NEW JERSEY FOOTBALL
2013 NJSIAA  FOOTBALL
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VTO SPORTS SAYS: SHOW US WHAT YOU'VE GOT  
We’ve said it several times on Football Shooters and we’ll say it again:  Southern folks are
serious about their football! So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that something new in the
game has come right out of the south. A nonprofit firm, VTO Sports, out of Charlotte, North
Carolina is certainly writing a new chapter in the book of high school sports across the
nation! Who knows maybe before these folks are done, the old book will be tossed out and
they’ll be penning an altogether new one in the fast changing world of high school sports!

VTO sports made a foray into the tri-state area last Saturday and landed in northern New
Jersey at Teaneck High school.  Approximately 100 high school student athletes from New
York and New Jersey  attended the event. In Fact some from as far away as Connecticut
were present and accounted for. Though most folks would classify VTO events as football
combines but what the company actually does defies such a definition.
If anything VTO is a company which provides heavy duty help for today’s Student athlete who is looking to move successfully to the next level.

Now, If anyone needs clarification as to how to define VTO all they need do is speak with the company’s passionate director of event planning & head of PR, Dena Cecil.
As Dena reminds us, the process of applying for and successfully obtaining a college education can be a daunting process for any student athlete as well as their family.
They have to contend with NCAA eligibility, scholarship availability, grade point averages, FAFSA forms and much more. It's enough to spin any linebacker's head
around! There's a field of pitfalls which claim scores of student athletes each year from all over the country. VTO came into existence precisely to help athletes avoid
those very pitfalls!

Looking just over Dena’s shoulder we could see that the folks at VTO don’t just talk the talk but they also walk the walk. Crowds of parents were in the stands being
spoken to by VTO staffers about their role in the whole process. Parents were assured that they could find plenty of assistance and support from VTO to demystify the
often intimidating college application process. That’s a pretty tall order when you consider that needs change from one student to the next. While one student may need
to strengthen math scores another may need to bring SAT scores up a bit.  VTO assists in identifying both unique strengths and weaknesses and helping student
athletes to fortify themselves against potential future problems which might impede the college bound athlete.

Of course the VTO experience acquaints the athletes with what they need on the field and how to play their positions at peak levels so as to get noticed on the field and
at future combines they attend, but it doesn't’t end there. The “Symposium” of services which they offer extends out exposing the athletes to both local and national
media such as: ESPN, Rivals and Scout. Students are assisted to prepare for the total transition up to the next level, something which will be a key to their success.

VTO is works keenly to prevent situations where student athletes simply get churned out into a dead end process which keeps them from attaining their goals of higher
education. VTO is passionate about helping young athletes in all sports take meaningful steps towards accomplishing their end goal.

So the next time you line up on the field against an opponent you might want to give a little thought to what’s standing behind him. If VTO is standing in his corner, you
should know that  you've got a formidable foe because he’s being schooled in everything he needs to do both on and off the field in order to beat you!

Event Shots Have Been Posted.
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FOOTBALL TOWNS : GLEN ROCK  NEW JERSEY    
They Will Rock You

As soon as you cross the border over into Glen Rock you
get sudden and strong sense that you’ve just entered into a
true football town. For those who don’t know the facts
beforehand, all they have to do is check the record books.

Yep, five consecutive state titles from 1998 to 2002, along
with a healthy
string of appearances in the big show  with
less than desirable outcomes. But don’t count on this idyllic
town to rest on its haunches; they are well aware that it
takes hard work to live up to any legacy. This is probably
why the air is so thick with a sense of football that you can
almost cut it with a knife.

Like a lot of teams, the Panthers finished their pre season
preparation with quad scrimmages against  teams who'll give
them a solid test.  From our perspective, on this particular
day, Glen Rock was the “800 pound gorilla in the room.”-
The team you’d least want to mess with !
enough, as good as the panthers are, they had have moments when it was the little things went unexpectedly wrong for them. Not to worry though, Coach
Jim Kurz and his staff were on point to guide their young wards through any lapses. Truth be told, once teams reach a certain level of physicality, it’s often
the mental aspect of the game that separates championship teams from all others. Look for Coach Kurz and company to help the Panthers to stay focused
and live up to both their potential and legacy while proving to be a force to be reckoned with.

