Tag: Phillipsburg

North Brunswick claims top spot in Big Central Media Poll, edging out Union in Week Two

A week ago, North Brunswick had three first place votes in the Big Central Week One Media Poll, while Union had just one.

But the voters that didn’t pick Union first had the Farmers higher than those who didn’t have the Raiders in the top spot, so Union took Number One.

In Week Two, the first place votes went the same way – with Somerville and Woodbridge each getting a nod – but a win over ranked Old Bridge on the road boosted the Raiders in the minds of voters, and this week, they earned the top spot with 52 points, two more than Union.

There was little other change in the poll. Hillsborough jumped over Phillipsburg following a 21-14 overtime home win over the Stateliners, while Edison and Watchung Hills both dropped out. Three teams – Bernards, Cranford and Linden – tied for tenth, with five other teams getting votes.

Below is the Week Two Big Central Media Poll:

North Brunswick win over No. 4 Old Bridge keeps Raiders at No. 1 in CJSR Week Two Top Ten

Going on the road is never easy. Going to Vince Lombardi Field in Old Bridge is even tougher, where the Knights’ student section is loud. Coming out of there with a victory is even tougher.

But that’s what No. 1 North Brunswick did on Friday, pulling out a 34-27 victory at then No. 4 Old Bridge. And so, the Raiders remain No. 1 this week in the Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten, picking up both first place votes.

Woodbridge and Summit made their season debuts in the rankings, while Edison and New Providence dropped out, though the Pioneers were more of a mathematical casualty, having still received a vote in the poll.

The Media Poll will be out later Monday afternoon.

Below are the Week Two CJSR Rankings:

No. 6 Hillsborough rallies for OT win over No. 7 Phillipsburg in home opener

It was a dramatic night at Noonan Field in Hillsborough.

The 6th-ranked Raiders snapped a four-game skid against Phillipsburg, beating the Stateliners 21-14 in overtime, thanks in large part to Tommy Amankwaa.

Down 14-6 in the second half, Amankwaa – a receiver – scored on a touchdown run to cut it to 14-12, as head coach Kevin Carty began to use him a bit out of the backfield to get his playmaker some extra touches. Jay Mazuera’s pass to Amankwaa for two tied the game.

In overtime, Amankwaa scored to put Hillsborough ahead on the first possession, then sealed the deal with an interception to end the game after Will Dixon pressured ‘Liners backup QB Jakhye McLean. Starter Tristen Canzano missed the game due to injury.

The game certainly ended better than it started for Hillsborough (2-0), which saw a fumbled snap result in two quick scores for Phillipsburg (0-2), staking them to a 14-0 lead.

Click below to hear Hillsborough head coach Kevin Carty talk about the wild victory:

Union takes top spot in Big Central Media Poll; four different teams get first place votes

Somerville began the year as a unanimous Number One in the preseason Big Central Media Poll, but after dropping its second game of the year Sunday at Rutgers to Northern Highlands, Union has taken over at the top of the Week One rankings.

But the Farmers (1-1) are far from a unanimous pick. In fact, they only picked up one first place vote from the media members participating in the poll, while North Brunswick – 1-0 after a 56-21 win over South Brunswick in its opener – picked up three. But the Raiders picked up 51 points, finishing one point behind Union, which tallied 52.

Overall, four teams picked up first-place votes; Woodbridge (2-0) and Somerville (1-1) each got a nod.

In actuality, the entire poll was wide open this week, with 17 teams getting at least one vote.

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:

This Week in the Big Central – Episode 2: The Sitkowskis

Week Zero is in the books, and the bulk of the Big Central opens up this weekend on Week One, unless Ida’s aftermath has anything to say about it.

Either way, it’s time for Episode 2 of “This Week in the Big Central,” driven by Mark Montenero and his team at the world-famous Autoland.

This Week on TWiBC, Mike Pavlichko talks to former Rutgers and Old Bridge quarterback Art Sitkowski, who came off the bench to rally Illinois to a season-opening win over Nebraska.

Then, he’s joined by NJSIAA Executive Director Colleen Maguire to talk about her first year at the helm as we head into 2021-22.

Finally, it’s a look at the official NJSIAA football classifications, released Wednesday, and a peek ahead at the weekend’s games.

No. 6 Phillipsburg confident heading into opener despite losing several key parts

It’s a refrain you hear every single year from almost every single high school football coach, unless that coach happens to be in the lucky position of having every single one of his starters back (think Ridge, 2013).

Team X loses a bunch of players to graduation and will have to find new blood to replace all the production from Players A, B and sometimes C.

Phillipsburg is in that boat, too, like just about everyone else in the Big Central Conference – to varying degrees – but head coach Frank Duffy is confident.

Gone are quarterback Matt Garatty (1,050 passing yards, 214 TD, 2 INT), runningback Matt Quetel (749 rushing yds, 12 TD, plus three more and 138 more yards receiving), and the Stateliners’ top four receivers: Jalil Terrel (352 yds, 6 TD), Declan Marron (212 yds, 1 TD), Quetel and Michael Wambold (171 yds, 1 TD).

The names may change, but in Phillipsburg, the stats – they hope – will largely remain the same.

And their strong suit will be running the football. “We want to make sure we control the clock,” Duffy says

Young runningbacks Xavier Moore (junior) and Caleb Rivera (sophomore) will figure primarily into that plan, while Duffy says QB Tristen Canzano can run the ball, too.

P’burg willl put all that to the test Friday night at 6 pm in the “Big Central Game of the Week” driven by Mark Montanero and his team at the world-famous Autoland, when the Stateliners travel to Piscataway for the 2021 season opener for both teams.

You can hear the game live on Central Jersey Sports Radio by clicking here, with pregame set for approximately 5:45 pm.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Phillipsburg head coach Frank Duffy about his team, and the season opener against Piscataway:

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.

Phillipsburg’s Hille and his senior classmates “made a ton of memories”

by Mike Pavlichko

It wasn’t the year Phillipsburg football expected.

Heck, it wasn’t the year anyone epected.

But senior Phillipsburg fullback and linebacker Jacob Hille says he and his senior teammates “made a ton of memories” along the way.

During Hille’s four years in the program, the ‘Liners went 34-9, although they were unable to beat their rivals across the river in three tries. (Their last win against Easton came in 2014.) Their fourth attempt got sunffed out by COVID-19.

Hille – in mostly a blocking back role – carried 11 times this year for 85 yards. More than half of them – 46, to be exact – came on a third quarter touchdown run in his final game as a senior, in a 42-17 Week 7 win over Ridge at Maloney Stadium.

But he also had an impact on defense, tallying a team-high 48 tackles in 2020, along with 2 interceptions and 3 tackles for loss.

Earlier this month, he got his first scholarship offer, which came from Valparaiso.

Listen below to Jacob Hille’s season-ending conversation this week with Central Jersey Sports Radio:

Somerville is Central Jersey Sports Radio’s first “Team of the Year”

Finishing the COVID-shortened 2020 high school football season with a perfect 7-0 mark, the Somerville Pioneers accomplished what they set out to do: beat the best, and finish undefeated.

It was the closest anyone could come to a championship.

Their final game turned out to be a 39-26 road win over then-No. 1 and undefeated Woodbridge, a victory that propelled then No. 2 Somerville into the top spot in the Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten.

They held onto that spot in the final rankings, to earn the first-ever “Team of the Year” award given out by Central Jersey Sports Radio, and also finished No. 1 in the inaugural Big Central Media Poll.

Somerville was the only undefeated team in the Big Central. North Plainfield – with a remarkable turnaround off a 4-6 2019 season and a 7-24 mark over the past three years – had been undefeated until a 30-14 road loss to Linden in Week 8.

The undefeated season is the Pioneers’ fifth overall and first since 1983, when they went 11-0 and won the Central Jersey Group 2 title. They also went 11-0 an route to a state title in 1979. Their first of 11 state titles overall came in a 1953 season that saw the Pioneers go 9-0. They also finished 7-0-1 in 1929, and won the only game they played in 1909, defeating Bound Brook 16-5.

Following are the final Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten and Big Central Media Poll. A trophy will be presented to Somerville for the honor at a later date.