Jr. Raiders recap – 10/19 issue

Greater NJ AYF Raritan Division

Hillsborough Varsity Gold (Burke) vs. Ridge Varsity Gold: Won 34-12

The HJR Varsity Gold team took the show on the road to Ridge on Saturday, and came home with another victory, beating the Red Devils 34-12. The Raiders are still undefeated, and now ranked #1 in New Jersey.

Hillsborough’s offense stepped up this week and dominated Ridge, even though they were only on the field a fraction of the game. The Raiders only had 24 offensive plays compared to the Red Devils’ 40. Hillsborough put up 182 yards rushing and 54 yards passing, scoring on its first four possessions, and 5-7 on the night. One lost fumble and one punt to run the clock out at the end of the game were the only drives without a score.

The Raiders’ offensive line blocked fantastic, starting with the center Ryan Leary, Mike Guiliano, Brendan Lobelo, Brian Nastawa, Pierce Skala, and Shane Donoghue. Hillsborough’s backs had holes to run through, including touchdown runs of 68 yards by Mike Caporaso, 39 yards by Mike Miller, and 26 yards by Dominic Monsorno. Charlie Volpe also had a sprint for 17 yards, and Nick West steam-rolled a defender for another 10 yards. Caporaso led Hillsborough with 106 total yards rushing on five carries.

Hillsborough’s receivers weren’t too shabby either. Ryan Tasetano pulled down two touchdown passes from Mike Miller, one of 21 and the other of 15 yards. Charlie Volpe also had a 12 yard reception. Dillon Case and Nick West each had a PAT Pass reception for one point each. Miller went 5 for 9 on the night with 54 yards in the air.

Defensively, Ridge challenged the Raiders by trying to pound the ball 33 times. Hillsborough stopped the Red Devils nine times for negative yards, but also gave up 106 yards on the ground, and another 63 yards passing. Two forced fumbles by Hillsborough, and bone-jarring tackles by Guiliano, Monsorno, and Jonathan Lobelo helped the Raiders regain possession, and solidify the win. Guiliano and West both had grab-and-go fumble recoveries picked out of the air. Guiliano returned his 14 yards with half of Ridge’s team on his back.

Dominic Monsorno had MVP stats with his season high and team high 16 tackles. Jonathan Lobelo also had an impressive 10 tackles. Guiliano brought down seven tackles and Austin Quandt added five of his own. Vinny Castellano, Donoghue, Tasetano, West, and Joe Witcoski all had four tackles, and Case, Caporaso, DeRoner, Volpe, and Brendan Lobelo each helped support the defense with plays. West had the only quarterback sack for a loss of seven yards, and Donoghue blocked a PAT Kick to rob the Red Raiders of two points.

Hillsborough faces in-conference North Hunterdon at home next week, for its final regular season game.

Hillsborough JV Gold (Minetti) vs. Ridge JV Gold: Lost 6-14

On Saturday evening, JV Gold traveled to play Ridge under the lights at Ridge High School. The Jr. Raiders would come out on fire as they did everything right to open up the game. The offensive line lead by Matty Bleemer, Jack Fauk, Gavin Bailey, and Garret Myer pushed around the defensive line and opened up huge holes. Running back Andrew Schwartz took advantage of the opportunity and gashed the defense for a 25 yard gain on a nifty off tackle run to inside the five yard line. Chimmy Ozokpor would then take the rock and pound it into the end zone for a two yard touchdown run, putting the JV Gold up 6-0.   

