Tag: Manville

Manville football, wrestling coach Pat Gorbatuk promoted to Athletic Director

The good news is, Manville’s Pat Gorbatuk is staying in town.

But it’s bittersweet for him to leave his posts as football and wrestling coach, posts he has held for the last 12 and 16 years, respectively, to become the next Athletic Director, replacing Stephen Venuto.

On the football field, his teams went 40-72 with three playoff berths, but that came after 1-9 records the first five seasons. Since 2016, the Mustangs have been .500 or better all but two seasons, one of them the very difficult COVID year, going 35-27 in that span

In wrestling, his teams amassed 230 wins, including a 23-3 campaign this past year, as well as four division titles, three sectional finals appearance, and two state place-winners, both in the last nine years: Brian Kuhlman in 2015 and Michael Tyle in 2018.

Gorbatuk also had two stints coaching boys’ and girls’ track and field for nine seasons between 2009 and 2020.

The draw for Gorbatuk has always been the sense of community in Manville, a small town, and one of the smallest high schools in Central Jersey.

Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko talked with Gorbatuk about his new job, and the ones he leaves behind; click below to hear the interview:

Somerset County Tournament resumes Saturday morning with four second round games

The Somerset County Tournament kicks into high gear Saturday with four second round games, all played at the home of the higher seeded teams. Here’s a look at all four matchups, with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s coverage of the SCT presented by Zoned Sports Academy in Bridgewater:

#11 Manville (7-2) at #6 Pingry (4-3), noon

Of course, the main goal is to advance in the SCT, but Manville baseball has had a lot of lean years, and at 7-2, a win against Pingry would equal their win total from 2019, when the team was 8-13. And that was he first time they’d won more than five games in a season since at least the start of the last decade. But the Mustangs aren’t resting on their laurels. They have three players hitting .400 or better, including senior Josh Barrios at .400, and senior Geoffrey Mathis and junior James Mascola hitting .500 on the year. Mathis has a team-leading 16 RBIs and has hit two home runs on the year, adding a pair of doubles and a pair of triples. Pingry hasn’t shown the form yet it did last year, when the Big Blue had a 23-3 campaign and won the Prep A Tournament. But that can happen when you lose your hits leader in Liam Royster and strikeout leader on Thomas Santana to graduation. Hitting .320 last year, Pingry is hitting just .199 on the year, and scored only 23 runs through seven games. Senior Jake Francis is their top pitcher, allowing no earned runs and striking out 26 while walking only three in 18 innings pitched, and he’s hitting .222 with a team-leading eight runs batted in. Will this be the year they beat Pingry? It hasn’t happened in at least 19 years of our research, during Manville’s entire time in the Skyland Conference.

#10 Bernards (4-3) at #7 Hillsborough (3-7), 11 am

This is a rare meeting between the two schools, as they have only played each other twice since 2012. The Raiders won both matchups, 2-0 in the 2012 SCT quarterfinals and 7-6 in the 2014SCT semis. The difference is both of those years, Hillsborough had a winning record: 17-14 the year of the first meeting, and 15-8 the second time around. The Mountaineers got off to a rough 1-3 start but have since won three straight over Voorhees, Warren Hills and Roselle Park, outscoring those three opponents 46-1, with the Blue Streaks the only team to score off Bernards – and an unearned run, at that. Bernards is hitting a monstrous .428 as a team, no doubt buoyed by the last three games. Nevertheless, senior Tyler Hepinstill is hitting .688 with 11 hits in 19 at bats. Charlie Gonella is hitting .476 with six runs batted in, and Matt Giunta has knocked in a team-leading eight runs. On the pitching side, the team ERA is 3.15, good enough to keep any decent-hitting team in a ballgame. Hillsborough, meanwhile, is struggling, having started the season 0-4, and dropping five of its first six games. They’ve lost two straight coming in, but to no slouch teams: Ridge (8-0) and Hunterdon Central (8-7). It’s a team trying to figure it out at the plate, hitting just .207, while the team ERA is 4.48 on the season. Then again, playing in the Skyland Delaware Division can do that to a team. With Ridge, Hunterdon Central and Bridgewater-Raritan, that division is simply loaded.

#12 Rutgers Prep (3-7) at #6 Franklin (4-5), 11 am

This is an intriguing one, as Rutgers Prep is one of those teams that has a ton of talent, including standouts Zach Fronio and Andrew Parisi coming back, among others, but just hasn’t figured it out yet as a group this season. What can you say when a guy like Parisi is hitting .520 (13-25) and leads the team in walks with 13, for a whopping .840 on base percentage? Fronio is hitting well also (.423) and so is freshman Ethan Nepomuceno (.400). Can the pitching get it together? That may be the issue against Franklin, which won at Prep 15-3 just eleven days ago. The Warriors are led by sophomore Izaiah Robinson (.419, 9 RBI) and junior Jacob Cruz (.400) at the plate, though pitching has also been an issue, allowing nearly six runs a game. Looking at common opponents here is interesting, too. In its last three games, Prep beat Phillipsburg 7-5, Watchung Hills 8-0, and lost to Montgomery 11-10. Franklin lost to the Stateliners earlier in the season, 3-1, but beat Montgomery back on the 13th by a 10-1 score. They also beat Gill St. Bernard’s on opening day, 4-3, while Rutgers Prep blanked them 25-0. The Argos could pull an upset if the right team shows up this morning.

#9 Immaculata (1-6) at #8 Bound Brook (4-4), 11 am

This will be the first meeting between the schools at least in the past decade or so. The Spartans are just 1-6, but played Ridge to a tight 2-0 loss on Opening Day, lost 3-2 to West Morris, and 6-2 at Bridgewater-Raritan – the tournament’s top seed – in a regular season game just five days ago. So, they can hang. But they’re not hitting well as a team, just .259 at the moment. Playing in the Delaware Division surely has a lot to do with it, seeing some great pitching in-league on a day-in, day-out basis. The leading hitter among regulars in the lineup is sophomore Jayson Labrador at .381, then Colin Kassai at .360, but there’s a drop-off after that. But playing Bound Brook may be more their speed right now, making this a good matchup. The Crusaders may be 4-4, but after a hot 3-0 start, the Crusaders have lost four of their last five, although the last one was a tight 4-3 loss to red-hot Manville, which is 7-2 and having its best season in years. The Crusaders are hitting well, .319 as a team, led by senior Jake Anderson at .500, with five runs batted in. Sophomore Nick Anderson is right behind him at .478 and a team-leading 11 RBIs. The team ERA is well under four, with Anderson getting it done on the mound; he’s got a 1.34 ERA with 15 2/3 innings pitched, striking out 20 and walking only six.

Rutgers Prep, Manville win opening round SCT games, advance to Saturday

The opening round of the Somerset County Tournament saw the Rutgers Prep and Manville baseball teams pick up wins, advancing to Saturday, where they will play opponents that had a first round bye.

No. 12-seed Rutgers Prep (3-6) beat 13-seed Watchung Hills (2-6) by a score of 8-0 in Somerset, while 11-seed Manville (6-2) picked up a 10-5 home win over Gill St. Bernard’s (2-6).

Rutgers Prep 8, Watchung Hills 0

The Argonauts got a complete game shutout from Max Treonze, who needed only 100 pitches to get through the Warriors’ lineup, striking out 14, walking none. Prep scored five times in the third to take a lead they would never relinquish. Zach Fronio homered, while Evan Laub went 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs.

Prep moves on to play the other Warriors in the SCT, 5th-seed Franklin (4-4) Saturday morning at 11:00. In the teams’ first meeting back on April 11th, Franklin won 15-3, putting up an eleven-run fifth inning.

The winner will play at 4th-seed Somerville in the quarterfinals next Tuesday.

Manville 10, Gill St. Bernard’s 5

The Mustangs fell behind 1-0 before even getting a turn at bat, but scored eight runs over the next two innings – including three in the bottom of the first and five in the second. Josh Barrio had a big night, going 1-for-2 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch, picking up four RBIs, while James Mascola was 2-for-4 with three runs batted in. Starter Nick Bentz went six innings, allowing four earned runs on ten hits, striking out seven to get the win.

Next up for the Mustangs is 6th-seed Pingry (4-3) up in Martinsville, Saturday at noon. Going back to the 2013 season, The Mustangs have lost at least 19 straight against the Big Blue dating back to 2010, but at 6-2 Manville already has matched its win total from last season, when it went 6-15.

South Plainfield, Colonia, Manville boys all advance on opening night of NJSIAA Tournament

It took a little while for South Plainfield to get going out of the gate, but the top-seeded Tigers prevailed on the opening night of the NJSIAA state playoffs, picking up a 56-41 win over 16th-seed Voorhees in North 2 Group 3 first-round action.

Only two other teams advanced, while six were knocked out. Fourth-seed and defending champion Colonia also move on in North 2 Group 3 with a 75-25 blitz over 13th-seed North Hunterdon, while in Central Jersey Group 1, sixth-seed Manville topped 11-seed South Amboy at home, 58-37.

