Summer’s all but over, which means cold weather is on the horizon. Not the happiest time of year for many, but with the end of summer, comes the beginning of something even better. Football.
The 2011 football season promises to be just as exhilarating as last season, as Morris County has a few teams returning with one goal in mind.
Repeat as champions.
Two of those teams, Madison and Morristown, are each coming off of championship seasons, and with 2010 a thing of the past, both are hoping to continue their dominant ways.
Madison, who finished 2010 with an undefeated 12-0 record, stopped James Caldwell High School in the North 2, Group II final, by a score of 28-21, securing its first state title in 12 years.
Head coach Chris Kubik saw most of his playmakers from a year ago head off to college, including, quarterback Matt McHale (Lehigh University), wider receiver/defensive back Aaron Fant (Franklin & Marshall College) and running back/defensive back Colin McLinden (Fairfield College), just to name a few.
The Dodgers will look to junior Justin Goodwin, the lone returning playmaker from a year ago, along with a number of lesser-known players, to keep the team at its elite status in the county.
Madison gets an extra week’s rest before opening the season at home against Hackettstown on Sept. 17 at 1 p.m.
Morristown wrapped up its 2010 campaign with an 8-4 mark, highlighted by a stunning 40-6 romp in the North 2, Group III final against Nutley. With defensive leader Darren Dungee now playing for Rutgers University, and playmaking running back Kevin Gaskins graduated, Morristown is in the same boat as Madison, hoping that its younger, lesser known players are up to the task of repeating as champs.
Morristown’s season will open up against Seton Hall Prep on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Madison High School. (The game was changed to Madison High because of the effects of Hurricane Irene).
That's not the only game happening this week that will impact the standings. Here's the breakdown of some important NJAC games:
- Hackettstown at Chatham, 7 p.m.–Chatham finished 2010 with a 5-5 mark, including a loss to James Caldwell in the first round of the North 2, Group II tournament, while Hackettstown struggled to a 4-6 finish. Both teams boast altered rosters from a year ago, which should make for an interesting opening week matchup.
- Hopatcong at Kinnelon, 7 p.m.–Both teams are hoping to rebound from sub-.500 2010 campaigns.
- Jefferson at Randolph, 7 p.m.–Randolph is coming off of a state title in 2010, while Jefferson wrapped up its 2010 campaign with a 4-5 mark. It’s a new season, which means all of the 2010 accolades mean nothing.
- Parsippany Hills at High Point, 7 p.m.–Par Hills will have its work cut out for it as the Vikings attempt to rebound from a 2-8 2010 campaign against High Point (8-3 in 2010), whose season ended in a North 1, Group III semifinal loss to Wayne Hills.
- Parsippany at Walkill Valley, 1 p.m.–A young Parsippany team, led by 23-year-old head coach Mike Adams finished its season with a disappointing 2-8 record, while Walkill Vally wrapped up its season at 6-4 with a North 1, Group II loss in the first round of the state tournament.
- Butler at Morris Catholic, 1 p.m.–Under head coach Jim Matsakis, Butler’s season ended with a 35-14 loss to Hawthorne in the first round of the North 1, Group I playoffs, giving them a final record of 7-2. Morris Catholic finished 2010 with a 2-8 mark.