Two Union County teams very familiar with each other will clash this Friday night (Oct. 7) in Springfield, both coming off impressive victories.
For Brearley, it was a 29-7 home triumph over a solid 2-1 Roselle Park squad this past Friday night, with the Bears winning for the second straight time to improve to 3-1.
For Dayton, it was a decisive 19-6 conquest at Pingry Saturday afternoon, with the Bulldogs moving into the win column for the first time to improve to 1-3.
Brearley, tied for second in the Union Division standings of the Mid-State 38 conference with Belvidere and Manville – all a game behind leader Bound Brook – will seek a fourth straight win over Dayton.
“Dayton does a lot of things on offense that you have to be aware of to defend,” said Brearley head coach Scott Miller, now in his 15th season at the helm of the Bears.
Dayton’s last win over Brearley was a 19-16 triumph at Dayton in 2012. Since then Brearley has defeated Dayton 39-13 at home in 2013, 50-41 at Dayton in 2014 and 27-14 at home in 2015.
“Like any other game it’s a matter of us executing,” Miller said.
It was the quality execution of both the offensive and defensive lines which Miller thought was the key to his team coming away with the solid win it produced against arch rival Roselle Park.
“I thought we controlled the line on both sides of the ball,” Miller said. “Our lines played well and that’s where the games are won.”
Brearley led 9-7 after the first quarter following a three-yard touchdown run by junior running back Khalid Bonnet and a safety followed Roselle Park’s only touchdown, which was a 40-yard run by senior back Carlos Vasquez.
Brearley and the game’s other three scores all took place in the second quarter. Bonnet scored on a one-yard run, junior quarterback Mike Ramos reached the end zone on a 47-yard sprint and then Ramos completed a 35-yard touchdown pass to sophomore back Vin Rappa.
“We didn’t have any huge runs, but were able to move the chains, while on defense we didn’t allow Roselle Park to move the chains that much,” Miller said.
Bonnet carried 26 times for 109 yards.
“Khalid did a tremendous job, he was tough to bring down,” Miller said. “Ramos at quarterback played well.”
Ramos had 77 yards on 10 carries.
“Everyone really played well,” Miller said of his team’s third straight win over Roselle Park after losing to the Panthers twice in 2013. “We knew they would be tough. It was a win I thought we really needed.”
With many first-year players and the way his team was hit pretty hard by graduation, Miller is very pleased with his team’s 3-1 start.
“Coming in and with our schedule early against teams like Belvidere and Roselle Park, yeah, 3-1 is very good so far,” Miller said. “The Belvidere game – and Belvidere is very good – got away from us in the second half.”
For the first time since he has been the head coach at Brearley beginning in 2002, Miller’s Bears will now play three consecutive road games.
His first team – the 2002 squad that went 9-1 with its only loss coming in the first round of the North 2, Group 1 playoffs – had to play all of its games on the road only because Ward Field in Kenilworth was being renovated.
“It is strange, but it’s a new, two-year cycle with the schedules and sometimes that happens,” Miller said.
Brearley’s next three games – all on the next three Friday nights – will be at Dayton, at Manville and then at Bound Brook.
Leading the Union Division at the moment is Bound Brook at 4-0, which is coming off an impressive 28-6 home win over Belvidere this past Friday night in a battle of 3-0 squads.
Tied for second in the Union Division – all at 3-1 – are Brearley, Belvidere and Manville. Brearley lost to Belvidere, while Manville and then Belvidere lost to Bound Brook.
After scoring only 12 points in a tough 0-3 start, Dayton was thrilled to come away with its third straight win against Pingry and will now try to take that momentum into a game Friday night against an opponent the Bulldogs are much closer to.
“We came out and made some adjustments and were more consistent,” said Dayton third-year head coach Dominic Cuniglio of his team’s performance against Pingry.
Following Pingry’s only score that were the lone points of the first quarter, Dayton scored single touchdowns in each of the second, third and fourth quarters.
Converted Dayton junior quarterback Antonio Salcfas threw two touchdown passes and ran for one score. His first touchdown pass to freshman Jovani Salcfas covered 35 yards and with the extra point Dayton took the lead for good at 7-6.
Antonio Salcfas then scored on a three-yard run in the third quarter and in the fourth completed a 25-yard touchdown pass to senior Joe Kastner.
After getting injured in Dayton’s first game against Belvidere, Kastner has been moved from quarterback to wide receiver on offense, while still playing in the secondary on defense.
Kastner passed for over 1,200 yards last season and guided Dayton to a season-ending three-game winning streak that saw the Bulldogs average 32 points.
“It’s tough to say if he’ll be back at quarterback,” Cuniglio said. “It’s game-by-game and week-by-week.”
Antonio Salcfas excelled behind center vs. Pingry.
“We’re back to running triple option now, with four wide receiver sets because of the type of athlete Antonio is,” Cuniglio said. “When he gets on the edges he is capable of running the ball really well.”
Cuniglio knows his team will be up against it this weekend when Brearley comes in.
“It’s a nice rivalry,” Cuniglio said. “It’s an opportunity for our kids to face someone they know well. We’re going to try to slow them down a bit if we can.”
MID-STATE 38 CONFERENCE
UNION DIVISION STANDINGS
1-Bound Brook (4-0, 4-0)
2-Belvidere (3-1, 3-1)
Brearley (3-1, 3-1)
Manville (3-1, 3-1)
5-Roselle Park (2-2, 2-2)
6-Dayton (1-3, 1-3)
7-South Hunterdon (0-4, 0-4)
Pingry (0-4, 0-4)