Click below to hear South Plainfield head coach John Greco talk about his team’s opening night win:

Now, in North 2 Group 3, there’s a potential sectional semifinal matchup looming between Colonia and South Plainfield, which met in last year’s final, with the Patriots winning 56-52. Colonia would have to get past 5th-seed Chatham in Wednesday’s sectional quarterfinals, while the Tigers will host 8th-seed Summit.

Following are all of Monday night’s opening round results in sections with CJSR-area teams. In teams with no area teams remaining, only local scores are given. Scroll further down for the upcoming schedule for area teams in the state tournament:

Central Group 3
#3 Hamilton West def. #14 Somerville, 46-43
#7 Matawan def. #10 Carteret, 58-46

Central, Group 1
#1 Eagle Academy def. #16 STEMCivics, 82-40
#9 South Hunterdon def, #8 Keansburg, 66-56
#12 Brearley def. #5 Highland Park, 67-56
#4 Keyport def. #13 Asbury Park by forfeit
#3 Pt. Peasant Beach def. #14 Somerset Tech, 90-63
#7 Florence def. #10 Henry Hudson, 66-44
#6 Manville def. #11 South Amboy, 58-37
#2 Shore def. #15 Dunellen, 61-21

North 2 Group 3
#1 South Plainfield def #16 Voorhees, 56-41
#8 Summit def, #8 Fort Lee, 55-36
#5 Chatham def. #12 Cliffside Park, 81-54
#4 Colonia def. #13 North Hunterdon, 75-25
#3 Mendham def. #14 Randolph, 50-39
#6 Snyder def. #11 Millburn, 55-38
#7 Payne Tech def. #10 Orange, 71-28
#2 West Morris def. #15 Warren Hills, 69-41

Here’s the upcoming schedule in the state tournament:


Central Group 4
#16 Sayreville at #1 Trenton
#9 Montgomery at #8 West Windsor-Plainsboro South
#13 East Brunswick at #4 Jackson Memorial
#14 Princeton at #3 North Brunswick
#11 Old Bridge at #6 South Brunswick

Central Group 2
#16 East Brunswick Magnet at #1 South River
#9 Point Pleasant Boro at #8 Spotswood
#13 Holmdel at #4 Bound Brook
#10 Middlesex at #7 Roselle

North 2, Group 4
#16 Woodbridge at #1 Ridge
#12 Watchung Hills at #5 Westfield
#14 JP Stevens at #3 Hillsborough
#10 Irvington at #7 Frannklin
#15 Piscataway at #2 Linden

North 2 Group 2
#11 Bernards at #6 Hackettstown


Central Group 1 Quarterfinals
#9 South Hunterdon at #1 Eagle Academy
#12 Brearley at #4 Keyport
#6 Manville at #3 Pt. Pleasant Beach
#7 Florence at #2 Shore

North 2 Group 3 Quarterfinals
#8 Summit at #1 South Plainfield
#5 Chatham at #4 Colonia
#6 Snyder at #3 Mendham
#7 Payne Tech at #2 West Morris

Non-Public South A First Round
#11 Pingry at #6 St. Joseph-Metuchen
#10 Christian Brothers at #7 Rutgers Prep

Non-Public North B First Round
#9 Eastern Christian at #8 Timothy Christian

Non-Public South B First Round
#12 Doane Academy at #5 Calvary Christian


Non-Public South A Quarterfinals
Winner of #11 Pingry/#6 St. Joseph-Metuchen at #3 Immaculata

Non-Public North B Quarterfinals
Winner of #9 Eastern Christian/#8 Timothy Christian at #1 St. Thomas Aquinas
Winner of #10 Hawthorne Christian/#7 Saddle River Day at #2 Gill St. Bernard’s

Central Jersey Sports Radio announces “Specialty Awards” for 2022

So many great players, so few awards. When you’ve got multiple deserving players for a single award, it’s time to get creative to honor those who truly deserve to be honored.

So without any further ado, here are Central Jersey Sports Radio’s postseason Specialty Awards for 2022!

Best Rushing QB” Award: Jaeden Jones, Colonia

The top two rushers in the Big Central Conference this season were quarterbacks. Matt Sims of Brearley was No. 2, and topping the list was Colonia junior Jaeden Jones, who succeeded a pretty good runner himself: last year’s “Mr. Dynamic” Award to the most explosive player in the league by far, fellow quarterback Josh Oluremi.

Colonia’s Jaeden Jones (Source: @Jaeden_Jones2 on Twitter)

In fact, Oluremi and Jones share a unique piece of history. So far as we could tell, at least back to the mid-90s – since stats from those years aren’t as readily available as they are now – Oluremi was the first quarterback since then to lead Middlesex County in rushing. (He was second in the Big Central Conference last year to state rushing leader Colin Murray of Cranford, in Union County.)

Now, Jones has made it two years in a row for a QB to lead Middlesex County in rushing, both from the same school. And as for making his own piece of history, he’s also the first quarterback to lead the BCC in rushing in its short three-year history. (Someone remember it when we go digging for that fact in another 20 years, please?

Like Oluremi, Jones’ rushing to passing totals were about a 3:2 ratio in favor of the ground game. Jones threw 86 of 150 for 1,059 yards, but amassed 248 carries of his own on the ground for 1,661 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Jones led Colonia to an 8-2 record this year, and the Liberty Gold Division title. And the best part is, he’ll be back next year.

Click below to hear Justin Sontupe talk with Jaeden Jones of Colonia:

“Best Backfield Duo”: Kente Edwards and Alex Uryniak, North Hunterdon

While head coach Kevin Kley has called runningback Kente Edwards “the most feared runner” in the Big Central, he’s been blessed enough to have a “backup” – yes, we put that in quotes – who he says “could be the starter on any team in the league.”

And he’s not fibbing.

Edwards got banged up against Colonia in Week Five and missed the better part of the next four games, and if you closed your eyes and ears and just looked at the stat line, you wouldn’t know it was Alex Uryniak taking the bulk of the carries.

North Hunterdon’s Kente Edwards (#3, left) and Alex Uryniak (#22, second from left) at midfield for the coin toss before the North 2, Group 4 title game against Randolph in Annandale on November 12, 2022. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Edwards had been averaging 160 yards a game, and even had 161 against Colonia. But in the first two playoff games, Uryniak ran for 433 yards and five touchdowns, while QB Luke Martini started throwing like a beast (more on him later) in the games Uryniak didn’t top 100. Uryniak ended up with 1,012 yards on the season and 13 scores, giving the Lions two thousand-yard rushers, as Edwards finished with 1,442 and 15 touchdowns.

Go ahead, pick your poison.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with the two-headed monster runningback combo of Kente Edwards and Luke Martini:

“Rising Star” Award: Jett Genovese, Phillipsburg

On a team with so many standouts, and a ton of balance among key players, Jett Genovese was able to run it all with precision for Phillipsburg.

Four runningbacks carried for over 300 yards, with none more than Xavier Moore’s 851. And through the air, Genovese found four different targets for more than 150 yards, with none more than Michael Scerbo Jr.,’s 476. That connection should be hooking up a lot again next year, as both players are sophomores.

But it was Genovese who was able to find his way through it for the Stateliners,

Phillipsburg quarterback Jett Genovese (Photo courtesy @HanisakPhoto)

And though Phillipsburg was knocked off by West Orange in the North 2, Group 5 final, Genovese came up big when it really counted – against Easton. He threw for 86 yards and three touchdown passes, while distributing the ball to five different runningbacks, led by Moore’s 114 yards, and Caleb Rivera’s two rushing touchdowns.

We have a feeling we’ll be talking about Jett a lot over the next couple of years.

Click below to Genovese talk about his first year as a starting QB for P’burg with Justin Sontupe:

Best Returning QB-WR Tandem: Michael Schmelzer, Jr. and Matt D’Avino, Montgomery

Montgomery had a very good season in 2022, starting 5-0 for the first time in school history.

And though the finished 7-3, with a first-round playoff loss to Northern Highlands – the North 1, Group 4 Champions and Group 4 finalist – they are the only team that can make this claim: they will have the top returning quarterback and the top returning receiver in the Big Central Conference when they come back to the field in 2023.

Montgomery QB Michael Schmelzer, Jr. (left) and WR Matt D’Avino are interviewed after a 27-20 home win over Somerville on September 16, 2022 heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio (Photos: Mike Pavlichko)

Quarterback Michael Schmelzer, Jr., threw for 1,658 yards and 21 touchdowns, good for fourth in the conference, but Luke Martini of North Hunterdon, Matt Yascko of Edison and Frankie Garbolino of North Brunswick are all graduating.

Wide receiver Matt D’Avino was second in the conference with 1,053 yards and 14 touchdowns, just one yard behind – and one TD ahead of – Derek Vaddis of North Hunterdon, who’s also graduating.

These two have been playing catch for many years now, and will get one more year together with the Cougars. We’re looking forward to watching.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Michael Schmelzer, Jr. and Matt D’Avino of Montgomery:

“Nobody Scores” Award: Bernards Defense (represented by Enzo Britez)

They may not have been St. Thomas Aquinas from a year ago, which tied a playoff-era Middlesex County record with seven shutouts, but they came pretty damn close.

In an 8-2 season with just one regular season loss, the Bernards Mountaineers played locked down D for the majority of 2022, shutting out six opponents en route to a clean 4-0 division sweep to the Big Central’s Patriot Gold title.

Bernards senior Enzo Britez (Source: @enzobritez on Twitter)

Click below to hear Justin Sontupe talk with Bernards defensive back Enzo Britez:

“Walk Off Defender” Award: Zamir Hawk, Hillside

Walkoff is a term most commonly used in baseball, but Barris Grant uses it to talk about Zamir Hawk, his senior nosetackle. Specifically, his efforts in Hillside’s two playoff wins this season, that got them to the North 1 Group 3 title game.

Hawk, a senior, had 67 tackles this year, and 15 for a loss, along with four sacks and a pick-six.

But he came up the biggest on the biggest of stages.

In the playoff opener against Parsippany Hills, the Comets scored 19 unanswered points to win and advance. But even after taking the lead in the fourth quarter, it wasn’t for good until Hawk’s pass breakup on a last-ditch effort by Par Hills effectively gave Hillside the win.

Zamir Hawk of Hillside (Source: @Hawk_973 on Twitter)

And if that wasn’t big enough, following an even bigger comeback by the Comets against River Dell, his interception sealed yet another win, propelling Hillside into the sectional semifinals.

Don’t challenge this kid!

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Hillside senior Zamir Hawk:

“Playoff Beast”: Luke Martini, North Hunterdon

North 2, Group 4 Champion North Hunterdon had all kinds of players put up all kinds of great numbers this year.

But when push came to shove, and the season was in crunch time, senior quarterback Luke Martini stepped it up a notch.

It started with the Milk Can Game against Voorhees, their big rival, when – with top runningback Kente Edwards nursing a lower body injury – Martini threw for 166 yards and three touchdowns against the Vikings in a 35-7 win.

But it didn’t stop there. He continued his hot streak into the playoffs, all the way to the sectional finals. First came 253 yards and four touchdowns against Middletown North in the opening round. Then 231 yards and two TDs in the second round against Morris Knolls. And finally, in the sectional title game, with everything on the line, in a wild ballgame that saw a combined 84 points, he threw for 411 yards and five scores against Randolph.

North Hunterdon QB Luke Martini (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Summing up, out of his 2,306 passing yards – best in the Big Central by about 400 yards – and 22 touchdowns on the season, that four-game stretch generated 1,061 yards and a whopping 14 touchdowns.

That’s what we call a playoff beast.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk to Luke Martini about his incredible playoff run:

“Injury-Be-Damned” Award”: Adam Bowles, South Plainfield

It’s one thing to play great defense on a team that went from 2-8 to an undefeated regular season like Adam Bowles did in South Plainfield, but it’s another to do it with your arm in a cast.

Yet that’s exactly what he did for the latter half of the 2022 season.

The senior linebacker tallied 129 tackles – 77 solo – while also notching 7 1/2 tackles for loss, a sack, three quarterback hurries, and three interceptions. And he played the last five games of the season in a cast!

South Plainfield linebacker Adam Bowles (Source: @datboiadamd1 on Twitter)

Click below to hear Bowles talk with Justin Sontupe about toughing it out this season for the Tigers:

“Full 48”: Robert Orzol, Old Bridge

One of the oldest cliches in sport is they saying: “We’ve got to play the whole ___ minutes.”

But in no circumstance was it ever more true that for Old Bridge defensive lineman Robert Orzol.

We documented this game with Old Bridge head coach Matt Donaghue here, but the gist is this: after a missed field goal that would have given the Knights the lead in a Week Two game at South Brunswick, the Vikings needed to gain a first down to take a couple of knees and run out the clock. But a fumble on the second snap caught the eye of Orzol, who dove on it, giving the ball back to Old Bridge. They won the game on a touchdown.

Old Bridge DL and playoff-clinching here Robert Orzol (Source: @OrzolRobert on Twitter)

That’s an amazing enough story on its own. Fast forward to Cutoff Weekend, and Old Bridge finished 17th in the South 5 standings, oh-so-close to a playoff spot. But not so fast.

The NJSIAA playoff seeding rules conduct a top-down head-to-head tiebreaker throughout the entire bracket, meaning if the team in third, for example, beat the team in second, they flip-flop. And down the list they go until they get to number 17.

That was Old Bridge. South Brunswick was 16th. But not for long.

Yes, Old Bridge won the head-to-head. Orzol was the hero again, weeks later, as the Knights made the playoffs, all thanks to Orzol’s fumble recovery.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Robert Orzol – whose never-give-up attitude almost singlehandedly got Old Bridge into the playoffs:

“MVP” Awards: Matt Sims of Brearley and Shawn Purcell of Manville

For the first time, Central Jersey Sports Radio is giving out an “MVP” award, to the players who are, well, most valuable to their team.

While there were so many great players this season, and many with an abundance of talent, two players stood out as perhaps the most critical to their success. And it might not surprise you to see that they’re both from small Group 1 schools: Brearley and Manville

Brearly QB Matt Sims with head coach Scott Miller (left). (Source: @mattsimss6 on Twitter)

Brearley’s Matt Sims finished just behind Jaeden Jones in the Big Central in rushing, with 1,523 yards and 26 touchdowns, the sixth highest total in the state of New Jersey. (That also makes it two quarterbacks leading the Big Central on the ground this season.) He also threw for 1,063 yards and ten touchdowns, an astounding number when you consider he not only didn’t complete anywhere near a hundred passes, but he didn’t even attempt 100 passes, going 67-of-99.

But the most astounding number was this: Sims accounted for 75% of his team’s yards from scrimmage this year.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Brearley senior QB Matt Sims:

Meanwhile, Manville’s Shawn Purcell really could have received this award for a two-year body of work.

Last year, he carried 117 times for 1,176 yards and 15 touchdowns, while this year accounting for 1,238 yards on the ground on just 106 carries, hitting paydirt 22 times. He also excelled on kick returns, and has five career interceptions at cornerback. (He’d probably have more if anyone dared throw at him.)

Manville’s Shawn Purcell (Source: Twitter)

Manville should have made unprecedented back-to-back playoff appearances, amazingly missing out last year at 6-2 at the cutoff, but that’s neither here nor there. In the end, Manville was 14-5 the last two seasons with Purcell as the focal point of the offense. And that’s the best two-year record for the program since a 14-4 run in 1968 – when the Mustangs went 9-0) and 1969 (when they went 5-4). Arguably, it’s even better with better win totals in both seasons.

These seasons don’t come along every year in a small town like Manville, but Purcell was a big reason why they did.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Manville senior RB/CB/KR Shawn Purcell:

You – the fans – get to pick again! It’s the Jersey Central Sports Radio 2022 “Highlight Reel Play of the Year.” Watch the video, and vote!

Central Jersey Sports Radio is giving YOU the chance to weigh in on your favorite play of the 2022 high school football season!

We received a lot of entries from high school football coaches all across the Big Central.
And after a lot of blood, sweat and tears, we narrowed it down to eight!

Watch the video below, then scroll down
to vote for your favorite!!
Voting ends at 11:59 pm on Monday, Dec. 12.
Remember: Vote early, vote often!

Which was your favorite play?

Thanks for your answer!

The poll has expired!

INSTANT REPLAY: South Jersey, Group 1 First Round: (5) Shore 23, (4) Manville 16

In just its second home playoff game ever, Manville’s rally fell short as the fourth-seeded Mustangs fell to visiting 5th-seed Shore Regional, 23-16, in a South Jersey Group 1 first round playoff game on October 28, 2022.

Click below to hear all the live play-by-play from Ned Panfile Stadium in Manville, with Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe on the call:

1st Half

2nd Half

The morning after: Here’s how the playoffs look for the Big Central after Friday night, and with Saturday first round games on tap

It wasn’t a great night for the Big Central. Seven teams won – three of them had to, being all-BCC matchups – and 20 had their seasons end after the opening night of the NJSIAA high school football playoffs.

But seven teams were victorious – many by big margins – and will move on to next weekend’s sectional semifinals. They include top-seeds in their respective sections Phillipsburg and North Hunterdon, as well as Edison, North Brunswick, Ridge, Cranford, and Brearley.

Undefeated South Plainfield suffered its first loss of the season, as the 4th-seeded Tigers fell to 5th-seed Camden Eastside, 27-6 at Frank Jost Field.

But the last two remaining undefeated Big Central teams are alive, as Phillipsburg and Brearley both advanced.

Below is a look at Friday’s results – with links to postgame reaction from the head coaches of all seven teams that won Friday night, plus our Big Central Game of the Week, Manville vs. Shore – followed by Saturday’s first-round games in sections involving Big Central teams, then a look ahead an next week’s matchups, whether they’re all set, or yet to be determined based on Saturday’s action.


North 2, Group 5:
#1 Phillipsburg def. #8 Elizabeth, 49-13
#6 West Orange def. #3 Watchung Hills, 18-10
#4 Eastside (Paterson) def. #5 Piscataway, 28-7
#2 Ridgewood advances by forfeit over #7 Montclair

North 1, Group 5:
#1 Passaic Tech def. #8 Morristown, 27-7
#2 Union City def. #7 Union, 62-20
#4 Clifton def. #5 East Orange, 17-7

Central, Group 5:
#1 Lenape def. #8 Freehold Township, 40-0
#2 North Brunswick def. #7 Hunterdon Central, 45-31
#6 Edison def. #3 Hillsborough, 10-7
#5 Atlantic City def. #4 Rancocas Valley, 32-28

South, Group 5:
#1 Toms River North def. #8 Old Bridge, 49-7
#2 Kingsway def. #7 Southern, 35-6

North 3, Group 4:
#1 North Hunterdon def. #8 Middletown North, 34-7
#2 Randolph def. #7 Rahway, 42-7
#3 Wayne Valley def. #6 Chatham, 34-20
#5 Morris Knolls def. #4 Colonia, 35-14

North 1, Group 4:
#1 Irvington def. #8 Sayreville, 38-7
#2 Ramapo def. #7 Woodbridge, 49-19
#3 Ridge def. #6 Roxbury, 52-7
#4 Northern Highlands def. #5 Montgomery, 27-12

North 2, Group 3:
#1 West Morris def. #8 Hackettstown, 42-7
#2 Cranford def. #7 Wayne Hills, 31-7
#3 West Essex def. #6 Paramus, 41-14
#5 Warren Hills def. #4 Montville, 28-21

North 1, Group 1:
#1 Old Tappan def. #8 Lincoln, 42-8
#3 River Dell def. #6 Vernon, 35-14

Central, Group 3:
#1 Seneca def. #8 Somerville, 47-33

South, Group 3:
#5 Camden Eastside def. #4 South Plainfield, 27-6

North 2, Group 2:
#4 Ramsey def. #5 Bernards, 35-21

Central, Group 2:
#1 Pt. Pleasant Boro def. #8 Overbrook, 62-27
#2 Haddonfield def. #7 Cinnaminson, 35-12
#3 Gloucester City def. #6 West Deptford, 14-0
#4 Willingboro def. #5 New Providence, 52-7

South, Group 2:
#1 Raritan def. #8 Middle Twp., 34-14
#2 Rumson-Fair Haven def. #7 Monmouth, 37-0
#4 Pleasantville def. #5 Johnson, 25-7

North 2, Group 1:
#8 Kinnelon def. #1 Park Ridge, 36-34
#2 Mountain Lakes def. #7 Boonton, 35-10
#3 Waldwick def. #6 Cresskill, 51-31
#4 Brearley def. #5 North Arlington, 50-16

North 1, Group 1:
#1 Wood-Ridge def. #8 Shabazz, 44-28
#2 Weequahic def. #7 Hasbrouck Heights, 24-14
#3 Butler def. #6 North Warren, 35-13
#4 Cedar Grove def. #5 Wallkill Valley, 28-14

South, Group 1:
#3 Maple Shade def. #6 South Hunterdon, 31-7
#5 Shore def. #4 Manville, 23-16 (CJSR)


North 1, Group 5:
#6 Bridgewater-Raritan at #3 Westfield, 1 pm (follow @tsakonas_chris for updates!)

South, Group 5:
#5 Washington Twp. at #4 Marlboro, 12 pm

North 1, Group 3:
#7 Parsippany Hills at #2 Hillside, 1 pm

South, Group 2:
#6 Delaware Valley at #3 Oakcrest, 12 pm


North 2, Group 5:
#4 Eastside (Paterson) at #1 Phillipsburg, Friday 7 pm
#6 West Orange at #2 Ridgewood, Friday

North 1, Group 5:
#4 Clifton at #1 Passaic Tech, Friday
#6 Bridgewater-Raritan/#3 Westfield at #2 Union City, Friday

Central, Group 5:
#5 Atlantic City at #1 Lenape, Friday
#6 Edison at #2 North Brunswick, Friday 7 pm

South, Group 5:
#5 Washington Twp./#5 Marlboro at #1 Toms River South, Friday
#3 Cherokee at #2 Kingsway, Friday

North 2, Group 4:
#5 Morris Knolls at #1 North Hunterdon, Friday 7 pm
#3 Wayne Valley at #2 Randolph, Friday 7 pm

North 1, Group 4:
#4 Northern Highlands at #1 Irvington, Friday 7 pm
#3 Ridge at #2 Ramapo, Friday 6:30 pm

North 2, Group 3:
#5 Warren Hills at #1 West Morris, Friday
#3 West Essex at #2 Cranford, Friday 7 pm

North 1, Group 3:
#5 Mendham/#4 Sparta at #1 Old Tappan, Friday
#3 River Dell vs. #7 Parsippany Hills (Friday) or at #2 Hillside (Saturday 1 pm)

Central, Group 2:
#4 Willingboro at #1 Pt. Pleasant Boro, Friday
#3 Gloucester City at #2 Haddonfield, Friday

South, Group 2:
#4 Pleasantville at #1 Raritan, Friday
#6 Delaware Valley/#3 Oakcrest at #2 Rumson-Fair Haven, Friday

North 2, Group 1:
#8 Kinnelon at #4 Brearley, Friday 6 pm
#3 Waldwick at #2 Mountain Lakes, Friday

North 1, Group 2:
#4 Cedar Grove at #1 Wood-Ridge, Friday
#3 Butler at #2 Weequahic, Friday

Manville comeback falls short against Shore in opening round of playoffs

The Manville offense didn’t get much of anything going in the first half against Shore Friday night.

In just its fourth playoff appearance ever, the 4th-seeded Mustangs managed just 34 yards rushing and 34 yards passing against 5th-seed Shore, and got their only score – down 23-6 at half – on a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Shawn Purcell.

But in the second half, Manville launched a long scoring drive to close to 23-13, then after a big defensive stop, got to within 21-16 on a field goal.

But they could get no closer, and one of Manville’s best seasons ever had come to a close – in a South Jersey, Group 1 first-round playoff game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio – with an 8-2 mark.

The program had only reached eight wins just four times before, all in the 1960s, with a program best 9-0 mark in 1968. Purcell, QB Danny Wildgoose, and several other seniors had a great run come to a close: they went 14-5 in back-to-back seasons – 6-3 last year – the best since the combo of 1968 and 1969 saw them go 14-4.

In a game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, Shore rushed for 251 yards, and rolled up 321 yards of offense, despite missing two starters. Lucas Rosa carried 15 times for 146 yards and a two-yard touchdown run. Purcell, the state’s scoring leader with 170 points, finished the night with a hard-earned 79 yards on 14 carries, but did have that 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the second quarter.

Click below for postgame reaction from Manville head coach Pat Gorbatuk and senior RB/CB/KR Shawn Purcell:

Tradition-rich Shore will be tough opponent for Manville in Mustangs second-ever playoff home game

Mark Costantino knows a thing or two about winning games toward the end of the season.

In his 31st season as the head coach at Shore Regional, Costantino has coached in eight title games for the West Long Branch school and won four of them. Now looking to capture the eighth state title in school history this season, meaningful late-season football is the norm for the Blue Devils.

“We are used to this kind of stuff,” Costantino said. “It’s what you get done in practice. If you don’t practice well, you will not play well. We’ve won seven state championships here, and [the kids] want to leave their mark on the program.”

For Manville, it will be a new experience: their last playoff berth was in 2017, when they lost to Point Pleasant Beach – another Shore Conference foe – in their first-ever home playoff game. It was only the third postseason berth in school history.

The Blue Devils have 15 players that will see action on both sides of the ball. This is embodied by a trio of key players: running back Lucas Rosa, who leads the team with 511 total yards and 10 touchdowns, quarterback Ty Koch, who has thrown for 6 touchdowns and run for 3 more, and 6’4″ tight end/defensive end Jackson Whitacre, who leads the team with 219 receiving yards and 8 tackles for loss. All three guys start on both sides of the line of the scrimmage.

But Shore Regional expects to have its hands full when it visits Manville Friday night in South Jersey Group 1 playoff action in the Big Central Game of the Week. Manville’s star running back Shawn Purcell – the state scoring leader with 170 points and a whopping 28 touchdowns – is atop the scouting report.

“We’ve faced a number of quality running backs so far this year, and he’s right up there with any of them,” Costantino said. “That’s the guy. We’re going to try to contain him and limit the big plays.”

You can hear Friday night’s game with Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe calling the play-by-play starting with pregame at 6:45 and kickoff at 7:00 from Manville’s Ned Panfile Stadium.  Click here to listen.

Click below to hear Justin Sontupe preview the Manville-Shore first-round playoff game with Blue Devils’ head coach Mark Costantino: