Football: Several high-caliber additions deepen North 2, Group 4 field

After snapping a 12-year playoff drought by qualifying for the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 5 tournament last season, North Hunterdon will aim to make a second straight postseason appearance in 2015. That path may appear a bit easier after the NJSIAA released its 2015 football classifications on Monday, bumping North Hunterdon into North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4.

But with several other big changes around the section, it is clear that North Hunterdon’s potential playoff road won’t be much easier. Several other big additions highlight a completely revamped section that returns just seven teams that belonged to the section in 2014.

In 2014, North Hunterdon was the fourth smallest school in New Jersey to be slotted in Group 5, and now the Lions fall just below the threshold to become one of the state’s largest Group 4 teams. With the divisional slate they play, the Lions would be well-prepared if they reach the postseason.

“With schedule that we play, moving down into Group 4, there’s still a lot of stiff competition in that section,” North Hunterdon coach Jared Mazzetta said. “Last year we were an eighth seed in Group 5, so we’re looking to carry on that and one of our program goals is to get to the playoffs every year.”

Along with North Hunterdon, North 2, Group 4 added several new high-profile programs in the latest classification, giving the section a revamped look and potentially one of the deepest fields in the state.

Middletown South makes the jump from Central Jersey, Group 4, where the Eagles lost a heartbreaker to Jackson Memorial in the 2014 final. Middletown South brings back plenty of talent from that team, and enters this fall with the potential to be one of the state’s top public programs.

Summit, which own nine sectional titles, including the 2012 and 2013 North 2, Group 3 crowns, makes the jump into North 2, Group 4. Four-time state champion Sayreville, the Central Jersey, Group 4 title winners from 2010-2012, was reclassified from Central Jersey, Group 5.

Those additions alone make the section deep, but North 2, Group 4 is still home to the section is still home to the defending champion, Phillipsburg, and runner-up, Colonia.

Here’s a full breakdown of North 2, Group 4, comparing 2014 to 2015. Only seven teams appeared in the section in both seasons.

Iselin Kennedy
New Brunswick
Newark East Side
Perth Amboy
Scotch Plains-Fanwood
Warren Hills
West Morris

Iselin Kennedy
Long Branch
Middletown North
Middletown South
North Hunterdon
Scotch Plains-Fanwood
West Windsor-Plainsboro North
West Windsor-Plainsboro South

Summit HS Move to Group 4 Amongst Top Ten Moves in the State

Plenty of New Jersey football teams have new homes in the last NJSIAA classifications, and several big-name programs are among the movers.

With some big teams in new sections, there are plenty of state championship ramifications and new contenders around the state. narrowed a list down to 10 of the most important changes for 2015. Scroll through the gallery above to see which teams on the move will have the biggest impact when November rolls around.

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

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
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 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
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.