Tag: Hillside

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:

Instant Replay: Bernards 14, No. 10 Hillside 7

Click below to listen on-demand to the “Big Central Game of the Week” driven by Mark Montenero and his team at the world-famous Autoland from Sunday, September 5, 2021, the first game of a doubleheader broadcast by Central Jersey Sports Radio from Rutgers University’s SHI Stadium in Piscataway.

Mike Pavlichko hosts, while Justin Sontupe and Tim Catalfamo call the action, with guest color commentator and Bernards High School junior Matt Lesnik.

1st Half

2nd Half

PHOTO GALLERY: Bernards wins first game over Hillside since 2016

Click below to view a photo gallery of Bernards 14-7 win over No. 10 Hillside in a “Big Central Game of the Week” driven by Autoland at the Rumble on the Raritan at Rutgers University’s SHI Stadium in Piscataway on Sunday, September 5, 2021.

Leanza, Bernards ground and pound Hillside en route to 14-7 win

Bernards came out of the box playing ball control offense Sunday afternoon, and though it wouldn’t pay off until after halftime, the result was a 14-7 victory over the Comets in the first part of a doubleheader “Big Central Game of the Week” driven by Mark Montenero and his team at the world-famous Autoland.

In a game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, the victory by the Mountaineers in the “Rumble on the Raritan” was their first against Hillside since September 23, 2016, almost five years. That was a string of five losses over the four previous seasons, including twice in 2018, in the regular season and the playoffs.

Bernards controlled the ball for nearly the first ten minutes of the game, and had a major advantage in time of possession the entire game, holding the ball for almost 34 of the 48 minutes, though they trailed 7-0 at halftime after a Caleb Salters 81-yard touchdown pass to Justin Mays.

But Bernards would score a pair of unanswered touchdowns in the second half. Quarterback Connor Laverty threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Brady Walsh just past t he midway point of the third quarter, while Chris Dietrich broke the tie and put the Mountaineers ahead for good with 8:36 remaining on a one-yard touchdown run, capping a nine play, 47-yard drive in 3:09 of game time.

Bernards moves to 1-1, while Hillside drops to 0-1.

Though he never reached the end zone, Michael Leanza was the workhorse all day for Bernards, grinding out 150 yards on 37 carries an average of 4.1 yards per touch. Leanza was named the Big Central Player of the Game, and will receive a custom game ball at the end of the season, courtesy of Autoland. He was also named the Rumble on the Raritan game MVP.

Click below to hear Bernards HS student Matt Lesnik with postgame reaction from Leanza and head coach Jon Simoneau:

Senior runningback Mike Leanza

Head coach Jon Simoneau

No. 10 Won’t take anything for “Grant”ed when Comets rumble with Bernards Sunday

The Hillside football team is responsible for handing Bernards four of its last five losses over the past three years.

But head coach Barris Grant recognizes those were different players and different teams; all that is in the past.

That’s the mindset when the Comets face the Mountaineers Sunday in Piscataway, in the Rumble on the Raritan showcase at Rutgers University’s SHI Stadium.

It’ll be Game One of a doubleheader on the “Big Central Game of the Week” driven by Mark Montenero and his team at the world-famous Autoland Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 pm Sunday; air-time on Central Jersey Sports Radio is set for 1:45 pm with Mike Pavlichko hosting the pregame show. Justin Sontupe and Tim Catalfamo will call all the action, with Bernards High School sports broadcasting student Matt Lesnik joining the booth as well.

Click here to listen live to the broadcast.

READ MORE: Bernards looks to get off schneid against Hillside in “Rumble on the Raritan” Rivalry Game

Game Two, scheduled for 5 pm, will feature Somerville and Northern Highlands.

Click below to hear Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Tim Catalfamo talk about Hillside with Comets’ head coach Barris Grant:

Bernards looks to get off schneid against No. 10 Hillside in “Rumble on the Raritan” Rivalry Game

Bernards High School football has lost just six games over the last three-plus seasons, tallying 24 wins over that same timeframe. But four of those losses have come at the hands of one foe: Hillside, who Bernards prepares to battle Sunday afternoon in the Rumble on the Raritan at SHI Stadium.

It’s Game One of Central Jersey Sports Radio’s season-opening “Big Central Game of the Week” doubleheader, driven by Mark Montenero and his team at the world-famous Autoland.

Coverage begins approximately 1:45 pm on Central Jersey Sports Radio, with Mike Pavlichko hosting the pregame show. Justin Sontupe and Tim Catalfamo will call the action, with Bernards sports broadcasting student Matt Lesnik joining the broadcast as well. Kickoff is scheduled for 2p. Click here to listen to the game live.

“They’re just a very good football program,” said Bernards Head Coach Jon Simoneau. “They just happen to be in our league, so we have to play a very difficult team. They’ve all been close games.”

Bernards will have a golden opportunity to change that narrative Sunday afternoon in front of the Rumble on the Raritan crowd. But it won’t be easy. The Mountaineers are replacing a senior starter at quarterback in Teddy Gouldin and 2020’s leading receiver, Pat Caldwell. In Bernards’ season opener last week at Penns Grove, the Mountaineers struggled following a mid-game weather delay, falling 40-20.

Mike Leanza will be the focal point of Bernards’ attack. The senior running back led the team in rushing last season and ran for 146 yards and a score in the season opener.

At stake Sunday is the chance to snap the skid against No. 10 Hillside and avoid opening the season 0-2 for the first time since 2017. But if the last few years are any indication, one can expect Bernards to be prepared for the challenge.

“We’re past this as a program, saying we are in a rebuilding year,” Simoneau said. “Everything at this point is a reloading year. Seven wins is the goal.”

Click below to hear Justin Sontupe talk with Bernards head coach Jon Simoneau about his team and the Rumble on the Raritan contest against Hillside:

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.

Week 3 Media Poll finds Barrons in the top spot again

A week two win kept Woodbridge atop the Big Central Media Poll this week, although the Barrons still were not a unanimous selection. They got four first-place votes for the second week in a row, while Phillipsburg – just like last week – got the other two. The Barrons are 2-0, while the Stateliners are 3-0.

The top four positions in the survey were unchanged, with Somerville and St. Joseph-Metuchen holding in third and fourth, respectively.

Ridge and Bridgewater-Raritan joined the rankings this week, replacing Union and Hillsborough, both of which suffered their second losses of the season in Week 3.

Woodbridge takes sole possession of top spot in CJ Sports Radio Top Ten

Though they’ve only played one game, the Woodbridge Barrons sit alone atop the Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten.

Woodbridge shared the No. 1 position in the preseason and a week ago with Union, but took over on their own after the Farmers were knocked off by unranked Bridgewater-Raritan, which jumped into the poll at No. 5. The Barrons were dominant in a 34-0 win at in-town rival Colonia.

It was a tumultuous week in the Big Central Football Conference, as none of the ten teams in the Week 1 rankings retained the same spot in Week 2.

North Brunswick also entered the rankings after a win over No. 8 New Brunswick, 28-7.

Below are the Week 2 rankings.

This post has been updated to reflect Cranford and South Brunswick also receiving votes.

Union, Woodbridge share No. 1 again in Week One Top 10

Just as in the preseason Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten, Union and Woodbridge share the top spot.

Both teams were affected by COVID cancellations in Week One, but only the Farmers were able to play. Westfield’s program shutdown happened far enough in advance that Union was able to find an opponent; they traveled to Eastern down in South Jersey and won 39-15.

Linden, however, cancelled on Union in the middle of the week, too late for the Barrons to find a replacement game. Woodbridge will open at Colonia Friday night.

Below is the Week One Top Ten: