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 email@example.com 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.
on September 13, 2014 9:13 p.m.
It was the 25th straight victory for Summit, now alone atop the state for the longest current winning streak. Montclair, which had also won 24 straight heading into this weekend’s action,lost to Pascack Valley on Friday night.
Helmer hauled in an 8-yard scoring pass from Peter McKinley in the first quarter and then caught a 49-yard TD pass from Ryan Richson in the second quarter to give Summit a 12-0 lead. Zanelli raced for a 55-yard touchdown in the third quarter and scored on a 28-yard dash in the fourth quarter for Summit.
Greg Elliott Thursday, September 11, 2014 • 8:36am
Captains and The Captain of the Ship: 2014 Summit High School Varsity Football Captains, seniors Chris Zanelli, Peter McKinlay, Andrew Helmer, Colin Andrews and Stevie Rainero with Head Coach Kevin Kostibos.
SUMMIT, NJ – The Summit High School Varsity Football team, winners of back-to-back State Titles and currently riding a 26-game winning streak, kick off their 2014 season September 13 versus North Plainfield, beginning their quest for a historic third straight championship.
Monday, September 08, 2014
By: JR Parachini – Union County Sports Editor
Photos By: JR Parachini
SUMMIT – Last year Summit had only three returning starters on offense and just one on defense, in addition to being guided by a new head coach.
The Hilltoppers still proved to be good enough to go 12-0 again and repeat as North 2, Group 3 champions.
This year Summit has six returning starters back on both sides of the ball.
Whether the Hilltoppers have had a cast chock full of experience or one that was very green, they have managed to put together the best record of any public school in the state the past five seasons.
Since 2009 Summit is 56-2, including an overall winning streak of 24 games and a regular season winning streak of 45. The Hilltoppers have not lost a game in Mid-State 38 or 39 Conference competition and have not lost to a Union County opponent since November of 2008, which was also the same month that they lost their last regular season game, which was their final Iron Hills Conference-Hills Division clash.
“We don’t look at it as 56-2,” said second-year head coach Kevin Kostibos, who became only the third coach in Union County history to lead a team to a 12-0 record last season.
Summit has gone 9-0 in the regular season and won division championships in the Mid-State Conference each of the past five seasons.
“Our philosophy every year will always be taking it one game at a time,” said Kostibos, who was an assistant coach under head coach John Liberato the first four of those five seasons.
SUMMIT’S RECORD THE PAST 5 SEASONS:
2013: (12-0) – North 2, Group 3 champions
2012: (12-0) – North 2, Group 3 champions
2011: (11-1) – North 2, Group 2 finalists
2010: (9-1) – North 2, Group 2 quarterfinalists
2009: (12-0) – North 2, Group 2 champions
Summit’s only returning starter on both sides of the ball, senior Andrew Helmer, attributes the program’s success to several factors.
“I think you start with the coaching staff and then add the success of the youth program,” Helmer said. “We begin to have chemistry right away by being brought up together.”
While Charlie Terry was the new kid on the block last year under center as Summit’s quarterback, this year junior Ryan Richson is presently filling that role.
“Ryan is a little more of a runner and has looked good throwing on the run,” Kostibos said. “His biggest attribute, however, is his understanding of our offense. He is a smart kid who is good at managing the game.”
Returning at running back is senior Chris Zanelli, a shifty runner who can sneak right through the teeth of opposing defenses.
“Chris is explosive,” Kostibos said. “Anytime he touches the ball something good could happen. He’s tough to tackle in the open space.”
“I’ve got a good feeling about this team,” said Zanelli, who will play lacrosse next year at Providence. “We’ve got some talented players who can get out on the edges and do some dangerous things.”
Senior right tackle Stevie Rainero is a three-year starter on offense.
“It’s great to have the experience we have, but there are also some big shoes to fill,” Rainero said. “Our chemistry could be even better this year.”
When running the no-huddle offense, timing is always of the utmost importance.
“Bringing the offense together is what we work on the most,” Kostibos said. “Everyone really has to work well together.”
When asked if he ever thought of abandoning the no-huddle for a different scheme, this is what Kostibos said, “that’s our philosophy, we do what we do.
“Other programs have different offenses and that’s what they do. This is what we do and we will continue to challenge opposing defenses to stop us.”
In addition to being a fine receiver on offense, Helmer proved to be a standout last year on defense at cornerback.
“Andrew is a premier athlete and also an outstanding lacrosse defender,” Kostibos said.
Helmer will continue playing lacrosse in college at Syracuse.
“He never tires,” Kostibos said.
“With all the starters we have back this year that does a lot for our confidence,” Helmer said. “That’s nice to have because we didn’t have that last year.”
“We have a lot of guys on defense back including our entire secondary and our line,” Kostibos said. “We have a very good base now.
“We just have to be up to game speed and continue to get better as a unit.”
Summit’s captains – all seniors – include Helmer, Zanelli, Rainero, Colin Andrews and Peter McKinlay.
