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.
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.
Saturday, November 1, 2014 • 6:34pm
SUMMIT, NJ – It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t clean.
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.
SUMMIT, NJ – Who says Good Guys cant wear black?
Wearing black uniforms designed and produced especially for the game, the Summit High School Varsity Football Team used a mix of raw emotion, a big first-half dose of their power running game, and a stifling defensive effort to overwhelm Somerville, 42-9, at the traditional Friday Night Lights game.
Byon October 11, 2014 10:19 p.m.
Chris Zanelli rushed for 201 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries as Summit defeated Roselle, 41-33, in Roselle.
Zanelli had first quarter touchdowns of 2 and 15 yards before adding a 1-yard TD in the third quarter. Peter McKinlay put Summit in front for good with a 2-yard touchdown to make it 21-14. It was the first of three touchdowns for McKinlay, who had 15 carries for 80 yards.
Roselle’s Gerald Henderson III completed 9-of-17 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns and he also rushed for a TD. Rashaad Pendleton had four catches for 128 yards and two touchdowns, who also completed 10-of-12 passes for 68 yards. Raymund Clark caught eight passes for 104 yards and returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown and Darren Cannady had 14 carries for 92 yards.
Summit’s outstanding football team is led by its quad captains, from left, Steve Rainero, Peter McKinlay, Colin Andrews, Chris Zanelli and Andrew Helmer. The Hilltoppers visit Cranford on Thursday night in a much-anticipated showdown between undefeated Mid-State 38 programs.
By JR Parachini
Covering high school football since 1982
and Union County since 1991
According to both head coaches, Thursday night’s Mid-State 38 Conference gridiron clash featuring undefeated Raritan Division rivals Summit – the defending champion – and Cranford is just another game.
Forget that both teams are undefeated in the division and 3-0 overall.
Forget that both have combined to win the last three North 2, Group 3 championships – Cranford in 2011 and Summit in 2012 and 2013.
Forget that Summit has not lost a game in three years and has not suffered a defeat in a regular season game in six.
Forget that Cranford has still not beaten Summit since the first season of the Mid-State in 2009.
Cranford has scored 128 points so far and is averaging 42.6, off to the best offensive start in program history.
Summit has allowed just one touchdown and only 10 points total for an average of 3.33 points against.
“This is going to be a huge challenge for our defense, a true measuring stick,” Summit second-year head coach Kevin Kostibos said. ” Cranford has a very explosive offense and can score, pretty much, at anytime.”
Summit is 6-0 vs. Cranford since the Mid-State began in 2009, including 5-0 in the regular season and 1-0 in the North 2, Group 3 playoffs.
“I’ve said this many times and I truly believe it, this is not a rivalry until we win,” said Cranford head coach Erik Rosenmeier, in his 10th season at the helm of the Cougars. “We’re just another team on the list of who they have beaten.”
Rosenmeier has guided Cranford to its first state championship game and first playoff title and has also led the Cougars to the playoffs three years in a row for the first time in program history.
However, he has not coached Cranford to a win over Summit – yet.
Summit is 59-2 in its last 61 games, the best record over that span of any public school team in the state.
“They’re the best school our size in the state,” Rosenmeier said.
Cranford is 27-8 since the beginning of the 2011 season – 0-4 vs. Summit and 27-4 against its other opponents.
“Coach (John) Liberato and Coach (Kevin) Kostibos really put something together there,” Rosenmeier said. “We want them on our schedule every year. This is why you’re in this.”
Summit has won a state-leading 27 straight games.
The Hilltoppers have also won 48 consecutive regular season matchups.
Cranford is out to end both streaks this week.
This week’s game is Thursday night at 7 at Cranford’s Memorial Field. With excellent weather in the forecast, expect a big crowd, one that may approach 3,500 people.
Both are off to strong 3-0 starts, with defending champion Summit leading the Mid-State 38 Conference’s Raritan Division at 3-0. Cranford is tied for second in the division with Voorhees at 2-0.
The Cougars have wanted to beat Summit and end its regular season
success for some time now and came very close the last time the teams played at Memorial Field two years ago.
The squads also clashed in last year’s North 2, Group 3 semifinals, with Summit also coming out on top in that affair.
Cranford is coming off a 35-27 come-from-behind win at Roselle in a battle of 2-0 squads, Roselle the leader of the conference’s Mountain Division.
SUMMIT HILLTOPPERS so far (3-0, 3-0):
Summit 26, North Plainfield 0 – at Summit
Summit 31, Gov. Livingston 7 – at GL
Summit 22, Warren Hills 3 – at Summit
CRANFORD COUGARS so far (3-0, 2-0):
Cranford 45, Warren Hills 6 – at Cranford
Cranford 48, Somerville 12 – at Somerville
Cranford 35, Roselle 27 – at Roselle (non-division game)
Summit last loss a regular season game on Nov. 7, 2008, falling at West Essex 37-12 in North Caldwell. That was its final game as a member of the Hills Division of the Iron Hills Conference. Summit played in the IHC for 13 seasons from 1996-2008.
Cranford is seeking its first 4-0 start since the 2011 team – which went on to capture North 2, Group 3 and a playoff title for the first time – began 7-0 before it fell at home to Summit 52-21. That was Cranford’s only loss three years ago in a program-best 10-1 campaign.
SUMMIT VS. CRANFORD
SINCE FIRST YEAR OF MID-STATE IN 2009:
2009: Summit 49, Cranford 7 – at Cranford
2010: Summit 17, Cranford 13 – at Summit
2011: Summit 52, Cranford 21 – at Cranford
2012: Summit 30 Cranford 27 – at Cranford
2013: Summit 48, Cranford 14 – at Summit
2013 N2, G3 semifinal: Summit 35, Cranford 14 – at Summit
Here are some other numbers to ponder regarding Summit’s recent success:
Summit has a winning streak of 33 against Union County opponents, including three playoff victories. The Hilltoppers have won 30 straight regular season games against Union County competition. The last time Summit lost to a Union County school in a regular season game was on Thanksgiving 13 years ago. On Nov. 22, 2001, Summit was defeated at New Providence 21-14.
“Our focus has to be on Cranford being good enough,” Rosenmeier said. “We surely don’t want to keep losing to them ( Summit).”
” Cranford has become a top-tier program, with top players over the years such as Reggie Green,” Kostibos said. “Our league is getting better and better and they’re a big part of that.”
Both teams also met in the North 2, Group 3 playoffs last year, with Cranford much more competitive than in the regular season game.
The teams might see each other again in this year’s North 2, Group 3 playoffs.
“I don’t think either of us will hold anything back,” Rosenmeier said. “For the winning streak that they have it means that they’ve been focused every week.
“We’ve both had success in our schemes. I don’t think we’ll be able to trick one another.
“It’s going to come down to who executes better. Sometimes it’s 5-6 plays that may determine the outcome. We have to find a way to successfully make those plays.”
Replacing injured junior Ryan Richson at quarterback for the Hilltoppers has been Jake Froschauer. The 6-2, 155-pound sophomore has done well so far, according to Kostibos.
“He’s leading our offense and getting help from our senior leaders,” Kostibos said. “They’re helping to bring him along.
Froschauer completed 11-of-19 passes for 154 yards in Summit’s 22-3 home win over Warren Hills Saturday. He completed a three-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Sean Andrews in the third quarter and was also intercepted twice.
Froschauer was one of three Summit quarterbacks in its opener, while he has started the last two games.
“He’s gotten better and better each week,” Kostibos said. “The biggest thing for him is gaining experience.”
Tough to bring down was senior running back Chris Zanelli, who carried 27 times for 143 yards, including two touchdown runs of two yards in the second quarter.
Senior middle linebacker Spencer Link paced the Hilltoppers in tackles vs. Warren Hills with 11. Senior end Michael Maldonado produced a team-leading three tackles for losses.
“Our defense has played well,” Kostibos said. “It’s going to have to again this week if we’re going to have any kind of chance.”
Cranford has scored 17 touchdowns so far in three games, led by first-year quarterback, junior Jack Schetelich.
“We know we’re going to get their best,” Kostibos said. “We look forward to the competition.
“The towns play each other in Pop Warner and the two towns are rivals in almost all sports. For a Thursday night game this is a big event.
“I think it’s going to be an electric atmosphere.”
Schetelich ran for 182 yards and four touchdowns to lead Cranford to a big win over Mountain Division leader Roselle. The host Rams led 27-15 at the half, led by senior running back Darryn Canady, who rushed for over 100 yards and scored two touchdowns.
“We knew going in how difficult a game it was going to be,” Rosenmeier said. “We were down 14-0. Roselle was just better than us in the first half.”
Cranford scored all 20 of the points put on the scoreboard in the second half.
Schetelich threw for 95 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Joe Norton.
“It was a well-played game that came right down to the end, with Roselle having the ball on the three-yard line,” Rosenmeier said. “We had the best of the second half. I’m proud of the way our kids fought and came back.
“We thought the game would come down to the very end like it did. We just didn’t think we would get behind the way we did.”
Cranford ’s 2011 team began with 21, 20 and 35 points in its first three games.
“The kids have worked really hard on their offensive skills, starting in the summer,” Rosenmeier said.
Cranford did not commit a turnover in its first two games and then overcame two vs. Roselle.
“Our defense has played very well and keeps giving the ball back to our offense,” Rosenmeier said.
While this may just be another regular season game for both squads – with a big winning streak on the line against a team that has yet to beat the other – there is plenty of juice about what could be the game of the year in Union County up to this point. Add to the fact that both coaching staffs did not have the kindest words for each other walking off Tatlock Field after last year’s playoff encounter, which was the last time the teams faced each other.
“The mantra here, and it’s echoed by baseball coach (Dennis) McCaffery, is that all games are big,” Rosenmeier said. “We tell the kids, ‘as you win, every game gets bigger.’”
The winner Thursday night will have the upper hand as far as the Raritan Division is concerned and will also get an edge in the playoff seeding scenario in North 2, Group 3.
For Summit, the Hilltoppers want to keep their streaks going and they want to continue their mastery of Cranford.
For Cranford, the Cougars are seeking to go 4-0 for the second time in four seasons. It just happens that it would probably be the best 4-0 start in program history because it would have included a first win over Summit in Mid-State play, ending a five-year futility vs. the Hilltoppers, in addition to all of their present winning streaks.
Cranford’s Luke Christiano and Summit’s John Cordrey in last year’s North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 semifinal. Cranford will host Summit Thursday at 7. (Chris Faytok | The Star-Ledger)
on September 30, 2014 9:14 p.m.
Cranford and Summit will renew their rivalry Thursday at 7 at Memorial Field in Cranford in a much-anticipated showdown between the top teams in the Mid-State 38 Conference-Raritan Division and two of the state’s top Group 3 programs.
Summit has won a state-leading 27 consecutive games dating back to the start of the 2012 season, as well as 51 straight against Mid-State 38 teams, 48 straight regular season games and 33 straight games against Union County school.
Over that span, the Hilltoppers have defeated Cranford three times, including a victory in the first-ever playoff meeting between the two schools last fall, and won two North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 championships.
Cranford, which won the 2011 North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 crown, has appeared in the state sectional semifinals in each of the last two seasons and is 17-7 overall since the start of the 2012 season. Summit is Union County’s winningest program since 2009 with a 59-2 overall record, while Cranford is the third-winningest program in the county with a 37-18 record.
Summit leads the all-time series, which dates back to 1921, by a 16-2 margin. The Hilltoppers have won 10 straight in the series. Cranford last defeated the Hilltoppers in 1991.
CRANFORD-SUMMIT OVER THE YEARS
1921: Summit 28, Cranford 0
1983: Summit 35, Cranford 13
1986: Summit 27, Cranford 8
1987: Summit 53, Cranford 8
1988: Cranford 7, Summit 0
1989: Summit 41, Cranford 0
1990: Summit 49, Cranford 0
1991: Cranford 30, Summit 16
1992: Summit 34, Cranford 28
1993: Summit 55, Cranford 0
1994: Summit 46, Cranford 14
1995: Summit 28, Cranford 0
2009: Summit 49, Cranford 7
2010: Summit 17, Cranford 13
2011: Summit 52, Cranford 21
2012: Summit 30, Cranford 27
2013: Summit 48, Cranford 14
2013: Summit 35, Cranford 14*
* — in North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 semifinals
James Kratch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by leaving a note in the comments below. Follow him on Twitter @JamesKratchHS. Find theNJ.com High School Football page on Facebook by following this link.
on September 27, 2014 9:01 p.m.
Chris Zanelli rushed for 143 yards on 27 carries with two 2-yard touchdowns in the first half to lead Summit to a 22-3 victory over Warren Hills in Summit.
It was Summit’s 27th straight victory, the state’s longest current winning streak.
Sean Andrews caught a 3-yard toss from Jake Froschauer in the third quarter for Summit.
Froschauer went 11-for-20 for 154 yards for Summit.
Justin Iaione had 20 carries for 97 yards and Shane Deemer had six carries for 61 yards for Warren Hills.
on September 20, 2014 5:12 p.m.
• Summit QB Jake Froschauer: The sophomore looked very good in his first varsity start, going 14-of-27 for 139 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 36 yards on six carries while running Summit’s no-huddle attack.
• Summit RB Chris Zanelli: Zanelli had another big day running the ball, finishing with 108 yards and two scores on 10 carries.
• The Summit defense: The Hilltoppers were stifling on defense the entire day, allowing just seven points and holding Gov. Livingston to 167 yards.
• Gov. Livingston QB Mike Policastro: The signal caller went 14-of-24 for 124 yards and a touchdown.