Tag: high school football

Young’s stellar year facing tougher competition garners CJSR Offensive Player of the Year Award

When St. Thomas Aquinas ran the table in the Big Central in 2021, and quarterback Jayden Young led an offense that put up big numbers, many pointed to their strength of schedule.

What do they point to now?

The numbers weren’t as gaudy, but the Trojans were productive, and so was Young, who is the Central Jersey Sports Radio Offensive Player of the Year in the Big Central for 2022.

Why? Only the senior quarterback’s 1,658 passing yards and 16 touchdowns, while rushing for another 577 yards on 75 carries and 11 TDs.

That caps a career that saw him and his team win 17 straight Big Central Conference games, the best in the league, and a mark Aquinas looks to extend into next year.

Young finishes his career as the winningest quarterback in school history, with 25 career victories, having gone 18-3 overall in the last two seasons, with only one of those losses coming in the regular season. He has amassed 5,013 passing yards in his career and 54 touchdowns passes.

Click below to listen to Mike Pavlichko of Central Jersey Sports Radio talk with Jayden Young, the 2022 CJSR Offensive Player of the Year

Honorable Mentions:

There were so many great offensive players in the Big Central this year that five others received Honorable Mention status. All were honored individually among our specialty awards.

Luke Martini of North Hunterdon was the leading passer in the BCC this year, throwing for 2,306 yards and 22 touchdowns, with about half the yardage and 14 TD’s coming in a four-game span that stretched from the last game of the regular season – a win in the annual Milk Can Game against Vorhees – through the North 2, Group 4 title game win over Randolph. For that, he picked up “Playoff Beast” honors.

Kente Edwards of North Hunterdon also had a fantastic season, rushing for 1,442 yards, the most in the Big Central this season by a runningback (the only two to rank higher were quarterbacks) along with 15 touchdowns. Impossible to bring down, head coach Kevin Kley calls him”the most feared runner int he conference.” He was part of CJSR’s “Best Backfield Duo” award, shared with Alex Uryniak.

Jaeden Jones of Colonia actually rushed for more yards than he threw for, sprinting to the tune of 1,661 yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground, but he was still a thousand-yard passer, amassing 1,059 yards through the air, connecting for six touchdowns en route to a division title for the Patriots. And there’s still more to come for Jones, the only junior in this bunch; he received the “Top Returning QB” Award this season from CJSR.

Matt Yascko of Edison has been a starter since his freshman year, and won this year’s “Longevity Award.” This year, he threw for 1,900 yards even and 16 touchdowns, with just four interceptions, while also rushing for 583 yards on 102 carries and 11 TDs. That’s even missing two games due to injury.

Matt Sims of Brearley is another one who ran more than the threw. He needed just 67 pass completions to eclipse the thousand-yard mark, going for 1,063 and 10 TDs with just a single pick all year. Sims, one of two to pick up “MVP” honors from CJSR – along with Manville’s Shawn Purcell – carried a whopping 219 times for 1,523 yards, making him the second-leading rusher in the Big Central this season, behind only Jaeden Jones. And his 26 touchdowns on the ground were the sixth highest total in the entire state.

Shawn Purcell of Manville could have been the MVP two years running, really. A three-year starter on both sides of the ball, he made his biggest impact on the program at runningback, where in 2021 and 2022 he rushed for a total of 2,414 yards and 37 touchdowns. With him carrying the ball, Manville went 14-5 over the last two seasons, its best run since 1968 and 1969 when the combined to go 14-4.

State INT leader Meiner of Ridge wins CJSR Defensive Player of the Year honors

Sometimes the competition for player of the year honors can be neck and neck, as it turned out for the Offense category this year, with so many players in the conversation.

Not that it wasn’t that way defensively. It’s just that when a particular player leads the state in a key defensive category, it’s hard to argue with the numbers.

When he’s among the Top Five nationally, that makes it even more of a sure thing.

And that makes Ridge senior Adam Meiner the Central Jersey Sports Radio 2022 Defensive Player of the Year.

Meiner racked up ten interceptions for the Red Devils this year, en route to a 7-3 season and an appearance in the North Jersey, Section 1, Group 4 semifinals. Not only was that the best total in New Jersey, but the third highest total nationally, behind just 13 other players, including nine who had 11, and four who had 12 picks.

