Tag: Colin Murray

This Week in the Big Central – Episode 14: The Lucky Threes

We’re off to the Meadowlands!

On Episode 14 of “This Week in the Big Central,” driven by Mark Montenero and his team at the world-famous Autoland, Mike Pavlichko has a look back at Hillsborough and Cranford’s state title wins, with postgame reaction from players and coaches.

Then it’s on to preview the North Jersey Group 3 Regional Championship, as Cranford gets set to take on West Morris at Met Life Stadium Friday afternoon.

First, Mike talks with West Morris head coach Kevin Hennelly.

Then, it’s on to Cranford as we catch up with Illinois-bound Cranford offensive lineman Matt Fries, who talks about the tight bond on the O-line, as well as following in his brother Will’s footsteps. Then, we hear from head coach Erik Rosenmeier on the matchup with West Morris.

Finally, Mike breaks down the matchup on both sides of the ball.

Murray’s career game, Gallagher’s three picks help Cranford win third state title

Despite falling behind early, 7-3, top-seed Cranford rode solid play all the way around to its third state sectional championship of the playoff era.

The undefeated Cougars improved to 11-0 with a 45-21 win over third seed Sparta (8-4), in a game that – in the end – wasn’t event that close.

Scroll down for postgame reaction.

Cranford dominated on both sides of the field in Friday night’s Big Central Game of the week, driven by Autoland, and heard live on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

There was the offensive line, which allowed a handful of negative plays against one of the state’s most disruptive defensive ends, but was able to pave the way for a career high 304 yards (unofficially) for senior Colin Murray, who dominated himself. He also had two touchdowns.

And there was the defense, which helped Cranford to a plus-7 in the turnover category, fueled by five picks of Sparta quarterback Austen Frattura – four of which came in the decisive second half. Frattura had come into the game with 16 TD passes and just two interceptions, but left with two scores and five INTs on the night.

Cranford senior runningback Colim Murray (left) and senior left tackle Geoff Gretta pose with the NJSIAA championship trophy. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Three of those interceptions were by Will Gallagher, the Cranford baseball team’s shortstop, who’s also a wide receiver, and actually finished with as many interceptions and more yards on defense than he had catches on offense.

Murray and Gallagher were named co-Autoland Players of the Game, and will receive a custom football at the end of the year.

Cranford now moves on to play West Morris in the North Group 3 regional championship, to be played either next weekend, or the weekend of December 4 and 5, at either Met Life Stadium in the Meadowlands or Rutgers University’s SHI Stadium. Sites, dates and times will be announced Sunday by the NJSIAA.

The Cougars will face West Morris (9-3), the top seed out of North 1, Group 3, which won that sectional title Friday night with a 21-0 win over second-seed West Essex.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko down on the field with postgame reaction from Cranford’s state title win:

Cranford senior RB Colin Murray
Cranford senior WR/CB Will Gallagher
Cranford head coach Erik Rosnemeier

This Week in the Big Central – Episode 13: The Championship Weekend 2021

It’s time to crown some champions!

On Episode 13 of “This Week in the Big Central,” driven by Mark Montenero and his team at the world-famous Autoland, we’ve got complete previews of the three conference teams vying for championships this weekend.

Mike Pavlichko is joined by Dom Savino for quick look back at the semifinals, then we go through both games with the players and coaches involved.

First, it’s a look at our Big Central Game of the Week, driven by Autoland, as the North 2, Group 3 title game features top-seed and undefeated Cranford (10-0) taking on Sparta (8-3). Mike Pavlichko talks with Cranford head coach Erik Rosnemeier and runningback Colin Murray, as well as Sparta head coach Frank Marchiano.

Then, Mike takes a look at the Central Jersey Group 5 title tilt, featuring top-seed and undefeated Hillsborough (11-0) entertaining third-seed North Brunswick (8-3). Mike Pavlichko stopped by each team’s practice this week to catch up with Hillsborough head coach Kevin Carty, Jr., and defensive end/tight end Will Dixon, as well as North Brunswick head coach Miek Cipot and top runningback Marquis Perry.

Mike and Dom close it out with a closer analysis of both matchups.

Listen to Cranford take on Sparta in the Big Central Game of the Week driven by Autoland with an extended pregame starting at 6:30, followed by kickoff at 7 with Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe, while Tim Catalfamo provides live updates from the Hillsborough-North Brunswick game. Click here to listen live, and for free.

Postgame reaction will follow from both contests later Friday night on cjsportsradio.com.

Cranford looks to keep the beat going when Cougars host Spartans in North 2, Group 3 title game Friday night

In two prior state championship seasons, Cranford has gone a combined 22-1.

When you’re hot, you’re hot, and the Cougars are hot again.

Top-seed Cranford is 10-0 in 2021, and will put that perfect mark on the line Friday night in the North 2, Group 3 title game, when the Cougars host third-seed Sparta (8-3) in the North 2, Group 3 title game at Memorial Field Friday night.

It’ll be the Big Central Game of the Week, driven by Autoland. Pregame will start at about 6:30 on Central Jersey Sports Radio, with Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe covering all the action. Kickoff is at 7, and you can listen to the live audio stream by clicking here.

Cranford will be playing in its third sectional finals – all under head coach Erik Rosenmeier – and the Cougars have won twice: in 2011 and 2015, going undefeated that second time.

They’re led by quarterback Shane VanDam, who’s thrown for 1,339 yards and 16 touchdowns, with only two picks all season. Five different receivers have caught touchdown passes, including Will Gallagher, who has half of them.

PRIME TIME MATCHUP: Listen to postgame reaction from Cranford’s win over Woodbridge, a battle of unbeatens on CJSR

And then there’s runningback Colin Murray, who has rushed for 1,718 yards on 2016 carries, with a whopping 29 touchdowns to lead the Big Central.

And with New Providence’s season over, another 68 yards would put him over Charlie Barth to top the league in rushing as well. Last Friday night, in a 42-7 semifinal win over Pascack Valley, he reeled off 212 yards on just nine carries, scoring two touchdowns.

Click below to hear previews of the game and a look at Cranford’s season with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko:

Senior Colin Murray

Head coach Erik Rosenmeier

This Week in the Big Central – Episode 9: The Home Stretch

Episode 9 of “This Week in the Big Central,” driven by Mark Montenero and his team at the world-famous Autoland, focuses on the push to the playoffs just one week out from Cutoff Weekend.

Mike Pavlichko looks back at the week gone by and the playoff implications of some of the Week Seven games, then examines who’s in – and who’s on the bubble – down the home stretch of the season.

We hear from founding sponsor Elite QB, with Coach Matt Bastardi’s “Elite Performers of the Week,” and a look at the Bellamy & Son Paving Player of the Week, Montgomery’s Alex Benitez, who caught the ball, ran the ball, kicked the ball and intercepted the ball in a win over Scotch Plains-Fanwood.

Mike wraps it up with a look at the Week Eight slate.

Murray’s 205 yards, 3 TDs, help No. 7 Cranford hand No. 1 Woodbridge its first loss of the season

In a battle of undefeated teams Friday night at Priscoe Field in Woodbridge, it was the legs of senior runningback Colin Murray that made the difference.

His three touchdowns and 205 yards on the ground helped 7th-ranked Cranford beat No. 4 Woodbridge 38-28 in the Big Central Game of the Week driven by Mark Montenero and his team at the world-famous Autoland, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

Cranford remains undefeated, moving to 6-0, while Woodbridge drops to 6-1. It was the Barrons’ first regular season loss in three years; their last one came against Colonia on October 26, 2018. Their only two losses since then have been in the postseason – in the 2019 North 1 Group 4 title game to Northern Highlands, and in last year’s first pod game against Somerville.

Cranford scored the first two touchdowns of the game, and led 14-0 before Woodbridge tied it with 63 seconds left in the first half. But Cranford quarterback Shane Van Dam would run 34 yards for a score just 50-seconds later to give the Cougars a lead they would never relinquish.

VanDam finished the game with 30 yards rushing – despite being sacked five times – and was 5-of-13 through the air for 89 yards.

Murray was named the Autoland Player of the Game for his efforts, which included an amazing 57-yard touchdown run with 7:37 left to prvide the final margin.

Taking the handoff from VanDam, he hit the pile at the line of scrimmage, perhaps even backing into it. After a few seconds, when it seemed like everyone had given up on the play, Murray burst out of the pile and went untouched the last 50 yards into the end zone.

Click below to hear Dom Savino down on the field with Cranford postgame reaction:

Senior runningback Colin Murray

Head coach Erik Rosenmeier