Tag: Big Central

Jason Goerge, son of legendary coach Joe, takes the reins at JP Stevens

Hoping to draw on his experiences working with his father in rebuilding the Dayton football program from scratch in 2006, Jason Goerge is now the new football coach at JP Stevens High School.

It’s the first head coaching job for Jason, who will turn 37 this summer, and has learned all about the “right way” to build a program from his father, legendary coach Joe Goerge, who was won numerous championships at Franklin and South Brunswick, where he remains along with his other son, Michael, who will remain as the Vikings’ defensive coordinator.

The Edison Board of Education approved the hire at its meeting Tuesday night.

Jason started calling the offense for his dad at South Brunswick in 2014, returning after Joe Goerge stepped away for a few years, and will have to assemble a staff on his own, bringing no South Brunswick assistants with him.

“I didn’t want to make it weird at Thanksgiving if I started bringing some of those guys with me,” Goerge told Central Jersey Sports Radio Wednesday.

The task is tall at JP Stevens, which currently owns the second longest losing streak in New Jersey at 31 games, behind only Highland Park, which has lost 42 straight. The Hawks’ last win came on October 26, 2018, a 29-14 victory over Monroe under Joe Riggi.

In the last 16 seasons since the departure of Frank Zarro – who was the last coach to have a winning record at JP, going 5-5 in his final season in 2016 – Stevens has gone 29-120 under five different coaches since then, including two separate stints by Riggi.

Goerge will also teach in the district, saying he’s never been a teacher where he’s coached before, and he thinks it’ll be a big plus to be “in the building” when it comes to installing a culture at JP Stevens.

Click below to hear Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko talk with new JP Stevens head coach Jason George:

New Brunswick hires Steve Gluchowski as new football coach; will embrace challenges as he looks to grow the program

The New Brunswick football program had not won a state title in decades before it won a pair in 2003 and 2006 under John Quinn, and now it’s been almost two decades since those championships.

That will be the long range task at hand for Steve Gluchowski, who was recently hired as the Zebras’ new football coach, taking over for Nate Harris.

It’s the first head coaching job for Gluchowski, who comes to the Hub City after two seasons as defensive coordinator for Chris Meagher at Spotswood, who turned around a struggling program last season to go 7-3.

The 46-year-old Gluchowski is a 1994 graduate of Sayreville, where he played for Sal Mistretta, further extending the legendary mentor’s coaching tree, which lost two of its most prominent names to retirement this past season in Edison’s Matt Fulham and Sayreville’s Chris Beagan. Both won championships recently; Fulham this past season, and Beagan in 2016 and 2018.

While the goal is always to win a championship, Gluchowski will have other goals to reach first, most notably bringing New Brunswick football back to some level of prominence. And to do that, he will have to grow the program, with many student-athletes moving out of town or playing other sports in recent years.

In the past five years under Harris, the Zebras went 10-34, with their best season a 4-6 campaign in 2021.

Click below to hear new New Brunswick football coach Steve Gluchowski talk with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko:

Welcome back, again: Yascko takes the reins at alma mater Edison after three seasons as OC

The Edison High School football team has a new head coach who is anything but new to the program.

After spending three seasons as the Eagles’ offensive coordinator, working with a unit that featured his son as the quarterback, Matt Yascko has been elevated to head coach.

No surprise, if we’re being brutally honest.

The Edison Board of Education Tuesday night approved the appointment of Yascko to the post, where he takes over for Matt Fulham, who retired in January after 20 seasons at the helm. He left with an 80-100-1 record, and handing off a program that has made the playoffs four straight postseasons dating back to 2018, capped off with a Central Jersey Group 5 championship, the school’s first sectional title in 31 years, this past fall.


With the senior Yascko heading the offense, and the younger Yascko in charge of it on the field, the combo went 20-10 over the past three seasons.

Edison’s Matt Yascko (the QB/son, left) and Matt Yascko (the offensive coordinator/father, right) helped lead Edison to its first sectional title since 1991. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

READ MORE: Yascko & Yascko: How the father-son QB-OC tandem united to help bring Edison its first title in 31 years

The hiring is a natural fit for the Eagles, whose staff has many local ties to the community. Yascko is an Edison alum, and was on the 1991 championship team in his junior season, so the move keeps the position in the family, while also promoting from within, allowing for a sense of continuity with a “new” head coach.

Of course, Yascko has significant chops as a head coach. Following a run as an assistant under Bob Molarz at Carteret, Yascko took the reins of the Ramblers for 14 seasons, going 82-67 and reaching three state finals, winning titles in 2007 and 2012.


But he left in July of 2020 – coincidentally around the time Carteret dropped fall sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic – in order to spend more time around his son. In 2019, the younger Yascko was as a freshman for Edison, and got called upon to start the last six games of the year when Lucas Loffredo went down to injury, then moved and transferred out of the district.

That summer, when the offensive coordinator position opened up, Fulham offered Yascko the job, and the rest was history.

Yascko is the tenth head coach in Edison history, but only the second alum to lead the program. Mike Wojick is the other, and he was Yascko’s head coach when the team won the 1991 Central Jersey Group 4 crown.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Matt Yascko about being named Edison’s new head football coach. Scroll further down for additional comments about Yascko’s hiring.

Reaction from Edison:

Edison Athletic Director David Sandaal: “I couldn’t be happier. Matt has been a winner all of his life. As a player, he was a junior on the 1991 Central Jersey Group 4 sectional championship team, won two sectional crowns as the Head Coach for Carteret, and was the offensive coordinator this past fall for our 2022 state sectional championship team.”

Edison Wide Receivers Coach Brian Calantoni: “This day is a culmination of what we all worked for, for many years. We have the best coach and the best coaching staff in the state. We have six alumni on the staff. Coach Yascko is the epitome of Edison High School football, all about the team the town and the school. He’s humble, and he’s a hard worker and his teams are the same. Today is one of the best days in Edison High School football history.”

JP Stevens in the market for new football coach amid long skid

JP Stevens is looking for a new head football coach, as the program and Joe Rovito have parted ways after three seasons.

The job was posted Monday by the Edison Board of Education on its district jobs portal.

Rovito’s Hawks were 0-21 under his tenure from 2020 to 2022, but Stevens is mired in a much longer stretch of defeats. They have lost 31 straight games – the second longest active losing streak in the state – dating back to 2018.

Only Highland Park has lost more games in a row, 42 straight, with its last win coming against Metuchen on Thanksgiving 2016.

The last JP Stevens football win came on October 26, 2018, a 29-14 victory over Monroe. That was its final win of the season in a 4-6 campaign under Joe Riggi, whose final season came in 2019, going 0-8. The Hawks’ last .500 season was in 2006 under Frank Zarro, when the team went 5-5, and haven’t had a winning season since Zarro’s 2003 team went 6-4.

His 2001 squad went 12-0, winning the Central Jersey Group 4 title 14-7 over Old Bridge.

Both high schools in the district are in the market for head coaches, as Edison head coach Matt Fulham announced his retirement earlier this year after his veteran Eagles squad won the Central Jersey Group 5 title, its first sectional championship since 1991.

North Hunterdon football coach Kley goes out a champ, stepping down after four seasons and a sectional title

Most head football coaches who decided to move on after the 2022 season was done did so months ago. It just took Kevin Kley a little longer.

After a four-year run as head football coach at North Hunterdon – capped with a North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 title this past season – Lions’ head coach Kevin Kley is stepping down to focus on starting his family.

He and his wife are due to have their first baby this Spring, and Kley says told Central Jersey Sports Radio Tuesday afternoon that it’s time to focus on that, though he’ll remain a teacher of English and Special Ed at North Hunterdon High School.

North Hunterdon head coach Kevin Kley hands off the North 2, Group 4 championship trophy to his players after a 49-35 win over Randolph at Singley Field in Annandale on November 12, 2022. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Kley went 24-16 in his four seasons at the helm, with an 11-2 mark this year fueled by a senior-laden, experienced team that won the North 2 Group 4 title in wild fashion over Randolph on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Annandale. This year’s team was blessed with standouts like runningback Kente Edwards, quarterback Luke Martini, and two-way stars like Derek Vaddis and Alex Uryniak, plus a host of others.

The North Hunterdon school district has just posted the job opening.

READ MORE: North Hunterdon wins 4th quarter shootout over Randolph on career day from Martini, as Lions claim North 2 Group 4 trophy

Kley stepping down also means that both Big Central schools that won sectional titles in 2022 will have new coaches in 2023. Back in January, Edison’s Matt Fulham announced his retirement after 18 years with the Eagles, following their Central Jersey Group 5 title, their first sectional championship since 1991.

Former Montgomery standout, Somerville assistant DJ Catalano takes over the reins at Bridgewater-Raritan, after a year under Rick Mantz

When Rick Mantz over the Bridgewater-Raritan football program for the 2022 season, he had his kids doing things they’d never done before, or even just the same things in ways they’d never been done before. DJ Catalano, who joined his staff from neighboring Somerville, took notice of all the little things.

Now, he’s fully in charge of the program.

Catalano, who was left in charge in the interim after the sudden departure of Mantz shortly after his first season due mainly to health issues, was approved to take over full-time back on Tuesday by the Board of Education. And in a wide-ranging interview with Central Jersey Sports Radio, was effusive in his praise for so many of the people he has worked with and under over the years, all of whom are great influences on the coach he’s become today, and hopes to continue to become.

There’s Mantz, who also was at Rutgers while Catalano was there as a defensive quality control coach. There’s Dallas Whitaker, whom he coached under at Somerville, along with a number of other Rutgers products. And Zoran Milich, Montgomery’s first and only football coach, who was instrumental to Catalano’s formative years as a player.

Catalano takes over a Panthers program with a new Athletic Director, Bill Deniz – who came over from Delaware Valley after the retirement of longtime AD John Maggio, and with a tremendous amount of resources and excitement among the student body. Bridgewater went 4-6 last year, but isn’t all that far removed from three straight appearances it made in the North 2, Group 5 Finals from 2015 to 2017.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko’s interview with new Bridgewater-Raritan head coach DJ Catalano:

Don Sofilkanch talks “great opportunity” and “tremendous culture” at Sayreville

Coming to New Brunswick with John Quinn, Don Soflikanich was a part of two of the Zebras’ great all-time teams, which won championships in 2003 and 2006 – and should have won three were it not for a questionable penalty in the ’02 title game.

He later won a championship at Asbury Park, turning around a program that could barely win the year before he arrived.

But that won’t be the job in front of him as he takes the reins at Sayreville.

In the last eight seasons, Chris Beagan rebuilt a winning program that had been shuttered early in the 2014 season, rocked by a hazing scandal. His first year was 2015, and by the next year, he brought the Bombers a championship, adding another two years later in 2018. His teams were 51-31 in that span.

For the last of those seasons, 2022, Don Sofilkanich was a full-time volunteer assistant. SO he got to see the inner workings of the culture Beagan built at his alma mater.

Now, the South Amboy resident and East Brunswick native – a GMC guy through and through – will get the chance to helm one of Middlesex County’s marquee programs of the last two decades.

We got a chance to talk with him the day after his hiring was approved by the Sayreville Board of Education.

Click below to listen:

Sayreville names Don Sofilkanich new Bombers’ football coach to succeed Beagan

The Sayreville Board of Education has approved Don Sofilkanich – who has won championships as an assistant and head coach at numerous New Jersey high schools – to be its next head coach, succeeding Chris Beagan, who retired after eight seasons at the helm of the Bombers’ program.

Sofilkanich was a full-time volunteer under Beagan this past season.

He came to prominence as a coordinator under John Quinn at New Brunswick on two state championship teams, the first of which came in 2003 when he led the defense on a team headlined by future New York Giants captain and two-time Super Bowl winner Jonathan Casillas and future NCAA All-American at USC Dwayne Jarrett. That was the Zebras’ first title since 1926. They won again in 2006 with him as the Offensive Coordinator..

He then left to become head coach at Asbury Park, turning around a program that went 1-9 in 2006, going 11-1 in 2007 with a Central Jersey Group 1 title.

After two more 11-1 seasons, he moved next door to to Neptune for a year before coming back to the GMC to lead then-Bishop Ahr, going 12-8 from 2011-2013. He spent the next three years at New Brunswick, going 15-16, including 9-2 in 2015.

He most recently was coach at Plainfield in 2019 and 2020, going 4-11.

“Don and I came in together and we were in lockstep. We shared the same philosophy,” Quinn told Central Jersey Sports Radio earlier today. “The successes that we had at New Brunswick were due to the fact that we worked so well together. Certainly Don was a huge contributing factor to the championships we won there.”

“I don’t think we could have achieved the success that we had without Don’s contribution,” Quinn added.

It’s February signing day, as more Big Central players sign on the dotted line.

The “early” National Letter of Intent Signing Day for football is in December, and while it’s morphed into the main day, when most players sign, not all do.

The extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA has also affected student-athletes coming out of high school, but that’s another story altogether.

Still, many – whether it’s because they’re looking for more offers, whatever the case may be – wait until the February signing day, as a number of Big Central players have signed today.

Here’s a look at Big Central signees. Please check back as this list will be added to as we hear about additional signings.

Warriors send Seubert, McCann to Rutgers as PWOs…

Watchung Hills head coach Rich Seubert – the ex-Giant and Super Bowl champion – is sending two seniors off to play for Greg Schiano in the fall. One is his own son, two-way lineman Hunter Seubert. The other is Riley McCann, who is expected to kick and/or punt for the Scarlet Knights.

Both are preferred walk-ons.

“I’m a proud father and coach,” Seubert told Central Jersey Sports Radio. “Having two student-athletes continuing their academics and football careers at Rutgers is special. To have two home-grown young men stay and play for us here at The Hills is special, as they both proved it doesn’t matter where you go to school but how you perform on the field and in the classroom.”

McCann was the No. 2 receiver for the Warriors this past fall, with 13 catches for 261 yards and a touchdown, in addition to being a kicker, where he hit all of his 32 PATs in 2022. He was also 12-of-16 on field goals, with four over 40 yards and a long of 50 at St. Joseph-Metuchen in October.

“Riley has been a leader both in the classroom and on the field for some time,” said Seubert. “He has worked hard for this opportunity and is excited to go earn it the fun way.”

“Coach Schiano is getting two great young men to compete on the field and in the classroom.

Edison’s Malcolm Stansbury chooses Delaware State…

Edison’s Malcolm Stansbury (second from right) after signing to play football at Delaware State. From l. to r.: Edison head coach Matt Fulham, Principal Charlie Ross, mother Kiyanna, Malcolm, and Athletic Director Dave Sandaal. (submitted photo)

A four-year starter for the Eagles – who won their first state sectional title in 31 years this past fall – Stansbury with 146 catches for 1,886 yards and 15 touchdowns. He was also a great cornerback, registering five interceptions in the defensive backfield over the course of his career, but is projected to play wide receiver for the Hornets.

Click here to read the full story on Edison’s Malcolm Stansbury signing with Delaware State University.

Cranford’s Kanterman, Godwin and Lynskey headed to New England…

Shane Kanterman was the Cougars’ leading tackler at the middle linebacker spot the last two years, including on the state championship team in 2021, and signed with Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven Wednesday. QB Liam Godwin will be playing just down the road, as he inked with the University of New Haven, and Ryan Lynskey signed with Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.

This year, he was also the top runningback on the team with 787 yards on 120 carries and nine touchdowns, finishing No. 2 in rushing behind dual-threat quarterback Liam Godwin, who rushed for 930 yards and 15 touchdowns, while throwing for 887 and another ten TDs. On the state title team two seasons ago, Godwin was on the receiving end of star QB Shane Van Dam, grabbing 11 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns.

Runningback Ryan Lynskey is also a dual-threat. He had the third-most rushing yards on the team in 2022, carrying 101 times for 636 yards and 7 touchdowns, while also hauling in 9 catches for 195 yards and 3 TDs. He also had 64 tackles and 3 interceptions playing defensive back this past season, and projects to play safety there, as well as Godwin, who registered 86 tackles and six interceptions in the past two years at the position.

Woodbridge’s Barahona headed to the Poconos…

Defensive end Kaelyb Barahona is heading to Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania. He logged 51 tackles and 3 1/2 sacks his senior season for the Barrons, including two in a narrow 14-13 loss at in-town rival Colonia in late September.

Watchung Hills gets a big QB transfer as Aleks Sitkowski moves from Piscataway

Every year, dozens of high school kids move to a new town for one reason or another, but one of the biggest in Big Central high school football in the off-season is the move of Aleks Sitkowski to the Watchung Hills Regional School District.

The younger brother of Art Sitkowski – the former Old Bridge star who played for a couple of seasons for Rutgers before transferring to Illinois – Aleks played the last two seasons for Piscataway, but transferred out just before Christmas, Central Jersey Sports Radio has learned.

An Internet search shows an address for the Sitkowski family in Watchung.

The Twitter bio for Aleks Sitkowski says he’s now a member of the Watchung Hills football team. (Source: Twitter screenshot)

Watchung Hills head coach Rich Seubert says Sitkowski would have been eligible to play basketball, but decided not to play this winter. That apparently means Sitkowski would not have to sit out 30 days per NJSIAA rules since he would have a bonafide change of address. The NJSIAA is considering updated transfer rules in the near future, but they have not won final approval yet.

As a junior last year for the Chiefs, Sitkowski was 57-of-117 passing for 752 yards and six touchdowns and six interceptions on a team that primarily ran the ball, rushing for over 1,600 yards.


Two years ago – as a sophomore – playing all eight games in an 0-8 season following a full fall athletic department COVID shutdown in 2020, Sitkowski went 31-75 for 294 yards, two touchdowns and three picks.

Assuming he remains at Watchung – Sitkowski’s Twitter bio says he is a “Quarterback Class of 2024 at Watching Hills Regional High School” – he would figure to compete for a starting job after the graduation of senior Dylan Kelley and his 1,117 passing yards and seven TDs. The Warriors’ lone returning QB is Brendan Fenton, a full-time varsity player who only attempted one pass last year as a junior.

That means, at the moment, Sitkowski is the only varsity QB on the roster with any meaningful action under his belt.