BREARLEY FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Bears blend well on both sides of the ball

KENILWORTH – The Bears return six starters on offense and six on defense with a nice blend spread out through both lineups.

Leading the Multiple-Pro offense once again is senior quarterback Mike Ramos. Accentuating the Brearley backfield is senior tailback Khalid Bonnet, who in his first year as a starter a year ago ran for over 1,200 yards.

“We feel like we have four to five kids who can run the ball,” said head coach Scott Miller, now in his 16th season at the helm of the Bears and who is longest tenured head coach in Union County. “We want to mix it up as best as we can so the focus will not be just on Khalid.”

Brearley also has three linemen as returning starters – senior tackles Michael Ceceri and Kairi Days and junior center Justin O’Rourke – in addition to senior wide receiver Nick Heuschkel.

“We’re trying to put the ball in other guys’ hands,” Miller said. “We don’t want just one guy to carry it 30 times.

“We don’t want teams keying on just one guy. We want to give defenses something to really work on.”

Bonnet has already displayed power in Brearley scrimmages reminiscent to the success he produced running the ball last season.

“He’s powerful in his lower body and his thighs are huge,” Miller said. “We can give him the ball and with the line falling forward he can gain three yards.”

Brearley has two linemen – Days and junior tackle AJ O’Brien – two linebackers – junior Vin Rappa and junior Joe Caterina – and two defensive backs – Heuschkel at cornerback and Ramos at safety – as its six returning starters on defense.

“We’re just trying to make sure we play solid, with tackling always the key,” Miller said. “We have to make sure our guys are in the right position so we’re not giving up any free yards or extra yards.”

At middle linebacker is freshman Michael Dotro, whose father Joe played for Union in the mid-to-late 1980s.

“We’ve had freshmen start here before, but it’s been awhile,” Miller said. “When all is said and done this kid will be a heck of a player.

“From our first scrimmage to the second you can see him become more comfortable. He hits and tackles pretty well.”

Brearley opens this Friday – Sept. 1 – at home vs. Central Jersey, Group 2 school Holmdel of the Shore Conference, which was the team Brearley picked up after Pingry dropped out of the Mid-State 38 Conference.

It will be a 6 p.m. kickoff at Ward Field in Kenilworth.

Holmdel’s last season above .500 was in 2007.

The Mid-State’s Union Division now consists of Brearley, Roselle Park, Dayton, Belvidere, Bound Brook, Manville and South Hunterdon.

Brearley did not have a game-scrimmage, but did have scrimmages at Verona Aug. 19 and home vs. South River Aug. 25.

“It still worked out pretty well for us, because the two we had were a week apart and we then still had a full week of preparation for our first game,” Miller said.

Brearley has next weekend off.

After next weekend the Bears will play the next eight weekends in a row, beginning with another home game and their first Union Division contest, which will be vs. Belvidere Sept. 15.

 

BREARLEY’S MULTIPLE-PRO OFFENSE:

T Michael Ceceri, senior, (6-2, 260)

T Kairi Days, senior, (6-1, 245)

G AJ O’Brien, junior, (5-10, 230)

G Will Nazario, senior, (5-10, 235)

C Justin O’Rourke, junior, (5-10, 235)

TE Brian Lesniewski, senior, (6-1, 200)

QB Mike Ramos, senior, (5-9, 160)

FB Dylan Santelli, junior, (5-9, 180)

TB Khalid Bonnet, senior, (5-10, 230)

TB Vin Rappa, junior, (5-8, 160)

TB Joe Caterina, junior, (5-8, 160)

B Nazeer Elias, freshman, (5-8, 155)

WR Chris Keith, junior, (6-4, 190)

WR Nick Heuschkel, senior, (5-9, 165)

WR Jordan Stewart, senior, (6-2, 170)

PK Antonino Principato, sophomore, (5-7, 135)

Returning starters (6): Ceceri, Days,

O’Rourke, Ramos, Bonnet, Heuschkel.

 

BREARLEY’S 4-3 DEFENSE:

T Kairi Days, senior, (6-1, 245)

T Michael Ceceri, senior, (6-2, 260)

T Will Nazario, senior, (5-10, 235)

T AJ O’Brien, junior, (5-10, 230)

E Justin O’Rourke, junior, (5-10, 235)

E Brian Lesniewski, senior, (6-1, 200)

E Anthony Locorriere, junior, (5-10, 175)

LB Vin Rappa, junior, (5-8, 160)

MLB Michael Dotro, freshman, (6-0, 195)

LB Joe Caterina, junior, (5-8, 160)

CB Nick Heuschkel, senior, (5-9, 165)

CB Kyle Shaw, junior, (5-10, 160)

S Mike Ramos, senior, (5-9, 160)

S Chris Keith, junior, (6-4, 190)

P Antonino Principato, sophomore, (5-7, 135)

Returning starters (6): Days, O’Brien,

Rappa, Caterina, Heuschkel, Ramos.

 

BREARLEY BEARS

Head Coach: Scott Miller, since 2002.

A 1987 Brearley Regional graduate.

16th season: 106-51-1 (.675)

Conference: Mid-State 38

Division: Union

Section: North 2, Group 1

Brearley’s last sectional title: 2006

2016: (5-5 and 4-3, fourth in Union Division)

Ward Field in Kenilworth: Grass

Miller has guided Brearley to the playoffs 12 times

in his first 15 seasons at the helm. His playoff record is

9-11, including an appearance in the Central Jersey,

Group 1 final in 2005, the North 2, Group 1

championship in 2006 and the N2, G1 final in 2015.

 

BREARLEY BEARS 2017

Sept. 1 Holmdel, 6 p.m.

Sept. 15 Belvidere, 7 p.m.

Sept. 22 at South Hunterdon, 7 p.m.

Sept. 29 at Roselle Park, 7 p.m.

Oct. 6 Dayton, 7 p.m.

Oct. 13 Manville, 7 p.m.

Oct. 20 Bound Brook, 7 p.m.

Oct. 27 at New Providence, 7 p.m.

Nov. 4 at Hillside, 2 p.m.

 

2016 BREARLEY BEARS (5-5)

(H) Brearley 22, Pingry 8

(A) Belvidere 27, Brearley 0

(H) Brearley 47, South Hunterdon 0

(H) Brearley 29, Roselle Park 7

(A) Brearley 22, Dayton 21

(A) Manville 28, Brearley 21

(A) Bound Brook 34, Brearley 7

(H) Brearley 27, New Providence 13

(H) Hillside 34, Brearley 0

(A) Hoboken 32, Brearley 14

Head coach: Scott Miller,

15th season

Section: North 2, Group 1

Conference: Mid-State 38

Division: Union 4-3, fourth

Record: 5-5

Home: 3-1

Away: 2-4

Points for: 189

Points against: 204

Shutouts: 1

Overtime: 0-0

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