Helmer, Zanelli Named to NJFCA Super 100 Team

Helmer / Zanelli Art

Greg Elliott

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 • 11:51am

SUMMIT, NJ – Summit High School Varsity Football Team 2015 Co-MVP’s Andrew Helmer and Chris Zanelli have been named to the New Jersey Football Coaches Association (NJFCA) Super 100 Team.

The Super 100 Team recognizes the top senior class football players and head coaches in the state.  The NJFCA was established in 1984 with a purpose to maintain the highest possible standards in football and in the profession of coaching football; to promote the highest level of interscholastic competition and to honor the young men who play this great game.

Previous Summit High School Super 100 Team honorees include Stefano Stadlinger, Mike Badgley, A.J. Iarussi, Charlie Terry, and Colm Dougherty.  Head Coach Kevin Kostibos and his predecessor, John Liberato, have each been honored as Coaches of The Year.

Helmer was named the team’s defensive MVP.  The defensive back, who was also a stand-out wide receiver, had six interceptions and 37 tackles on the season.  Offensively, he caught 32 passes for 678 yards and eight touchdowns.

Zanelli had a historic season for the Hilltoppers, setting a single-season school rushing record of 1,579 yards and scoring 21 touchdowns.

Summit Head Coach Kevin Kostibos praised both players, saying,  “Andrew Helmer is a phenomenal athlete with a great football sense.  He worked as hard as anyone to become one of the best DB’s in the state.”  Of Zanelli, Kostibos said, “You don’t get many Chris Zanelli’s to coach.  He has the intangibles that you can’t coach.  He is one of the best running backs we’ve ever had here.”

Despite a challenging year that featured myriad injuries and off the field distractions, Summit finished their season 9-2, reaching the State semifinal where they fell to eventual State champion Parsippany Hills.  During that game, Zanelli broke his leg, and Helmer was forced into duty as a quarterback due to injuries to all three Summit quarterbacks.

Custom digital art, similar to the piece used for this article, is available for production and purchase.  Contact gelliott@tapinto.net for details.

Zanelli Earns Prestigious Maxwell Football Club Honor; Award Presented Jan. 11

SUMMIT, NJ – Chris Zanelli, offensive MVP for the 2014 Summit High School football team, has earned another prestigious honor by being named a 2014 Mini Max Award Winner.

Presented by The Maxwell Football Club, the award honors the top players in New Jersey based on performance, academic achievement and community service.

Zanelli rushed for a single-season school record of 1,579 yards, and scored 21 touchdowns, as Summit finished 9-2 and earned a place in the state semifinals.

He is just the third Hilltopper to claim the Mini Max honor, previously awarded to Michael Badgely and, in 2013, Charlie Terry.  While his on-field accomplishments are evident, Zanelli volunteers significant time to train summit youth in football and lacrosse through various camps and clinics.

Maxwell Football Club President Ron Jaworski announced the 2014 Mini Max High School Award winners for New Jersey. The 57 players selected were nominated by their coaches throughout the 2014 season.

The Mini Max Award recipients will be honored at a dinner to be held on Jan. 11 at the St. David the King Great Hall in Princeton Junction.  The awards dinner is open to the public and tickets are available on the Club’s website located at maxwellfootballclub.org.
The Maxwell Football Club will select one player from the group of Mini Max winners as the winner of the New Jersey High School Player of the Year.  The New Jersey High School Player of the Year will be announced at the Awards Dinner.

Zanelli, Rainero named to All-New Jersey Team

On Sunday,MSG Varsity unveiled its All-New Jersey team and recognized two Summit Hilltoppers. Both senior RB Chris Zanelli and senior OL Stevie Rainero were named honorable mention. MSG Varsity covers the tri-state area recognizing the best talent from the region. You can access the site by clicking on the link below. Congratulations to Stevie and Chris, along with the rest of the team, on their accomplishments.

http://www.msgvarsity.com/2014-all-new-jersey-football-team-1.1664888

 

Four Hilltoppers named to All-State Group 3 Team

On Sunday, the Star-ledger announced it’s post season football wards. The 2014 Hilltopper football team was well represented again this year. Earning a first team selection on offense was RB Chris Zanelli while DB Andrew Helmer earned a first team defensive selection. Stevie Rainero earned a second team offensive selection at the center position while Michael Maldonado added a third team selection at DE. Congratulations to these boys and the rest of the team on another outstanding year.

