Tag: JP Stevens

Jason Goerge, son of legendary coach Joe, takes the reins at JP Stevens

Hoping to draw on his experiences working with his father in rebuilding the Dayton football program from scratch in 2006, Jason Goerge is now the new football coach at JP Stevens High School.

It’s the first head coaching job for Jason, who will turn 37 this summer, and has learned all about the “right way” to build a program from his father, legendary coach Joe Goerge, who was won numerous championships at Franklin and South Brunswick, where he remains along with his other son, Michael, who will remain as the Vikings’ defensive coordinator.

The Edison Board of Education approved the hire at its meeting Tuesday night.

Jason started calling the offense for his dad at South Brunswick in 2014, returning after Joe Goerge stepped away for a few years, and will have to assemble a staff on his own, bringing no South Brunswick assistants with him.

“I didn’t want to make it weird at Thanksgiving if I started bringing some of those guys with me,” Goerge told Central Jersey Sports Radio Wednesday.

The task is tall at JP Stevens, which currently owns the second longest losing streak in New Jersey at 31 games, behind only Highland Park, which has lost 42 straight. The Hawks’ last win came on October 26, 2018, a 29-14 victory over Monroe under Joe Riggi.

In the last 16 seasons since the departure of Frank Zarro – who was the last coach to have a winning record at JP, going 5-5 in his final season in 2016 – Stevens has gone 29-120 under five different coaches since then, including two separate stints by Riggi.

Goerge will also teach in the district, saying he’s never been a teacher where he’s coached before, and he thinks it’ll be a big plus to be “in the building” when it comes to installing a culture at JP Stevens.

Click below to hear Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko talk with new JP Stevens head coach Jason George:

JP Stevens in the market for new football coach amid long skid

JP Stevens is looking for a new head football coach, as the program and Joe Rovito have parted ways after three seasons.

The job was posted Monday by the Edison Board of Education on its district jobs portal.

Rovito’s Hawks were 0-21 under his tenure from 2020 to 2022, but Stevens is mired in a much longer stretch of defeats. They have lost 31 straight games – the second longest active losing streak in the state – dating back to 2018.

Only Highland Park has lost more games in a row, 42 straight, with its last win coming against Metuchen on Thanksgiving 2016.

The last JP Stevens football win came on October 26, 2018, a 29-14 victory over Monroe. That was its final win of the season in a 4-6 campaign under Joe Riggi, whose final season came in 2019, going 0-8. The Hawks’ last .500 season was in 2006 under Frank Zarro, when the team went 5-5, and haven’t had a winning season since Zarro’s 2003 team went 6-4.

His 2001 squad went 12-0, winning the Central Jersey Group 4 title 14-7 over Old Bridge.

Both high schools in the district are in the market for head coaches, as Edison head coach Matt Fulham announced his retirement earlier this year after his veteran Eagles squad won the Central Jersey Group 5 title, its first sectional championship since 1991.

How can you not root for these guys? Highland Park and JP Stevens still trying to stop the skid

Joe Theisman – during a 2017 visit to his alma mater, South River, after the Rams beat Highland Park – had the utmost admiration for the other team.

He told MyCentralJersey.com reporter Andy Mendlowitz, “I admire the living daylights out of every one of them. Every one of them. It doesn’t matter what the score is. The score is insignificant in my opinion in this particular game. It’s the fact that these kids just keep on playing and going and going. And I admire them tremendously.”

The Owls had just 17 players that particular day, and were 0-4 on the season, coming off a 2016 campaign that saw them go 6-4 and finish strong, winning four of their final five games.

Fast forward to 2020 and Highland Park has lost 35 straight since then, including 0-7 this year, adding up to a 40-game losing streak that is the longest active in the state as of this writing.

READ MORE: Owls keep at it in Highland Park, with dedication, perseverence, and – hopefully – a win

It’s surely not for a lack of trying, nor a lack of enthusiasm or stick-to-itiveness. When we visited the Owls’ locker room in the summer, there was a sense of optimism and hope, and the team was pumped as they got their practice jerseys from the legendary Joe Policastro before heading out to the field with more than 30 kids in the program, numbers not seen in years on the Avenue of the Owls.

The results just haven’t shown on the field yet.

The scores have sometimes been lopsided, but the team persists. After all, playing football is often more about life lessons than winning a damn game, which – in the end – is really just a game.

READ MORE: In Highland Park, Joe Policastro connects the young, the old and everyone in between

The Owls will have two more cracks at it this regular season. This Friday they visit Manville, nearly as tough a task as last week’s opponent. Brearley shut them out 32-0 in Highland Park last Friday. The Mustangs are 6-1 heading into this Friday’s clash.

Their best hope likely is next Saturday’s game at Shabazz Stadium against Newark Central, which is 1-5 on the season.

The thing about Highland Park is it’s never been a downtrodden program. The Owls have won championship after championship, and have sent players to the pros, like L.J. Smith, while others – like Bruce Presley – have gone on to collegiate fame.

A few miles away, JP Stevens – though it doesn’t have the lengthy history and tradition of Highland Park – also has had some championship teams (six) and produced great players, the most recent of whom – Jeremy Zuttah – also played on Sundays.

But as times change, and the North side of Edison changes with it, the program’s fortunes have taken a turn as well.

As a result, the Big Central Conference gave JP a “relief” schedule, moving them down several divisions from their Group 5 counterparts like Edison, North Brunswick and Perth Amboy to the United Silver Division, which comprises middle-of-the-pack size schools like Carteret, Governor Livingston, North Plainfield and South Plainfield. Non-divisional opponents are even smaller schools.

But the Hawks are still 0-6 this year – again, not for any lack of persistence, gumption and grit – and have the second-longest active losing streak in the state behind Highland Park, having lost 29 in a row heading into their final two games of the regular season. Both are at home and against much smaller Group 2 schools: this week against 2-5 Metuchen and next week against 5-2 Spotswood, which is fighting for a playoff berth and could desperately use Group 5 power points.

Of course, we at Central Jersey Sports Radio are always impartial, fair and never root for one of our area teams over another, but you’d be hard pressed to find us not rooting for both of these teams to get off the schnied real soon!

Other Notes…

The next-longest losing streak in the state is Ferris, which has dropped 19 in a row. They are 0-6 this year, went 0-9 last year, and lost all four games in the COVID-shortened 2020 season. It’s believed the longest losing streak ever in New Jersey belonged to Newark East Side, which lost 55 straight before snapping the streak in 2017 with a win over Belleville. It was just the fourth game for first-year head coach Brian Meeney, who also turned around St. Thomas Aquinas last year before his sudden and tragic death last winter.

The state’s longest active winning streak, meanwhile, belongs to Caldwell, which has won 21 straight – including 12-0 last season – and won its last three games of 2020.

While not a winning streak, Delsea has had an amazing streak recently, going 22-2 since the start of the COVID year. That’s 6-0 this season, 11-1 last season, and 5-1 in 2020. The Crusaders’ 35-6 win over Cedar Creek on Friday was the 231st victory for head coach Sal Marchesi, making him the winningest coach in school history.

Playoff update: Girls’ Basketball Public Sections

Central Jersey Sports Radio continues taking a look at the playoff picture, with Saturday’s NJSIAA cutoff for state tournament qualification almost immediately on the horizon. We’ve got a section-by-section breakdown of public girls’ basketball teams in the Greater Middlesex Conference and Somerset County. All power points are the official NJSIAA totals as made available on NJ.com as of 6:30 pm Thursday.

Central Jersey Group 4: While Hightstown (16-5) and Jackson Memorial (15-2) lead this section with 375 and 365 points respectively, Monroe (13-3, 357) should stay in third, with only Edison on the schedule tonight before Saturday, and the Eagles already are their lowest power point total, so they won’t gain. After Middletown South (13-4, 342) in fourth, there’s East Brunswick at 14-5, with 327 points. Most of these teams are fairly well in place, with maybe a chance they could nudge up or down one spot. Marlboro (11-7, 311) is sixth, followed by North Brunswick (12-7, 299) and South Brunswick (14-6, 297). Behind them are Montgomery (9-8, 282) and Old Bridge (11-6, 278) in tenth. Sayreville, though 6-12 (171 pts) should be in over Long Branch, which is 5-8 with 155 points.

North Jersey, Scetion 2 – Group 4: While it remains to be seen if Franklin (13-3, 367) is anything like its pre-pandemic self – they were en route to another Tournament of Champions appearance before COVID shut things down – they have steadily improved this year. Westfield (16-4, 409) is the top seed here, but the Warriors could be the definition of a “sneaky two-seed,” if such a thing actually exists. The shouldn’t get caught from behind either by Scotch Plains-Fanwood, which is in third at 14-3, with 366 points. Ridge, at just 9-12, with 293 points, actually checks in fifth, followed by Watchung Hills (9-6, 276) and Woodbridge (11-6, 267). Then Hillsborough is 9th, at 10-7 (264 points). In 14th and 15th, respectively, are Bridgewater-Raritan (3-17, 172) and JP Stevens (4-15, 171).

Central Jersey Group 3: Yes, the Colonia boys are in North 2, but the girls are in Central. That’s how it works when you have boys’ only and girls’ only schools. The Patriots (19-2, 382) are in second place, and the White Division champions of the GMC are likely to stay there. They won’t catch top-seed Ewing (15-1, 394) and the next closest team below them – Wall (14-4) – is 58 points back. Go all the way outside the top 8 and you’ll find South Plainfield (10-8) in 9th with 246 points. It’s unlikely could earn a home game by jumping up, because they can’t get any more residuals. Down at 12 is Somerville (9-8, 215), then JFK (9-8, 199).

Central Jersey Group 2: Manasquan (19-3) is the top team here with 485 points, then New Providence (17-1, 423), but third-place Middlesex (16-2, 369) is well behind them. The question is, can Bound Brook (15-4, 367) gain two points to jump fourth-place Rumson-Fair Haven (12-8, 368)? Not in residuals, and their highest power point total is 16. But if they beat 17-2 Woodbury Saturday? Sure could! Checking in at No. 8 is South River (14-5, 282), then Johnson (11-7, 246) and Spotswood (12-7, 240) in tenth. Metuchen is in 12th at 9-9 (198), and Piscataway Tech is solidly in, but 15th place at 8-10 (157).

North Jersey, Section 2 – Group 2: The only area team here is Bernards (5-10, 182) checking in at No. 11. The top seed here is Madison (12-6, 328).

Central Jersey Group 1: After top team New Egypt, at 12-1, 316 points, there’s Woodbridge Academy (15-2, 303). Probably can’t make up that ground, but a 2-seed is nice, too. Somerset Tech (12-5, 254) is in fourth, seven points ahead of Shore (10-10) in fifth. Down to nine we find Perth Amboy Tech (6-9, 154), which won’t crack the top eight. Immediately behind them are Manville (4-13, 150) and Highland Park (6-13, 149). Dunellen (4-14, 121) is in 13th.

Playoff update: Boys’ Basketball Public Sections

Continuing with a look at state playoff seeding projections, we’re taking a look at boys’ basketball public sections in Central and North 2. Remember that unlike most years when the first 16 games on a team’s schedule are counted, only the top 13 power point values are added this year. So, teams playing past their 16th game can still accumulate power points, but not full games’ worth. If a game makes the top 13, the lowest score is dropped, and all that is gained is the difference between the lowest of the 13, and the new score.

(Example: a team’s lowest among it’s top 13 scores is a 15. If it wins a game worth 20 points, the 15 is dropped, and the 20 added, for a net gain of 5.)

The analysis below is based on official NJSIAA calculations as available on NJ.com as of 9 am Tuesday:

Central Jersey Group 4: The top team here is Marlboro (17-2) with 454 points, and Monroe (18-3) is behind in second them at 413. They’re unlikely to get the top seed, but also unlikely to get caught from behind by Jackson Memorial (12-5, 361, 3rd) and definitely not by South Brunswick (12-6, 329, 4th). Both teams could gain since their 13th power point value is a loss, but not enough to overtake the Falcons. Next up from the CJSR area is No. 10 Montgomery (10-8, 244), then East Brunswick (8-8, 242) at 12. Both could move in a tight pack either up or down. Speaking of which, teams 15 through 17 are all from the GMC, and could be make or break this week. Old Bridge is 15th at 7-12 with 208 points, followed by Sayreville (8-10, 184) and North Brunswick (7-14, 176). It’s probably the Bombers and Raiders battling it out for that last playoff spot. North Brunswick has Edison Wednesday, and Sayreville is at St. Thomas Aquinas Tuesday and hosts Colts Neck Friday. Either team could add games before Saturday’s cutoff to get in. This could get interesting.

North Jersey, Section 2 – Group 4: You’ve got Watchung Hills (14-3, 361) in the catbird’s seat here, led by Elijah Lewis, who just committed to Adelphi this week. Westfield is 16 points behind, and it may be tough for them to catch up with 13 wins already. How about Franklin (11-6, 341) making a push, though? The Warriors have room for two more wins here, and might be able to make up the 20 point disparity, so look out; they currently sit in third. Ridge is right behind them wrapping up the top four at 13-5 with 326 points, but with 13 wins, they’re less likely to make a move than Franklin. Toward the middle of the pack, JP Stevens (9-7, 275) is tied with Elizabeth (8-5, 275) for 7th, but both have room for improvement this week. Edison (12-6, 260) is right behind, but already has 12 wins, so it’s doubtful the Eagles can crack the top eight. Bridgewater-Raritan (8-11, 250) is 12th, followed by resurgent Piscataway (8-7, 246), which has won four in a row and six of its last eight after a rough 2-5 start.

Central Jersey Group 3: The only area team in contention here is Somerville (5-12, 161 points) in the bottom half of the pack in 12th place, solidly in that bottom half, but solidly in the field of 16. Manasquan is the current top team at 13-4, followed by 14-4 Robbinsville.

North Jersey, Section 2 – Group 3: Here’s some intrigue: South Plainfield out of the GMC Blue is in first at 17-3, with 351 power points, while Colonia from the GMC White at 14-3 with 332 points is in second. It’ll be tough for the Patriots to make up that ground having 14 wins already; getting one of the pair against St. Thomas Aquinas sure would have helped. They’re the only area teams in contention in this section.

Central Jersey Group 2: With 13 wins already, a loss to Immaculata may not have hurt Bound Brook all that much, but it didn’t help either. The Crusaders (13-1, 357) have a slim shot at No. 1 Rumson-Fair Haven (13-2), which is only ahead by six points, with 363. For example, their lowest value is a 15, a win over North Plainfield. A win over Hunterdon Central (which has 7 wins) Tuesday would be worth 6 quality points, 4 group points, and 15 residual points, for a total of 25. Drop the 15, add 25 and the net gain is 10. They’d jump ahead of the Bulldogs, but now it depends what they do. Bottom line: the Crusaders are still in play in the critical final week for a top seed. South River (13-4, 312) checks in 5th here, with Middlesex (9-10) at ten, and Roselle (11-15, 251) and Spotswood (13-5, 248) not far behind them. Metuchen (7-10, 165) appears to be sitting comfortably in 16; don’t expect anyone behind the Bulldogs to challenge them.

Central Jersey Group 1: It looks like Perth Amboy Tech (11-4, 214) is a lock for the four- or five-seed. They currently sit in fifth, and the only real difference as a potential extra home game if things go to chalk. Further down the standings, Highland Park (4-12, 141) checks in at 12, followed immediately by Manville (7-9, 135, 13th) and South Amboy (5-9, 122, 14th). Somerset Tech (3-15, 105) is 14th. Burlington City is the top team here at 12-4

St. Thomas Aquinas leads Top 5 shakeup, moves into top spot in Bellamy & Son Paving Boys’ Basketball Top Ten

After winning a highly-anticipated matchup over No. 1 Colonia last Tuesday 64-52, St. Thomas Aquinas moves up two spots to take the top position in the Week 4 Bellamy & Son Paving Boys’ Basketball rankings.

Aquinas is one of just eight undefeated teams remaining in the state, three of which are in the Bellamy Top Ten, including Rutgers Prep (8-0), which holds at No. 2.

Gill St. Bernard’s – despite playing only two games so far this year against Skyland Conference competition – had a 3-1 week, beating Franklin and Hunterdon Central in its first two league games of the year by a combined 84 points, and is ranked third, up two spots. St. Joseph of Metuchen (6-2) holds in fourth. Colonia (6-2) fell to fifth.

The bottom five teams stayed the same, with none of them having lost in the past week.

In fact, the entire Bellamy Top Ten only suffered two losses last week: Colonia to then-No. 3 St. Thomas Aquinas, and Gill St. Bernards to Simeon Career (IL), 70-61.

Below are the full Week 4 rankings:

Two new teams join the Bellamy & Son Paving Boys’ Basketball Top Ten, but Colonia remains No. 1 ahead of clash with unbeaten Aquinas

The last time Colonia played St. Thomas Aquinas, they came out on top, with a win in the 2021 Karl Towns/Jay Williams pod final, the de facto GMC Tournament Championship.

Only the Patriots have dropped a game since, though it was an out-of-area loss to Lenape on Saturday in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at Montgomery.

But a 2-0 week otherwise witgh wins over North Brunswick and Woodbridge was enough to keep Colonia atop the Week 3 Bellamy & Son Paving Boys’ Basketball Rankings.

Can they hold on to the ranking? That will be determined Tuesday night at 6:30, when the Patriots host St. Thomas Aquinas in their first matchup of the season; they’ll face off again in Edison on February 3.

Teams two through six stayed the same: Rutgers Prep, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Joseph of Metuchen, Gill St. Bernard’s and Bound Brook.

Jumping in at No. 7 is JP Stevens, which is 4-1, and beat Monroe back on Thursday. That knocks the Falcons down to No. 8, and their win over Watchung Hills drops the Warriors two places to ninth.

Debuting at the ten-spot is Ridge. The Red Devils are 5-2 following a 3-0 week this week.

Below are the full week 3 rankings: