Matt Yascko. John Baio. Michael Strachan. Malcom Stansbury. Adekunle Shittu. Matt Beuno. And many others.
All significant contributors to the Edison high school football team, Central Jersey Group 5 champions in 2022.
What else do they all have in common? All played for the Edison Jets.
That’s the youth football league in town. And while “and under” teams like 12U – 12 and under – can include kids younger than the age specified, they don’t in Edison. They have the numbers to field a Pop Warner team for just about every age on their own. Not just in football, but also in Cheer.
Those numbers alone seem to belie the national trend of shrinking participation in sports, exacerbated by the era of specialization – student-athletes focusing on one sport year-round rather than playing multiple sports.
That’s not what’s happening in Edison, though.
And all that points to continues success at the next level. Talk to any high school coach, and they’ll tell you the same thing.
Guys like Tommy Amankwaa and Jay Mazuera, the wide receiver/quarterback combo from last year’s 13-0 Hillsborough team that won Central 5 and the South 5 Regional Championship game – they played youth football together since they were eight years old.
Cranford – which won North 2, Group 3 last year with an undefeated record – had many multi-sport athletes who’d also grown up playing together.
Those are the teams that have the most success.
This past weekend, the Edison Jets’ 10U team finished off an undefeated season, going 10-0 and winning a championship, beating the team from Basking Ridge. The Pop Warner program’s other teams won titles this year, too.
Participation is high, the teams are successful, and it can only mean a bright future for the Edison Jets when they someday become Edison Eagles.
Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Edison Eagles’ wide receivers coach and Edison Jets Pop Warner coach Brian Calantoni talk about the success of the town’s youth sports programs: