Linden football preview: Tigers have new cast ready to make their own mark

LINDEN – You are going to need a program to find out who is who and who is playing where for the Tigers this season.

Just one year after Linden captured its first state championship – and only second overall – in the playoff era since 1985, the Tigers were hit about as hard as a team could be by graduation.

Despite having only two returning starters on offense and defense – the same players by the names of Guirvenson Guillaume and Samad Starling – first-year and first-time head coach Albert Chiola is anxious to see how his new cast performs.

“I want the kids to compete hard each and every day,” said the 41-year-old Chiola, who was promoted from offensive coordinator to succeed 1991 Linden graduate Deon Candia as head coach. “Last year’s seniors left something special behind.

“Now it’s time for this group to come together.”

The new quarterback is junior Joey Krempa, who is making an athletic comeback after an injury he sustained playing basketball the summer before high school began for him two years ago. This is his first year playing football.

“Joey’s a great leader on the field,” Chiola said. “He’s like a coach on the field. He has a great arm and he’s smart.”

Guillaume has breakaway ability at running back and there were times last season where he was just as tough to bring down as seniors Juwan Dolbrice and Kyle Phipps were.

“We have a lot of inexperience, but also a lot of talent,” Chiola said. “There have been some mental mistakes, but the kids are learning every day.
They understand their capabilities and realize that they have a long road ahead.”

The same inexperience is there on defense, but Chiola is not alarmed.

“Guillaume and Samad are our leaders there,” Chiola said. “Fritz Moncion (senior end) has come into his own and we would like to see him use his technique a little more.

“Our defense has been very aggressive so far, which is good.”

Chiola also reported that junior cornerback Davon Williamson had two interceptions in Linden’s game-scrimmage against Old Bridge and four total during all of Linden’s scrimmages.

Linden opens at home against Immaculata, with the Somerville parochial school also under the leadership of a first-year head coach, that person being former Ridge mentor Tom Falato, 67.

Linden opened last year’s 10-2 season with a 19-6 win at Immaculata.

The Tigers then went on to win their first division title since the early 1990s, capturing the Mid-State 38 Conference’s Watchung Division perfect at 7-0.

Linden was also undefeated at home last year, going 6-0, with four regular season wins and two playoff victories.



LT Javon Cutler-Hill, senior, (6-2, 245)

LG Rob Gaudenzi, junior, (6-2, 225)

C Kameron Yeldell, junior, (6-0, 210)

RG Hendrix Vernot, senior, (5-11, 205)

RT Kyle Yeldell, sophomore, (6-2, 220)

QB Joey Krempa, junior, (5-10, 170)

RB Guirvenson Guillaume, senior, (5-10, 190)

RB Samad Starling, senior, (6-1, 165)

WR Fritz Moncion, senior, (6-4, 210)

WR Kyree Rogers, junior, (6-4, 180)

WR Elijah Harrison, senior, (6-2, 180)

PK Gregory Fyfe, junior, (5-8, 160)

Returning starters (2): Guillaume,




NG Najee Jackson, senior, (5-9, 210)

E Fritz Moncion, senior, (6-4, 210)

E Chris Kollie, senior, (6-2, 190)

LB Guirvenson Guillaume, senior, (5-10, 190)

LB Traivon Hodge, junior, (5-9, 180)

LB Dashaun Simmons, junior, (5-8, 180)

LB Diraje Parker, sophomore, (5-11, 190)

CB Davon Williamson, junior, (5-10, 160)

CB Reggie Winston, junior, (5-9, 160)

S Samad Starling, senior, (6-1, 165)

P Elijah Harrison, senior, (6-2, 180)

Returning starters (2): Guillaume,




Head Coach: Albert Chiola, since 2015.

A 1992 Colonia graduate.

First season.

Conference: Mid-State 38

Division: Watchung

Section: North 2, Group 5

Linden’s last sectional title: 2014

2014: (10-2 and 7-0, first in Watchung Division)

Cooper Field: Field Turf.

Chiola was an assistant coach at Asbury Park for

five seasons from 2002-2006 before joining Linden’s

staff in 2007. He was the offensive coordinator under

head coach Deon Candia for six seasons, 2009-2014.



Sept. 11 Immaculata, 7 p.m.

Sept. 19 at Plainfield, 1 p.m.

Sept. 25 Montgomery, 7 p.m.

Oct. 3 at Westfield, 2 p.m.

Oct. 9 Scotch Plains, 7 p.m.

Oct. 16 at North Hunterdon, 7 p.m.

Oct. 23 at Ridge, 7 p.m.

Nov. 7 Elizabeth, 2 p.m.

Nov. 25 Union, 7 p.m.

Head coach: Albert Chiola,

first season


2014 TIGERS (10-2)

(A) Linden 19, Immaculata 6

(H) Linden 35, Plainfield 6

(A) Linden 34, Montgomery 20

(H) Linden 15, Westfield 14 (OT)

(A) Linden 20, Scotch Plains 14

(H) Linden 35, North Hunterdon 21

(H) Linden 36, Ridge 14

(A) Elizabeth 28, Linden 19

(H) Linden 39, North Hunterdon 17

(H) Linden 14, Westfield 6

(A) Union 26, Linden 19

(N) Linden 27, Elizabeth 20

Head coach: Deon Candia,

seventh season

Section: North 2, Group 5

Conference: Mid-State 38

Division: Watchung 7-0, champions

Record: 10-2

Home: 6-0

Away: 3-2

Neutral: 1-0

Points for: 312

Points against: 192

Shutouts: 0

Overtime: 1-0