Click below to hear Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Justin Sontupe talk to Ridge cornerback Adam Meiner:

Honorable Mentions:

Edison’s Selbin Sabio – the Special Teams Player of the Year – also played a significant role on defense for the Eagles, setting a school record this year with 137 total tackles. He had 30 TFLs and 5 sacks, two of which were part of the seven Edison had against Lenape in the Central Jersey Group 5 title game. He also happened to play most of the season with a broken finger and sore hip, yet didn’t miss a single game.

Zamir Hawk of Hillside – our “Walkoff Defender” of the Year – finsihed the campaign with 67 tackles, 15 TFLs, 4 sacks, and a pick six. He was critical in the Comets’ two playoff wins, sealing an opening round win with a pass breakup, then ending River Dell’s last-ditch effort after a big Hillside rally in the semifinals with an interception. Head coach Barris Grant called him “an unstoppable force the entire season.”

Sir Hezekiah Ragland of Carteret – just a junior – led the Ramblers with 119 tackles this season, 73 solo, and also has 21 tackles for loss, two sacks and a forced fumble. This was his first season at inside linebacker, and head coach Kevin Freeman will expect more from him next year as schools like Rutgers are showing interest.

North Hunterdon’s Vaddis excelled at WR/LB, is named CJSR Two-Way Player of the Year

A year ago, Derek Vaddis wasn’t nearly the first option at receiver for the North Hunterdon football team.

Again this year, quarterback Luke Martini had multiple guys he could throw to, and even more he could hand off to.

Still, Vaddis was able to accumulate over 1,000 yards receiving on a team that also had a pair of thousand-yard rushers. Specifically, he made 55 catches to lead the Lions with 1,054 yards and 11 touchdowns.

But he also contributed significantly on the other side of the ball. Though he “only” logged 46 tackles – at safety with a great group in front of him that didn’t require him to make many stops – he made his minutes count, snatching eight interceptions on the season, third highest individual total in the state. (Adam Meiner of Ridge led New Jersey with ten picks.)

For his efforts, Vaddis has been named the Big Central’s 2022 Two-Way Player of the Year by Central Jersey Sports Radio.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with North Hunterdon WR/S Derek Vaddis:

Honorable Mentions:

Vaddis is probably the only person Alex Uryniak of North Hunterdon wouldn’t mind losing out to. But Uryniak also excelled on both sides of the ball. As part of a two-headed monster – not by design, but by necessity – Uryniak carried for 1,012 yards and 13 touchdowns, filling in quite well when Kente Edwards missed the better part of four games, two of them entirely. At linebacker, he led the Lions with 180 tackles, registering 22 TFLs and seven sacks, along with an interception.

Malcolm Stansbury of Edison may follow his brother to New Hampshire and play defense, or could end up at other places where he has offers, like Maine or Monmouth. The senior WR/DB had 52 catches on offense for 652 yards and four touchdowns, and was a shutdown corner on defense as well, with 59 tackles, 2 TFLs and a pair of interceptions. A four-year starter, Stansbury also is a two-year captain.

Hunter Seubert of Watchung Hills is the coach’s son, so Rich Suebert may have prepped him early on to play on the line. Indeed, he was a rare four-year starter on both the offensive and defensive lines, a rare feat at any level. This year’s Warrior O-line didn’t surrender a single sack, paving the way for 145 rushing yards per game, and 24 scores on the ground. On defense, Suebert had 63 tackles, a pick, three sacks, nine tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

Sabio’s clutch kicking earns him CJSR Special Teams Player of the Year honors

On the high school level, finding a reliable kicker is like finding winning the lottery. Some use different guys for kickoffs, field goals and punts.

Edison’s Selbin Sabio can do all of that, which is why he’s the Central Jersey Sports Radio Special Teams Player of the Year for 2022.

And though he was consistent all season – 37-of-40 on PATs and 6-of-8 on field goals – it was what he did in crunch time, specifically in the playoffs, that cemented his legacy in Eagles football lore.

In the Central Jersey Group 5 opening round, he calmly hit a field goal from 38 yards – hardly a gimme in high school – to break a 7-7 tie as time expired on the first half. Those three points turned out to be the game-winning points.

Then, in one of the wildest sequences you’ll ever see, Sabio converted on not one, but two onside kicks to help Edison rally from a 14 point deficit to beat North Brunswick on the road in an epic CJ5 semifinal.

Sabio. Epic. The name will never be forgotten.

Click below to listen to Mike Pavlichko talk with CJSR Special Teams Player of the Year Selbin Sabio:

Honorable Mentions:

Ridge kicker Asgrimur Gudmundsson never missed a PAT in his career, perfect in 36 tries. He was also 7-of-11 on field goals, which sounds much more impressive when you realize his long was 47, and that he never missed a field goal inside of 30 years. His only two misses this season came from outside the 40-yard line, a testament to head coach Andy West’s faith in him.

Brayden Hinman of South Hunterdon also had a fine senior year as a kick returner, with sis special teams scores, including one kick return for a touchdown, and five on punt returns. That’s a school record. Hinman won’t be playing football in college, but he will attend Auburn on a full Army ROTC scholarship.

Antonio Rivera of Piscataway – the recipient of the Bellamy & Son Paving Player of the Week Scholarship – owns the schoold record with five career kick returns for touchdowns. This season, he returned eight punts for 294 yards (36.8 avg.) and three TDs, while returning nine kicks for 247 yards (27.4 avg.) and one score.

Central Jersey Sports Radio announces “Specialty Awards” for 2022

So many great players, so few awards. When you’ve got multiple deserving players for a single award, it’s time to get creative to honor those who truly deserve to be honored.

So without any further ado, here are Central Jersey Sports Radio’s postseason Specialty Awards for 2022!

Best Rushing QB” Award: Jaeden Jones, Colonia

The top two rushers in the Big Central Conference this season were quarterbacks. Matt Sims of Brearley was No. 2, and topping the list was Colonia junior Jaeden Jones, who succeeded a pretty good runner himself: last year’s “Mr. Dynamic” Award to the most explosive player in the league by far, fellow quarterback Josh Oluremi.

Colonia’s Jaeden Jones (Source: @Jaeden_Jones2 on Twitter)

In fact, Oluremi and Jones share a unique piece of history. So far as we could tell, at least back to the mid-90s – since stats from those years aren’t as readily available as they are now – Oluremi was the first quarterback since then to lead Middlesex County in rushing. (He was second in the Big Central Conference last year to state rushing leader Colin Murray of Cranford, in Union County.)

Now, Jones has made it two years in a row for a QB to lead Middlesex County in rushing, both from the same school. And as for making his own piece of history, he’s also the first quarterback to lead the BCC in rushing in its short three-year history. (Someone remember it when we go digging for that fact in another 20 years, please?

Like Oluremi, Jones’ rushing to passing totals were about a 3:2 ratio in favor of the ground game. Jones threw 86 of 150 for 1,059 yards, but amassed 248 carries of his own on the ground for 1,661 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Jones led Colonia to an 8-2 record this year, and the Liberty Gold Division title. And the best part is, he’ll be back next year.

Click below to hear Justin Sontupe talk with Jaeden Jones of Colonia:

“Best Backfield Duo”: Kente Edwards and Alex Uryniak, North Hunterdon

While head coach Kevin Kley has called runningback Kente Edwards “the most feared runner” in the Big Central, he’s been blessed enough to have a “backup” – yes, we put that in quotes – who he says “could be the starter on any team in the league.”

And he’s not fibbing.

Edwards got banged up against Colonia in Week Five and missed the better part of the next four games, and if you closed your eyes and ears and just looked at the stat line, you wouldn’t know it was Alex Uryniak taking the bulk of the carries.

North Hunterdon’s Kente Edwards (#3, left) and Alex Uryniak (#22, second from left) at midfield for the coin toss before the North 2, Group 4 title game against Randolph in Annandale on November 12, 2022. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Edwards had been averaging 160 yards a game, and even had 161 against Colonia. But in the first two playoff games, Uryniak ran for 433 yards and five touchdowns, while QB Luke Martini started throwing like a beast (more on him later) in the games Uryniak didn’t top 100. Uryniak ended up with 1,012 yards on the season and 13 scores, giving the Lions two thousand-yard rushers, as Edwards finished with 1,442 and 15 touchdowns.

Go ahead, pick your poison.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with the two-headed monster runningback combo of Kente Edwards and Luke Martini:

“Rising Star” Award: Jett Genovese, Phillipsburg

On a team with so many standouts, and a ton of balance among key players, Jett Genovese was able to run it all with precision for Phillipsburg.

Four runningbacks carried for over 300 yards, with none more than Xavier Moore’s 851. And through the air, Genovese found four different targets for more than 150 yards, with none more than Michael Scerbo Jr.,’s 476. That connection should be hooking up a lot again next year, as both players are sophomores.

But it was Genovese who was able to find his way through it for the Stateliners,

Phillipsburg quarterback Jett Genovese (Photo courtesy @HanisakPhoto)

And though Phillipsburg was knocked off by West Orange in the North 2, Group 5 final, Genovese came up big when it really counted – against Easton. He threw for 86 yards and three touchdown passes, while distributing the ball to five different runningbacks, led by Moore’s 114 yards, and Caleb Rivera’s two rushing touchdowns.

We have a feeling we’ll be talking about Jett a lot over the next couple of years.

Click below to Genovese talk about his first year as a starting QB for P’burg with Justin Sontupe:

Best Returning QB-WR Tandem: Michael Schmelzer, Jr. and Matt D’Avino, Montgomery

Montgomery had a very good season in 2022, starting 5-0 for the first time in school history.

And though the finished 7-3, with a first-round playoff loss to Northern Highlands – the North 1, Group 4 Champions and Group 4 finalist – they are the only team that can make this claim: they will have the top returning quarterback and the top returning receiver in the Big Central Conference when they come back to the field in 2023.

Montgomery QB Michael Schmelzer, Jr. (left) and WR Matt D’Avino are interviewed after a 27-20 home win over Somerville on September 16, 2022 heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio (Photos: Mike Pavlichko)

Quarterback Michael Schmelzer, Jr., threw for 1,658 yards and 21 touchdowns, good for fourth in the conference, but Luke Martini of North Hunterdon, Matt Yascko of Edison and Frankie Garbolino of North Brunswick are all graduating.

Wide receiver Matt D’Avino was second in the conference with 1,053 yards and 14 touchdowns, just one yard behind – and one TD ahead of – Derek Vaddis of North Hunterdon, who’s also graduating.

These two have been playing catch for many years now, and will get one more year together with the Cougars. We’re looking forward to watching.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Michael Schmelzer, Jr. and Matt D’Avino of Montgomery:

“Nobody Scores” Award: Bernards Defense (represented by Enzo Britez)

They may not have been St. Thomas Aquinas from a year ago, which tied a playoff-era Middlesex County record with seven shutouts, but they came pretty damn close.

In an 8-2 season with just one regular season loss, the Bernards Mountaineers played locked down D for the majority of 2022, shutting out six opponents en route to a clean 4-0 division sweep to the Big Central’s Patriot Gold title.

Bernards senior Enzo Britez (Source: @enzobritez on Twitter)

Click below to hear Justin Sontupe talk with Bernards defensive back Enzo Britez:

“Walk Off Defender” Award: Zamir Hawk, Hillside

Walkoff is a term most commonly used in baseball, but Barris Grant uses it to talk about Zamir Hawk, his senior nosetackle. Specifically, his efforts in Hillside’s two playoff wins this season, that got them to the North 1 Group 3 title game.

Hawk, a senior, had 67 tackles this year, and 15 for a loss, along with four sacks and a pick-six.

But he came up the biggest on the biggest of stages.

In the playoff opener against Parsippany Hills, the Comets scored 19 unanswered points to win and advance. But even after taking the lead in the fourth quarter, it wasn’t for good until Hawk’s pass breakup on a last-ditch effort by Par Hills effectively gave Hillside the win.

Zamir Hawk of Hillside (Source: @Hawk_973 on Twitter)

And if that wasn’t big enough, following an even bigger comeback by the Comets against River Dell, his interception sealed yet another win, propelling Hillside into the sectional semifinals.

Don’t challenge this kid!

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Hillside senior Zamir Hawk:

“Playoff Beast”: Luke Martini, North Hunterdon

North 2, Group 4 Champion North Hunterdon had all kinds of players put up all kinds of great numbers this year.

But when push came to shove, and the season was in crunch time, senior quarterback Luke Martini stepped it up a notch.

It started with the Milk Can Game against Voorhees, their big rival, when – with top runningback Kente Edwards nursing a lower body injury – Martini threw for 166 yards and three touchdowns against the Vikings in a 35-7 win.

But it didn’t stop there. He continued his hot streak into the playoffs, all the way to the sectional finals. First came 253 yards and four touchdowns against Middletown North in the opening round. Then 231 yards and two TDs in the second round against Morris Knolls. And finally, in the sectional title game, with everything on the line, in a wild ballgame that saw a combined 84 points, he threw for 411 yards and five scores against Randolph.

North Hunterdon QB Luke Martini (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Summing up, out of his 2,306 passing yards – best in the Big Central by about 400 yards – and 22 touchdowns on the season, that four-game stretch generated 1,061 yards and a whopping 14 touchdowns.

