JOHNSON FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Crusaders close to coveting ultimate goal

CLARK – The Crusaders were right there last year.

They were – perhaps – just a play away from playing for a trip to the Central Jersey, Group 2 state championship game.

There are players back from that cast who seek to blend in with the newcomers this year so that Johnson has another opportunity to succeed.

On offense there is senior fullback Joe Turek, a three-year starter who is one of the top running backs in Union County.

He rushed for nearly 1,200 yards a year ago.

“He’s the real deal,” fourth-year head coach Anthony DelConte said. “He’s an old-fashioned running back, but has the ability to break a long run.

“He’s loyal, dedicated and just awesome to coach.”

Another three-year starter is senior right guard Dan Olenick, whose older brother Ed played at Kutztown.

“Dan is strong, powerful and really athletic for his size,” DelConte said. “He is also one of the top shot putters in school history and will challenge Oliver Haney’s school record.”

New quarterbacks include junior Vito Galluzzo and senior Mike Bruno.

“We’ve had some good competitions all summer at a lot of spots,” DelConte said. “Both are great kids that work hard and are great teammates.”

Olenick and Turek are also three-year starters on defense, Olenick a standout at tackle and Turek – who is all over the field – tough to get past at middle linebacker.

Tom Bowen, a senior end; Kevin Metz, a senior cornerback; and Brandon Rapp, a senior free safety, also return.

“Tom is a real leader who works his butt off,” DelConte said. “He’s a very athletic defensive end.

“Rapp is very smart and athletic and Metz is a three-year starter at cornerback who continues to improve.”

Johnson lost three games by four points or less last year, including a 33-29 first round CJ, G2 playoff setback at eventual champion Manasquan.

“That was disappointing, a real heartbreaker,” DelConte said. “Of our losses the only game we didn’t have a lead in was Somerville.

“We just couldn’t close the game in the fourth quarter. We knew we would be in a game with them (Manasquan) and they kept coming on.

“We’ve forgotten about that. This is 2017, a new year, and that is our theme – to forget about our mistakes and move forward.”

Johnson opens at home against New Providence, which moved back to North 2, Group 1. Johnson’s last two games against New Providence were on the road, with Johnson winning 40-6 in a 2015 CJ, G2 first round contest and 38-0 in last year’s season-opener at Lieder Field.

The Pioneers are now guided by first-year head coach Chet Parlavecchio, Jr.

“New Providence is a notoriously-tough team and we know that Chet will have them ready to go,” DelConte said. “Our guys know that we will be in for a real slugfest.”



LT James Greenbush, senior, (6-2, 190)

LG Luke Giltner, junior, (6-1, 215)

C Patrick Brennan, sophomore, (6-1, 215)

RG Dan Olenick, senior, (6-1, 285)

RT Ed Weingartner, senior, (5-11, 195)

TE Rico Veltre, junior, (5-10, 180)

SE Andrew Giamella, senior, (5-10, 175)

QB Vito Galluzzo, junior, (5-9, 180)

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

RB Brandon Rapp, senior, (6-1, 175)

RB Kevin Metz, senior, (5-10, 175)

FB Joe Turek, senior, (6-1, 205)

PK Mike Casalino, senior, (5-9, 160)

Returning starters (4): Greenbush, Olenick,

Weingartner, Turek.



E Tom Bowen, senior, (6-1, 200)

T Dan Olenick, senior, (6-1, 285)

T Nick Serpe, junior, (5-10, 200)

E Thomas Bizzoco, junior, (5-10, 175)

WLB Rico Veltre, junior, (5-10, 180)

MLB Joe Turek, senior, (6-1, 205)

SLB Sebastian Iakouchevitch, junior, (6-0, 205)

CB Mike Casalino, senior, (5-9, 160)

CB Kevin Metz, senior, (5-10, 175)

FS Brandon Rapp, senior, (6-1, 175)

S Lorenzo DePaz, senior, (6-2, 185)

P Kevin Metz, senior, (5-10, 175)

Returning starters (6): Bowen, Olenick,

Turek, Iakouchevitch, Metz, Rapp.



Head coach: Anthony DelConte, since 2014.

A 2006 Johnson graduate.

Fourth season: 17-14 (.548)

Conference: Mid-State 38

Division: Valley

Section: Central Jersey, Group 2

Johnson’s last sectional title: 2002

2016: (5-5 and 3-2, second in Valley Division)

Nolan Field in Clark: Field Turf.

DelConte has guided Johnson to playoff berths

in Central Jersey, Group 2 his first three seasons

at the helm of the Crusaders, despite starting

2014 and 2015 with 0-3 records. In 2015 Johnson won its

first playoff game since 2008. DelConte was an assistant

at Johnson in 2011, 2012 and 2013 under head coach Mike Mancino.

When DelConte played at Johnson, Bob Taylor was in his last

year as head coach in 2002, Mike Katz was the head coach

in 2003 and present athletic director Gus Kalikas

was the head coach in 2004 and 2005.



Sept. 8 New Providence, 7 p.m.

Sept. 15 at Bernards, 7 p.m.

Sept. 22 Roselle, 7 p.m.

Sept. 29 at Delaware Valley, 7 p.m.

Oct. 6 Hillside, 7 p.m.

Oct. 20 Somerville, 7 p.m.

Oct. 27 at North Plainfield, 7 p.m.

Nov. 3 Gov. Livingston, 7 p.m.

Nov. 23 at Rahway, 10:30 a.m.



(A) Johnson 38, New Providence 0

(H) Johnson 43, Bernards 14

(A) Roselle 56, Johnson 41

(H) Johnson 39, Delaware Valley 12

(A) Hillside 27, Johnson 23

(A) Somerville 50, Johnson 6

(H) Johnson 28, North Plainfield 14

(A) Johnson 35, Gov. Livingston 20

(A) Manasquan 33, Johnson 29

(H) Rahway 34, Johnson 33

Head coach: Anthony DelConte,

third season

Section: Central Jersey, Group 2

Conference: Mid-State 38

Division: Valley 3-2, second

Record: 5-5

Home: 3-1

Away: 2-4

Points for: 315

Points against: 260

Shutouts: 1

Overtime: 0-0