice opens across New Jersey today

All across the state, many high school football players have been taking part in voluntary off-season workouts. But starting today, August 10th, football practice and heat acclimatization officially begins – and luckily, the July/August heatwave appears to be subsiding at just the right time. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have some burning questions about the 2023 football season. So here’s a look at some of the things we’ll be looking for as we embark on the the third overall and second full season of the Big Central Conference. We’ll run Questions 1 through 5 for you today, and be…

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St. Joseph-Metuchen alum and Ft. Wayne Tin Caps broadcaster John Nolan. (Source: @John_G_Nolan on Twitter)

St. Joseph alum, MiLB broadcaster John Nolan wins one for grooms everywhere

The average guy, when it comes to wedding prep, is somewhere in the background. Maybe an opinion or an idea here and there, but it’s often the bride-to-be designing and creating the wedding of their dreams. John Nolan – a 2009 graduate of St. Joseph-Metuchen, who’s getting married this December – had one big idea. It went viral, and now it’ll be a part of the celebration when he marries his fiancee, Nicole. Nolan – now in his tenth season broadcasting Fort Wayne Tin Caps baseball, a high-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres – grew up a big Mets…

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Old Bridge’s Matt Donaghue – here patrolling the sidelines as Defensive Coordinator – has taken over as the Knights’ head coach. (Submitted photo)

Donaghue aims to keep the consistency going as he takes the reins at Old Bridge

The first thing Matt Donaghue talks about when asked about his promotion to head coach of the Old Bridge football program is how Anthony Lanzafama’s January announcement that was was stepping down came as a total surprise. And why not? Consider that Bob DeMarco was the head coach for 33 seasons, first at Madison Central, then at Old Bridge when the school was formed via merger with Cedar Ridge in the mid-1990s. Then, former DeMarco student Anthony Lanzafama – who played on the last Madison and first OB team – took over for the next 12 years. That’s remarkable in…

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Some Big Central teams will have a tougher road than others to the playoffs in ’23

Back in the days when power points themselves were simpler, and the only method the NJSIAA used for playoff seeding, there would always be some six-win team that could make a case to get in the playoffs over a four-win team. In 2017, 5-3 Linden missed the playoffs, while Columbia – 0-8 at the cutoff – made it in, thanks to a multiplier. And even now, with power points more complicated, and OSI added in, there’s controversy. Manville didn’t make the playoffs last year at 6-2, when a Cutoff Weekend loss to Metuchen cost them a playoff spot, meaning the…

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NJSIAA reclassifications move five Big Central teams; others will have new competition, too

According to the NJSIAA football classifications released to the public on its website, five Big Central Conference football teams will compete for a playoff spot in new sections this coming season, with three of them moving up to a larger group size. Rahway will move up to the North Group 4 playoff supersection, which will feature 31 teams in all. Last year, the Indians played in South 3 with the likes of Carteret, Somerville and South Plainfield. Now, they’re in a supersection with nine other Big Central teams, all with larger populations, including Colonia, JFK, Linden, Montgomery, North Hunterdon, Ridge,…

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Strength of Schedule and OSI for 2022 H.S. Football; did the Big Central get it right?

Every couple of years, sometimes every year, leagues and conferences around New Jersey do The Shuffle. It’s less a dance than a Rubik’s Cube, but the goal is to get all their teams in competitive divisions. Ultimately, someone will say they’re playing too many big schools, or will wind up slaying a bunch of smaller schools, but the decision-makers have nothing to go on other than coach or athletic director recommendations, the eye test, and records. The reformation of the state’s playoff formula four years ago may have made the system much more complicated – and now requires a slide…

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Who’s the “strongest” Big Central team heading into ’22? We take a deep dive into the numbers

We are less than four weeks away from Week Zero – Opening Day for not all, but a good number of high school football teams across the state, and in the Big Central Conference, which will be playing its second full season this year. And with our Central Jersey Sports Radio play-by-play schedule reveal kicking off our third straight season of high school football coverage on the site, it’s time to delve into some of the numbers before we start previewing teams, the season and looking at some of the new head coaches around the league. The 2020 season was…

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Hillsborough – which finished 13-0 last season and won the South Jersey Group 5 sectional (shown here) and South 5 regional crowns – will be featured in our third game of the 2022 season on Central Jersey Sports Radio. (Photo: Tim Catalfamo)

Central Jersey Sports Radio announces 2022 High School Football Broadcast Schedule

For the Big Central Conference’s second full season, Central Jersey Sports Radio’s third season of live high school football action will feature some great matchups, including longtime rivals, and games that will have major implications for division titles and playoff races. CJSR has scheduled a nine-game regular season slate, and just like last year, the last two weeks are being held as open dates, with games to be determined. More on that in a bit. The season begins with an old-time, long-time Thanksgiving Rivalry, now played in Week Zero: Highland Park at Metuchen, kicking off the season on Saturday, August…

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Full game replay of the Maria Rose Bowl on CJSR

In the inaugural Marisa Rose Bowl presented by Bellamy & Son Paving, Monmouth-bound quarterback Christian Solino of St. Joseph-Metuchen threw for a touchdown and ran for another to lead Team Marisa to a 14-7 win over Team Rose. Joe Bellamy scored the lone touchdown for Team Rose on an 11-yard run late in the first half. Click below to listen to the entire game broadcast, with Mike Pavlichko and Korbid Thompson calling all the action live from Steve Libro Field at North Brunswick Township High School:

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Rocco Bellamy of Piscataway scores for Team Rose just before halftime in the Marisa Rose Bowl on July 21, 2022 in North Brunswick. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

AUDIO RECAP: Listen to all the scoring in the Marisa Rose Bowl

In the first-ever version of the Marisa Rose Bowl, the all-Middlesex County high school football all-star game, St. Joseph-Metuchen product Christian Solino led Team Marisa to a 14-7 win over Team Rose, throwing a touchdown pass and running for another. Rocco Bellamy of Piscataway had an 11-yard touchdown run, the lone score for Team Rose, which came just before halftime. Click below to listen to all three touchdowns, as called by Mike Pavlichko and Korbid Thompson on Central Jersey Sports Radio:

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