That’s what we call a playoff beast.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk to Luke Martini about his incredible playoff run:

“Injury-Be-Damned” Award”: Adam Bowles, South Plainfield

It’s one thing to play great defense on a team that went from 2-8 to an undefeated regular season like Adam Bowles did in South Plainfield, but it’s another to do it with your arm in a cast.

Yet that’s exactly what he did for the latter half of the 2022 season.

The senior linebacker tallied 129 tackles – 77 solo – while also notching 7 1/2 tackles for loss, a sack, three quarterback hurries, and three interceptions. And he played the last five games of the season in a cast!

South Plainfield linebacker Adam Bowles (Source: @datboiadamd1 on Twitter)

Click below to hear Bowles talk with Justin Sontupe about toughing it out this season for the Tigers:

“Full 48”: Robert Orzol, Old Bridge

One of the oldest cliches in sport is they saying: “We’ve got to play the whole ___ minutes.”

But in no circumstance was it ever more true that for Old Bridge defensive lineman Robert Orzol.

We documented this game with Old Bridge head coach Matt Donaghue here, but the gist is this: after a missed field goal that would have given the Knights the lead in a Week Two game at South Brunswick, the Vikings needed to gain a first down to take a couple of knees and run out the clock. But a fumble on the second snap caught the eye of Orzol, who dove on it, giving the ball back to Old Bridge. They won the game on a touchdown.

Old Bridge DL and playoff-clinching here Robert Orzol (Source: @OrzolRobert on Twitter)

That’s an amazing enough story on its own. Fast forward to Cutoff Weekend, and Old Bridge finished 17th in the South 5 standings, oh-so-close to a playoff spot. But not so fast.

The NJSIAA playoff seeding rules conduct a top-down head-to-head tiebreaker throughout the entire bracket, meaning if the team in third, for example, beat the team in second, they flip-flop. And down the list they go until they get to number 17.

That was Old Bridge. South Brunswick was 16th. But not for long.

Yes, Old Bridge won the head-to-head. Orzol was the hero again, weeks later, as the Knights made the playoffs, all thanks to Orzol’s fumble recovery.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Robert Orzol – whose never-give-up attitude almost singlehandedly got Old Bridge into the playoffs:

“MVP” Awards: Matt Sims of Brearley and Shawn Purcell of Manville

For the first time, Central Jersey Sports Radio is giving out an “MVP” award, to the players who are, well, most valuable to their team.

While there were so many great players this season, and many with an abundance of talent, two players stood out as perhaps the most critical to their success. And it might not surprise you to see that they’re both from small Group 1 schools: Brearley and Manville

Brearly QB Matt Sims with head coach Scott Miller (left). (Source: @mattsimss6 on Twitter)

Brearley’s Matt Sims finished just behind Jaeden Jones in the Big Central in rushing, with 1,523 yards and 26 touchdowns, the sixth highest total in the state of New Jersey. (That also makes it two quarterbacks leading the Big Central on the ground this season.) He also threw for 1,063 yards and ten touchdowns, an astounding number when you consider he not only didn’t complete anywhere near a hundred passes, but he didn’t even attempt 100 passes, going 67-of-99.

But the most astounding number was this: Sims accounted for 75% of his team’s yards from scrimmage this year.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Brearley senior QB Matt Sims:

Meanwhile, Manville’s Shawn Purcell really could have received this award for a two-year body of work.

Last year, he carried 117 times for 1,176 yards and 15 touchdowns, while this year accounting for 1,238 yards on the ground on just 106 carries, hitting paydirt 22 times. He also excelled on kick returns, and has five career interceptions at cornerback. (He’d probably have more if anyone dared throw at him.)

Manville’s Shawn Purcell (Source: Twitter)

Manville should have made unprecedented back-to-back playoff appearances, amazingly missing out last year at 6-2 at the cutoff, but that’s neither here nor there. In the end, Manville was 14-5 the last two seasons with Purcell as the focal point of the offense. And that’s the best two-year record for the program since a 14-4 run in 1968 – when the Mustangs went 9-0) and 1969 (when they went 5-4). Arguably, it’s even better with better win totals in both seasons.

These seasons don’t come along every year in a small town like Manville, but Purcell was a big reason why they did.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Manville senior RB/CB/KR Shawn Purcell:

Piscataway’s “Speedy” Rivera awarded 2022 Bellamy & Son Paving Player of the Week Scholarship

When one thinks back to all the team speed Piscataway has had over the years, most notably under Dan Higgins, with every passing year it becomes more and more difficult to top them.

At the risk of leaving many others out, Elijah Barnwell, Tevin Shaw, Malcolm Jenkins, and Kyle Wilson, are just a few of the names that instantly come to mind.

Add Antonio “Speedy” Rivera to that list.

He will close out his two-year varsity career (with his sophomore season wiped out by COVID) with a program record five career kick returns for touchdowns, some on punts, some on kickoffs.

And he also will close out that career with a $500 scholarship from Bellamy & Son Paving, which sponsored the Player of the Week award on Central Jersey Sports Radio for a second straight season.

Each week during the 2022 regular season, a Bellamy & Son Paving Player of the Week was chosen from nominations by the league’s coaches. Out of those nine, we chose one to receive a $500 scholarship. And this year, it’s Antonio Rivera.

Piscataway senior Antonio Rivera finishes off a 69-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter of a 38-14 home win over Old Bridge on September 30, 2022. (Photo credit: Terri Thompson)

Rivera won the award for his Week 5 performance in a 38-14 home win over Old Bridge on September 30th. He had a 69-yard punt return for a touchdown, as well as a 71-yard kickoff return for a score. That gave him the school record for career touchdown returns, previously held by Kyle Wilson with three.

Wilson went on to star for Boise State and play with the Jets and Saints in the NFL.

Who every gets Rivera will be one lucky son-of-a-gun indeed.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko surprise Antonio Rivera of Piscataway with the Bellamy & Son Paving Player of the Week Scholarship award:

Here’s the full list of Bellamy & Son Paving Players of the Week for 2022:

  • Week 0: Matt Yascko, Edison
  • Week 1: Antonio Rosato, Woodbridge
  • Week 2: Kyle Hall, Rahway
  • Week 3: Jaeden Jones, Colonia
  • Week 4: Vito Tropeano, Elizabeth
  • Week 5: Antonio Rivera, Piscataway
  • Week 6: Nyekir Eato, Edison
  • Week 7: Matt D’Avino, Montgomery
  • Week 8: A.J. Bosch, Woodbridge

Edison’s Matt Yascko did it better and longer than anyone, earns CJSR’s “Longevity Award”

What can be said about Edison’s Matt Yascko that hasn’t already been said?

From taking over at quarterback just a few games into his freshman season after an injury to the Eagles’ starter, to winning Edison’s first sectional title in 31 years with a victory at Lenape in this year’s Central Jersey Group 5 title game, and everything in between, the kid has just about done it all.

And for three of those years had the unique experience of being coached by his father, Matt, a former standout for Edison as well, in the early ’90s, winning that 1991 championship.

Edison’s Matt Yascko as a freshman against South Plainfield on October 18, 2019, his first win as a varsity quarterback. (Photo submitted by coach Matt Yascko)

His credentials are impeccable:

  • Second all-time at Edison in career rushing touchdowns, with 21
  • Fourth all-time in rushing yards, with 1,458
  • Set the Edison single-season passing record this year, with 1,900 even
  • Holds the career passing record, with 5,796 yards
  • Holds the career passing touchdown record, with 45
  • Tied for the single-season TD pass record, with 16
  • Led the team to the playoffs all three years they were held (none in 2020 due to COVID)
  • 3.8 GPA

What else can you say?

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Edison’s Matt Yascko:

Honorable Mentions:

Frankie Garbolino of North Brunswick, who won the “Leadership Award,” owns the top three passing seasons of all-time: 1,855 last season, 1,838 this year, and 1,701 in a short eight-game season in 2020. He broke nearly every record he could have in school history, among them career passing yards (5,410) and career passing touchdowns (53).

Jayden Young of St. Thomas Aquinas also had a fantastic career, racking up 25 wins in 3 seasons, and going 18-3 the last two years, with just one regular season defeat. He’s also won 17 straight against Big Central Conference opponents, a record his team will take into next season., In his career, he threw for 5,013 yards and 54 touchdowns, finishing with a 62-percent career pass completion mark.

Delaware Valley’s Jack Bill has been the MVP of the team the past three years. The quarterback went 19-7 as a starter, amassing 5,163 total yards, and 58 touchdowns, while also contributing as a kicker on special teams, where he converted 85 extra points and eight field goals in his time with the Terriers.

Hunter Seubert of Watchung Hills accomplished the rare feat of being a two-way starter on the offensive and defensive lines for the entirety of his high school career, all four years. “He was the QB of our front,” says his dad, the head coach, a one-time New York Giant and Super Bowl champion. A captain the last two seasons, Seubert also has a 3.8 GPA in the classroom.

