Tag: Hillsborough

This Week in the Big Central – Episode 4: The Mr. Old Bridge

A pair of big wins for a pair of Raiders, and the Big Man in Old Bridge.

Those are some of the highlights of Episode 4 of “This Week in the Big Central,” driven by Mark Montenero and his team at the world-famous Autoland.

We take a closer look at the top-ranked North Brunswick’s big win at Old Bridge, thanks to a big night from Marqis Perry. Then Hillsborough came up with a statement win over Phillipsburg in overtime.

Later, host Mike Pavlichko talks with Bellamy & Son Paving Big Central Player of the Week Tommy Amankwaa, and sits down with Mr. Old Bridge, Ron Mazzola, to talk about his PA work for Old Bridge and Spotswood, work with GMC wrestling and gymnastics, and great moments in Knights’ football.

Then, Dom Savino slides into the chair across from Mike to preview Week Three action in the Big Central.

North Brunswick claims top spot in Big Central Media Poll, edging out Union in Week Two

A week ago, North Brunswick had three first place votes in the Big Central Week One Media Poll, while Union had just one.

But the voters that didn’t pick Union first had the Farmers higher than those who didn’t have the Raiders in the top spot, so Union took Number One.

In Week Two, the first place votes went the same way – with Somerville and Woodbridge each getting a nod – but a win over ranked Old Bridge on the road boosted the Raiders in the minds of voters, and this week, they earned the top spot with 52 points, two more than Union.

There was little other change in the poll. Hillsborough jumped over Phillipsburg following a 21-14 overtime home win over the Stateliners, while Edison and Watchung Hills both dropped out. Three teams – Bernards, Cranford and Linden – tied for tenth, with five other teams getting votes.

Below is the Week Two Big Central Media Poll:

North Brunswick win over No. 4 Old Bridge keeps Raiders at No. 1 in CJSR Week Two Top Ten

Going on the road is never easy. Going to Vince Lombardi Field in Old Bridge is even tougher, where the Knights’ student section is loud. Coming out of there with a victory is even tougher.

But that’s what No. 1 North Brunswick did on Friday, pulling out a 34-27 victory at then No. 4 Old Bridge. And so, the Raiders remain No. 1 this week in the Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten, picking up both first place votes.

Woodbridge and Summit made their season debuts in the rankings, while Edison and New Providence dropped out, though the Pioneers were more of a mathematical casualty, having still received a vote in the poll.

The Media Poll will be out later Monday afternoon.

Below are the Week Two CJSR Rankings:

Hot takes: Hillsborough wins a big one, North Brunswick wins key matchup, Colonia pulls off an upset

A quick glance at the Friday night top ten scoreboard in the Big Central could make things even murkier in the Week 2 rankings when they come out next week.

To begin with, No. 6 Hillsborough overcame a very early 14-0 deficit to take No. 7 Phillipsburg to overtime, and came out with a 21-14 win, almost singlehandedly thanks to Tommy Amankwaa. He had the score and two-point conversion to tie the game, scored in OT to put the Raiders ahead, then sealed it with a pick on the Stateliners’ possession.

Talk about a game. He turned up big time.

READ MORE: Hillsborough has its sights set high with 1-2 combo of Mazuera and Amankwaa

Phillipsburg had won four straight against the Raiders, and even though Hillsborough was the higher-ranked team, it’s a huge win for them over a prominent Garden State program. A statement win that says they will be the team to beat in the division.

They get Franklin next week, which plays No. 5 Ridge this afternoon, and then will go at it in the Battle of Route 206 two Thursdays hence, in the “Big Central Game of the Week” driven by Autoland on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

That should be a fun one.

North Brunswick, meanwhile, the newly-minted No. 1 team in the Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten, followed up an explosive second-half performance against South Brunswick – 35 unanswered points to end the game – with a 34-27 win at No. 4 Old Bridge.

This North Brunswick team is loaded, and to be honest, it was a tough pick making Somerville the preseason No. 1 over the Raiders. And though Somerville (2-1) lost a tough one to Northern Highlands last week at Rutgers out of conference, it looks like the Raiders are for real. That’s a good Knights team with Owen Haughney, Lawrence Hunter and company, but North Brunswick got a big road win here.

READ MORE: Hunter guides veteran Old Bridge to opening win over East Brunswick

Now 2-0, the Raiders get Sayreville (0-2) at home next week. Their next biggest test will come in mid-October when Union comes to Steve Libro Field.

And how about Colonia. The Patriots took Woodbridge – which got a first place vote this week in the Media Poll – to the bring in Week One, but are in the win column after a 38-7 upset of No. 8 (tie) Edison (1-1). The Eagles were coming off a 37-0 shutout win over JP Stevens – admittedly, not much of a test – but were thoroughly dominated by the Patriots, who are now 1-1.

The Patriots led 24-0 at halftime, thanks in large part to quarterback Josh Oluremi. All he did was rush for touchdowns on 10, 20 and 24 yards, and throw 32 yards for another to Patrick Miller.

Colonia also had a pick-six in the win, and Jake Ciencin managed six sacks all on his own.

The real test will be in the next four games with three of them on the road. They start at South Plainfield next week, then have Montgomery at home before traveling to Linden and No. 8 (tie) Cranford, which edged out North Hunterdon Friday night 43-37 at home, on a tough week for the Union County town following major storm damage from the remnants of Hurricane Ida.

No. 6 Hillsborough rallies for OT win over No. 7 Phillipsburg in home opener

It was a dramatic night at Noonan Field in Hillsborough.

The 6th-ranked Raiders snapped a four-game skid against Phillipsburg, beating the Stateliners 21-14 in overtime, thanks in large part to Tommy Amankwaa.

Down 14-6 in the second half, Amankwaa – a receiver – scored on a touchdown run to cut it to 14-12, as head coach Kevin Carty began to use him a bit out of the backfield to get his playmaker some extra touches. Jay Mazuera’s pass to Amankwaa for two tied the game.

In overtime, Amankwaa scored to put Hillsborough ahead on the first possession, then sealed the deal with an interception to end the game after Will Dixon pressured ‘Liners backup QB Jakhye McLean. Starter Tristen Canzano missed the game due to injury.

The game certainly ended better than it started for Hillsborough (2-0), which saw a fumbled snap result in two quick scores for Phillipsburg (0-2), staking them to a 14-0 lead.

Click below to hear Hillsborough head coach Kevin Carty talk about the wild victory:

Union takes top spot in Big Central Media Poll; four different teams get first place votes

Somerville began the year as a unanimous Number One in the preseason Big Central Media Poll, but after dropping its second game of the year Sunday at Rutgers to Northern Highlands, Union has taken over at the top of the Week One rankings.

But the Farmers (1-1) are far from a unanimous pick. In fact, they only picked up one first place vote from the media members participating in the poll, while North Brunswick – 1-0 after a 56-21 win over South Brunswick in its opener – picked up three. But the Raiders picked up 51 points, finishing one point behind Union, which tallied 52.

Overall, four teams picked up first-place votes; Woodbridge (2-0) and Somerville (1-1) each got a nod.

In actuality, the entire poll was wide open this week, with 17 teams getting at least one vote.

North Brunswick takes over top spot in CJSR Week 1 Top Ten

Locked in a 21-all tie Friday night against their old Thanksgiving Day rivals, North Brunswick used a balanced attack to score four touchdowns in about five minutes of game action and 35 unanswered points to pick up a season-opening 56-21 win over South Brunswick.

That win, coupled with Somerville’s loss to Northern Highlands – albeit a very good Highlander team, the defending North 1 Group 4 champ from 2019 – flipped the top two spots in the Central Jersey Sports Radio Week One Top Ten.

Somerville finished atop CJSR’s first-ever final rankings in 2019, after beating Woodbridge in the first round of postseason games. The Barrons had been a unanimous No. 1 most of the year. And the Pioneers led the preseason CJSR rankings this year.

But after Week One, North Brunswick has taken the top spot, gaining both first-place votes.

Hillside was the only team to drop out of the rankings, doing so after a 14-7 loss to unranked Bernards – their first loss to the Mountaineers since 2016 – which jumped into the Comets’ spot in the Top Ten. Bernards was the only Big Central team to beat a ranked opponent in Week One

Here’s the Week One Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten:

This Week in the Big Central – Episode 2: The Sitkowskis

Week Zero is in the books, and the bulk of the Big Central opens up this weekend on Week One, unless Ida’s aftermath has anything to say about it.

Either way, it’s time for Episode 2 of “This Week in the Big Central,” driven by Mark Montenero and his team at the world-famous Autoland.

This Week on TWiBC, Mike Pavlichko talks to former Rutgers and Old Bridge quarterback Art Sitkowski, who came off the bench to rally Illinois to a season-opening win over Nebraska.

Then, he’s joined by NJSIAA Executive Director Colleen Maguire to talk about her first year at the helm as we head into 2021-22.

Finally, it’s a look at the official NJSIAA football classifications, released Wednesday, and a peek ahead at the weekend’s games.

Hillsborough has its sights set high with 1-2 combo of Mazuera and Amankwaa

With 37 career touchdowns and over 3,100 yards rushing, plus a solid career at linebacker with over 120 tackles, Sean Levonaitis will be missed at Hillsborough.

But those who haven’t graduated and remain on the Raiders’ roster still have a good feeling about the 2021 season, which begins next on Friday, September 3rd, when they host Hunterdon Central.

That’s because they have a significant amount of talent back at key positions on the field.

Not the least of which are two young men who have known each other since their ages were single digits: quarterback Jay Mazuera and wide receiver Tommy Amankwaa.

They not only are a potent combo, but one that is made up of a pair of kids virtually on the same wavelength, an intangible that’s difficult to counter for any defense.

Click below to hear Amankwaa, Mazuera, and their head coach Kevin Carty, Jr., talk about the upcoming season with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko:

Seniors Tommy Amankwaa and Jay Mazuera:

Head Coach Kevin Carty Jr.:

22 Big Central football players named to NJFCA Super 100 Team

by Mike Pavlichko

The Big Central Conference – in its first year of existence – was responsible for nearly a quarter of the players selected to New Jersey Football Coaches Association’s Super 100 Team, which is chosen annually in December.

The selections for 2020 were announced on Twitter Monday night.

Nominations are made by coaches who are members of the NJFCA, and comittees of coaches make the final selections based on NJSIAA playoff sections. For this season, with no playoffs, the NJFCS simply divided the state into quadrants based on geographical Northing numbers.

Only seniors can be named to the Super 100 Team, and those getting full scholarships to play football collegiately are automatically selected, according to NJFCA Commissioner John Jacob.

Cookie Desiderio and A.J. Pena of Somerville – Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Big Central Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively – were among the 12 players selected in the Central section.

CJSR’s Mr. Versatility Ali Lee Jr. of Woodbridge also was selected, along with teammate Jordan Harris.

Rounding out the Central section were Austin Scott (South Plainfield), Majid Howard-Baker (South Brunswick), Omar Shehabeldin (North Brunswick), Dylan McFadden (Montgomery), Kyle DeGraw (Monroe, Keyshawn Dixon (JFK), Longevity Award winner Sean Levonaitis (Hillsborough) and Zach Zebro (East Brunswick).

There were ten players selected in the North 2 section, headlined by Rutgers-bound Desmond Igbinosun of Union, along with his teammate Diante Wilson.

Others included Shawn Martin (Scotch Plains-Fanwood), Andrew Taddeo (Ridge), Matt Quetel (Phillipsburg), Chad Martini and James Coslet (Watchung Hills), Omakus Langley II (Hillside) and Bruce Myers (Bridgewater-Raritan).

Each year, the Super 100 Team is honored with a dinner in the Spring, but whether that will happen in person or virtually – due to COVID-19 protocols – has not yet been determined.