Tag: Westfield

INSTANT REPLAY: Westfield 31, Scotch Plains-Fanwood 0

Quarterback Max Cho threw three touchdown passes and the Westfield defense held solid in a 31-0 road win at Scotch Plains-Fanwood on September 22nd, 2023. It was the 60th meeting between the schools, and the first matchup between the two under the lights. The Blue Devils lead the all-time series 44-13-3.

Click below to listen to Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe call all the action live from Perry Tyson Field in Scotch Plains:

1st Half
2nd Half

It’s all Westfield as Blue Devils blank Scotch Plains-Fanwood with balanced, efficient attack

Westfield got two first quarter scores to put rival Scotch Plains-Fanwood behind the eight ball early, and the Blue Devils’ never took their foot off the gas the rest of the way in a 31-0 win Friday night in Scotch Plains.

In a game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, Westfield rolled off 362 yards of total offense – with 184 through the air and 178 on the ground. Senior quarterback Mac Cho threw three touchdown passes.

Westfield led 17-0 after the first 13 minutes and change, with the run kicked off by Josh Caramagno scoring on a 17-yard run with 7:47 left in the opening quarter.

Nick Lukis added a 27-yard field goal nearly four minutes later, and Sebastian Magherini added an 11-yard TD catch just 1:09 into the second quarter.

For insurance, Enzo Ferrero added a 51-yard touchdown catch, and Magherini had his second touchdown reception of the game – this one a five-yarder – in the first quarter.

Westfield (2-2) has now won two straight, while Scotch Plains-Fanwood dropped to 1-4 and has lost four straight since a season-opening win over Monroe.

Click below for postgame reaction presented by Sportsplex at Metuchen:

Westfield senior quarterback Max Cho
Westfield head coach Jim DeSarno

DeSarno not hitting the panic button as Westfield heads to Scotch Plains for first-ever meeting under the lights

For a team that went 8-3 a season ago, including 4-0 in Big Central American Gold Division Play, it would be easy to panic following an 0-2 start. But at Westfield, under head coach Jim DeSarno in his 18th season, that’s just not in their nature.

After suffering two tough losses to open the season to teams currently ranked in the Big Central Media poll (No. 5 Watchung Hills and No. 10 Union), the Blue Devils bounced back last week with a 23-21 win against a very talented Elizabeth team.

Westfield (1-2) looks to make it two-in-a-row with a short trip to Scotch Plains-Fanwood (1-3) Friday night, for the first-ever night meeting between the schools. It’s the 60th meeting, with the Blue Devils ahead 43-13-3.

The first meeting came back in 1929, and while they didn’t play again until 1961, they’ve played all but five years since.

Quarterback Max Cho, in his first season as a starter, has thrown for over 500 yards and three scores. His classmate and backfield partner, running back Josh Caramagno, has run for nearly 300 yards and totaled four scores. Caramagno carried the ball for 127 yards and 2 touchdowns in last week’s win over Elizabeth.

Coverage begins at 6:40 from Perry Tyson Field in Scotch Plains on Central Jersey Sports Radio. Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe will have the play-by-play call, with kickoff at 7:00.  Click here to listen.

Listen below to hear Westfield coach Jim DeSarno and Justin Sontupe preview Friday night’s game:

Raiders looking forward to historic matchup with Westfield under the lights for the first time

The history of the matchup goes back to 1929, when Westfield beat Scotch Plains-Fanwood in their first football tussle, 20-0. The teams wouldn’t play again until 1961, but from that point on would meet every year except one (1990) through 2017.

After a brief break, the rivalry was renewed last year, but in all that time, the series has never featured a night game.

That is, until Friday night.

That’s when the Blue Devils (1-2) come into Scotch Plains for a 7 pm matchup with the Raiders (1-3) under the lights, which you can hear on Central Jersey Sports Radio, starting at 6:45 with the pregame as Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe call all the action. Click here to listen.

It’s the 60th meeting between the schools, with the Blue Devils’ up 43-13-3 in the series.

Westfield’s Kehler Stadium has never had lights. Nor did SPF’s home field until a few years ago, when they were installed in the midst of the series’ hiatus.

Scotch Plains-Fanwood is looking to snap a three-game losing streak, while Westfield dropped its first two games, but picked up a victory last week over Elizabeth, 23-21.

The Raiders will be led by interim head coach Bobby Swercheck, an assistant who takes over the program after Tuesday night’s resignation of Austin Holman, in the middle of his fifth season as head coach.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Scotch Plains-Fanwood Offensive Coordinator and veteran coach Tony Maglione about the Raiders, and the matchup with the Blue Devils:

“The Big Central in 2 Minutes” – Week 4: Rumbling on the Raritan, Top Defenses

It’s Week Four – yes we’re almost halfway through the regular season for most teams – and time for another episode of “The Big Central in Two Minutes,” as veteran CJSR sportscaster Mike Pavlichko shares notes, stats, and observations on area high school football.

This week, we look at Sunday’s Rumble on the Raritan, Big Play Ray, the Phillipsburg/Montgomery game with almost four dozen penalties, top defenses, and a nearly 100-year-old rivalry played under the lights for the very first time.

Click below to listen to the Week Four edition of “The Big Central in Two Minutes”:

Idle Phillipsburg remains atop Big Central Media Poll, as Watchung Hills and Montgomery make inroads

Three teams who don’t open their season until this Friday night hold the top three spots in the Big Central Media Poll for Week One, while two new teams made their debut.

Watchung Hills and Montgomery made the cut in Week One after receiving votes in the preseason rankings. The Warriors are tied for eighth with Westfield, while Montgomery takes the tenth spot.

Three teams dropped out from last week (there were 11 overall in the rankings, with two teams having been tied for tenth): Colonia, Edison and North Hunterdon, all of whom lost their opening games in Week Zero.

Below are the full Week One Big Central Media Poll rankings:

Phillipsburg retains top spot, Sayreville moves up, Aquinas moves into Week 1 rankings

While Phillipsburg hasn’t opened its 2023 season yet – they host Sayreville this Friday in a highly-anticipated matchup – the Stateliners remain No. 1 in the Week One Central Jersey Sports Radio rankings.

The biggest gains in Week Zero play were made by Sayreville and St. Thomas Aquinas. The previously-No. 4 Bombers were 42-21 winners on the road against No. 8 Colonia, and moved up to No. 2 this week. St. Thomas Aquinas – which also received votes last week – debuted in this week’s rankings at seven.

No. 8 St. Joseph-Metuchen dropped out, despite being idle, making room for the Trojans.

Below are the full Week One Central Jersey Sports Radio H.S. Football rankings:

2023 Big Central Preview: American Gold Division

The American Gold Division is one of the toughest in the Big Central Conference, but in 2023 it may also be the one with the most question marks.

Westfield took the division title last year, but has lost a lot. About the only certainty is they should be in the mix.

St. Joseph of Metuchen has solid pieces back, but it’s a very difficult road facing Group 5 schools like Westfield, Union, and Elizabeth, the largest high school in the state.

The same can be said for Somerville, which is a Group 3 school, but has renewed optimism with Matt Bloom as head coach. He took over with two games left in the season, and the Pioneers won both to get in the playoffs.

And then there’s Union, which was loaded two seasons ago, dropped off last year, but now has a wealth of experience back.

Questions, questions, indeed.

Click below to listen to Mike Pavlichko’s preview of the American Gold Division from the Big Central Conference’s inaugural Media Days:

Here’s what should have happened in Ridge-Westfield game, per NJSIAA rules. But did it?

There’s a lot that’s still unknown about exactly how things went down in the North 2, Group 4 quarterfinal game between top-seed Ridge and 8th-seed Westfield, which results in the Red Devils being disqualified from the state tournament due to a pitch count violation.

In a statement the NJSIAA provided via email to Central Jersey Sports Radio Saturday afternoon: “During Thursday’s quarterfinal game of the NJSIAA Section 2, Group 4 baseball tournament, Ridge High School violated pitch count rules. As a result, its pitcher was declared ineligible and, per rule, Ridge was required to forfeit. Westfield High School will now advance to face Bayonne High School on Tuesday (5/30).”

According to an NJ Advance Media report by Luis Torres, Ridge ace Connor Byrne was taken out of the game after throwing 82 pitches. This, after having thrown 69 in Monday’s opening round playoff game against Piscataway. That would have given Byrne 151 pitches thrown, one over the NJSIAA “hard limit” of 150 pitches per five calendar days.

That “hard limit” is in contrast to the single day pitch limit of 110 pitches, which is a “soft limit,” wherein a pitcher may stay in the game to finish the batter, whether the batter is out, reaches base, or that batter ends the inning or game. The hard limit means the pitcher must be removed even in the middle of an at bat.


That’s what we know. What we don’t know is why Byrne wasn’t removed at 150 pitches, or 81 on the day. Was Ridge head coach Tom Blackwell unaware of the hard limit, which is a new addition to the rules this year? Where was the official pitch counter in all this?

Per NJSIAA rules, here is what should have happened, before the first pitch of the game was even thrown:

  1. “During these state tournament rounds (State Tournament Rounds 1, 2, 3 & Sectional Finals), each school shall designate a pitch counter for their team. In addition, the home team must supply an “Official Adult Pitch Counter” who shall not be part of the coaching staff or team manager. The official pitch counter should be dressed in apparel that is considered neutral during the state tournament. The official pitch counter shall be situated in an area near the backstop and equally accessible to both teams. The official pitch counter will count pitches for both schools.” This means both Ridge and Westfield should have their own pitch counters, which is something that’s required all season long. The NJ Advance story says Westfield AD Sandra Mammary told Torres that both teams checked in with the official pitch counter after each inning.
  2. Before every game, both Head Coaches shall exchange their pitching logs as part of the pre-game conference with umpires. This shall include names, numbers and pitches thrown by each pitcher. We don’t know yet whether or not the official pitch counter, which was on site, according to Mamary, was provided this information. This would also tell the pitch counter how many pitches each pitcher was allowed to throw in the game.
  3. Pitch counts must be verified with representatives of both teams after each half-inning. If both teams agree on a pitch number, that number shall be recorded as the official pitch count. If one team disagrees on a pitch count, the official pitch counter’s number shall be recorded. Once the first pitch is thrown for the next half inning, there can be no protests or appeals to the pitch count. Again, from the comments by the Westfield Athletic Director, this appears to have taken place. At this point, the pitch counter and both head coaches should have been aware of the pitch limit on Byrne, since both head coaches would have received pitching logs as part of their pre-game conference with the umpires.
  4. The official pitch counter shall inform both coaches and the plate umpire when a pitcher reaches their maximum pitch count threshold. Coaches are responsible for their pitcher’s pitch count at all times. Here’s where the questions come in. The pitch counter should have informed both coaches and the plate umpire when the Byrne reached 81 pitches, the maximum he was allowed for the day. By all accounts in numerous media reports, that never happened. Byrne was removed after 82 pitches. As a backup, the Ridge coach also should have been aware of the rule and removed Byrne, which did not happen. Was there a discrepancy as to the pitch count when Byrne was removed? An update to the Torres story with a quote from Mamary says, “When that kid pitched his 82nd pitch, we stopped the game, we asked how many pitches they had because they are the home team and they confirmed that they had 82 pitches. The umpire said, ‘Yes, we have 82 pitches.’ (He) said back to my coach, ‘Yeah, there’s 82 pitches’. And we said, ‘OK. Now it’s kind of out of hands.'” So it also appears Westfield knew Byrne had thrown 81, and stopped the game only after the violation occurred, rather than when Byrne was at his limit.

Unless there’s a further discrepancy in the pitch count for Byrne, the only thing that’s clear is that the rule was violated, and per the rules, Westfield has the right to protest, which they did, and Ridge is disqualified from the tournament.

Rules are rules, whether they’re fair and intended to ensure the safety of student-athletes or not. Clearly, the rule was violated.

But it seems like there’s more than enough blame to go around.

North Hunterdon rises to No. 1 in final Top Ten rankings; Lions are CJSR 2022 Team of the Year

CORRECTION: Our initial version of this poll inadvertently omitted Watchung Hills, which tied for third in the poll for 9th place with Westfield and Montgomery. The rest of this story has been updated to correct that omission.

In the final Central Jersey Sports Radio high school football rankings of 2022, North Hunterdon is Number One, and the CJSR Team of the Year.

With just one regular season loss – to Phillipsburg, which finished at No. 2 – the North 2, Group 4 Champion Lions finished the season 11-2, after a loss to Northern Highlands in the Group 4 semifinals this past Saturday, 21-20 in OT at Franklin High School.

Led by the backfield tandem of Kente Edwards and Alex Uryniak, quarterback Luke Martini, and top receivers Derek Vaddis and Danny Delusant – with several of those players also playing critical roles on defense – North Hunterdon won its first state title since 2017, beating Randolph in a finals for the ages, 49-35, a contest which saw the teams explode for a combined 49 points in the final quarter.

The Lions also won the Liberty Silver Division of the Big Central Conference.

Phillipsburg, which was undefeated going into the North 2 Group 4 final, was shocked in the title game by West Orange, 28-7. The American Silver Division champs are 10-1, heading into their Thanksgiving Day battle with Easton.

In third was Edison, the Central Jersey Group 5 champion, which beat Lenape in the title game 28-14 a week ago down in Medford. It was the Eagles’ first title in 31 years, and they finished the season 9-4 with a group of seniors that included several four-year starters, including QB Matt Yascko, wide receiver Malcolm Stansbury, offensive lineman Matthew Bueno, and and kicker/linebacker Selbin Sabio.

Tied for fourth was St. Thomas Aquinas and North Brunswick. The Trojans beat Edison in the regular season, but got knocked out of the playoffs in the opening round by Holy Spirit. Aquinas won the United Gold Division title, and will take a 17-game conference winning streak into the 2023 season, the best in the league. (Phillipsburg and Brearley both have won 11 straight regular season BCC games, the closest teams to Aquinas.

The Raiders finished 8-2, National Silver Division champions. Their lone regular season loss came out-of-division to Cranford, but they lost in the Central 5 semifinals to Edison, after the Eagles scored the game’s final 16 points in a furious comeback in the final five minutes of the game, recovering two on-side kicks and winning on a field goal with :04 left on the clock.

Ridge finished the year 7-3 and came in sixth.

In seventh was Hillside, which finished the season 9-2, tied with Cranford. The Comets were the Patriot Silver Division champions, and their only regular-season loss came to St. Thomas Aquinas in a divisional crossover. They made the North 2, Group 3 finals, but lost to Old Tappan 28-14; the Golden Knights are in the first-ever statewide Group 3 final at Rutgers in two weeks.

Cranford was 7-3, and won the American Gold Division title.

Westfield, Watchung Hills and Montgomery all tied for tenth. The Warriors and Cougars both finished 7-3, while Westfield also is 7-3, but still has to play its Thanksgiving game against Plainfield.

Below are the complete final 2022 Central Jersey Sports Radio High School Football rankings: