2015 Scrimmage Combatants Impress With Top North Jersey Marks Since 2009

2015 Scrimmage Combatants Impress
With Top North Jersey Marks Since 2009

By JR Parachini
For sidelinechatter.com

What two high school football teams have the best records in North Jersey the last six seasons?

That would be the Summit Hilltoppers and the Herd of Mountain Lakes.

No, Summit did not capture a state championship last year, but the Hilltoppers still turned in a fine season, finishing 9-2 after reaching the North 2, Group 3 semifinals for the third consecutive season.

Since the start of the 2009 season, Summit has a 65-4 record that includes three state championships and four state championship game appearances.

Guided by third-year head coach Kevin Kostibos, the Hilltoppers have their first scrimmage scheduled for Aug. 25, which will be at home at 10:30 a.m. at Tatlock Field and include multiple teams.

Summit will also host Columbia in its next scrimmage, scheduled for Aug. 28 at 10:30 a.m.

Summit’s game-scrimmage this pre-season will once again be at Mountain Lakes on Thursday, Sept. 3 at 4:30 p.m.

Since the start of the 2009 season, Mountain Lakes is a glittering 66-4 and has also won three state titles in that span. The Herd have been in five state title contests in the past six seasons and like Summit has posted three undefeated years in that span, including the last two.


Kevin Kostibos 2014: (9-2)

Kevin Kostibos 2013: (12-0) – North 2, Group 3 champs

John Liberato 2012: (12-0) – North 2, Group 3 champs

John Liberato 2011: (11-1) – North 2, Group 2 finalists

John Liberato 2010: (9-1)

John Liberato 2009: (12-0) – North 2, Group 2 champs


Darrell Fusco 2014: (12-0) – North 2, Group 2 champs

Darrell Fusco 2013: (12-0) – North 2, Group 2 champs

Darrell Fusco 2012: (11-1) – North 2, Group 2 finalists

Darrell Fusco 2011: (8-2) – 8-2

Darrell Fusco 2010: (11-1) – North 1, Group 1 finalists

Doug Wilkins 2009: (12-0) – North 1, Group 1 champs

Follow JR Parachini on Twitter @parachini_jr Summit Kevin Kostibos on headset foot page

Is your child’s school district in the top 10 in N.J. for sports? Check the rankings

By Matthew Stanmyre | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on May 26, 2015 11:20 AM

School districts from Summit, West Essex Regional and Southern Regional — districts with well-established reputations for athletic excellence at the high school level — have been ranked the best in New Jersey and among the most highly rated in the nation, according to a study based on athletic statistics and hundreds of thousands of surveys.

Summit also checked in at No. 3 overall nationally, with West Essex (No. 21) and Southern Regional (No. 28) cracking the top 30 in America.

The study rated school district athletics as a whole, considering parent and student opinions, number of interscholastic sports offered, percentages of girls and boys participating in sports and the average athletic expense per student, among other factors.

A school district rated high by the study generally indicates sports and fitness plays a significant role in the student life; students actively participate in intervarsity sports; and the administration is invested in the athletic program.

The study ranked 4,951 districts after fielding more than 750,000 opinions from nearly 230,000 students and parents.

Also, some school districts such as Wayne — ranked No. 16 in New Jersey — include more than one high school.

Eight schools from New Jersey landed in the top 70 nationally: Summit, West Essex, Southern, River Dell, Ridgewood, Pascack Valley, New Providence andRandolph.


Summit QB Selected to Compete in National Competition

Summit sophomore quarterback Jake Froschauer has received an invitation to compete in the National Football Academies’ “The Duel of the Dozens”, which will take place in Ohio over a two-day span in July.

The Duel is quickly becoming the premier national competition for rising star athletes.  “The Duel of the Dozens” is a national competition held every July. Unique for its individual winners and team competition from all regions around the country and internationally, this competition showcases quarterback athletes who have excelled at the regional level and possess the skills necessary for national competition.

The selection process is quite vigorous, as each athlete must compete at 1 of 80 NFA regional competitions held throughout the country. The best athletes in those regions are invited to compete in the national NFA competition in Ohio.


The National Football Academies is an expansion of the highly successful Darin Slack Quarterback Academy originally founded in 1988 in Orlando, FL. NFA provides the highest quality skills training systems and services coupled with ultimate customer service. NFA provides coaches, athletes and parents the highest level of instruction and information, personalized service and knowledge they need to advance their training programs.

4 Summit players to continue careers at prestigious schools

Football: 4 Summit players to continue careers at prestigious schools

Summit’s Pat Maloney, Stevie Rainero, Colin Andrews and Mike Maldonado (l-r), seen here with Summit coach Kevin Kostibos, will play in college.

Summit football will have four players continuing their careers at the collegiate level next fall, and all four will be attending prestigious academic institutions while doing so:

• Defensive lineman Pat Maloney will play atJohns Hopkins in Baltimore. He was a second team All-Mid-State 38 Conference selection this past season.

• Offensive lineman Stevie Rainero will play atHoly Cross in Worcester, Mass. Rainero was a two-time All-Mid-State 38 selection and was a second team All-Group 3 selection this past fall.

• Offensive lineman Colin Andrews will play atWilliams College in Williamstown, Mass. Andrews was a two-time All-Mid-State 38 selection for the Hilltoppers.

• Defensive end Michael Maldonado will play at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vt. Maldonado was a first team All-Mid-State 38 and third team All-Group 3 pick this past season.

All four are honor roll and AP course students, as well as play multiple sports at Summit. Maloney also played basketball for the school, while Maldonado is on the baseball team and Rainero and Andrews are lacrosse players.

Rainero will play in the North-South Game this summer while the other three will play for Union County in the Snapple Bowl.

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.



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


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.”