Tag: high school football

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

Devil Dogs strike early, defeat Leathernecks in 2022 Basilone Bowl

After two plays, it looked like the ninth edition of the Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone Bowl might have a score in the 30s or 40s. Jay Mazuera of Hillsborough hit Owen Bill of Hunterdon Central for a 65-yard touchdown strike to put the Devil Dogs up 6-0, plus the PAT by South Hunterdon’s Trevor McLoughlan, and it looked like we might be off to the races.

Things settled down a bit though, with a good deal of the first half played between the 30-yard lines, and it wasn’t until two minutes left in the first half before the fans on hand would see another score. That came from Franklin’s Nasan Colson, who ran in a ten-yard score on his eighth carry of the game to make it 14-0 with the extra point.

And it turned out that was all the Devil Dogs needed to beat the Leathernecks, in a game played every year in honor of Raritan’s favorite son, John Basilone. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic efforts at the Battle of Guadalcanal, only to be killed in action after re-upping and joining the fight in the battle of Iwo Jima, at the age of 28.

Colson was named the Devil Dogs’ Offensive MVP, while Jacob Ventura of Pingry was named Defensive MVP and Bill was named the overall Basilone Bowl MVP.

In the second half, the Leathernecks cut it to a touchdown on a two-yard run by Bound Brook’s Patrick LePoidevin that capped an 80-yard drive, but that was as close as they would get. With 8:19 left in the fourth – a period that started with only ten minutes on the clock on humid night – Hillsborough’s Tyler Michinard took a handoff from Mazuera and ran ten yards for the score, and the final one of the night, making it 21-7.

In the losing cause, the Leathernecks were led by Offensive MVP Alex Benitez and Defensive MVP Andre Soumeillant, both from Montgomery.

Listen below to postgame reaction from the 2022 Basilone Bowl champion Devil Dogs:

Hunterdon Central’s Owen Bill. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)
Owen Bill
Franklin’s Nasan Colson. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)
Nasan Colson
Devil Dogs and Hillsborough head coach Kevin Carty, Jr. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Basilone may be a local hero, but his legend lives throughout the Marines

Sometimes it seems like you can’t go five feet in Raritan Boro without seeing a plaque, sign, monument, or running into someone where the name John Basilone is involved.

Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic efforts at the Battle of Guadalcanal, only to be killed in action after re-upping and joining the fight in the battle of Iwo Jima, at the age of 28.

But his legend isn’t just known to us locals. He is a national hero, with a story Captain Kevin Keyser says “every good Marine should know.”

And that’s why – for the ninth year – they’re playing the Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone Bowl, presented by the United States Marine Corps and the Somerset County Coaches Association over at Bridgewater-Raritan High School.

Central Jersey Sports Radio will be broadcasting the game – involving high school seniors from throughout Somerset and, this year, Hunterdon Counties – and all the pomp and circumstance that goes with it, including a halftime show featuring the Marine Corps Quantico southern Lousiana stlye brass band.

Dom Savino and Mike Pavlichko will call all the action, with pregame starting just after 6:30, with kickoff just after 7:00. Click here to listen live, for free.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko speak with Captain Kevin Keyser of the Marines’ Recruiting Station New Jersey about the Basilone Bowl and the Marines’ involvement in the game for the past decade:

For Soumeillant, Cruz, Basilone Bowl takes on a little extra meaning

For the 80 players on the two rosters for the 9th annual Basilone Bowl at Bridgewater-Raritan’s Basilone Stadium Tuesday night, the game is one last chance to take the field, and for a good cause – the Basilone Memorial Foundation – which helps support the Robert Wood Johnson Cancer Center and the Fisher House Foundation for military families.

For some of those 80, it’s not their last time on a football field; they’ll be playing in college.

But for defensive end Andre Soumeillant of Montgomery and wide receiver Marvin Cruz of North Plainfield, the game is something even more special. They will be serving in the military before too long.

Soumeillant is joining the Army ROTC down at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. Cruz will be joining the Marines.

These are not snap decisions. These are plans that have long been in the works for both of them. A lot of hard work, and a lot of discipline, and they’re 110-percent ready for it.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko speak with both seniors as they get ready to strap it up one last time before they embark on life in the military:

Montgomery’s Andre Soumeillant
North Plainfield’s Marvin Cruz

Central Jersey Sports Radio will carry the 9th Annual Basilone Bowl live Tuesday night, with kickoff from Basilone Field set for 7 pm. Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino will call all the action; click here to listen.