Ridge would take over on offense and attempt to even the score. On an off tackle play, the runner would break it off for a 60 yard run, that was eventually tracked down by safety Jason Williams at the 15 yard line. Two plays later, a crushing hit to the runner by linebacker Corey Iannucci and defensive end Xander Borowski forced a fumble, that was pounced on by cornerback Andrew Schwartz. Schwartz would then cash in as he then took a handoff and scampered 40 yards into the red zone. The drive would stall out and the Jr. Raiders would be forced to punt. Punter Jack Fauk kicked nicely all day, and on this play, he delivered a beautiful punt that had good air time, allowing defenders to hawk the punt returner. The punt was muffed and Jack Minetti alertly jumped on it at the opponents 40 yard line. Both offenses would continue to struggle and Ridge would take over shortly before halftime with the hopes of punching the ball in for a score. But the defense continued to stiffen up, as Ryan Seemon and Ryan Baker contributed to big plays, which would force Ridge into a passing situation. Then on third down,  the Ridge quarterback dropped back and launched a deep pass that was stepped in front of and picked off by Andrew Schwartz. Schwartz was a beast in this game as he recovered a fumble, had an interception, and rushed for nearly 100 yards. The half would end Jr. Raiders up 6-0.

In the second half, JV Gold came out with the hopes of once again establishing the run, and were able to have success behind Joey Battoglia, Brady Porter, and Matty Bleemer. The offense, however, was not able to continue drives and turned over the ball on downs to Ridge. Alex Reiling, Matteo Del Toro, and Jaden Carter, continued play tough on defense. Despite their efforts, the opponent was able to march down and score, tying it at 6-6 at the end of the third quarter. Ridge kept the momentum rolling into the fourth quarter and was able to capitalize on a final long touchdown run, capping it with an extra point kick, putting the score at 14-6 where the game would end. This was another hard fought battle that could have gone either way, and a devastating defeat for the JV Gold. They will continue to try to get on a winning track next week as they play North Hunterdon and battle for a playoff spot.

Greater NJ AYF Delaware Division

Hillsborough Varsity Red (Ruh) vs. Del Val Varsity Red: Won 7-6

The Red Raiders rolled into Delaware Valley High School, with a quiet confidence and steely eyed determination to beat Del Val, a team that was in first place in the conference.

Behind the understated and over-achieving leadership of quarterback Tyler Van Cleef, our offense was able to move the ball, even though the score board did not show it. Our offense held the ball for almost 75 percent of the game, reducing Del Vals offense to one play that gave them their only points. Ian McCawley, Nick Santa Barbara, Jake Battagliesse, and Dalton Crater were relentless in punishing Del Vals defensive line and linebackers. The Del Val defense was only able to get on board after getting pushed backwards five yards by the undersized but overpowering efforts of the offensive line – Logan McGann, Matt Jones, Rich Loniewski, Ryan Siwiec, Jomar Nebot-Toro, and Gianni Santonastaso. Everyone of these young men played a crucial role in our success. Nick S. punched in a touchdown finishing off a long slow drive, and James H Ruh III got the extra point with a perfectly thrown slant pattern from Tyler Van Cleef.

Del Vals only points came on a play after a questionable call was made by the refs, giving Del Val the ball. Del Val capitalized on the momentum swing and put six points on the board. Del Val was denied the extra point when Dalton put in every bit of heart and determination to cut through the offensive line and block the kick.

Throughout the game, we saw some amazing individual efforts from of the Red Raiders on defense. Like usual, our linebackers lead the charge by clogging up the middle and shutting down the underneath pass routes. Tyler Van Cleef had a interception and some great tackles, but the true difference-maker for the Red Raiders this week was the containment set by our defensive ends, Nick Santa Barbara and Hudson Ruh. On both sides of the ball, Nick Santa Barbara was a force to be reckoned with, his complete dominance of his half of the field really limited the offensive options for Del Val. Toward the end of the third quarter, it was clear that Del Val was trying to run away from Nick. Unfortunately for Del Val, Hudson was waiting for his chance to contribute and he did not disappoint. Jude Bergman and Chris Smith split time at free safety and both contributed with great pass coverage and linebacker-type tackling. As the head coach of this team, it is an honor to be a part of such a great group of kids and parents. We have a bye this week but some of the Red Raiders will be playing at Giants Stadium sunday in an exhibition game, followed up next week with our arch rival, Ridge.

