RAHWAY – The Indians showed great improvement last year, with a 5-1 start the first half of an eventual second straight playoff season that produced a whopping 340 points.
However, gone are 18 seniors from that cast, with six of them moving on to the collegiate level.
“We want to build off of last year and still be able to put points on the board,” third-year head coach Brian Russo said.
Rahway also yielded 300 points last year, so the staff wants that number to decrease.
“We have a new defense, with different terminology for the kids to learn,” Russo said. “We’re young there with a lot to prove.”
Taking over at quarterback is junior Jakir Robinson, who played some as a freshman two years ago when Zahir Wilder was injured.
“He grew four inches from last season,” Russo said. “He’s coachable, has done well in the weight room and is athletic enough to run with the ball. He’s smart enough to run the offense and has good presence.”
Also at quarterback is fellow junior Dwayne Hill.
A talented target seeking to play at the next level is senior wide receiver Keyshawn Cummings.
“He’s being recruited by several Division 1 programs,” Russo said. “He’s as electric as it gets, him and (fellow senior receiver Jerrish) Halsey.
“We have some experience at the skill positions. We graduated three guys up front.”
Russo described junior linebacker Zion Pendleton as a key playmaker on defense.
“He has a nose for the football,” Russo said. “He plays as hard as anyone.
“We’re very young and inexperienced on defense. It will be a learning process.”
Russo said on Tuesday, Aug. 29 that Bergen Catholic transfer Antonio Alfano, a highly-rated junior two-way lineman, is practicing with the team, but has not participated in any scrimmages. He also said that the athletic part of Alfano’s transfer was not complete and that he would not be a full member of the team until it was.
“We made some strides two years ago and last year, with the exception of Somerville, we won some tight games that we didn’t the year before,” Russo said. “The kids have developed some confidence and have learned how to practice at our tempo.”
Rahway’s 2017 grads playing in college now include lineman Vincent Rogers at Wilkes, linebacker AJ Smith at Springfield, defensive back Zahir Wilder at Montclair State, running back TJ Anderson at Rowan, linebacker Quadreek Strickland at Kutztown and offensive lineman Axton Cedarquist at Wagner.
RAHWAY’S MULTIPLE-I OFFENSE:
LT Terrell Frazier, senior, (6-2, 240)
LG Jymier Anderson, junior, (5-9, 295)
C Joshua Barthelus, junior, (5-11, 210)
RG Alex Brown, senior, (5-10, 245)
RT Tahlee Bailey, sophomore, (6-3, 230)
TE David Hall, senior, (6-1, 220)
TE Brayden Louis, sophomore, (6-0, 210)
QB Jakir Robinson, junior, (6-1, 150)
QB Dwayne Hill, junior, (5-11, 170)
RB Zion Pendleton, junior, (5-8, 160)
RB Dashon Moore, junior, (5-6, 145)
FB Key’mann Coleman, senior, (5-9, 180)
B Sam Dorielan, senior, (5-10, 180)
WR Keyshawn Cummings, senior, (5-11, 180)
WR Jerrish Halsey, senior, (5-11, 160)
WR Raul Torres, senior, (5-7, 150)
PK Jonathan Cardoza, junior, (5-11, 205)
Returning starters (7): Frazier, Anderson,
Hall, Coleman, Pendleton, Cummings, Halsey.
RAHWAY’S 4-4 DEFENSE:
E Dominick Williams, senior, (6-0, 190)
E Joshua Barthelus, junior, (5-11, 210)
E Tahlee Hall, sophomore, (6-3, 230)
T Joshua Darisme, sophomore, (5-10, 215)
T Jymier Anderson, junior, (5-9, 295)
T Alex Brown, sophomore, (5-10, 180)
E David Hall, senior, (6-1, 220)
LB Key’mann Coleman, senior, (5-9, 180)
LB Zion Pendleton, junior, (5-8, 160)
ILB Shimei Paige, junior, (5-10, 195)
LB Qualil Lumpkin, sophomore, (5-10, 180)
SS Tyshawn Johnson, senior, (6-1, 170)
SS Dashon Moore, junior, (5-6, 145)
FS Jerrish Halsey, senior, (5-11, 160)
CB Raul Torres, senior, (5-7, 150)
CB Patrick Green, senior (5-10, 175)
CB Mark Bails, sophomore, (6-3, 160)
P Jonathan Cardoza, junior, (5-11, 215)
Returning starters (5): Williams, Hall,
Anderson, Pendleton, Torres.
Head coach: Brian Russo, since 2015.
A 1996 Woodbridge graduate.
Third season: 10-10 (.500)
Conference: Mid-State 38
Section: North 2, Group 3
Rahway’s last sectional title: 1984
2016: (7-3 and 4-1, second in Mountain Division)
Rahway River Park: Field Turf.
Veterans Field: Grass.
Russo guided Rahway to the Central Jersey, Group 3
playoffs his first two seasons at the helm.
Russo’s nine-season (2003-2011) record at Woodbridge
was 48-45 (.516), including three winning seasons,
three .500 campaigns, five playoff seasons
and two playoff victories, both coming on the road.
Russo guided his first and last Woodbridge squads
to 8-3 marks, with the 2011 team – as the sixth seed –
winning at third-seeded Burlington Township 24-21
in a Central Jersey, Group 3 quarterfinal.
RAHWAY INDIANS 2017
Sept. 9 at Hillside, 1 p.m.
Sept. 15 Gov. Livingston, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 at Cranford, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 Voorhees, 7 p.m.
Oct. 6 at Somerville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 20 Scotch Plains, 7 p.m.
Oct. 27 Summit, 7 p.m.
Nov. 3 at North Plainfield, 7 p.m.
Nov. 23 Johnson, 10:30 a.m.
2016 RAHWAY INDIANS (7-3)
(H) Rahway 26, Hillside 19
(A) Rahway 34, Gov. Livingston 10
(H) Rahway 40, Cranford 34
(A) Rahway 30, Voorhees 16
(H) Somerville 59, Rahway 35
(A) Rahway 54, Scotch Plains 35
(A) Summit 35, Rahway 20
(H) Rahway 55, North Plainfield 12
(A) Somerville 47, Rahway 12
(A) Rahway 34, Johnson 33
Head coach: Brian Russo,
Section: Central Jersey, Group 3
Conference: Mid-State 38
Division: Mountain 4-1, second
Points for: 340
Points against: 300