Union’s Davison Igbinosun chooses Ole Miss over Rutgers, two other SEC schools

A week before the All-American Bowl, Union athlete Davison Igbinosun announced on Twitter he’d come down with COVID, and would be unable to play in the game. But it didn’t put a damper on his plans to announce it during the nationally televised contest.

In between the first and second quarters Saturday afternoon, Igbinosun – the most highly-touted recruit this year in the Big Central Conference – announced he would play at Ole Miss in the SEC.

He chose the Rebels over Tennesee, Kentucky and Rutgers. After a visit to Piscatway, he said Rutgers was the “home school” but called the SEC “big boy football.”

Igbinosun’s senior season came to an untimely end in the state playoffs, when the district’s Superintendent pulled the team from its second round game due to a number of positive COVID tests on the team, prompting a swift backlash from parents and fans. Igbinosun spearheaded a move by him and his teammates to get the team reinstated, but by then it was too late, and the plug was pulled.

READ MORE: National recruit Davison Igbinosun of Union says Farmers are “heartbroken” over playoff cancellation, vows to keep fighting

Igbinosun had several dozen Division I offers.

Old Bridge’s Lanzafama stepping down after 12 seasons with Knights

Saying “the time was right for a lot of different reasons,” Old Bridge head coach Anthony Lanzafama is leaving the program after a dozen highly successful seasons as just the school’s second head coach following the merger of Cedar Ridge and Madison Central.

Lanzafama took over for Bob DeMarco, who retired in 2010, but he wasn’t an outsider. In fact, he grew up in town, played youth football there, played high school football in Old Bridge, and worked as an assistant under DeMarco.

Promoted from within, Lanzafama went 72-47-1 in his 12 seasons, with just two losing records in that span. He had four eight-win seasons with the Knights, the most recent of which came in 2019.

He started with a 2-8 campaign 2010, then the Knights won the final three games of 2011 to go 5-5. But after that, Old Bridge ripped off a four-year run that included two eight-win seasons, going 29-14 overall from 2012-2015, including a berth in the Central Jersey Group 5 championship game at Rutgers. They would lose that game to South Brunswick, whose head coach Joe Goerge was officially hired Thursday to begin a second stint with the Vikings.

And when it came to their big rival, Lanzafama’s teams were nearly perfect. After losing to East Brunswick in the 2010 version of the “Battle of Route 18,” his first, the Knights have won eleven straight since.

Click below to listen to Anthony Lanzafama talk with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko:

Legendary football coach Joe Goerge returns to South Brunswick, where he led Vikings to unprecedented success, and three state titles

Joe Goerge is back for a second run at South Brunswick.

The 67-year-old Goerge – who led the Vikings to unprecedented success in his seven-year tenure from 2012 to 2018, including a 63-17 record and the only three state titles in program history – was approved Thursday night by the South Brunswick Board of Education.

Goerge stepped away after the 2018 season. His sons Michael and Jason had been coaching with him for a decade-and-a-half, and their daily drive down during football season from their teaching jobs in Springfield and Elizabeth was getting to be too much.

At the time, the coach said he wasn’t retiring, and after a season as an assistant at Matawan with his sons, Goerge took the head coaching job at St. Joseph by the Sea in Staten Island. He began his coaching career in the early ’80s at Port Richmond on the Island, before coming to New Jersey and coaching at Franklin, where he won state titles in 1994 and 1996, presiding over a powerhouse that won titles before him with Len Rivers in 1984 and ’87, Charlie Weis in 1989, and Joe Stinson in 1990.

He later coached six years at Dayton, then came to South Brunswick, which hadn’t won a championship, but where Rick Mantz – who’d had great success at Hillsborough – began a rebuild that took the Vikings to their first playoff berth in 30 years in his debut season with a team that featured future Rutgers star and NFLer Mohamed Sanu.

Goerge arrived on the scene in 2012, and promptly won a sectional championship, winning two more in 2015 and 2017.

After a two-year run at Sea, Goerge has a career coaching mark of 226-146-4.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Joe Goerge about his return to South Brunswick:

South Brunswick Board of Ed expected to approve Joe Goerge as Vikings next head coach

It appears, everything old is new again in South Brunswick. Just don’t call Joe Goerge old, okay?

It’s just that he’s already had a run – and a quite successful one – with the Vikings, including a 63-17 record over seven seasons, four trips to the sectional finals, and three crowns: in 2012, 2015 and 2017.

And yet, Thursday night, the Board of Education is expected to vote on his hiring. And if it ends up producing half the success it did the first time around, it’ll be a great hire.

Four years ago, Goerge left South Brunswick, saying he still had “a little bit left,” and knew he would coach again. Just where was the question.

He’d been coaching with his sons for a decade-and-a-half, and it was starting to be a long trek for them down to Monmouth Junction from their jobs up in Union County, where Michael taught in Springfield and Justin in worked in Elizabeth.

Ultimately, Goerge ended up coaching back in Staten Island, where he started his career before coming to New Jersey. He went 5-9 in two seasons at St. Joseph By the Sea.

Now, he’s poised to return to Middlesex County.

Goerge has a career coaching mark of 226-146-4, and has won five state titles overall, including 1994 and 1996 at Franklin, after a ten-year run at Port Richmond on Staten Island. After Franklin, he coached a from 2006 to 2011 at Dayton, before leaving for South Brunswick.

St. Joseph-Metuchen taps former Ridge mentor Bill Tracy to lead Falcons

Two years removed from a highly successful run as the head football coach at Ridge – and after spending those two years as the offensive coordinator at Governor Livingston, coaching his son at quarterback – Bill Tracy is headed to the Brainy Boro.

Tracy – who won a state championship for the Red Devils with a perfect 12-0 season in 2013 – has been named St. Joseph’s head football coach. The school announced the hiring in a press release Wednesday.

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Having begun his head coaching career at Livingston, Tracy owns a career record of 127-101, including a 71-44 mark in eleven seasons at Ridge. He left after the 2019 season to coach his youngest son, Connor, at Governor Livingston, which went 4-2 in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, but struggled with a vast amount of youth in 2021.

Tracy is highly-regarded in New Jersey high school coaching circles. He’s known as a class individual, and a tactician, with a deeply-analytical mind for the game.

Ridge won at least seven games five times during Tracy’s tenure there, and went to two state finals, winning one of them. The Red Devils lost to Phillipsburg 34-7 in the North 2, Group 4 finals in his debut season in Basking Ridge, but beat Union in a “nearly-perfect” game in 2013, 48-13 at Rutgers to win the North 2, Group 5 crown. In that game, Ridge scored on all but one possession, when a field goal attempt hit one of the uprights.

Ironically, his best team at Livingston was knocked out of the playoffs by Ridge in 2003, as the Red Devils – then coached by Tom Falato – won their first-ever playoff championship. (Ridge was declared a state champion in Central Jersey Group 2 in 1987.)

Only the fourth head coach in St. Joe’s brief gridiron history, Tracy replaces Rich Hilliard, who stepped down this year after a five-season run with a 30-17 mark. Bob Molarz began the program in 2009, with the first varsity team taking the field in 2011; he was 8-11 in two seasons. Casey Ransone took the helm for the next four years, and went 26-13, running the table in the GMC to a pair of division titles in 2013 and 2016, his first and final seasons.

In a press release, school President John Nolan thanked Hilliard for his contributions to the “Falcon family,” and went on to welcome Tracy: “Beyond proving himself as a winner, Coach Tracy has demonstrated his dedication to student-athletes with exemplary character. This will remain a program committed to excellence both in the classroom and on the field.”

Athletic Director Mike Murray added, “His teaching goes beyond the X’s and O’s of the game,” referring to Tracy. “He also strives to instill integrity in the young men he coaches. In our search process, Coach Tracy showed that he’s a great fir for the Saint Joe’s community. I can’t wait to see out student-athletes mature and flourish under his tutelage.”

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Bill Tracy about becoming St. Joseph’s new head coach:

The Bill Tracy File”:

Ridge (71-44, 11 seasons)

  • 2019: 8-2
  • 2018: 8-2
  • 2017: 4-6
  • 2016: 8-2
  • 2015: 6-5
  • 2014: 4-6
  • 2013: 12-0 (North 2, Group 5 champions, beat Union 48-13)
  • 2012: 7-3
  • 2011: 3-7
  • 2010: 2-8
  • 2009: 9-3 (North 2, Group 4 finals, lost 34-7 to Phillipsburg)

Livingston (56-57, 11 seasons)

  • 2008: 9-3 (North 1, Group 4 champions, beat Hackensack 28-8)
  • 2007: 6-4
  • 2006: 3-7
  • 2005: 5-5
  • 2004: 3-7
  • 2003: 10-1
  • 2002: 4-6
  • 2001: 6-4
  • 2000: 1-9
  • 1999: 5-5
  • 1998: 4-6