KENILWORTH – Scott Miller, now in his 14th season at the helm of his high school alma mater, gets right to the point when discussing what needs to be done.
“We need to tackle better, as simple as that sounds, and we need to hold on to the ball,” Miller said. “If we do those two things we have a chance to be real good.”
Brearley, which has its quarterback returning in the name of three-year starter Sebastian Montesdeoca, is coming off a season in which it scored at least 41 points in three games – two wins and a tie – gave up at least 41 points in three games – two losses and the same tie – and in between opened and closed the season playing smash-mouth Warren County school Belvidere.
Brearley opened its 2014 season with an impressive 27-22 Mid-State 38 Conference-Valley Division home win over Belvidere.
More than two months later the Bears were upended at Belvidere 19-8 in a North 2, Group 1 quarterfinal that saw Brearley turn the ball over several times.
“We have the ability to put points on the board,” said Miller, who is 10 wins shy of 100. “We just have to do a better job of limiting turnovers.”
Montesdeoca is the man on offense this year.
“He can do a lot of things,” Miller said. “He can trigger the run and throw. We need him to run option and misdirection and make good decisions in the passing game.
“Like I said, the biggest thing we need to do is take better care of the football.”
For a change, as opposed to the recent past, Brearley had a player transfer in and a good one at that. Former Metuchen player Evan Collier a 6-1, 180 wide receiver, makes Brearley’s offense that much stronger according to Miller.
“He was in our middle school before going to Metuchen,” Miller said. “He’s had a good couple of years there.”
Collier played at Metuchen his first three high school years, with last year’s team finishing 6-4 and reaching the Central Jersey, Group 1 playoffs.
“He has the ability to be a game-changer in Group 1 football,” Miller said.
Miller also praised his backs, which include senior Anthony Primavera, junior Dillon Murphy and sophomore Khalid Bonnet.
“We have effective runners that give us a chance to open the game,” Miller said.
Brearley also has some size up front in the form of returning senior linemen Erik Loneker (6-5, 245) and Tyler DaCosta (6-3, 250).
Brearley’s other returning starter in the unit is senior wide receiver Brian Resende.
Where Miller feels the most improvement is needed is on defense.
“We’ve struggled there the last couple of years,” Miller said. “The focus has been on tackling. We need to make the sure tackles.”
Miller switched up the defense from a 4-3 to a 5-2 because of having more depth at linemen.
Returning starters, all on the line, include senior Robert Moscicki, Loneker, DaCosta and junior Dan Palumbo.
FIRST 13 SEASONS HAVE GONE BY JUST LIKE THAT
Miller, a 1987 Brearley Regional graduate who 30 years ago was a junior playing for a Bears team that would go on and win North 2, Group 1 for the first time in four years, can’t believe how fast his coaching tenure at his alma mater has gone.
“A lot of it has been a blur,” said Miller, whose first Brearley team went 9-1 in 2002 and did not play a single game in Kenilworth because Ward Field was being renovated.
Brearley won regular season games that year at neutral fields such as Union, Scotch Plains and Cranford. With a record of 8-0, the second-seeded Bears then fell to seventh-seeded Boonton 14-7 at Union in a North 2, Group 1 quarterfinal. Brearley closed with a 34-0 triumph at Hillside.
Brearley outscored 10 foes by an impressive 335-29 margin that season, including seven shutouts. Brearley had only given up 15 points and had four shutouts in a row before the playoff upset loss to Boonton.
After that, Miller guided Brearley to the Central Jersey, Group 1 final in 2005 and to the North 2, Group 1 championship in 2006.
Last year Miller led Brearley to the playoffs for the 10th time.
“Age-wise I’m still fairly young, so it’s kind of hard to fathom that it’s been that long,” said the 46-year-old Miller.
Miller played at a Group 1 school and has only been a head coach at a Group 1 school. Before he became head coach at Brearley he was an assistant at Group 2 Johnson, coaching on Bob Taylor’s staff. Miller played for Taylor at Brearley.
“You don’t really know coaching until you coach at a Group 1 school,” Miller said. “We get in the range of 40 kids here and this year we have 14 freshmen. It’s always a challenge from a numbers aspect.
“Coaching in general and watching young kids grow into young men is what I still enjoy.
“When we got rid of our freshmen programs some five years ago our numbers have always ranged from the mid- to low-40s. We have 14 freshmen, but (hypothetically) we may have only nine of them back as sophomores next year.
“Not all kids play for the entire four years. Football is demanding and a lot is expected of them. There are so many other things for kids to do today.
“If kids stick it out for four years I commend them. It’s not easy. If we get double digit the number of kids that play for four years at a Group 1 program, that’s very good.”
C Nicolas Nazario, senior, (5-7, 190)
G Robert Moscicki, senior, (6-0, 230)
G Jeff Yosurack, junior, (5-10, 210)
T Erik Loneker, senior, (6-5, 245)
T Tyler DaCosta, senior, (6-3, 250)
TE Nick Arcieri, junior, (6-1, 205)
TE Dan Palumbo, junior, (6-4, 205)
WR Brian Resende, senior, (5-8, 160)
WR Chris Keith, freshman, (6-2, 170)
WR Evan Collier, senior, (6-1, 180)
RB Dillon Murphy, junior, (5-9, 180)
RB Anthony Primavera, senior, (5-7, 175)
TB Khalid Bonnet, sophomore, (5-8, 205)
QB Sebastian Montesdeoca, senior, (6-0, 175)
PK Nick Arcieri, junior, (6-1, 205)
Returning starters (4): Loneker, DaCosta,
BREARLEY’S 5-2 DEFENSE:
Interior linemen include
Moscicki, Loneker, DaCosta
Robert Moscicki, senior, (6-0, 230)
Erik Loneker, senior, (6-5, 245)
Tyler DaCosta, senior, (6-3, 250)
E Nick Arcieri, junior, (6-1, 205)
E Dan Palumbo, junior, (6-4, 205)
E Tyler Muniz, junior, (5-9, 200)
E Matt Wittrock, senior, (6-1, 190)
LB Anthony Primavera, senior, (5-7, 175)
LB Emmanuel Salado, senior, (5-10, 190)
CB Justin McRae, junior, (5-7, 150)
CB Brian Resende, senior, (5-8, 160)
CB Nico Senica, senior, (5-5, 145)
S Sebastian Montesdeoca, senior, (6-0, 175)
S Evan Collier, senior, (6-1, 180)
S Christian Burns, junior, (5-9, 160)
S Richard Eremus, junior, (5-10, 165)
P Nick Arcieri, junior, (6-1, 205)
Returning starters (4): Moscicki, Loneker,
Head Coach: Scott Miller, since 2002.
A 1987 Brearley Regional graduate.
14th season: 90-45-1 (.667)
Conference: Mid-State 38
Section: North 2, Group 1
Brearley’s last sectional title: 2006
2014: (5-4-1 and 5-2-1, third in Valley Division)
Ward Field in Kenilworth: Grass
Miller has guided Brearley to the playoffs 10 times
in his first 13 seasons at the helm. His playoff record is
7-9, including an appearance in the Central Jersey,
Group 1 final in 2005 and the North 2, Group 1
championship in 2006. Miller was the first of just three
coaches – John Liberato twice and Kevin Kostibos once,
both of Summit, are the others – to guide a
Union County team to a 12-0 record.
BREARLEY BEARS 2015
Sept. 11 at Belvidere, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 South Hunterdon, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 Dayton, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 at Roselle Park, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 Manville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 Pingry, 7 p.m.
Oct. 24 at Roselle, 2 p.m.
Oct. 30 at Bound Brook, 7 p.m.
Nov. 6 New Providence, 7 p.m.
Head coach: Scott Miller,
2014 BEARS (5-4-1)
(H) Brearley 27, Belvidere 22
(A) South Hunterdon 47, Brearley 25
(A) Brearley 50, Dayton 41
(H) Brearley 34, Roselle Park 24
(A) Brearley 41, Manville 12
(A) Brearley 35, Pingry 0
(H) Roselle 32, Brearley 13
(H) Brearley 41, Bound Brook 41 (tie)
(A) New Providence 31, Brearley 8
(A) Belvidere 19, Brearley 8
Head coach: Scott Miller,
Section: North 2, Group 1
Conference: Mid-State 38
Division: Valley 5-2-1
Points for: 282
Points against: 269