COACH KOSTIBOS, PLAYERS RAINERO, ZANELLI, HELMER REFLECT ON LAST YEAR’S TWO BIGGEST VICTORIES:
Here’s what Kostibos, Rainero, Zanelli and Helmer had to say about Summit’s come-from-behind 26-20 win at Rahway in a battle of 4-0 squads last year and then the holding on for a 16-13 victory over Parsippany Hills in the North 2, Group 3 championship game at Kean University.
Summit overcame a 20-6 halftime deficit against Rahway by scoring 20 points in the fourth quarter.
The Hilltoppers led Parsippany Hills 16-0 in the second quarter, which proved to be just enough.
Kostibos: “The Rahway game was a case of the game is never over. Rahway got us out of our game plan early. You can’t wait any later than the fourth quarter, but we made some adjustments and were able to do it.
“Beating Parsippany Hills and going 12-0 is a memory I will have for life. We want to be consistently tough and it begins with the level of excellence at all three levels. The kids last year believed that they could step in and do what was needed to be done.”
Rainero: “We learned in the Rahway game that we had the ability to overcome adversity. In order to stop Rahway our defense had to be a brick wall in the second half. That day we didn’t want to be the team that ended the (winning) streak.
“Parsippany Hills had the best defense that we went up against. We were able to hold them off in the end.”
Zanelli: “The Rahway game was such a highly-anticipated game. I think we had some jitters in the first half, playing on the road and on grass. That was the first time we were down by that many points, but we were able to settle down in the second half and come back.”
Helmer: “The atmosphere for the Rahway game was out of this world. Rahway hit hard. In the second half Colm Dougherty (2014 Summit graduate) was outstanding for us. You have to give him credit. If it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t have won that game.
“The outcome of the Parsippany Hills game was very gratifying. It made all the hard work from the pre-season on worth it.”
RT Stevie Rainero, senior, (6-0, 240)
RG Teddy Cranley, junior, (5-9, 175)
C Donovan Cahill, junior, (6-1, 215)
LG Matt Greenstein, senior, (6-3, 245)
LT Matteo DiMayorca, junior, (6-5, 235)
WR Andrew Helmer, senior, (6-2, 195)
WR Sean Andrews, senior, (6-3, 185)
SLOT Matt Newman, junior (5-10, 180)
SLOT Drew Mulholland, senior, (5-11, 170)
QB Ryan Richson, junior, (5-10, 170)
RB Chris Zanelli, senior, (5-9, 165)
Returning starters (6): Rainero, Greenstein,
Helmer, Andrews, Mulholland, Zanelli.
SUMMIT’S 4-3 DEFENSE:
E Michael Maldonado, senior, (6-6, 235)
E Pat Maloney, senior, (6-5, 230)
NG Will Cassin, senior, (6-2, 230)
T Colin Andrews, senior, (6-2, 250)
MLB Spencer Sink, senior, (5-11, 220)
SLB Vinny Bonomo, senior, (5-11, 220)
WLB Anthony Campanelli, senior, (5-10, 215)
C Will Huck, senior, (6-0, 185)
C Andrew Helmer, (senior, (6-2, 195)
SS Peter McKinlay, senior, (5-11, 180)
FS Robby Faris, junior, (5-9, 170)
Returning starters (6): Maldonado, Maloney,
Andrews, Huck, Helmer, McKinlay.
Head Coach: Kevin Kostibos, since 2013.
A 1999 Hanover Park graduate.
Second season: 12-0 (1.000)
Conference: Mid-State 38
Section: North 2, Group 3
Summit’s last sectional title: 2013
2013: (12-0 and 6-0, first in Raritan Division)
Tatlock Field: Field Turf.
Kostibos became a head coach for the first time
last year and then became only the third coach
in Union County history to lead a team to a
12-0 record. He was previously a head coach
at Summit under the coach he played for in
high school, John Liberato at Hanover Park.
SUMMIT HILLTOPPERS 2014
Sept. 13 North Plainfield, 2 p.m.
Sept. 20 at Gov. Livingston, 1 p.m.
Sept. 27 Warren Hills, 1 p.m.
Oct. 2 at Cranford, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 at Roselle, 1 p.m.
Oct. 17 Somerville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 24 at Voorhees, 7 p.m.
Nov. 1 Rahway, 2 p.m.
Nov. 8 at Hillside, 2 p.m.
Head coach: Kevin Kostibos,
2013 HILLTOPPERS (12-0)
(A) Summit 29, Somerville 7
(A) Summit 48, Johnson 23
(H) Summit 48, Cranford 14
(H) Summit 35, North Plainfield 12
(A) Summit 26, Rahway 20
(H) Summit 33, Roselle 8
(A) Summit 49, Warren Hills 28
(H) Summit 46, Delaware Valley 13
(A) Summit 39, Hillside 25
(H) Summit 34, Gov. Livingston 14
(H) Summit 35, Cranford 14
(N) Summit 16, Parsippany Hills 13
Head coach: Kevin Kostibos,
Section: North 2, Group 3
Conference: Mid-State 38
Division: Raritan 6-0, first
Points for: 438
Points against: 181