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Quality football featured again in the GMC Red Division

Sayreville

The Sayreville War Memorial High School football team will focus on winning on the home front first, and then it will concentrate on retaining a state sectional playoff championship.

Sayreville will battle its rivals all fall in the highly competitive Greater Middlesex Conference’s (GMC) Red Division. The Bombers finished 10-2 overall and posted a 5-2 record in the Red Division in 2016. Piscataway Township High School was the division champion a year ago.

A rugged schedule in the division, according to Sayreville head coach Chris Beagan, will prepare the Bombers in their bid to repeat as the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 champion.

“First thing is we want to take care of home field,” Beagan said. “We want to win the division. We feel strongly about our chances. If we can take care of our division, then we can go far in the playoffs.”

The Bombers open their season at East Brunswick High School on Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. The slate during the season will include Piscataway, the Central Jersey, Group 5 champion a year ago, neighboring Old Bridge High School and South Brunswick High School.

“We’re excited,” Beagan said. “It’s too early to talk about season expectations, but we’re always optimistic. We have a lot of talent. A lot of guys are coming back and competing for spots. But this is a tough division, so we need to take it a game at a time.”

Beagan, who will enter his third season at Sayreville, believes that his defense will be the team’s biggest asset.

The defense will be led by Eli Clark, a cornerback and receiver; linebackers Mike Germann, Darren Gorczyca and Colton Redding; and linemen Damien Lupo and Tristan Behr.

Middletown High School North — the team that Sayreville defeated in the state sectional playoff finals last season — has since moved to the Central Jersey, Group 4 section this year.

Edison

Edison High School’s coach, Matt Fulham, has set goals for his team to achieve and rebound from a 4-5-1 season.

“Our goals for this year are to compete each week in the very tough GMC Red Division, and we want to earn a berth in the Central Jersey, Group 5 playoffs and to get better each day in practice,” Fulham said.

Fulham will call upon Anthony Burke, a center and a defensive tackle; Donavan Benoit, a running back and linebacker; Tyler Strickland, a running back and strong safety; and Branden Barnes, a defensive tackle and tight end.

Edison opens on Sept. 8 on the road at Monroe Township High School for a 7 p.m. start.

Monroe Township

Monroe finished 1-9 last year, but head coach Daniel Lee believes that his team has the talent to be competitive.

“We want to compete,” Lee said.

Lee expects big things from Kaylon Bradley, a running back and linebacker; quarterback Fritz Frage, who also plays inside at linebacker; defensive end Matt Zurawiecki; and Russ van de Sande, a wide receiver and strong safety.

Monroe will start its season at home on Sept. 8 and will entertain Edison in a 7 p.m. start.

South Brunswick

Coach Joseph Goerge hopes that the Vikings can build on an 8-3 season but will need to fill some big holes in order to accomplish that.

“One of our biggest challenges will be that we have to replace almost all our players on the offensive and defensive line,” Goerge said. “Geoffrey Neals and Xavier Cargile are our only remaining starters, so that’s going to be a real challenge.”

Goerge said he also wants his team to have toughness this season.

“The thing that we’re stressing is that these guys have to want to compete,” Goerge said. “They should want to compete all the time. We have to want to get better every day. If I could describe what I want in one word, it’s toughness.”

South Brunswick will rely heavily on seniors this year.

Those upperclassmen who are expected to contribute are Justin Shorter, a wide receiver and cornerback; Felix Quinones, a quarterback and cornerback; Jaylan Lawson, a running back and safety; and Dylan Kriz, a linebacker and running back.

Those veterans played on the 2016 team that was defeated by Manalapan High School, 34-20, in the semifinals of the Central Jersey, Group 5 playoffs.

The Vikings will begin their season on Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. at Old Bridge.

Old Bridge

Old Bridge High School coach Anthony Lanzafama has a simple goal for his team that comes off a 6-4-1 record and a trip to the semifinals of the Central, Jersey, group 5 state playoffs.

“We just want to improve,” Lanzafama said. “We want to improve each day, win our next game and improve each week.”

Old Bridge will rely heavily upon seniors Mike Santiago, an offensive and defensive lineman; Rich Cardaci, a middle linebacker and running back; Liam Knowles, a wide receiver and outside linebacker; Tyler Haughney, a middle linebacker and running back; Anthony Imbimbo, a wide receiver and cornerback; Ramon Paulino, a tackle and defensive end; and Zach Thomas, a cornerback.

The Knights will begin their season on Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. at home against South Brunswick.

East Brunswick

East Brunswick, which seeks to rebound from a 2-8 record a season ago, will rely on seniors James Schuld, a quarterback and free safety; Rey Torres, a wide receiver and cornerback; Jack Solimini, a wide receiver and free safety; and Zahir Jackson, a running back.

The Bears start their season at home against Sayreville on Sept. 8 at 7 p.m.

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