With a regular-season record of 6-3 and a recent playoff victory over Mount Olive high school, the football team is taking shape as one of the top teams in the county. They currently hold the second seed in their division and are now set to take on the second round of the state playoffs.
Last year, the team ended their season with a tough loss against Wayne Hills in the state sectional finals. Although they were largely successful throughout the regular season, the playoff loss broke the streak of four straight trips to MetLife Stadium. The seniors this year who lost their chance last year are making their statement to up their game for one last run to MetLife.
This year, the football team is best known for its strong defense, as well as their ability to make plays. In addition, the team has benefitted from seniors and certain underclassmen stepping into new leadership roles.
Since last year, the team has improved in certain ways. Senior Patrick Passalacqua, who has played for the past four years, said, “I think we have a strong rushing attack along with a good deep passing game and a strong defense.”
Another team strength comes from the fact that many players have stepped up in terms of their leadership. Many seniors specifically have acknowledged their new roles as leaders. Senior Kevin Weis said, “As a senior, you have to step into more of a leadership role. We’ve had some guys [like Seniors Niko Orrecchio, Jake Piccinich, and Passalaqua] this year that really stepped up to help the team.”
Passalacqua also said, “Although being a senior on the football team has been something that I’m not really used to. It’s definitely different being in this leadership role.”
Increased roles for seniors weren’t the only step up that players had to make on this team. Certain underclassmen also had to take on a bigger role on the team. Sophomore Charlie Amatrula, who filled in at quarterback against Wayne Hills, said, “It definitely was a big step up for me to play at such a big stage.” He added, “I’m just trying to play my part and help the team win.”
With a second-round playoff game to play this coming Friday at home against West Morris Central High School, the team looks for more improvement and success before the end of the season.