On and off the field, Frankie Garbolino’s efforts garner him CJSR’s “Leadership Award”

The North Brunswick defense may have garnered the most attention this season, but if one had to choose a name and a face to represent the Raiders’ football program this year – and in 2021 and 2020 – it would be Frankie Garbolino, hands down.

In fact, three years ago, you might have thought he was a senior. After all, he played like that, and acted that way around his teammates.

And that championship-caliber attitude gained even more confidence this season after he and his baseball teammates won the GMC Tournament last spring for the first time in program history.

Marisa Tufaro Foundation founder Greg Tufaro (left) and game organizer Marcus Borden talk with North Brunswick QB and rising senior Frankie Garbolino at halftime of the Marisa Rose Bowl on July 21, 2022.

Garbolino, of course, had a solid senior season, throwing for 1,838 yards and 13 touchdowns, while also rushing 75 times for 447 yards and nine more scores. He also holds just about every school record a quarterback could own: career passing yards (5,410) and passing TD’s (53) among them.

He also led many community service events in the school, and the North Brunswick Township High School Touchdown Club, while maintaining a staggering 4.5 GPA in the classroom.

Click below to listen to Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Justin Sontupe talk with Jordan Bird:


Honorable Mentions:

Montgomery senior Gavin Guidette “was the heart and soul” of the Cougars this year, “setting the cultural expectations for everyone,” high praise from head coach Zoran Milich, who is the only football coach in Montgomery history and just graduated a stellar kid like Alex Benitez. He helped leady Monty to back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time in program history.

Connor Laverty of Bernards – who’s just a junior, mind you – was able to guide the Mountaineers to their third straight division championship with a very small senior class, but the biggest roster at the Group 2 school in program history. Laverty finished 2022 with 1,272 passing yards and 17 touchdowns, with just three INTs on the season. He’ll be one of the top returning QBs in 2023 in the Big Central.

South Plainfield’s Jason Greer was a fullback and D-lineman in 2022, and carried for a modest 432 yards and three touchdowns, while registering 62 tackles, 7 TFLs and 1 1/2 sacks on defense. But head coach Bill Hamilton says he “played anywhere the team needed him to” for the last two seasons. While the first didn’t yield the results they wanted, with an eight-loss campaign that saw four losses by eight points or less, it all paid dividends in 2022 as the Tigers won their first-ever division title, and went undefeated (8-0) in the regular season.

Ben Solimini of East Brunswick threw for 458 yards and four scores, but ran the ball even more, to the tune of 1,030 yards and 10 touchdowns. But more importantly, was “a leader by example on and off the field,” according to head coach Andy Steinfeld. He’s a “hard worker every day at practice, and an even harder worker in the classroom,” adds Steinfeld, as Solimini kept up a 3.83 GPA.

CJSR thanks Marisa Rose Bowl sponsors, will donate proceeds to Marisa Tufaro Foundation

With all the great work the Marisa Tufaro Foundation has done across Middlesex County and beyond over the last several years, there’s always more to be done.

Central Jersey Sports Radio is honored to be the exclusive broadcast home of the inaugural Bellamy & Son Paving Marisa Rose Bowl – which will be played by Middlesex County seniors Thursday night at 7:00 at North Brunswick Township High School – and so we pooled together a number of our regular sponsors, in order to make a contribution to the organization.

Thanks to the following businesses and organizations for their continued support of CJSR, and – in this case – the Marisa Tufaro Foundation, which helps families in need throughout the county:

  • Woodbridge Township
  • Dayton Toyota Service
  • Dayton Collision
  • SportsPlex at Metuchen
  • Edison Boys Baseball
  • Ideal Tire of Edison

Nearly 130 football players and cheerleaders are gearing up for the inaugural Marisa Rose Bowl; here are the complete rosters

One week from tonight, early 80 graduating seniors from high schools throughout Middlesex County will take part in an annual tradition, the newest incarnation of what was started decades ago by then-East Brunswick High School football coach Marcus Borden: the inaugural Marisa Rose Bowl.

It will be the first such senior all-star-game involving players from Middlesex County since 2019, as the game was on hiatus in 2020 and 2021 due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Players will be divided into two squads – Team Marisa and Team Rose – for the game on Thursday, July 21 at North Brunswick Township High School. There also are nearly 50 cheerleaders participating

You can hear the game live on Central Jersey Sports Radio, the official home for the Marisa Rose Bowl, with Mike Pavlichko calling the game alongside Korbid Thompson of the King James Radio Network.

Click here to listen on gameday.

The game will benefit the Marisa Tufaro Foundation, begun by longtime local sportswriter Greg Tufaro, formerly of The Home News Tribune/MyCentralJersey.com. The foundation is “a nonprofit whose mission is to assist pediatric patients and other children in need throughout the greater Middlesex County area.” It also gives out scholarships to local student-athletes, and the week of the game, a walk at St. Joseph High School in Metuchen will benefit local food pantries.

For more on the game and the Marisa Rose Foundation, click here.

Check back here in the coming days for more stories and details on the 2022 Marisa Rose Bowl.

Below are the rosters, by school, for each team. Please note rosters and positions may differ by the day of the game:

Team Marisa

  • Dunellen: Nasir Tippet (RB), Oscar Wasilewski (DE)
  • East Brunswick: James Sparrow (WR), Romeo Diaz (LB), Noriano Smith (RB), Kraig Wade (DE), Jason Soliman (OT)
  • Edison: Chase Priester (CB), Jordan White (LB), Zahir Huffin (DT)
  • JP Stevens: Clarance Dixsoin (WR), Jahwill Palmer (C)
  • Metuchen: Aidan Holloway (WR)
  • Monroe: Jeremiah Vessel (DE), Tyler Scott (LB), Ryan Zurawiecki (OT)
  • Old Bridge: Jake McAleavy (WR)
  • Sayreville: Osei Bonsu (FS), Denzel Osae (LB), Santana Fonseca (DT), Claude Blagogee (DT), Nicholas Scabilon (OT)
  • South Plainfield: Bryce Hollis (LB), Gregorio Zambrana (DE), Jake DelVecchio (SS), Jason DelPaoli (C), Michael Kurilew (LB)
  • St. Joseph-Metuchen: Christian Solino (QB), Anthony Roige (WR)
  • St. Thomas Aquinas: Kenny Coghan (LB)

Team Rose

  • Carteret: Jordan McQueen (LB) Kanye Groover (RB), JayQuan Elliott (OT), Jehu Andrews (DT)
  • Colonia: Lamont Hampton (SS), Joshua Prophete (RB), Mike Testa (CB), Cross Carrion (OG)
  • Highland Park: Faizon Morris (DT), Nigel Bailey (LB)
  • JFK: Justin Suero (WR), Emmanuel Akinrolabu (DT)
  • Middlesex: Bobby Ulmer (C)
  • North Brunswick: Marquis Perry (WR), Jayden Myers (WR), Brandon Harrison (DE)
  • Perth Amboy: Matthew Fernandez (OG), Francisco Sierra (OT)
  • Piscataway: Jaiden Parks (WR), Samir Croley-Battle (FS), Rocco Bellamy (LB), Jerrick Hargrove (DE)
  • South River: Marcus Granadiero (LB), Matt Marchesi (C), Daquan Colbert (DT)
  • Spotswood: AJ Legakis (CB), Ethan Williams (RB), Brandon Curnal (LB), Derek Santora (OG)
  • Woodbridge: Isaiah Allen (WR), Matt Stanton (QB), Jayson Bradley (OT), Dylan Bradley (OG)


Team Marisa

  • Dunellen: Lauren Mann, Kayla Roberts
  • Edison: Rylie Adams
  • JFK: Christina Burroughs, Lucy Yanak, Stephanie Yu
  • Metuchen: Amber May Cardillo, Amelia Gehring, Olivia Varga
  • New Brunswick: Beyania Dover, Nia’Marra McFarlane, Kaijah Smith
  • Old Bridge: Kayla Lance, Julia Leonhardt
  • Sayreville: Emily Calantoni, Jessica Redding, Jenna Wrubel

Team Rose

  • Carteret: Carley Belli, Savannah Doda, Alexandra Perez
  • Colonia: Faith Johnson, Alexa Leviten, Erika Pannone, Deanna Shinski
  • Middlesex: Anna Hommas
  • North Brunswick: Crystina Cofer
  • Perth Amboy: Yavely Marrero, Ivanie Mercado-Cepeda
  • Piscataway: Tiyanna Buitrago, Dacia Henry, Nia Lowery
  • South Brunswick: Naomi Bell, Alexandra Elmoudden
  • South River: Madison Sporer
  • Spotswood: Amy Bachetti, Failen Conroy, Alison Forsell, Mya Rogando-Lynch
  • Woodbridge: Colleen Kester, Margaret McNee, Alisa Perez