We will be ready and waiting for the Ridge Red Devils.

Hillsborough Varsity White (Shelton) vs. Hunterdon Central Varsity Red: Won 26-12

The White Raiders won their fourth straight game with a convincing 26-12 victory over Hunterdon Central. The Raiders offense was clicking on all cylinders this game. Quarterback Ryan Laties played his best game of the year. Laties completed 7 of 9 passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns. Both of which were received by Tanner Boczon. The first was a beautiful 24 yard pass on the run that Boczon caught in the right corner of the endzone. The second came later in the game when Laties completed a 25 yarder to Boczon who then shook off numerous defenders and ran another 15 yards for the score. Laties also ran for 37 yards. Boczon finished the game with three receptions for 84 yards.

Cole Thornton continued his amazing season with another strong game from his tailback position. Thornton finished the game with 80 yards rushing on 15 carries and two touchdowns despite playing the second have with a hurt hand. Workhorse fullback Shane Powell had nine carries for 52 yards. Many of those picked up vital first downs when needed. Once again the offensive line of Barone, Koll, Miller, Myers, Vladyka, Deluca and Wacaster, as well as tight ends Drew Scholma and Remarkewitz, did a fabulous job of opening holes and controlling the line of scrimmage. Remarkewitz also made his first kicking extra point of the year.

On defense, the Raiders picked up where they left off last week at Ridge with another solid effort. Linebacker Scholma led the team with five tackles. Cornerback Kevin Shelton had two interceptions with one being an impressive one handed grab. He now has five picks on the year. Shelton also made four tackles and recovered a Remarkewitz onside kick later in the game. Both the interceptions and recovery led to three of the four White Raider touchdowns.

The White Raiders will get ready this week for next week’s home game against Phillipsburg.

Hillsborough JV Red (McLain) vs. Ridge JV Red: Lost 7-12

On another rainy Saturday morning, JV Red hosted a big conference game against rival Ridge Red. The Jr Raiders came out fired up and set the tone right from the first snap that they were ready to play. JV Red elected to start out on defense and thanks to key tackles by Jeremy Bray & Jaden Rodriguez forced a three and out. The offense opened with a mix of runs and screen passes and were able to move the ball rather easily. The offensive line was in beast mode as Aiden Herrera, Zach Johnson, Matty Miller, and Brandon Lew carved open huge holes in the defense and advanced the ball into enemy territory. After a few miscues, they found themselves up against a third and five. The offense would convert with a hard fought run by Ryan Harris, who carried defenders over the first down mark to the 35 yard line. Then, the offense lined up in a spread formation, stretching out the defense, allowing Ryan Harris to take a draw up the middle untouched for a magnificent 35 yard touchdown score. Quarterback Damien Amato ran the extra point in on a quick snap count, putting the score at 7-0.  

The defense continued to shut down the opponent throughout the first half as linebackers Austin Gargiule, Kyle Simonitis, and Jaden Rodriguez took turns with stifling hits in the backfield for losses, while Keanu Whittlesey, Colin Cortez, and Aiden Herrera plugged up the middle. Then, on third and long, Ridge would finally spring a long run off tackle that was eventually hawked by Zachary Iannucci, preventing the touchdown. The play energized the Ridge team letting the Jr Raiders know this was going to be a long afternoon. Ridge continued to chip away and eventually would get into the Red Zone, and score on a short touchdown run. The extra point would fail, leaving the score at 7-6. The remainder of the second quarter would be a defensive struggle, and the half would end on a high note by Keanu Whittlesey delivering a crushing hit on the running back. The ball was jarred lose and pounced on by Kyle Simonitis. The score at halftime, Jr. Raiders up 7-6.

The second half would open up with the Jr. Raiders dishing out a heavy dose of the run behind a surging offensive line. Austin Gargiule, Liam Roarty, Jack McLain, and Sal Varone were able to overwhelm the defensive line, paving the way for running back Zach Iannucci to reach a team high 75 rushing yards, while fullback Ryan Harris sliced his way for 70 yards rushing. Despite this effort, JV Red was not able to get into the end zone, as opportunities were squandered. On defense, cornerbacks Matty Siegelaub and Nick Britanak shut down the outside. Matty Miller had a big day on the defensive line as he controlled the middle, along with Nick Duarte. The second half remained a defensive battle and with 8 minutes left in the fourth quarter, the JV Red defense forced a Ridge punt and took over on their 30 yard line. A JV Red steady running game advanced the offense to consecutive first downs, as they were salting away the clock, nursing a 7-6 lead. But with 4 minutes remaining, Ridge stripped the ball and recovered the fumble at mid field. The call was controversial as it appeared the runner’s knee was down prior to the fumble. Ridge was then able to set the offense in motion and knife their way down the field to first and goal. After 3 consecutive stops by the defensive, on fourth and goal from the second yard line with 13 seconds left, Ridge was able to get into the end zone on an off tackle run, as the running back fell over the goal line for the score. This was heartbreaking for JV Red as they were in the lead the entire game until this late score. The game would end 12-7 in dramatic fashion. JV Red will try to get back on a winning track next week as continue to fight for a playoff spot.

Hillsborough Pee Wee Red (Albert) vs. Bergen County 8U: Lost 0-27

Boro Red faced an excellent Bergen team on Saturday, and lost 27-0. The boys played with passion and effort throughout the game and have a lot to be proud of, despite the score.

The Raider rushing attack was led by Owen Miller with 30 yards. Conor Albert added 25 yards, Mason Westlake 20 yards, and Logan Redziniak 15 yards against a stout Bergen defense. Om Babaria, Chris Byrns, and Tommy McNicholas all did a great job opening holes for the backs.

Chase Shepler led the defense with six tackles. Miller and Westlake each added five tackles, Pryce Pina had four tackles. Joandel Nebot-Toro, Gavin Ross, and Zac Freling each had three hits on the day. Albert and Redziniak also added two takedowns.

Hillsborough Pee Wee White (Ughetta) vs. North Hunterdon Pee Wee Red: Lost 0-6

The Hillsborough Jr Raiders 9U white team lost a hard fought defensive battle 6-0 to the North Hunterdon Jr Lions on a cold and rainy morning. The offense stalled twice in the red zone and was hurt by penalties and miscues. However, the line was led by Dave Gubitosa, Jeff Progin, Aiden McKenna, and James Casey. They opened holes for running backs Mason Ughetta and Logan Jankowicz all day.

The defense was once again solid, led by Michael Haines, Shawn Abline and Cooper Wright.


Hillsborough Flag Chiefs (Lewis) vs. Hillsborough Flag Chargers (Cebula)

Chiefs: The Chiefs played extremely hard and enjoyed themselves under the lights Wednesday night. They were able to beat the Chargers on the final play of the game as Dylan Araujo ran 50 yards for a touchdown to put the Chiefs on top, 18-12. In addition to his game winning touchdown, Dylan scored another on a 35 yard run. James Davis also had a 35 yard touchdown reception on a perfect pass from Kevin Van Cleef. The defense was solid as Bennett Thomas led with four flags. Alex Wheeler, James, Dylan and Kevin all had flags as well.

Jr Raiders Field Hockey

Little Stix Maroon (2-4) (DiGanci) vs. Franklin 2/4-1: Won 2-1

Little Stix Maroon had a home game today against Franklin 2/4-1 that resulted in a win for Maroon. Every week the girls are applying more and more of their skills and they all looked fantastic today.

During the first half of the game, Franklin was dominating the offense with some strong players but our defense was on point making several great blocks. We started with Brianna Gibson on defense and continued strong in the second quarter with Jane Rodrigues. Our Middies, Morghan DiGanci, Jessica McKelvey, Caitlyn Bugal, and Jane Rodrigues showed a lot of aggressiveness while supporting them through the first half.

The third quarter was an exciting one for us. It started with Franklin getting on the board off of a corner. Then, Jessica McKelvey was so close to tying of the game. Shortly afterwards, Morghan DiGanci was able to break away from the crowd and now Hillsborough was on the board as well.

Things were getting exciting and you can tell the girls were determined to keep the game going strong. Taelyn Fedo and Cailyn Bugal got a chance to try their hand at wing today along with Zeia Rosenthal and Sabrina Shields which was essential because we were learning that in order to get the ball up the field and around some of Franklin’s tough players; we had to use our wings. The quarter ended with a nice pass from Jane Rodrigues to Morghan DiGanci in the circle to then have Sabrina Shields finish the play with a hit into goal.

Little Stix Gold (2-4) (Vogt) vs. Washington 2/4-1: Lost 1-2

Finally, a typical fall sweater-weather Sunday set the comfortable atmosphere for a match-up between the Little Stix Gold Raiders and Washington at Woodfield Park East. The first half was played mainly in the Gold Raider midfield. Washington is a skilled team, and was positioned properly on multiple Gold Raider re-starts. Their positioning resulted in a few turnovers that allowed the visitors to keep the pressure on the Gold Raiders. Alexa Gaspar was playing a very responsible midfield and was able to work well with Sylee Damle on defense to thwart a few early opportunities in the defensive circle. Both of these Raiders were able use good footwork to gain position while using their sticks effectively to tackle the possessions of the skilled Washington forwards. However, Washington maintained their offensive pressure throughout the second quarter and were able to jump out to a 2-0 halftime lead.

As the teams switched attack sides, the Gold Raiders became more determined to possess the ball and move it across and up the field engaging the wings for quick advances. Bailee Wolfe exploded up the wing on one occasion with the best ball control effort of the game. The Gold Raiders turned this field changing run into positive, prolonged offensive pressure, that resulted in multiple corner opportunities. The Gold Raiders were able to cash in on a well executed short corner where Samantha Dandy controlled the insertion and made a solid shot/pass across the circle to Eleanor Enna, who was positioned perfectly just inside the post, resulting in a fancy deflection for a goal. This was a team effort, and the coaches were very happy to see how the corner practice paid off.

Washington then mounted multiple attacks in the fourth quarter to try to get their two goal lead back. Megan Vogt showed solid defensive sweeper play and aggressively closed out corner opportunities and saved at least three shots destined for the net with her quick stick. The final period was a little chaotic in the D-zone, but the Gold Raiders pulled together as a team and secured the second half shutout. The final score was 2-1 Washington, but effort was great and the teamwork displayed was awesome.

Next weekend is a big weekend as the Gold Raiders have entered a Saturday tournament in Chatham. The games will be played on field turf. These games should be a lot of fun and should be very fast. Next Sunday, the Gold Raiders are back home vs North Hunterdon for an NJPA league game.

Junior Stix Maroon (5/6) (Redziniak) vs. Franklin 5/6-1: Lost 1-3

Junior Maroon played the Franklin team at home today. Due to absences, we had girls from the Little Stix Maroon 2/4 team come and substitute in as well as coaches, and girls from the Jr. Stix Grey Team- so we want to thank them for their collaboration.

Franklin put the pressure on, scoring the first two goals. The girls responded by scoring a goal on a well played corner, working as a team. Hannah Herterich hit the ball outside of the circle to Madelynn Taras, who quickly hit and drove it towards the goal. Morghan DiGanci (first time playing with us) was positioned in front of the goal to drive it in and score. Thank you to Autumn Pina and Emily Enna for also supporting us as forwards in the beginning of the game from Jr. Stix Grey.

Devin Redziniak, Defender, once again stepped up to block multiple shots on goal and push it out of the circle. Sofia Bambaci, Goalie, also kicked out and stopped multiple shots.

Our midfielders worked hard to keep the ball beyond the midline-Isha Swaminathan, Vandana Iyer, and Rebekah Redlich blocked shots and drove it up to their forwards. Thank you to the Little Stix who also jumped in to sub for the girls. Franklin was able to secure one final goal, but it was an exciting game to watch as the girls performed well out there.

Junior Stix Gold (5/6) (Citatella, Harding) vs. Washington 5/6-1: Won 1-0

Junior Stix Team Gold pulled out another win over Washington to keep our undefeated streak alive. Washington put up excellent defense as the score was 1-0. Our only goal came early in the second half off the stick of forward Addison Harkin. We had many other shots on goal. Victoria Byra was so close on a few hits but they were just short of getting it in the cage. Great effort and stick skills Victoria.

Our midfielders and sweeper, as well as goalie, played amazing defense to keep Washington at NO goals. Stand out performance today by Shannon Rice, midfielder, who played amazing offense as well as defense. Shannon brought the ball up the field many times today to the offense. She also got back on defense to help keep the ball out of the circle. Great effort as well. Great 1-0 win Team Gold.

Junior Stix White (5/6) (Minakas, DiStasio, Smith) vs. Nazareth 5/6-1: Lost 0-3

This week the Jr. Stix White team traveled to Nazareth, Pennsylvania for their first away game of the season. From the outset, it was sure to be an exciting game as both teams entered the contest undefeated.

Nazareth was quick to create pressure on the White team, testing the defense early and often. White performed admirably–Maia Minakas leading the backfield in front of first half goaltender, Miranda Trevino. The White team played midfielders and forwards back and managed to stave off the intense pressure before Nazareth scored on a well executed pass to an open forward in the penalty circle who wasted no time with a hard one-time shot. The White team rallied toward the end of the first half to create some pressure. Simran Buch (in her first game of the season), played strong up the left wing, beating defenders and creating opportunities by working the ball into the center of the field.

The White team went on attack from the beginning of the second half. They applied good pressure in the offensive zone and earned several penalty corner opportunities, but credit to Nazareth for keeping the ball out of the net. For the second week in a row, Laura Weintraub suited up as second half goaltender and made some outstanding saves to keep the game close. Nazareth, however, managed two goals in the closing minutes leading to a final score of 3-0.

It was the first loss of the season for the Jr Stix White team–a tough loss, but the game was closer than the final score indicated and the team maintains its fourth place spot in the standings behind the two undefeated Nazareth teams and the undefeated first place girls of Hillsborough Gold.

The Jr Stix White team concludes regular season play next week with two away games: first versus Washington, then at Franklin.

Junior Stix Grey (5/6) (Romano, Freeman, Hand) vs. Nazareth 5/6-2: Lost 2-3

Hillsborough Junior Stix Grey 5/6 field hockey team played a tough and gritty game in a 2-3 loss to the undefeated Nazareth 5/6-2 team. Sara Thompson scored both goals for the Grey team, with her second coming in the last two minutes to make for an exciting and frenetic end of the game. Goalkeeper Kaylin Agaman and sweeper Lily Hand each had strong games, and kept the Grey team in the game in the first half. Defender Christiana Muller played well, with support from midfielders Sydney Russo, Meghan Radler, and Madisyn Freeman. The midfield was able to create a good push, but the Grey team ran into a strong defensive effort from the Nazareth team. Forwards Thompson, Alexis Shumaker, Autumn Pina, Emily Enna, and Paige Romano had chances, and put a couple of shots on goal. Enna set Thompson and Romano off on a fast break at the end of the third quarter, but they couldn’t put the shot home. Unfortunately, that was not the only missed chance, and the Nazareth defense was able to pounce on those misses, and stop the Grey attack. But the Grey girls stayed tough even after going down 0-3, and continued to fight until the end of the game. The Grey team ends their regular season next week with a doubleheader on the road. Please make sure to wish our girls luck as they close out their season.