The Engines That Could  

don’t have a deep bench at all but are not to be taken lightly. The adversity of low numbers didn’t seem to bother them at all, neither squad was intimidated
Two of the teams who attended the quad were Ft Lee and Saddle Brook. In some respects they both shared some characteristics in common. Both schools
don’t have a deep bench at all but are not to be taken lightly. The adversity of low numbers didn’t seem to bother them at all, neither squad was intimidated
by any opponent they faced and left the battle field with smiles. Both teams reflect a unity and confidence that comes from being battle tested together. That
certainly makes both crews lethal to any opposers they’ll meet this season.  Ft Lee’s Coach,
Bill Straub, filled us in on the obstacles which the Bridgemen are facing due to having a shallow bench.  As expected, many players are going both ways out
of necessity but they stepped into this season knowing beforehand what they were up against. His two and three year starters prepared for the season by
hitting the weight room heavily.  While Coach Straub and his staff managed assignments from the sideline the defensive Bridgemen got the job done on the
field. In their brighter moments the defense stands out as one which is quick to swarm, something which Coach Straub tells us they’ve worked hard on
perfecting. When one Bridgeman hits a ball carrier, the second and third are fast behind him to block off any hope of escape. They’ve got some size on the
line but more importantly, some opponents may find themselves surprised at the speed of this D-line.


These linemen are the type of interior guards who will stuff a running back into the backfield on fourth and inches and then swap sides only to shove the ball
down a rival team’s throat on the very next play. The Bridgemen have no illusions about upcoming hurdles but if anyone is mentally tough enough to deal
with what’s coming, its them.

Another Set of Quick Cats

The fourth troop at the quad was The Wallington Panthers (yes they’re also Panthers). Their defense can be proficiently stingy at times though they
suffered from the occasional miscue that gives more yardage then coaches would like. Not to fret though, these are the kinds of kinks which The Panthers
should work out in short order . The Wallington D/B’s are a swift lot with good instincts, ready to stick a thunderous paw where it really hurts any offense.
They also appear to contend with lowered reserve numbers on the bench but were always ready to play the kind of ball that, at times, stopped opponents
cold in their tracks. On the other side of the ball, Wallington’s offense is led by a lean and nimble quarterback who has what it takes to pick defenses apart.  

For coaches, there can be nothing like pulling their teams out of the barn for a few final  live-fire practice outings. These semi-controlled environs can reveal
whatever final tweaking any team needs. None of these teams showed any deficiencies that couldn't be adjusted or corrected in short order. So fans can be
sure to expect plenty of exciting play for the upcoming season straight from all of the football towns across the garden state.


Event shots have been posted
Yet, to his credit, coach Wimberly and his staff guided last year’s team to solid record. Accomplishing this in the midst of a transition year says so
much about the coaching staff, the players and the program itself


Breaking Things In.

Like any new pair of shoes, it takes just a little time to break them in. From all that we see things are getting down right comfortable for everybody
in Comet-ville. Coach Wimberly is pleased with the positive alignment of all of the little things that make large differences in the team’s
performance. One look at the team in action justifies the coach’s optimism. The team is big, fast and confident on both sides of the ball. The team
has speed in spades, something which is historically common to the team. What stands out most is the defensive speed; the L/B core doggedly
pursues the ball. The “D” linemen are swift to shed their blocks and tend to get to the ball surprisingly fast. Of course the Offense comes fully
loaded with a couple sets of high performance quarterbacks and several heavy duty running backs. Yeah, things look like they should line up for
the comets this year. They certainly should be going places.



Don’t Tread On Us

Two of the teams at the scrimmage shared similar qualities. Paramus and Nutley both had comparatively shallow benches on this particular day.
Yet, neither team was about to get walked on by anybody’s new shoes. Both teams play full-all-out- no quit football. The fact is that they both
seemed to play stronger as the contest wore on. Nutley’s quarterback stands out with solid ball handling skills and a ton of heart, the kind that it
takes to lead any team. One Paramus stand out is their defensive front, these athletes are unbending and will gum up any teams running game
with their resolve. For both teams, staying healthy will be paramount and could make a difference; yet there’s no doubt on field adversity will
continue to make both these teams mentally tough- and that’s always a plus.


Can’t Shoe Those Horses

Believe it or not, New Jersey still has towns where residents own horses.

Every now and then, one of those horses gets out of the stable and goes running through town causing mischief and mayhem. As Far as
Pascack Valley is concerned, it seems like a whole herd of horses knocked down the barn en route to stampeding through the town. From the
start their O-line harnessed up to open holes in defenses all over the playing field. The defense is steel-edged while their fleet footed backfield
will run wild on you if you don’t corral them. This  all gets topped off by a quarterback who is more than capable and will go airborne at will.


While these teams may have a few things to keep an eye on they’ve got more than a hand full of pluses to spur them on to winning. Sure some of
these squads may have more pluses going in their favor than others but football is a game where teams the unlikeliest of teams can work and will
themselves to a championship through the toughest gridiron challenges.

Event shots have been posted.
Hackensack Quad Scrimmage : Things Are Getting To Be A Good Fit
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Recently the Hackensack Comets ran
through their pre-game warm ups in
preparation for the quad scrimmage
they were hosting.

After having a very solid season last
year folks are wondering just how the
team will perform this season, after all
they did graduate some serious talent
at the end of the school year.  We
Checked in with the Comets Head
Coach Benjie Wimberly to see how
things were going.

The first sign of the good things to
come could certainly be seen in the
coach’s immediate smile. Coach tells
us that, “things are really starting to fall
in place.”

For those who are not familiar with
developments at the north Jersey
school, coach Wimberly took the head
coaching position last season. As
expected, it took a little time for the
kids and coaches to get used to the
changes that come naturally with staff
changes.
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Quad Scrimmage At Union City: Where Eagles Dare To Fly
Like some other teams we’ve visited in the pre-season, Lakewood doesn’t have a deep bench. Yet what they lack in numbers they make up for in tenacity. We can’
t say they were the most dominate team on the field but they absolutely had several moments where they showed solid play. They’re mentally cohesive as a team
and boast a coaching staff that suites them well, something which should enable the Lancers to go as far as their potential will take them.

The other two teams who attended, Weequahic and Plainfield were similar in many ways. Both teams had boatloads of speed and solid talent at all the skill
position. They both came preloaded with QB’s who can shake things up, though Weequahic had a noticeably deeper bench to tap when needed.

Most of the teams still had one or two rough edges to buff off but the potential certainly did shine through. It’s clear though that most of these teams will be in mid-
season form quite early in the season and that’s when things will really start to heat up!


Scrimmage shots have been posted.
Teams Union visiting City’s rooftop sports complex
might feel  as if eagles were perched on the
ledges of the cavernous building, waiting eagerly
to have a go at their next opponent.  The Soaring
Eagles have made a nest for themselves and are
quite comfortable in it. You’ve got to give it to the
North Jersey residents, they’ve proven that they
can be a force to be reckoned with at some point
in the season and it wouldn't’t surprise us if they
uphold the tradition again this year.
Quad scrimmages in Union City never fail to thrill
and give some insights on the upcoming season .
The 2011 season began with a mild
earthquake
in north jersey shortly after one of their
scrimmages and it proved to be a year in which
they were
real contenders   During last week’s
scrimmage they greeted the visiting teams with
their customary thud just to remind them whose
house it was. Talent rich and deep in numbers the
Eagles should do fine this year as long as they
stay focused, something which they usually do
very well.
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The final pre-season scrimmages were over and August had just been
marked off of the calendar. School had finally started and with that the first
game of the season for Teaneck’s Highwaymen loomed close on the
respective teams into the stadium.

There were no more burgers to be eaten because it was simply time to
play football. For game one the blue road warriors took the field against
the Mountain men of West Orange. The Mountain Men spilled out of their
buses in ample numbers which gave a hint of their depth just as the sun
began to dip in the sky. Their band and fans were close behind and ready
for their season opener with all of the excitement that comes with knowing
your team has a real chance.

Though it’d been a beautiful fall day the evening’s forecast wasn’t so rosy.
There was a brief letdown on the side lines as a quick shower sprinkled
the field; but just as quickly as it came. After the teams trotted through
their warm ups the game began with a thunderous kick. As the teams
began to tango with each other the hope was that the weatherman would
be proven wrong . Both schools quickly established that they were
capable of doing damage on both sides of the ball and for most of the first
quarter the sparing warriors jockeyed for the upper hand.
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Sure, we know that games which are truncated
because of weather aren’t referred to as part I or
part II. That designation is usually saved for
movie sequels. Then again, maybe an exception
should be made when the game is an exciting
one. After sparring for just under a full quarter
the Teaneck and West Orange varsity teams
retired for the night due to severe weather. Both
teams had time to think about what they were
going to do  when the game resumed the next
afternoon .

As things worked out West Orange proved to be
the team to beat.  They've got deep dish talent
slathering all over the place but that's a trait
shared by quite a few teams in the league.
If you want to look at the standout characteristics
which this team possesses, start with the
coaching staff.  It seems all the progressive
coaches in the league are reading from the same
book because we keep hearing the same positive
mantra being repeated from like-minded coaches.
If there is such a book, Coach Jim Matsakis
certainly owns the deluxe version.
Unfortunately, just two minutes before the end of the first quarter the weathermen claimed victory as the darkening skies began to rumble with some serious
thunder. Teams and fans and the bands left the field immediately to huddle in locker rooms, cars or buses. Ultimately, the game was called and scheduled for the
next afternoon. Neither squad had yet established any consistent dominance over the other , at that point it could have gone either way. The score was 7 to 6 in
favor of West Orange. For both camps,any lack of a consistent  rhythm could likely be attributed to jitters or just plain lack of time.

How the rest of the match would  play out remained to be seen. Both teams certainly had enough of a taste of the competition so as to have plenty to think about
overnight.  
Part -1 shots  posted
TEANECK VS WEST ORANGE PART-II  
get left along the roadside somewhere deep into the season. Coach Matsakis, and his staff are changing the culture of the ball club by
developing good habits among the players, encouraging them to buy into the system because it does work. If things go as planned, the team will
be one phenomenal solid unit by seasons end.

He's Believes

One West Orange player who seems to be a believer is Jasaan Ely.

Jasaan had an unbelievable day and was a factor in upending the Highwaymen during this outing.  With the leading blocks from his fellow
Mountaineers Jasaan set the game on fire nearly every time he touched the ball. He's one of a few running  backs in their stable who will be gone
if you let them turn the corner on you and he handles himself solidly when running through the traffic of the interior line. He ended the game with
over 130 yards.
All In The Family

But we've got to say, this isn't our first meeting with Jasaan.

Back in 2004 we met Jasaan’s mom, Kathy.  At the time Kathy was one the
exceedingly fast running backs on the New York Sharks women’s football
team- Yes women play tackle football !

Kathy had the kind of speed that would place her between two converging
defenders and leave them colliding into each other while she trotted past
them and into pay dirt. The still athletic mom last played for the
Sharks in
2011.

In those days we remember Jasaan as a mild mannered curly haired
youngster who would attend games to support his mom’s efforts. Now that life
has fast forwarded itself into 2013, mother and son have reversed roles so
that she’s in the stands supporting Jasaan during his senior year as a
Mountaineer!
As for the Highwaymen, the loss should galvanize them into a sharper unit and they should live up to the potential they’ve shown in the pre-season.

Look for West Orange to continue to grow in more ways than one. In fact, a lot of what will happen with them seems to be in their own collective
hands and that might
not be a bad place to be at all !!!
Jasaan Ely's mom, Kathy, during the 20011 season with the New York Shark
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It seem the summer heat was slow to leave as Teaneck high
school students gathered  in the schools gymnasium  for their
annual fall rally which marks the start of sports for students
returning to school from the lazy days if summer. Sweltering
temps didn't dampen the  jubilant Highwaymen's  energy one bit
and summer activities didn't make them forget how to have
a
good time either!

Every  grade level in the school was more than adequately
represented by bleachers full of students decked out in face
paint, sun glasses and the very latest in teen fashion from head
to toe. After all, everyone has a chance to enjoy the pep rallies at
Teaneck.

Every boys and girls  fall sport had a their "15 minutes of fame" in
the spotlight so that they could remind their fellow students to
come out and give support during the season.

Of course, what would a pep rally be without flag twirlers and
cheerleaders.
TEANECK HIGHWAYMEN OPEN 2013 FALL SEASON  WITH MULTI SPORT PEP RALLY  
You can be sure that they were at the head of the pack right along with the M.C's  rousing the entire school on to victory in the up coming season.
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Teaneck girls show off their grid iron skills
THIRD ANNUAL GIRLS POWDER PUFF FOOTBALL GAME  
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When most of us go to a football game we focus almost fully on
the game itself. Yet if you take a little time to soak everything in
you'll be tapping your toes before you know it. Now, if the band
playing is the Bergenfield Bears you'll be for a real treat.
Recently we stopped in to watch the 200 plus member band run
through it's paces and it was really something to behold. When
there is no football game to distract your attention you really
More Than Meets The Eye
The one thing which comes through very clearly as you watch the band practice is that these students really love music and so do their coordinators. They're not there
because they're being forced to be. The rapport between the young musicians and the band leaders excellent as they rumble through classic and pop tunes in rapid
succession under the early morning sun.  We've heard it said by band members that as far as they're concerned, the game begins for them when they hit the field. One thing
many football fans may not realize is that bands are well aware that they're at the football games to represent their school and their team.  Very often opposing bands will
trade musical barbs with each other cross-field while the actual game is going on. Some schools in the country even end the football game with an all out contest between
opposing drum lines, all to the delight of fans.
Loving That Music
Loving That Music
Look for these marching bears to continue to present a strong musical background at Bergenfield football games. Truth be told they're one of the soundest high school
marching bands we've covered, ever. Who knows, they may even rival some college marching bands!

Practice photos have been posted
MUSICAL BEARS  
come to appreciate all that a marching band does while performing. Not only do they have to play their instruments but they've got to do it while marching or dancing to very
precise movements. Think about it, each football team has just 11 players on the field at a time and almost every play ends up in a pile of athletes intertwined with each
other. So how do you move 200 people around on a football field without chaos? Practice, practice ,practice.
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Giants stadium show down between various top New Jersey teams which took place before thousands of fans !!!
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2013 NJ CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES  !!!  
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                                          Playing In Beast Mode
Clearly Montclair has invested quite a bit into its football program and it’s paying off for them. Some
might be surprised to hear that The Blue crew historically has quite a few championship titles under its
belt and the recent spate of wins might be a return to that former glory. The funny thing about a winning
sports program is that it tends to take on a momentum of its own. That momentum was running at a
fever pitch as the Mounties entered the championship game having won every game this season. Now
don’t think that Ridgewood didn’t come to the big show pre-loaded with a full set of pluses going in their
favor. Simply put Ridgewood and football are synonymous. Any team which is playing them for the first
time would be foolish that the kids who come from this Mayberry-like town don’t play hard-nosed
football, because they do. One of the positives which the Maroons had going for them is senior
quarterback Jamal Locke. This kid knows football, he’s quick on his feet and readily adapts to unfolding
problems rather quickly.
                                                       
 Not Today
In spite of the fact that everything in this game’s forecast indicated that it should have been a rock-em-
sock-em game………. It wasn’t. Like some of the games which took place over the two day event at Met
life, it was one sided in favor of Montclair in spite of every effort on the part of Ridgewood. It was a day
when Montclair could do no wrong and even one or two busted played actually worked out in their
favor. It will be interesting to see how the use this loss to spur themselves on next season.  It will also be
interesting to see if Montclair continues its blue streak of wins.

Game shots have been posted.
EASTERN   BEASTS
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We don’t know what has gotten into the Mounties of Montclair but in the last few years they’ve solidly locked in on a formula which has them overflowing with enough talent to either be number one
in their state section or be just short of being number one. Last season they won the title and the year before they played in one of the most exciting games ever to happen in high school football
at the old Giants Stadium against North Bergen.
Spring 2014: 2013 Football Season Recap
levels throughout the
Garden State. While some teams on the high school
level performed superbly as expected others continued
to amaze onlookers with their sheer dominance. There
were a few teams who’d fallen off the mark just a bit
and others who returned to the top of the pile. Next
season it will be interesting to see if some of the once
dominant schools manage to reclaim their glory while
watching those teams who are now on top do their level
best to stay there.


Since football is a 24/7- 365 day thing for us we held
back some of our in coverage for our post season
review. Our review starts with a game we covered early
in the season when the Florence Flashes hosted the
game against the Robbinnsville Ravens.
been teaching and reinforcing positive values in young people both on and off the field.  Personal responsibility and pride are just a few of the
things he’s inspires in young  people for generations.  Clearly, his methods are effective as seen by droves of people who’d come back to
support one of the community’s long standing pillars.  From all that we saw and heard the township was not only celebrating the coach’s on
field success but they were also celebrating the person who he is off the field as well.

                                                                
Flashing With Pride

This is a town which has a lot of pride, heart and dedication. It certainly seems as though most everyone is eager to be a part of that special
something which the town has to offer. Not only do parents come out and support the school but even folks who don’t have kids in the school
show up to give support too.

As an outstanding testimony to all that is good about Florence more than a few alumni/ parents wore their old Flashes shirts with pride and
adoration.


So if you want a nice solid slice of American football all you have to do is drive down to the southern exits of the New Jersey Turnpike to a
town called Florence where many
old American traditions still exists.....


.NEXT UP:  RALLY IN NORTHERN NEW JERSEY
Fictional King Leonidas was great because he and his 300 soldiers went into battle against hordes of invading armies. In 2013 we covered
Coach Joe Frappolli and his Florence Flashes as he did Sparta’s king one better by coaching his 400th career football game.

The day coincided with Florence’s Parents day and it seems as though the whole town showed up to support the popular coach and his
dominant Flashes while they hosted the Robbinsville Ravens.
Like most blue collar towns the Flashes love to grind out the football against opponents, which is what they pretty much did in this match up
against Robbinsville.

The two teams slugged it out in an unusually muggy October day. Any expectation that the teams would battle down to a close score was
progressively dissipated as the stingy Florence defense consistently choked off every effort from the Robbinsville “O”.
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FOUR HUNDRED  AND GOING STRONG     
In the days of old when warriors went out to engage invading armies every soldier knew how
important it was for them to stand united with their fellow warriors, to stand as one.  Every
soldier knew that it was his responsibility to hold his part of the battle lines because any
weakness could be exploited by the opposition and cause his army to lose the battle.

In this regard, football is similar.

As exciting as any football game may be, quad scrimmages offer twice the action. They also
offer a great opportunity to gauge just how solid teams are before the season begins in
earnest. Last week in Vernon, New Jersey the Vikings hosted just such a quad scrimmage.
The marquee included West Milford, Passaic and Teaneck. The facility is nestled in the
hillside region of  Sussex county. Long before you drive onto the spacious campus you
realize that you're coming into football country. It’s a perfect place to learn and play football.
The air is fresh and oxygen rich, thanks in part to the acres and acres of trees all around.

As the field generals marched the teams onto the field it became readily evident  that the
Vikings had taken good advantage of their environment because they displayed solid
gridiron skills in every area. They'll have to "defend this house" during the season and they'll
be ready to do so when the time comes.
QUAD SCRIMMAGE AT VERNON NEW  JERSEY
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field.  The Indians don't have a strikingly large line which is why the one or two giants on the row stand out. Collectively the chiefs can move the ball, though they can
sometimes falter. But don't sleep on them because they've got a backfield and a swift quarterback all who can turn on the jets when they see daylight. Once they knock all
the kinks out they should prove to be a solid unit.

We’d covered west
Milford in the past (  2008 )  this scrimmage gave us a chance get a closer look at how they produce the hard-nosed teams  which they do You could
sense the adrenalin surging through West Milford as they took the field .  Truth be told, they appeared to get stronger as the day went on.  Their defensive point men
Pursue , then hit while their reinforcements follow close behind to mop up any un-oblitterated  resistance.  At the day's end The Highlanders had to be feeling good about  
their performance.

The final turf defending Brigade was Teaneck's Highwaymen. The Highwaymen have put on a large pair of britches this season and so far they're showing that they haven't
gotten ahead of themselves. Swagger is not the phrase to describe these blue road warriors. Thus far, confidence and competence are the words which best fit. For the
most part Teaneck handily matched or exceeded the day's opponents and walked away more battle tested than they'd been prior to the skirmish.  The one thing which
might be of concern for the North Jersey natives is that they're a little light on the bench should  many reserves be needed.

Oftentimes soldiers learn that the only way around any obstacle is through it. In so many ways, these teams are about to have their mettle tested by what they’re about to
go through. Hopefully the pressures will unify them and cause them
all to stand as one!
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No football season really starts out right unless there’s a pep rally to celebrate
the upcoming season. If you don’t believe that then you can just ask the
Highwaymen of Teaneck. Win lose or draw the Highwaymen football team gets
plenty of support from the marching band, twirlers and cheerleaders.

Now, you won’t just hear cheering from these fellow students on game day,
they , their support starts long before that. The fact is that the Highwaymen
have been holding two in season pep rallies for years. The first one takes
place in early fall at the very start of the fall sports season. The second pep
rally is combined with a bon-fire and comes at the end of the season.  The
second Pep rally comes at the end of spirit-week which is celebrated by the
entire student body. This second pep rally comes the day before the football
team plays the Annual football game against cross-town rival, Hackensack.

This is a game which has been played against The Comets for over 80 years!  
This is also the pep rally where Alumni from all years show up to support the
current Highwaymen and there certainly is no shortage of enthusiasm as they
kick things into high gear in preparation for the next day’s game.
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One of those schools which has always amazed us is
Teaneck’s Highwaymen. They’ve almost always had a
ton of talent and have in some years surprised many
an opponent with what they could do.
Back in 2006
their defense
played cat and mouse with solid
league contenders for more than half of the season
and they even beat the green Knights of Montvale,
something which turned quite a few heads.


Paramus has also had some solid years where they
also beat everything which came their way. But like
the Highwaymen they had some years where things
just didn’t work out. During the
2013 pre-season we
could see that there were some things about both
teams which indicated
solid potential.  In addition to
everything they’d both had in their arsenals in terms
of talent, they both displayed a gruff disposition
against all foes.
2013:   Two Engines That Could- Teaneck Vs Paramus
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During this matchup the crowds didn’t warm the benches too much because they spent most of their time standing on their feet. There
were plenty of exciting plays as each team fought for the win. In the end, the Spartans boarded the bus with a win and the Highwaymen
looked forward to the following week’s game. Interestingly enough, the Spartan doggedness took them all the way to
Giants Stadium to
play against Pascack Valley.

As for the Highwaymen, they may have a championship in them yet. They certainly know how to gather the right ingredients now they’ve
just got to mix em together so as to get the right outcome.

Game Shots have been posted
In the summer’s sweltering heat, It didn’t matter how big the obstacle was in front of either team, they showed up mentally play after play
and their tenacity was noteworthy. So it was certainly going to be interesting to see how these two would face off against each other.
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Two -A- Days
One of the things that stands out is their hard-headed defense that appears fast, flexible and fluid. Like hungry dogs chasing one bone, the whole defense
gets hungry for a piece of any ball carrier and they don't stop until they hear a whistle or get a piece of the quarry.

Of course, this year’s crew isn't fully battle tested, so only time will tell.

Practice shots have been posted.
BUTTON UP WE'RE GOING LIVE !
Initially, when you roll up to the Hackensack comets field you may have some difficulty
differentiating freshmen players from varsity. That just goes to show how big the
incoming freshmen are this season.

Last year's varsity team did pretty good for itself but didn't manage a championship slot
for the state sectionals. This season, the team is dealing with the mass exodus of
seniors, so for them it's a rebuilding year.

On this particular day the varsity crew was cross border in New York tending to other
combatants at a tournament. The freshmen squad was left home to defend the castle
against live fire fromthe Crusaders of Bergen Catholic and they didn't look bad in doing
so at all.

The first year of high school football can be a bit of a culture shock for some
youngsters, especially if it's the first time they're ever playing football.
All in all the Comets looked solid as one or two recent grads graced the sidelines along with the coaches to lend a hand with the tenderfoot gridders.  It's
clear that if these young Comets keep progressing they may prove to be as lethal as last year's team.

As for the Crusaders, they performed at the level which folks have come to expect from B/C. We didn't observe overly large size on the lines but the kids
who manned the interior borders were certainly solid and more than capable of opening and closing holes as needed. As a team, this years freshmen are
smart, energetic, fast and very talented.  No doubt, they’ve got the potential to live up to the crusader legacy.

Game shots have been posted.
During the lazy days of summer there can be no mistaking the cloud of
dust or the clapping sound of pads that rises from football fields on those
early August mornings.  Thundering cleats chew through the low cut grass
long before the dew has a chance to burn off in the hot a.m. sun.

With the official start of the season just a few weeks away, teams are
working full time to strap on as many extra layers of toughness as
Possible.

Part of that preparation includes two- a- days and the Teaneck
Highwaymen were knee deep into their August drills when we passed
through recently. The highwaymen have the kind of storied history that
produced the NFL’S Tamba Hali and Lance Ball.  Like other teams in the
league, they've certainly had their moments when they were among the
front runners in northern New Jersey.

From the looks of things, this Year’s varsity squad should be able to find a
top spot on the pages of the Highwaymen's history books. Though they're
a little young, they seem ready to tussle with all comers but time will tell for
sure.
HACKENSACK FRESHMEN TAKE ON BERGEN CATHOLIC   
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Bergenfield Freshmen: Don't Sleep On These Bears   
No one in Bergen County could miss the great fall weather that Saturday
morning brought to the region, great football weather indeed.

Pulling up to Bergenfield High School the enthusiasm of the crowd almost
literally spills over the top of the stadium walls and onto the street below.
Parents, family and friends are gathered in the sunny cool morning air to
cheer the Freshmen Bears on to victory against Pascack Valley. In fact the
excitement isn’t emanating only from the Bear’s sideline, plenty of sound can
be heard cross field from the Pascack crowd as well.

The Bears freshmen corps is a small but compact unit. They’ve got some size
and at least a few athletes with the wheels needed to skirt quickly around the
corner on defenders. Their defense certainly has moments of quickness and
stubborn stinginess. They’re certainly in the process of “gelling” as a team
and should prove to be formidable once that process is complete.

Unfortunately for them, they were playing a team who is farther along in that
gelling process. Over the years, whenever we’ve covered them, Pascack
Valley, has proven to be a beast.  
On this particular day, the freshmen corps showed themselves to be following in that same tradition. In fact, this group of freshmen may, in time, amplify the school’s
gridiron presence since they’re pulling talent from a wider geographic area. The School merger allows teens from different towns to play as one solid unit and the
adjustment certainly appears seamless to the outside onlooker. Kudos to the coaches who make it all work.

Look for both teams to continue to grow to their full potential. It should certainly continue to be exciting to watch.

Game shots have been posted
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BALL METER
HHH