Tag: Kevin Carty Jr.

Hillsborough will be challenged in home playoff game against Edison

Hillsborough head coach Kevin Carty Jr. knew his football team would look much different in 2022 than it did in 2021, when the Raiders won a program record 13 games, becoming the first Somerset County school ever to do so.

They had big players who made big plays in big games, and a core who had grown up playing the game together: Thomas Amankwaa, Will Dixon, Jay Mazuera.

All gone to graduation, last year’s backup QB Ryan Tasetano would be the man under center, and hopefully a connection to last year’s team. And things started off great, with a 3-0 start. Even a loss to Phillipsburg – nobody’s beaten them this year – wasn’t enough to tamp down any positive feelings about 2022; that loss was followed by two more wins.

But in the first of those, the senior Tasetano broke his collarbone. His backup to start the season, junior Tyler VanCleef, had already done the same. Now, it was up to sophomore Alex Reiling.

And then, after a win over Hunterdon Central, it was a perfect storm of a young QB on a team still trying to find its offensive identity, and an opponent who’d woken up out of a slumber with a new head coach – Somerville.

That began a two-game skid Hillsborough hopes to limit at that number, as the new season begins, at home in the playoffs this Friday night. The third-seeded Raiders (5-3) take on sixth-seed Edison (6-3) in the opening round of the Central Jersey Group 5 playoffs at 7:00 at Noonan Field.

It’ll be a rematch of an epic game played in Edison two years ago, the final “pod” league playoff game of the COVID-shortened season, which Edison won 50-49 on a late two-point conversion by then-sophomore quarterback Matt Yascko.

READ MORE: Edison wins thriller over Hillsborough in epic first meeting

That was the first-ever meeting between the schools; this will be the second.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Hillsborough head coach Kevin Carty Jr. about the Raiders’ 2022 journey, and their first-round playoff matchup with Edison:

No. 3 Hillsborough extends win streak to 16 with gutsy home win over Ridge

The 2021 Hillsborough Raiders were a talented bunch, could score quickly, and had a lot of flash.

The 2022 Hillsborough Raiders – their opening game against East Brunswick notwithstanding – are a lot less flashy, and more reliant on defense to get them through games.

They didn’t lose a game in 2021, and they haven’t lost yet in 2022.

Hillsborough topped Ridge 21-11 at home Friday night, to improve to 3-0 and extend their winning streak to 16 games, matching Bergen Catholic’s mark and good for second-best active streak in the state. The Crusaders are home Saturday against Seton Hall Prep, while Caldwell – with the state’s longest streak – is now at 18 games after a 42-20 home win over Verona.

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Again, it was defense which got the job done. Hillsborough took a 7-3 halftime lead into the fourth quarter before going up 14-3, but Ridge battled right back, picking up a two-point conversion as well to cut to to 14-11. But the Raiders got one more TD to put it away.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Hillsborough head coach Kevin Carty Jr.:

Hillsborough strikes first, guts one out, holds off arch-rival Bridgewater-Raritan

For most of the first half Friday night, the 41-yard scoop-and-score by safety Tyler VanCleef was responsible for more yardage than the combined offensive totals of both Hillsborough and Bridgewater-Raritan.

But early in the second quarter, the Raiders’ embarked on a 66-yard drive than took 13 plays and 7:30 off the clock, ending with a 41-yard field goal by Sam Meechin. It was just the second of his career – and, in fact, just the second he’s attempted in the last two years – and it gave Hillsborough enough to withstand the answer touchdown from the Panthers before the teams went in the locker room.

Add a 59-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Tasetano to slot receiver Shane Donoghue with just under nine minutes to go – their third such connection in the first two games this season – and No. 3 Hillsborough came out with a hard-fought 17-6 win over Bridgewater-Raritan.

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There were a lot of three-and-outs in the first half, but it was less about offenses that couldn’t get going than aggressive defenses. Both teams went after the QBs and had several tackles for loss.

Against the triple-option offense of Bridgewater-Rartian, the Raiders were disciplined, with eight sacks. They also had two fumble recoveries – including VanCleef’s for a score – and an interception late in the game by sophomore Jackson Jankowicz.

Hillsborough (2-0) has now won five straight in the series, taking an 18-13-1 lead all-time. Bridgewater-Raritan (1-2) last won in 2017.

Click below to hear postgame reaction from the Big Central Game of the Week:

Senior slot receiver/defensive end Shane Donoghue
Head coach Kevin Carty, Jr.

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)

Dominating 13-0 season sees Hillsborough’s Amankwaa and Carty Jr. sweep Two-Way Player and Coach of the Year awards from CJSR

It was a season of perfection for Hillsborough, and the Raiders took home two honors Thursday night on the Central Jersey Sports Radio postseason awards show.

Standout Thomas Amankwaa – who signed his National Letter of Intent to go to Rutgers this Wednesday – was named Big Central Two-Way Player of the Year, while head coach Kevin Carty Jr. was named Coach of the Year.

And both awards had a lot to do with Amankwaa.

The RU-bound senior had career highs in two major offensive categories, racking up 853 receiving yards at his natural position, along with 13 touchdowns, but he also rolled off 1,125 rushing yards – and 15 more scores – as Carty got Amankwaa involved as a runningback, a stroke of genius that paid off with a 13-0 record, a school record in wins, and the Central Jersey Group 5 title, its first state title in 21 years.

He also came up big defensively. Though he only recorded 25 tackles – some of that due to a solid defense in front of Amankwaa that didn’t give him many chances – he had 5 interceptions for 118 yards and five pass breakups.

One of those picks came in overtime against Phillipsburg, completing a 21-14 comeback win.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlickho talk with Tommy Amankwaa and Kevin Carty, Jr.:

Honorable mentions from the Two-Way Player of the Year category included Charlie Barth of New Providence, Michael Olivo of Ridge and Union’s Davison Igbinosun.

Barth won the inaugural award last season, but sat out defensively at times this year to stay fresh, and after getting dinged up a bit early in the season; he didn’t play a snap on D in a blowout home win over Bound Brook.

But when he was in the game, he was a force to be reckoned with, as evidenced in a first-round playoff game at Delaware Valley, where an early red zone pick got New Providence on the board, and on its way to victory.

Olivo came up 33-yards shy of 2,000 total this season, with 947 passing yards, 961 rushing, and another 59 on returns. He scored 25 touchdowns on offense, then had 44 tackles and 3 INTs on defense.

Igbinosun – who still hasn’t decided on a college but holds more than 30 Division 1 offers – had 76 carries for 903 yards and 12 touchdowns, 20 receptions for 405 yards and four TDs, while amassing 74 tackles and exerting his dominance on defense, adding four interceptions and two tackles for loss.

Perfection! Hillsborough caps 13-0 season with milestone win over Kingsway

In the end, Hillsborough did what Hillsborough has done all season long.

Highlight reel catches by Thomas Amankwaa, pressure by Will Dixon and Andrew Santa Barbara, a pounding rush from Tyler Michinard, and the arm of Jay Mazuera were just some of the reasons – not all by a long shot – why the Raiders are the South Jersey Group 5 Regional Champions for 2021, as well as a perfect 13-0.

Hillsborough beat Kingsway 28-7 Saturday afternoon at Rutgers’ SHI Stadium in Piscataway in the Big Central Game of the Week driven by Autoland, and in the process became the first Somerset County team in history to win 13 games in a regular season.

The win also was a personal milestone for Kevin Carty, Jr., the Hillsborough skipper, who picked up the 100th win of his career, now 99-63 in 16 seasons overall, 35-17 in the ‘Boro.

It looked for a while like Kingsway would put up a fight.

The Raiders went three-and-out on their first possession of the game, and Kingsway marched downfield to get a first-and-goal at the eight. But after a five yard rush on first down, Hillsborough forced a no gain on the ground, allowed a one yard rush, then set Kingsway back a yard on fourth down, to take the ball over at the three.

And that was the beginning of a glorious afternoon for the Raiders. They would take the next drive 97 yards on 14 plays, eating up 6:14 of game clock, to go ahead 6-0 on a 7-yard touchdown run by Tyler Michinard.

Hillsborough was off an running at that point.

The next two drives only took eight plays total, but each resulted in touchdown passes from Jay Mazuera to his childhood friend Thomas Amankwaa, 42- and 53-yards, and the second one even more amazing than the first,.

The first was an outstretched arm to make the ball reach the pylon.

On the second, Amankwaa made a two-handed grab down the left sideline, stretched the ball away from his defender with his left hand while on the run, and stiff-armed him away with the other, running it into the end zone once he got some distance.

It might have Greg Schiano rethinking that whole using him as a d-back thing, once Amankwaa – a Rutgers commit – signs on the dotted line in about 11 days.

Anmankwaa finished with five catches for 129 yards and two touchdowns, as well as 111 yards on 12 carries. He also had a big tackle in the first half that kept a Kingsway drive from being extended.

The receiving yards put him over Jackson Parham’s school record 2,069 receiving yards, giving Amankwaa 2,194; he now owns four career records, including TD receptions (28), total touchdowns (50), and total points scored (304).

Hillsborough clinched its first-ever perfect season, besting its 1973 record of 8-0-1, which saw them awarded a state championship by the state, sharing with Warren Hills, in the final year before the advent of the playoffs.

The Raiders also are the first Big Central Conference team – as a member of the league – to win 13 games in a season. Piscataway did it in 2018, but the Big Central was still two years away from beginning play as a conference.

Click below to hear postgame reaction from Hillsborough’s 28-7 win over Kingsway in the South 5 championship game with Central Jersey Sportrs Radio’s Max Scheiner:

WR/CB Thomas Amankwaa
QB Jay Mazuera
Head coach Kevin Carty, Jr.

Hillsborough looks to cap amazing year with one more win, in South 5 regional title tilt

Hillsborough might not have been everyone’s favorite to make the longest of playoff runs in 2021, but here they are.

The Raiders have played a grueling schedule, many of the same teams they played in their Skyland Conference days. And they’ve beaten every one of them, some fairly handily.

Some, like Phillipsburg, they trailed, as they did by a 14-7 score in the second half at Noonan Field in Week 2.

All they did was win the game in overtime, as Tommy Amankwaa sealed the deal with an interception in the end zone.

They even beat a team twice, North Brunswick, right before the playoffs began, and again just three weeks later in the Central Jersey Group 5 sectional title game. It was Hillsborough’s first championship in 21 years.

This Saturday at Rutgers University’s SHI Stadium in Piscataway, they will chase perfection, something no Hillsborough team has ever done.

Even the 1980 team that knocked off statewide No. 1 Madison Central, and the 2000 team that upset statewide No. 4 Sayreville, may not have been this good.

Saturday, they get a chance to prove it.

That’s when Hillsborough (12-0) faces Kingsway (8-4) out of the West Jersey Football League in the Big Central Game of the Week driven by Autoland, our final one of the season, on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

Click here to listen to Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe call all the action, with a special extended pregame starting at 12:15, and kickoff at 1:00. Max Schiener will report from the sidelines and provide live postgame reaction.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk about the Kingsway game with Hillsborough head coach Kevin Carty, Jr.:

Coaching is in the Carty family; Kevin Jr. and Sr. share the sidelines at Hillsborough

Who knows if they can trace it back to one specific moment in time.

Maybe it was the day Kevin Carty Sr. left Morehead State to take the job at Somerville.

Maybe it was the time they spent together living out of a local motel on Route 22 before Shirley Carty could come back to New Jersey to join them.

Maybe it was when they won a state title together with the Pioneers in 1994, knocking off Vic Kubu-led Manasquan at the Meadowlands.

Or it could have been any point before or after, or all of the above.

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But in some way, shape or form, coaching trickled down from the bones of Kevin Carty, Sr., to his three sons, Kevin, Sean and Ryan.

Today, all four are in coaching: Sean at Montgomery, Ryan at Sam Houston State, where both are offensive coordinators.

And, of course, Kevin Jr. at Hillsborough, where his team has won a state championship, and is on the verge of becoming the first-ever perfect Raider team, and the first Somerset County school to win 13 games in a season.

And where his dad is one of his assistants.

The father-son bond is especially strong, and Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko got a chance to sit down with both this week – together, of course – as they Raiders get set to take on Kingsway Saturday in the South 5 Regional Championship game.

Click below to listen to Mike Pavlchko’s story on the Coaching Cartys:

You can listen to the South 5 Regional Championship game between Hillsborough and Kingsway this Saturday on the Big Central Game of the Week driven by Autoland on Central Jersey Sports Radio by clicking here. Kickoff is set for 1 pm from Rutgers University’s SHI Stadium, with pregame at 12:15. Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe will call all the action, while Max Scheiner will provide sideline commentary and postgame reaction from down on the field.

Hillsborough’s complete effort gives Raiders first state title in 21 years

Hillsborough’s longest state title drought of the playoff era is over, and the Raiders did it in style.

It was nothing fancy, mind you. In fact, they were a little sloppy early, and fell behind 8-7 in the second quarter – only the third occasion in which they had trailed in a game all year.

But then Hillsborough acted like the top overall seed that it was, scoring 28 unanswered points to pull away from third-seed North Brunswick for a 35-8 victory at Noonan Field, giving them the Central Jersey Group5 championship.

It was Boro’s first title since 2000, when they upended the No. 4 team in the state, Sayreville, for the CJ Group 4 crown.

North Brunswick falls to 8-4.

Quarterback Jay Mazuera was 12-for-19 for 171 yards and two touchdown passe for Hillsborough; he also rushed for another.

Tyler Michinard – who rushed for a school record seven touchdowns a week ago against Williamstown – ran for 53 yards on 16 carries, while Tommy Amankwaa had five catches for 79 yards and two touchdowns, rushing for another. And if that wasn’t complete enough, the Rutgers commit also grabbed an interception on defense.

The win extends Hillsborough’s program-record victory total to 12, and the undefeated Raiders now move on the the South Group 5 regional championship. The fourth-seeded Dragons (7-4) out of the West Jersey Football League beat third-seed Toms River North Friday night 21-14.

That game will be played the weekend of Dec. 4-5, since Kingsway plays Clearview in its Thanksgiving rivalry game next Wednesday.

The regional championships are being held next weekend and the first weekend in December at Met Life Stadium and Rutgers University’s SHI Stadium. The NJSIAA will announce sites, dates and times for the matchups this Sunday.

Click below to hear Tim Catalfamo down on the field with postgame reaction from Hillsborough’s championship win:

Hillsborough senior WR/DB To\mmy Amankwaa
Hillsborough head coach Kevin Carty, Jr.

This Week in the Big Central – Episode 13: The Championship Weekend 2021

It’s time to crown some champions!

On Episode 13 of “This Week in the Big Central,” driven by Mark Montenero and his team at the world-famous Autoland, we’ve got complete previews of the three conference teams vying for championships this weekend.

Mike Pavlichko is joined by Dom Savino for quick look back at the semifinals, then we go through both games with the players and coaches involved.

First, it’s a look at our Big Central Game of the Week, driven by Autoland, as the North 2, Group 3 title game features top-seed and undefeated Cranford (10-0) taking on Sparta (8-3). Mike Pavlichko talks with Cranford head coach Erik Rosnemeier and runningback Colin Murray, as well as Sparta head coach Frank Marchiano.

Then, Mike takes a look at the Central Jersey Group 5 title tilt, featuring top-seed and undefeated Hillsborough (11-0) entertaining third-seed North Brunswick (8-3). Mike Pavlichko stopped by each team’s practice this week to catch up with Hillsborough head coach Kevin Carty, Jr., and defensive end/tight end Will Dixon, as well as North Brunswick head coach Miek Cipot and top runningback Marquis Perry.

Mike and Dom close it out with a closer analysis of both matchups.

Listen to Cranford take on Sparta in the Big Central Game of the Week driven by Autoland with an extended pregame starting at 6:30, followed by kickoff at 7 with Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe, while Tim Catalfamo provides live updates from the Hillsborough-North Brunswick game. Click here to listen live, and for free.

Postgame reaction will follow from both contests later Friday night on cjsportsradio.com.