Tag: South River

Wall to Wall Big Central Football will air Thanksgiving Weekend on Central Jersey Sports Radio

Did the high school football season end too soon for you? Not stuffed yet from Thanksgiving Dinner?

Have no fear.

Central Jersey Sports Radio begins a new tradition this year: We’ll air every single one of our high school football broadcasts back-to-back-to-back to…. (you get the idea) … to-back this Thanksgiving Weekend.

Buy a bigger belt!

That’s right: 3 days, 13 games, 20 teams, 30 hours of Big Central Conference Football, powered by Bellamy & Son Paving of Piscataway.

Simply go to our website and click the Listen Live button to tune in any time, morning, noon or night. We’ll be “on the air” practically from sunup to sundown – definitely after sundown!

Here’s the schedule for each day, with original air date, and approximate start time:

Thanksgiving Day – Thursday, November 26

  • Somerville vs. South Plainfield, October 2 – 8 am
  • St. Joseph-Metuchen vs. Elizabeth, October 3 – 9:45 am
  • Old Bridge vs. East Brunswick, October 9 – noon
  • South River vs. Spotswood, October 10 – 2 pm
  • Bernards vs. Johnson, October 12 – 4:30 pm
  • Bound Brook vs Voorhees, October 16 – 6:30 pm

Friday, November 27 (Now starts at 9 am instead of 8 am)

  • Edison vs. North Brunswick, October 23 – 8 am
  • Manville vs. Bound Brook, October 30 – 11 am
  • Ridge vs. Hillsborough, November 6 – 1:45 pm
  • St. Joseph-Metuchen vs. Woodbridge, November 7 – 4:15 pm
  • Metuchen vs. South Hunterdon – 6:30 pm

Saturday, November 28

  • Woodbridge vs. Somerville, November 13 – noon
  • Edison vs. Hillsborough, November 20 – 3 pm

COVID case on Middlesex football team shuts program down for two weeks

by Mike Pavlichko

The Middlesex football program is shut down for the next two weeks, due to two positive COVID tests – one involving a football player, another involving a cheerleader.

Athletic Director Mike O’Donnell confirmed to Central Jersey Sports Radio Tuesday morning that this week’s game against St. Thomas Aquinas is off.

O’Donnell also said the Blue Jays are trying to move their game on Friday, October 30 against Spotswood to Sunday, November 1.

That’s because the return date for the football team is currently set to be Friday, the 30th, meaning the team would have no time to practice before facing the Chargers. O’Donnell says they’re seeking an extra couple of days to prepare.

It all started last Friday, when O’Donnell says a football player reported that his parents had tested positive for COVID.

“Right as we thought we were able to play, we had a cheerleader with a positive test,” said O’Donnell, which then prompted the cancellation of the South River game.

O’Donnell says the football player now has tested positive, effectively shutting down the program for a while.

O’Donnell says he called St. Thomas Aquinas Athletic Director Jerry Smith and informed him of the situation even before the decision was made to pause football activities. The Trojans have since picked up Shore for this weekend’s opponent.

South River extends series lead over Spotswood in long rivalry

The South River Rams have evened up their series over the last decade with Spotswood at five games apiece, while extending their overall lead to 34-10 since the series began in 1978.

South River topped the Chargers Saturday afternoon at Bill Denny Stadium, 35-14, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio. The Rams got three touchdown passes and over 200 yards in the air from junior quarterback Ryan Kurtz in the victory over their arch rivals.

Dom Savino and Mike Pavlichko have the call on Saturday, October 10, 2020:

1st Half

2nd Half

Week 2 Tripleheader coming up on Central Jersey Sports Radio

Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino will be quite busy this weekend, bringing listeners a triple-dip of high school sports coverage, including two big rivalry games.

Coverage begins Friday night at 5:50 pm for our pregame show from Vince Lombardi Field, where No. 9 Old Bridge (1-0) takes on East Brunswick (1-0) in the battle of Route 18 in an early kickoff at 6:00. Though the Knights have dominated the series all-time, the Bears put up a valiant effort in 2019, losing 17-14, the closest they’ve been since they beat Old Bridge 34-6 in 2010. Old Bridge has won 23 of 26 meetings overall.

Saturday afternoon at 1, we’re at legendary Bill Denny Stadium in South River (0-1) as the Rams take on Spotswood (1-0). The teams have met every year since 1978, with South River dominating the series 33-10 since it began in 1978. But the Chargers – who had never won back-to-back games in the series – won three straight from 2014-2016 – and have won four of the last six, including 17-14 last year at Chargers Stadium. Pregame hits the air at 12:50.

READ MORE: After all these years, Spotswood-South River rivalry remains relevant.

Finally, CJ Sports Radio brings listeners a Monday evening game – another early kickoff – as Bernards (0-1) entertains A.L. Johnson of Clark (0-0). Theirs is a relatively recent rivalry, never having played until 2009. The Crusaders lead the all-time series 5-4, but Bernards has won the last two and four of the last 6 in the series. Pregame begins at 5:50 pm for a 6:00 kick.

You can listen to all games on Central Jersey Sports Radio – LIVE and for FREE – by clicking the Listen Live button at the top of this page.

LISTEN – Cammarano: After all these years, Spotswood-South River rivalry remains relevant

by Mike Pavlichko

For grownups of a certain age, those who attended high school in either Spotswood or South River have their own recollections of the intense rivalry.

Students from Spotswood attended high school in South River until the mid-1970s, when Spotswood opened its own high school in 1976.

When I went to school (and graduated in…. wait, nevermind) the annual rivalry game was a Thanksgiving tradition. For me, I’d call the game on the PA and then head out to an awaiting turkey.

But at that time, many of the parents who’d gone to South River had kids attending Spotswood, and the rivalry wounds were fresh. It’s been 44 years since anyone from Spotswood took a class at South River High School.

And yet, the rivalry is still important.

“When we got into this arranged marriage with the Big Central, I said to [Spotswood athletic director] Mike DelAversano, ‘I don’t care who we play, but we’re playing South River,'” says Cammarano.

“And when they said we may not have a season, I said, ‘I don’t care if we have one game, we’re playing South River,'” he added.

“With people playing an hour away now, you don’t get this kind of juice all the time,” says Cammarano. “It’s a lot of history.”

Spotswood and South River will meet for the 44th time this Saturday at 1 pm, a game you can hear on Central Jersey Sports Radio by clicking here, or on the Listen Live button at the top of the page.

The Rams lead the all-time series since 1978 by a 33-to-10 margin, with all but one meeting in 1980 taking place in the regular season. The Chargers had never won back-to-back games against their arch-rivals until winning three straight from 2014-2016. Despite trailing the series by a large margin, Spotswood has won four of the last six in the series, and were victorious in last year’s meeting, 17-14 at Chargers Stadium.

Listen below to Cammarano talking about the rivalry with South River and previewing this weekend’s matchup:

COVID takes some lustre off Big Central’s inaugural season

by Mike Pavlichko

There were supposed to be some highly intriguing matchups in 2020.

That was the promise of the Big Central Football Conference, the long awaited merger that follows the trend around the rest of the Garden State: large superconferences swallowing up smaller ones and encompassing large swaths of New Jersey.

The Big Central gives us 60 teams that used to be in the Greater Middlesex and Mid State Conferences.

The names had a nice ring to them. The GMC will survive in all sports besides football. The Mid-State also was a football-only league, as Hunterdon, Warren and Union Counties make up the Skyland Conference in other sports.

Continue reading “COVID takes some lustre off Big Central’s inaugural season”

South River Board of Ed OKs fall sports; Rams will play on

by Mike Pavlichko

Fall sports are on in South River.

The local Board of Education Thursday night approved the playing of fall sports – including football – after parents, students and alumni grew concerned this week that the Rams might join the handful of other schools around New Jersey – including Piscataway and Carteret in Middlesex County – who have cancelled their fall sports season.

“It is the Board’s position, and it was unanimously agreed by all board members, to move forward and allow the fall sports season,” announced Board of Ed President Cynthia Urbanik during a virtual Zoom meeting.

But the good news for student-athletes didn’t come without a little sweating it out. The Board met in closed session for more than an hour before the announcement was made.

“As you know this board spent quite a bit of time in closed session, not only tonight, but since July,” Urbanik told the meeting, “not only discussing return to school, but among other things, fall athletics.

Urbanik said the Board has been doing extensive research on the return of athletics since July.

The only sport that will not be played this fall at South River will be volleyball, which will take place during later in the school year during what the NJSIAA is calling season three. Indoor sports such as volleyball are considered higher risk for athletes, coaches and fans to catch to coronavirus.

South River Booster Club President Tammy Torok, whose son Joseph Lepore plays on the football team, helped organize a “Rams Speak” rally Thursday morning outside the Board of Education offices on Montgomery Street.

South River football player Marcus Granadiero – a junior, left – and Austin Soares – a senior who also plays baseball – talk about why they want to play fall sports at a rally Thursday morning in support of their cause, in front of the Board of Education offices on Montgomery Street, on Thursday, August 27, 2020.

She told Central Jersey Sports Radio Wednesday there had been rumors after Monday night’s agenda meeting that the Board wanted to cancel fall sports, and she thought students should explain why they want to play.

Watch Central Jersey Sports Radio’s coverage of Thursday’s “Rams Speak” rally here.

Torok was one of many watching the virtual school board meeting Thursday night. Some couldn’t even get in, as the meeting was capped at 100 participants.

“My family was here. My nieces and my son were here,” said Torok shortly after the announcement. Her nieces also are involved in cheerleading.

“I think we had just a mixed bag of feelings, to be honest,” Torok said about the moment the board went into closed session. One resident – before the closed session – told the board during a public comment session that he felt the panel should have been more clear after Monday night’s meeting about what its intentions were.

Hear South River Booster Club President Tammy Torok’s interview with Mike Pavlichko here.

Torok says she had a good conversation Thursday morning with South River Schools Superintendent Sylvia Zircher, telling her, “If you take football out of this town, you take everything away. It’s just not the same.” She encouraged Zircher and the board to listen to what residents have to say and take their opinions into account.

The Rams have one of the most storied football programs in the state, sending several players on to the NFL, including Joe Theisman, Drew Pearson, Kenny Jackson, and Alex Wojciechowicz. Head coach Rich Marchesi is heading into his 34th season at the helm of the program, and has won over 200 games in that time, making him the winningest coach in South River history.

WATCH: South River student-athletes, parents, alums push to keep fall sports season alive

A group of dedicated South River High School students who play sports from football to soccer and cheer took to Montgomery Street in front of the South River Board of Education offices Thursday morning, intent on letting the district’s governing body know they want to play this fall.

Organizer Tammy Torok, president of the South River Booster Club, says she got wind that discussion of the topic at an agenda meeting Monday night wasn’t favorable, and decided to make sure students – including her son, who’s on the football team – knew what might happen if they didn’t speak up.

A handful of districts around New Jersey have cancelled fall sports due to the coronavirus pandemic, even though Governor Phil Murphy and the NJSIAA support outdoor sports like football and soccer being played, believing the season can take place safely if proper protocols are met.

Torok says she wanted to see a positive, proactive approach.

The theme for Thursday’s rally was “Rams Speak.” Watch the video below for a recap:

AUDIO: Parents, student athletes in South River plan rally Thursday to save fall sports

by Mike Pavlichko

A group of concerned parents and student-athletes from South River High School are expected to hold a rally – they’re calling it a “Ram Speak” – Thursday morning to show support for playing sports this fall. They’ll gather outside the Board of Education offices on Montgomery Street at 11 am.

South River Athletic Director Carl Buffalino would only confirm to Central Jersey Sports Radio that the Board of Education has an item on its agenda for Thursday night’s meeting where athletics will be discussed.

A handful of other districts around the state – including fellow Middlesex County schools Piscataway and Carteret – have cancelled fall sports in 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, the majority of schools around the state still plan to play, as of this moment.

Consider the rally a proactive approach.

In an interview Wednesday afternoon, Tammy Torok – President of the South River Booster Club – told Central Jersey Sports Radio the event is not a protest. She wants to keep the message positive.

She is hoping for at least 100 people to attend, getting out the word to the football, soccer, and other teams at the school, asking them to attend and make signs to make their voices heard. She’s also alerted alumni, many of whom still live in town.

Scroll down to the bottom of this story to hear the full interview.

“Basically all we’re looking for is to show the Board of Education that these students are working really hard. They want to come back to school. They want their fall sports season,” she says.

South River just celebrated its 100th year of football in 2019.

Torok’s son, Joseph Lepore, is on the football team and entering his sophomore year. She also has two nieces on the cheerleading squad, one of whom is a senior.

“My first and foremost concern is the mental health of our children here in South River,” says Torok. “We’re not going to know how this pans out unless we try.”

She says fall sports have the support of the governor and NJSIAA, and believes that should be good enough for South River.

“We need to get back to some sense of normlacy for our children,” she says.

Torok says she knows several people whose parents or uncles have passed away from COVID-19, but says she does not fear for her children if they were to participate in fall sports.

“Concerned? Yes,” she says. “Afraid? No.”

Tammy Torok, President of the South River High School Booster Club, speaks to Central Jersey Sports Radio about a rally planned for Thursday morning in support of playing sports this fall. The Board of Education has an item on its agenda for its Thursday night meeting where the status of fall sports will be discussed.