Tag: Matt Fulham

Fulham knows full well Eagles have their biggest challenge yet against Toms River North

Sports reporters ask a lot of the same type of questions all the time. “How do you feel after that win?” “What can you say about your offense?” “What went wrong tonight?”

One that you would be best not bothering ask this week of the Edison football coaches is: “Have you seen a team as good as Toms River North?”

Because the answer is very easily going to be a big fat “No.”

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Edison (9-3) will play Toms River North (12-0) Saturday afternoon in the Group 5 semifinals at Cherokee High School in Medford, a 5:30 pm kickoff. The Eagles won the Central 5 title, while the Mariners won the South 5 championship. The winner gores on to play in the state’s first ever public school group finals, to be held in two weeks at Rutgers University’s SHI Stadium in Piscataway.

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And Edison probably hasn’t seen a team like this in a long time.

Toms River North has scored at least 42 points a game in all but their first, a tight win in the 20s over Washington Township in the same Battle at the Beach in Ocean City where Edison got its season started on the right foot, with a four rushing touchdown performance from quarterback Matt Yascko in a win over Cedar Creek. They also have four shutouts.

Click the play button above to hear Edison Councilman Richard Brescher congratulate the Eagles on their Central Jersey Group 5 championship, and wish them luck this week against Toms River North!

They are led by junior QB Micah Ford, who runs all over the field, and sometimes passes it, with great success on both accounts. He has major D1 interest, including offers from West Virginia and Maryland, and interest from Greg Schiano at Rutgers.

Stopping him isn’t really an option. It’s the old ESPN adage: “You can only hope to contain him.”

Problem is, TRN has other weapons, too.

Click below to hear Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko talk about Edison’s CJ5 championship, and Saturday’s matchup against Toms River North:

Eagles didn’t forget last trip to Lenape, and made this one count

The last time Edison played a football game at Lenape, it was the opening round of the 2019 playoffs.

The Eagles were the 7th-seed that yea, the Indians the No. 2 seed. And they took it to the visitors, in a 39-6 decision, en route to the South Jersey Group 5 final, where they would lose to Williamstown.

Quarterback Matt Yascko remembers that day. He was a freshman, making just the sixth start of his career, thrown into the heat of the Greater Middlesex Conference’s White Division, and going 2-3 before that playoff loss, where he went 9-of-22 for 91 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception.

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Head coach Matt Fulham remembers that game, too. And three years later, not only did Edison come out on top against Lenape, but did so to bring back a championship trophy, the Central Jersey Group 5 hardware that has eluded the Eagles since 1991, their last appearance in a title game.

Edison is now 3-0 all-time in finals/

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As Edison head coach, Fulham earned his 80th win. There have been some lean years. He’s 79-98-1 in his 18 seasons at the helm.

But this has been the best four-year stretch he’s had. No coincidence they’ve come with Yascko as quarterback.

Now, he can forget about that freshman performance, after rushing for a career high 168 yards, scoring two touchdowns, and throwing for another.

And Fulham finally has a ring, too.

Click belwo for postgame reaction from Mike Pavlichko with Edison head coach Matt Fulham:

Edison-North Brunswick lives up to the hype, as Eagles win a wild one to clinch a finals berth for the first time since 1991

It might have been the comeback of the year in the Big Central, and there have been some good ones, including in another sectional semifinal game Friday night in Annandale.

But nothing tops what Edison did in the Central Jersey Group 5 semifinals in North Brunswick.

The 6th-seeded Eagles were down 31-17 with 3:58 left in the game. They scored to make it 31-24 and recovered Selbin Sabio’s onside kick.

Then, like a la Phil Connors in Groundhog Day, the Eagles scored again. Down one, Edison went for the jugular, a two-point conversion to go ahead.

But they didn’t get it.

Why not try another onside kick, down 31-30 with 39-seconds to go?

They did, and recovered again.

What?

Then, aided by two pass interference penalties, Edison got into field goal range, and Sabio booted a clean ball over and through the uprights from 30-yards for the game-winner as time expired, for a 33-31 win.

Now, it’s on the road for Edison, to top-seed Lenape, which got by 5th-seed Atlantic City down in Medford Friday night, 21-20. That game will kick off at 7:00 next Friday night.

Click below to hear Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Chris Tsakonas break down the final four minutes of the game with Mike Pavlichko as well as postgame reaction from head coach Matt Fulham, quarterback Matt Yascko, and kicker Selbin Sabio:

Edison QB Matt Yascko after a Central Jersey Group 5 semifinal win at North Brunswick on November 4, 2022. (Photo: Chris Tsakonas)

Edison guts one out at Hillsborough, knocking off defending Central Jersey Group 5 champs on the road

The Edison football team had won six games this season coming into Friday night’s opening round playoff game at Hillsborough, and none of them by fewer than 19 points.

But in the opening round of the Central Jersey Group 5 sectionals, they won by three, in a game that saw all the scoring in the first half, as the 6th-seeded Eagles got by 3rd-seed Hillsborough at Noonan Field, 10-7.

That was the score at halftime as the Raiders scored first on Zion Harrison’s 72-yard touchdown catch, but Edison tied it up witgh a 40-yard touchdown pass from Matt Yascko to Malcolm Stansbury, then got a 28-yard field goal from Selbin Sabio as time expired to go into the locker room with a three-point lead they would never relinquish.

Now, it sets up a rematch with Edison (7-3) and 2nd-seed North Brunswick (8-1), which won a shootout at home against 7th-seed Hunterdon Central Friday night, 45-31. The two teams met in the regular season – with both banged up – in a game North Brunswick won in Edison, 13-10.

Next week’s game will be in North Brunswick, with kickoff set for 7 pm.

Expect more points this time around, and another epic matchup between two starting quarterbacks with nearly seven full years’ varsity experience under their collective belts: North Brunswick’s Frankie Garbolino and Edison’s Yascko. Garbolino wasn’t 100-percent the last time out, and Yascko missed the game due to injury.

Click below for postgame reaction from Edison head coach Matt Fulham:

Edison rallies for 42-23 win at St. Joseph-Metuchen in a wild one

Before Edison could even blink, the Eagles were down 14-0 on the road to St. Joe’s.

But, somehow, they scored 42 of the game’s next 9 points to win 42-23 in a game that saw touchdowns scored in just about every way possible.

The Falcons came out hot, with a 95-yard touchdown return by Jo Jo Huntley to start the game, then forced an Eagles’ three-and-out, and scored two plays later on a 32-yard pass play from Daniel DeGennaro to Christian Magliacano.

Boom.

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But Edison, which went the entire first half without a first down, held from there, for the most part.

And chipped away.

First, it was a blocked punt by sophomore Nyekir Eato, late in the first quarter, which he then scooped and scored to cut it to 14-7. Edison tied the game when Eato nearly sacked DeGennaro after a bad snap. He wound up forcing a fumble, which Jose Barreto-Martinez took to the house, tying the game at 14.

After halftime, it was Edison’s turn to come out of the gate hot. On the second play from scrimmage of the third quarter, Nyekir Eato had a 71-yard touchdown run, then Ricky Harvey made his first of two touchdown catches, a 45-yarder from Matt Yascko, to give Edison a 28-17 lead.

Joe’s would come back with a DeGennaro to Jeremy DeCaro six-yard TD strike to make it 28-23, but Edison got its second TD score from Harvey for a 35-23 advantage, and added to it with a late pick-six to make it 42-23.

Edison has now won three straight and is 5-2 on the season while the Falcons drop to 3-3.

Click below for postgame reaction:

Edison RB/LB Nyekir Eato and WR Rickey Harvey

Edison head coach Rickey Harvey

Experienced Edison squad looks to make it all down the stretch, starting with night visit to St. Joe’s

Malcolm Stansbury. Selbin Sabio. Adekunle Shittu. Matt Yascko.

All four of those Edison football players got their first starts in 2019, their freshman season. They were starting games before anyone had ever heard of something called “COVID-19.”

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They are experienced beyond your average high school football player. You can also throw third-year starter Matt Bueno in there as well. And Eagles head coach Matt Fulham is hoping that will be the difference down the stretch for his program in 2022, as they close out with their final three games.

Friday night, Edison (4-2) visits St. Joseph-Metuchen (3-2) as the Falcons host the first-ever night game in school history – complete with rented lights for their first-ever Homecoming Weekend – in a game that can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio. Kickoff is at 6:30 pm, with pregame starting at 6:15.

READ MORE: St. Joseph-Metuchen gearing up for a first: its very own “Friday Night Lights”

Mike Pavlichko and Chris Tsakonas have the call. Click here to listen.

The Eagles’ four wins have come sandwiched around two defeats, where the absence of two players clearly hurt them: the offensive tandem of QB Matt Yascko, Jr, and WR Malcolm Stansbury.

To wit: after putting up 42 points against Cedar Creek in a win down at the Battle at the Beach in Ocean City, and 43 against JP Stevens, they scored just 10 and 6 points each in losses to North Brunswick at home and at Sayreville.

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READ MORE: Edison wears down Cedar Creek to win finale in the 2022 WJFLCA Battle at the Beach

Both good opponents to be sure, but Edison could have scored more, to be sure, as well. In their next two games against Franklin and New Brunswick – albeit clearly lesser opponents – they were back to their high-scoring ways: scoring 34 against the Warriors and 44 against the Zebras.

READ MORE: He brings the water bottles, and the excitement. And he wants to help bring Greg Schiano and Rutgers a national championship

It’s a critical stretch, too, for Edison, hurtling toward Cutoff Wekeend with three really good opponents.

After the Falcons Friday night, the Eagles host South Brunswick next Friday, and visit St. Thomas Aquinas on the Friday night of Cutoff Weekend.

Click below to hear Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko talk with Edison coach Matt Fulham:

Edison wins wild one, an OT victory over Manalapan decided by the kickers

In one of a number of upsets on the opening night of the NJSIAA high school football playoffs, 7th-seed Edison knocked off 2nd-seed Manalapan 23-20 in a thrilling overtime win, that came down to who had the better foot.

In this case, it was the Eagles’ Selbin Sabio, who booted a 26-yard field goal in overtime to lift Edison (7-3) to the upset victory over the Braves (6-3).

For Manalapan, junior kicker Michael Calton kicked two field goals in the first half, but missed two key ones later. The first came with 52 seconds remaining in regulation, when he couldn’t convert on a 42-yard attempt, leaving the score tied at 20.

Then, in overtime, after a big defensive stop, the Braves lined up for a 40-yard attempt, which also failed.

Edison – aided by a Manalapan penalty – sent out Sabio to try a 26-yard attempt, which sailed through the uprights.

The Eagles now play at 3rd-seed Toms River North next Friday night. The Mariners (6-3) beat 6th-seed East Brunswick at home Friday night 28-14.

Click below to hear Edison head coach Matt Fulham talk about the Eagles’ wild win:

This Week in the Big Central – Episode 7: The Midway Point

Half the regular season is in the books in high school football across New Jersey, and we talk about it on Episode 7 of “This Week in the Big Central,” driven by Mark Montenero and his team at the world-famous Autoland!

Mike Pavlichko starts the show with a look at the playoff standings – interrupted by a mild rant on the state’s multiplier formula for power points.

Then, it’s a look at the Bellamy & Son Paving Player of the Week, South Brunswick’s Khiri Summers, who had three receiving touchdowns on offense, and two interceptions on defense, against Monroe.

Mike and Dom Savino wrap it up with a look at the Week 6 slate, including some playoff implications.

“Veteran” sophomore Yascko helped Edison take steps forward

There was no sophomore slump for Matt Yascko.

The freshman quarterback who stepped in midway through 2019 when Lucas Loffredo went down to injury, then eventually transferred to Piscataway, might have done it a little more under-the-radar than when he took the GMC by storm a year ago, but he led Edison to a 5-2 mark in a seven-game COVID-shortened season.

Yascko started the year with a 53-yard passing effort in a 7-6 loss to Franklin, a game he’d like to have back, but which he says he built upon for the rest of the season.

All he did from there was pass for 1,076 more yards in the remaining six games – with another one-point loss sandwiched in, against North Brunswick – culminating with a 383-yard, four touchdown performance against Hillsborough in the season finale, a 50-49 victory he sealed with a touchdown and game-winning two-point conversion.

Head Coach Matt Fulham is excited for the future, with two more years to work around Yascko, following a campaign in which the QB’s dad joined the staff as offensive coordinator.

Hear Central Jersey Sports Radio’s season-ending conversations with the younger Yascko and Fulham by clicking below:

Sophomore QB Matt Yascko

Head Coach Matt Fulham