10 Hilltoppers named to All Conference Team

The 2014 Summit Hilltoppers are well represented on this years Mid-State 38 Raritan Division All-Conference Team. The team is voted on by the head coaches of the participating schools. Summit’s players that were honored are as follows:

1st Team Offense:

RB Chris Zanelli

WR Andrew Helmer

OL Stevie Rainero

OL Matteo diMayorca

1st Team Defense

DB Peter McKinlay

LB Spencer Sink

DL Colin Andrews

DL Michael Maldonado

2nd Team Offense

OL Matt Greenstein

2nd Team Defense

DL Pat Maloney

 

Summit H.S. Football Season Ends with 14-0 Loss to Parsippany Hills

http://thealternativepress.com/towns/summit/articles/summit-h-dot-s-football-season-ends-with-14-0-loss-t

Greg Elliott Saturday, November 22, 2014 • 5:30pm

SHS FB - Defense v. Par Hills

A stellar defensive effort was not enough to push Summit past Parsippany Hills.

SHS FB - Zanelli v. Par Hills

Summit’s Chris Zanelli fights for yardage.  Zenelli injured his ankle in the third quarter and was lost for the remainder of the game.

SHS FB - Mulholland v. Par Hills

Summit’s Drew Mulholland makes a leaping catch in traffic during the fourth quarter.

SHS FB - Helmer v. Par Hills

Andrew Helmer opened at quarterback for Summit.

SUMMIT, NJ – During a season in which they faced significant adversity — including a slew of injuries and off-field distractions — the Summit High School Varsity Football team persevered, finding ways to win football games and advance to within one game of the state final.

The dream, however, of capturing an unprecedented third-consecutive championship was extinguished at Investors Bank Field, as a heroic defensive effort in the NJSIAA semifinal was not enough to sustain the Hilltoppers, and they fell 14-0 to Parsippany Hills.
The game also saw Summit lose its all-time, single-season leading rusher, as Chris Zanelli suffered an ankle injury in the third quarter that forced him from the game.  The Hilltoppers were already thin in their offensive backfield as quarterback Peter McKinlay, knocked out of their quarterfinal win against Morris Hills, was available just in a limited role,
Andrew Helmer opened at quarterback, and the Hilltoppers adjusted their offensive tempo — normally of the quick, no-huddle variety — to reflect the personnel changes.  Summit was unable to get their offense moving, and spent most of the first quarter penned deep in their own end.
The combination of a stubborn defense and the solid punting of Jake Froschauer allowed the Hilltoppers to weather the field position storm, and the first quarter ended scoreless.  Given their inability to move the ball effectively, however, it appeared likely the Vikings would strike first, and they did.
With just over four minutes remaining in the second quarter, talented running back Angelo Gallego broke wide right, found the sideline, and raced 34 yards to the end zone to give Parsippany Hills the lead which, after the PAT, stood at 7-0.
Summit made some adjustments at the half, and began to have some success moving the ball.  Zanelli’s injury appeared to make many of those wrinkles moot, as losing their all-time, single-season rushing record holder looked to be a mountain too tall to climb.  But as they are called in name, the team is a tough group of Hilltoppers, and they set about clawing their way back up the steep incline.
The defense kept stoning the Vikings, and eventually — past the midway point of the fourth quarter — Summit began to move the ball down the field.  A series of McKinlay passes — including a leaping catch by Drew Mulholland in traffic — mixed with grinding runs, put the ball inside the Parsippany Hills 30.  The drive halted, and a fourth-and-11 pass to Sean Andrews fell incomplete, ending the Hiltoppers best — and what turned out to be last — chance to score.
Parsippany Hills took the ball and moved it into Summit territory, but found themselves facing a fourth-and-six with just over two minutes remaining.  Opting against a long field goal attempt or punt, quarterback Nick Verducci dropped back and threw down the right sideline.  Summit’s Will Huck clearly appeared to get his hands on the pass first, the Vikings receiver grabbing on after that, with both falling to the turf clutching the pigskin.  Inexplicably, the referee ruled the play a catch, giving the Vikings the ball inside the Summit 10-yard line.  A verbal melee ensued, with the subsequent unsportsmanlike conduct penalties putting the ball inside the five.
Gallego scored his second touchdown two plays later, the 14-point margin of victory not indicative of the razor-thin difference between the teams on the afternoon.
After the game, Summit Head Coach Kevin Kostibos saluted his team’s grit, passion, and resilience.  “We never quit, the players gave us everything they had all year, down to the last minute.  The amount of adversity they faced this season was astronomical.”  He also heaped praise on the Hilltoppers defensive unit, saying, “Our defense has been great all season, and today they kept us in the game.  Offensively, we did the best with what we had, but injuries limited what we could do, and things just did not go our way today.”

Gutsy Performance, Second-Half Comeback, Lift Summit H.S. Football Over Morris Hills, 29-17, in NJSIAA Playoffs

SHS FB - Zanelli v. Morris Hills

Spencer Sink leads the way as Chris Zanelli, who set a new Summit Varsity Football single-season rushing mark, carries the ball in the Hilltoppers 29-17 win over Morris Hills.

SHS Football Defense v. Morris Hills

The Summit defense dislodges the ball from Morris Hills running back Isaiah Turner in the Hilltoppers 29-17 victory.

Greg Elliott Saturday, November 15, 2014 • 5:54pm

SUMMIT, NJ – Left without a healthy quarterback on the roster, the Summit High School Varsity Football Team dug deep, relied on its senior leadership, and rallied from a halftime deficit to beat Morris Hills, 29-17, in the first round of the NJSIAA playoffs.

The Hilltoppers played a jagged first half, one that put them behind after two quarters, 11-8.  They also lost their only healthy quarterback still on the active roster, captain Peter McKinlay, who left the game with an injury late in the second quarter.  Quarterbacks Ryan Richson and Jake Froschauer are also both currently out with injuries.
On a clear, cold day at Investors Bank Field, Summit got off to a strong start in their quest for a third consecutive state title.  The Hilltoppers won the coin toss and deferred, giving Morris Hills the ball and, despite allowing chunks of yards on the ground during the Scarlet Knights’ opening drive, eventually took the ball away.
First defensive end Pat Maloney blew up a running play, setting up a third and long.  Then, Senior captain Andrew Helmer intercepted a pass at the Summit goal line, and returned the ball 30 yards.
Summit’s offense began their march down the field, culminating in McKinlay finding Drew Mulholland alone deep down the right sideline for a 24-yard touchdown.  Chris Zanelli’s two-point conversion made it 8-0.
Morris Hills got back on offense, their running game again posing problems for the Summit defense.  Running back Isaiah Turner was doing a large share of the damage, mainly through sweeps left and right.  The Hilltopper defense eventually held, and Damian Gonzalez’s 22-yard field cut the lead to 8-3.
In the second quarter, things went flat for Summit.  Unable to move the ball, a short punt gave the Scarlet Knights advantageous field position, the short field led to a one-yard touchdown by Turner and, with the two-point conversion successful, Morris Hills took the lead, 11-8.
After losing McKinlay, the Hilltoppers went to the locker room at halftime to think about myriad issues: how to stop the Scarlet Knights running attack, how to get their offense untracked, and how to win a game without a healthy quarterback.
At the break, according to Summit Head Coach Kevin Kostibos, his senior leadership rallied the team.  Spirits lifted, the Hilltoppers turned to the type of offense that has given them so much success, and to the player who has shouldered a big part of the load in that offense, namely the running game and Zanelli.
Catching the second-half kickoff on his 10 yard-line, Matt Murdock ran right, handing the ball to Zanelli who was running left.  The kick off reverse was executed beautifully by Zanelli and the Summit special teams unit, as he brought the ball back past midfield.
A Zanelli run to the left, followed by a Zanelli run to the right took the ball inside the Morris Hills five-yard line.  Two plays later, Zanelli scored from the three, and Paulo Umana tacked on the PAT to put Summit back ahead. 15-11.
Morris Hills, however, punched right back on the subsequent possession.  In a drive that was solely executed on the ground, quarterback Daymon Fleming scored on a four-yard bootleg run to the right side.  The PAT was wide left, and the Scarlet Knights were again in front. 17-15.
The defending champs used the next drive to show their toughness, talent, and versatility to take back the lead, scoring the go-ahead touchdown that proved to be the game winner.   After moving to the Morris Hills 30 on series of runs, Andrew Helmer threw a flanker-pass to Vincent Bonomo, who was wide open at the goal line on the gadget play.  Umana’s point after made it 22-17 with a quarter to go.
The Hilltoppers iced the game in the fourth quarter, on a drive when Spencer Sink reeled off several impressive, powerful runs, it was Zanelli blasting over from one-yard out.  Zanelli’s rushing totals on the day helped him set a new Summit single-season record for yards rushing, braking the previous record of 1,394 set by Torrie Fogg during the 1994 season.
The 29-17 scoreline was perhaps not indicative of the level of the struggle, with Summit having to overcome both a tough Morris Hills team, and the adversity of losing their quarterback.  Kostibos was justifiably proud of fortitude displayed by his team.
“We found a way,” he said.  “The seniors spoke at the half, and our kids took ownership of the challenge.”  On winning without a healthy offensive field-general, Kostibos said, “We danced with who brought us here.  Chris Zanelli is one of the best who has ever played in a Summit uniform.”
Summit’s second-round opponent is Parsippany Hills, a 35-34 winner over Orange.  The kickoff time for the November 22 match-up at Investors Bank Field, a rematch of last year’s championship game, is yet to be announced.

Summit H.S. Football Eases Past Hillside 35-20; State Playoffs Begin Nov. 15

SHS Football - Frey v. Hillside

Summit linebacker Spencer Frey slams into Hillside’s Frazion Rock during the second half of the Hilltoppers victory.

SHS Football - Maloney v. Hillside

Hilltoppers Defensive end Pat Maloney closes in on Hillside quarterback Frazion Rock.

SHS Football - McKinlay v. Hillside

Quarterback Peter McKinlay carries the ball in Summit’s 35-20 win over Hillside.  The Hilltopppers open the State Playoffs November 15 at home versus Morris Hills.

Greg Elliott Saturday, November 8, 2014 • 7:41pm

SUMMIT, NJ – Heading into their game at Hillside, the final regular contest before they embark on a quest for their third straight State Championship, the 7-1 Summit High School Boys Varsity Football Team — especially Head Coach Kevin Kostibos — had two goals in mind.

“Win the game and keep everyone healthy.” said Kostibos.
The Hilltoppers checked both boxes, as they built a significant first half cushion and eased to a 35-20 victory over the Comets.
Summit opened the scoring in the first quarter on a two-yard touchdown from Chris Zanelli.  Paulo Umana’s extra-point made it 7-0.
The score was doubled two minutes later when quarterback Peter McKinlay took the snap, rolled right, and found Andrew Helmer deep down the right side.  Catching the ball at the 20, Helmer raced to the end zone to complete the 78-yard scoring play.
In the second quarter, Hillside countered with a scoring drive that was built on the legs and arm of quarterback Fazion Rock, who first scrambled for 20 yards to the Summit 25 and, from there, then hit Roger Bryant in the back of the end zone.  The PAT was blocked, and the Hilltopper lead was 14-6.
A vintage Summit up-tempo drive extended their lead to 21-6 at the 7:30 mark.  McKinlay did the honors from the two-yard line, after a mix of quick passes and runs that blitzed the Comets defense.
Later in the quarter, Summit’s defense held Hillside deep in their own end, forced the Comets to punt and, while they didn’t block the kick, the pressure caused the Hillside punter to scramble, barely avoiding getting tackled before awkwardly putting a boot on the ball.  The muffed kick went less than 10 yards, and the Hilltoppers quickly pounced on the opportunity.
McKinlay found Helmer over the middle, and he shed several tacklers and raced to the end zone. Umana again added the extra point, and it was 28-6 at the half.
An early second half touchdown meant Summit reached the designated 35-point target, and signified the result was well-decided.  After the score, the game was handed over to both the offensive and defensive second units. “We wanted to get to 35 (points), and then turn it over to the younger kids and get them used to the game speed at this level.”

Despite allowing two meaningless scores, the players entering the game in the second half performed well, notably Matt Murdock, who made a leaping interception on defense, and delivered several impressive runs.
After improving to 8-1 on the season, Summit begins playoff action November 15 against Morris Hills, who operate a Wing-T offense that Kostibos termed “Old school, but effective.”  Kick off for the game at Investors Bank Field is set for 1 p.m.

Summit H.S. Football Grinds Out 30-20 Win Over Rahway, Improves to 7-1 on Season

MAC and Z - SHS v. Rahway Football

Running back Chris Zanelli leads Peter McKinlay around the right end in Summit’s 30-20 win over Rahway.

SHS 2014 Seniors

Summit’s senior class poses with Head Coach Kevin Kostibos after their final regular-season home game.

Greg Elliott

Saturday, November 1, 2014 • 6:34pm

SUMMIT, NJ – It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t clean.

On a cold, raw, and blustery day at Investor’s Bank Field, Rahway — Summit’s opponent — did not look like a 1-5 team.  For their part, the Hilltoppers bore just faint resemblance to a squad that came into the game with an impressive 6-1 mark.
Misfiring in multiple areas throughout the afternoon, Summit did what good teams do when they are not paying their best, namely, find a way to win.  While never trailing on the day, the game was in doubt until just three minutes remained, when Peter McKinlay intercepted a pass and rambled 15 yards to the end zone, sealing the Summit High School Varsity Football Team’s 30-20 win over the Indians,
Summit broke on top at the 6:39 mark of the first quarter when, operating deep in their own territory, Rahway quarterback Zahir Wilder had the ball snapped over his head, and pigskin kept rolling into the end zone.  All Wilder could do is fall on the ball to prevent a Hilltoppers’ touchdown, and the safety gave Summit a 2-0 lead.
After receiving the ensuing punt, Summit immediately struck to increase their lead.  Chris Zanelli bolted to the end zone from 20 yards out, and Paulo Umana’s PAT made it 9-0.
The rout was on, correct?  Guess again.
Rahway drove down the field, and Wilder improvised on s scrambling, twisting, 26-yard scoring run to narrow the lead to 9-7 on the first play of the second quarter.  The play showed the danger of Rahway who, like the Roselle team Summit had difficulty putting away a few weeks earlier, have some very talented athletes at skill positions.
Summit made it 16-7 when Zanelli went over from the one-yard line.  The drive highlighted by a nice pass play from McKinlay to Drew Mulholland, and some power runs by McKinlay.
The team’s traded interceptions, and it looked like the Hilltoppers would carry their double-digit lead into the half, but the Indians pulled off a big play with just over two minutes left in the quarter.  Running back Jordan Scott broke through the right side and flashed 53 yards to put the ball deep into Hilltopper territory.  Wilder finished the drive with a 10-yard run, and the margin was razor-thin at 16-14.
The third quarter was a grind for both teams, with neither offense threatening the end zone.  Summit finally patched together a drive, and Zanelli scored his third touchdown of the day, punching it over from inside the one-yard line on fourth-and-goal.  After the PAT from Umana, the Hilltoppers led 23-14.
Rahway refused to go away and, on a third-and-10 from the Summit 29-yard line, Scott again wiggled free, going the distance to the end zone.  Hilltopper Captain Stevie Rainero bulldozed through the middle to block the PAT, and Summit’s lead was just three points at 23-20.
Summit held the ball for the majority of the final quarter, but was forced to punt, and Rahway got the ball back with just over three minutes to go, inside their own 15.  After Summit stuffed their first-down run attempt, Wilder was pressured in the pocket, scrambled left and lofted a short pass in the left flat, where McKinlay intercepted and ran un-touched to the end zone.
“You are never happy when you don’t play well,” said Summit Head Coach Kevin Kostibos.  “But I would rather win ugly than lose pretty.”  Noting the team’s lackluster performance against an under-rated opponent, Kostibos said, “You have to come ready to play every game.  We have to keep getting better, but games like this build character and, ultimately, we found a way to win.”
The 7-1 Hilltoppers conclude their regular season with a November 8 trip to Hillside.  Kick-off is set for 1 p.m.

Froschauer’s Four TD Passes Key Summit Victory Over Vorhees, 44-20

http://thealternativepress.com/towns/summit/articles/froschauers-four-td-passes-key-summit-victory-ov

Greg Elliott

Saturday, October 25, 2014 • 12:20am

SUMMIT, NJ – Earlier in the season, Summit High School Varsity Football Head Coach Kevin Kostibos remarked that his offense was still seeking its identity.  After its performance the past two weeks, the Hilltoppers may have found that identity, mixing both a strong interior and outside running game, with an emerging passing attack, all which combine to cause nightmares for opposing defenses.

Over the course of its last two games, against Somerville and, most recently, Vorhees, the Hilltopper offense has put up 65 points in the combined first halves alone, effectively sealing the respective outcomes early, and making the second halves feel like organized scrimmages.
Versus the Vikings, Summit rolled to a 30-7 halftime lead on the strength of four Jake Froschauer touchdown passes, two to wide-out Andrew Helmer, and eased to a 44-20 win, improving to 6-1 on the season.
“We are becoming a triple-threat offense,” said Kostibos.  “Tonight Vorhees packed the box trying to stop Chris Zanelli and our run game, and Jake had a big game.  Jake is evolving, maturing, and is getting used to the speed of the game.  Our ‘O Line” did a great job giving him time, and the receivers made the catches.”
Summit scored halfway through the first quarter, gaining possession after an interception by Peter McKinlay.  On a third and long from the Vorhees 35 yard line, sophomore quarterback Froschauer dropped a perfect rainbow into the hands of Helmer down the right sideline.  The two-point coversition was ruled no good, despite Zanelli looking like he broke the plane of the goal line on his second-effort run.
The Hilltoppers turned another Vorhees turnover into three more points when, after Stevie Rainero fell on fumble, Summit built their lead to 9-0 when Paulo Umana kicked a 39-yard field goal, the ball just nicking the left upright — and making a sweet pinging sound — before sailing through.
Vorhees cut the lead to 9-7 when quarterback Charlie Rodenberger scrambled and found Noah Cerrone, who rode the right sideline 70 yards to the end zone.
Summit answered less than two minutes into the second quarter when Froschauer found Drew Mulholland for 45 yards and a touchdown.  Umana’s PAT made it 16-7.  The lead was increased less than three minutes later when, after a three-and-out stop by the Hilltopper defense, Summit got a short field to work with and took quick advantage.
Froschauer threw 15 yards to McKinlay for the score, to top off an impressive drive, and it was 23-7.  Less than two minutes later, it was Froschauer to Helmer, Part Deux, this time a 65-yard pass and run thing of beauty and, as the half came to a close, the sense the final outcome had all but been decided as well.
If, indeed, there was any mystery left in the contest, it was extinguished less than 15 seconds into the second half.  Receiving the kick-off to begin the final 24 minutes, Zanelli started up the middle, cut left, and broke containment, scampering 95 yards to the end zone.  At 37-7, after Umana’s PAT, it was game over, but Summit was not done scoring.
The Hilltoppers went up 44-7 when McKinlay threw a five yard touchdown pass to Vincent Bonomo.  Already playing much of his second unit, Kostibos substituted liberally the rest of the way, and Summit allowed two touchdowns, which only made the scoreline less lopsided than the game actually was in reality.  In a freakish trio of circumstances, Summit allowed all three touchdowns on the final plays of the first-, third-, and fourth-quaters of the game.
Next up for Summit is home encounter with Rahway on November 1.  Kick-off at Investors Bank Field is set for 1 p.m.