WOODBRIDGE – Another Snapple Bowl is history, with the Middlesex County All-Stars winning for the 15th time by the score of 22-6.
The 26th Snapple Bowl will be played at Kean University next July.
There was plenty of chatter on the Union County side during the game.
Here is a bit of it from New Providence head coach Chet Parlavecchio, Jr., Rumson-Fair Haven assistant John Wagner and Hillside head coach Barris Grant in this version of Snapple Bowl Notebook:
New Providence has yet to find an opponent to take the place of Roselle Park, which opted to play a JV-only schedule this year because of a lack of juniors and seniors. The Pioneers were scheduled to play at Roselle Park on Oct. 5.
At present time, New Providence still has an eight-game schedule, including its annual Thanksgiving Day game clash with Governor Livingston, which this year is scheduled to be played Nov. 22 at 10:30 a.m. at New Providence’s Lieder Field.
“I guess we’re going to take the forfeit, take the week,” Parlavecchio said. “We were sent an e-mail that said if we couldn’t find a replacement then we would get a forfeit.
“It’s been tough for us so far to find a replacement, but we’ll keep on looking.”
Of the other three Union County schools on Roselle Park’s schedule – Brearley, Dayton and Roselle – Brearley and Dayton were able to find other opponents, while Roselle will now go with an eight-game schedule to start and will not play Roselle Park on Thanksgiving (or Thanksgiving weekend) for the first time since 1918. The 100th meeting between Roselle Park and Roselle was celebrated last season.
Brearley and Dayton were able to find Middlesex County opponents. Brearley will now open at home against Highland Park on Sept. 7, while Dayton will play at Middlesex on Oct. 12.
Brearley and Dayton now have two games against Middlesex County opponents during this first season of Union County vs. Middlesex County crossover contests. Brearley is also at Dunellen on Oct. 26 and Dayton is also at Highland Park on Sept. 28.
Roselle is the only Union County team playing four Middlesex County opponents this season. The Rams are scheduled to face Bishop Ahr, South River, Metuchen and Spotswood. Roselle’s only two Union County opponents are Hillside and Johnson.
If New Providence does not play a game on the weekend it was originally scheduled to against Roselle Park, then the Pioneers will have the first and third weekends in October off.
Parlavecchio – formerly an assistant at Summit and the defensive coordinator at his alma mater Delbarton – took over as head coach last year, knowing full well that he had his work cut out for him after the Pioneers went 1-9 in 2016.
Here are some of the things Parlavecchio – a 2005 Delbarton graduate who played collegiately at Union (N.Y.) College – learned during his first season as a head coach:
“First, you’re never as fully ready as you think you are.
“Second, game management – trying to stay a step ahead.
“I was around great coaches, which helped. Despite our record the kids never quit.”
Wagner, a 1969 Roselle Park graduate and former Panther player, is the winningest head coach in Roselle Park history, with 150 wins during his 25 seasons (1981-2005) as the head coach there. He was previously an assistant at Roselle Park form 1976-1980.
“I just wish there was some way to work it out,” Wagner said of the program not fielding a varsity team this year.
Wagner was present at last November’s 100th meeting between Roselle Park and Roselle – a 7-6 Roselle Park victory at Roselle Park’s Herm Shaw Field. Wagner also guided Roselle Park to the only two state championships the Panthers won on the field in 1992 and 1993.
“Being a longtime Roselle Park resident it’s hard to hear,” Wagner said. “Looking at the schedule I felt that there were a few weeks where they would have been competitive.”
Wagner was the head coach at Point Pleasant Beach for seven seasons from 2011-2017. He guided the Gulls to their first state championship (Central Jersey, Group 1 in 2013) and the program to its first two state championship games (CJ, G1 in 2013 and 2017). Ten-win seasons were realized in 2012 (10-1) and 2013 (10-2).
Wagner is now the outside linebackers coach at Rumson-Fair Haven, which has reached the Central Jersey, Group 3 state championship game the last three seasons. The Bulldogs won the 2014 title under head coach Bryan Batchler and then won again in 2015 under present head coach Jerry Schulte, who also guided them back to the final last year where they lost to Somerville.
“It’s disappointing,” Wagner said of Roselle Park’s decision. “I hope that (Roselle Park) it’s able to turn things around for next year.”
Wagner was one of the Union County coaches for the first Snapple Bowl and many after that and was also a big part of the resurrection of the game, which has now raised close to $700,000 for the Children’s Specialized Hospital of Mountainside and the Lakeview School for children with disabilities in Edison.
“It’s a great game,” Wagner said. “I remember we had good Roselle Park representation in the first game and that it was a good night for football.”
In contrast to the situation at Roselle Park, Wagner said that Rumson’s numbers are solid, with 70 on varsity and 52 freshmen.
“Everything goes in cycles,” Wagner said. “Right now my position is to only worry about our defense.”
Grant, who was honored at halftime as the 2017 Union County Coach of the Year, just had his first Class of 2019 player commit. Boris Nicolas-Paul (5-11, 170), a senior wide receiver and strong safety, gave a verbal commitment to continue playing collegiately at Army.
Nicolas-Paul, also a high academic prospect, received offers from Army and Buffalo based on an outstanding performance produced at the Rutgers Football East Coast Elite Camp.
“Boris took an unofficial visit (to Army) in June,” Grant said. “He shows a lot of what a future Cadet will be. He’s a leader and has been a two-year captain for me.
“He’s a coach’s kid. He speaks our language. He might want to be a coach himself one day.”
Grant said that returning senior linebacker Brian Ugwu (6-3, 210) – among his many offers – has it pretty much narrowed down to Rutgers, Temple and Pittsburgh. Ugwu has a sister that attends Rutgers.
Grant took over as Hillside’s head coach in 2016, which was his first year as a head coach. He guided the Comets to a 4-6 record.
Last year Grant led the Comets to a 9-3 finish that included the program’s second state championship in the playoff era and first since 1985. With Hillside winning Central Jersey, Group 2 the Comets became the first Union County school to win a state championship in a Central Jersey section.
One of the teams Hillside defeated in the CJ, G2 playoffs last year – the Comets won the section as the No. 7 seed – was second-seeded South River 28-7 on the road. Hillside will return to Middlesex County to face the Rams on Oct. 12 at 1 p.m.
South River’s only loss in a 9-1 season last year was to Hillside.
Hillside will play two Middlesex County opponents this season. The Comets open Sept. 7 at Middlesex.
Hillside’s game-scrimmage is Aug. 30 at Hightstown at 6 p.m.
At present time field turf – for the first time – is being put down on Hillside’s Wood Field Stadium. Hillside’s first six games are scheduled on the road, with home dates – tentative – vs. North Plainfield Oct. 20 and against Cranford Oct. 27.
If the turf is not ready by then Hillside will also play North Plainfield and Cranford on the road.
Hillside will play Roselle at Rahway River Park on Sept. 14 because Roselle’s Arminio Field (also new field turf) is not finished yet.
SNAPPLE BOWL FACTS
Series lead: Middlesex 15-10
Home team: 11-14
Road team: 14-11
Most points: Middlesex, 506
Least points: Union, 390
Shutouts: 1 – Union (2003)
5-game winning streak:
1- Middlesex (2006-2010)
4-game winning streak:
3-game winning streak:
MIDDLESEX MVPs (15):
Monroe: Khamisi Jackson, 1994
South Brunswick: Kenny Rogers, 1996
Dunellen: Luke Cianello, 1998
Perth Amboy: Jeff LeSeur, 1999
South River: Zack Earvin, 2002
Sayreville: Herbert Nieves, 2006
New Brunswick: Aireil Adams, 2007
Piscataway: James White, 2008
South Plainfield: Michael Burton, 2009
South Brunswick: Mike Muha, 2010
Woodbridge: Cody Zalasar, 2012
Edison: Abdel Ragab, 2013
St. Joseph’s, Metuchen: Matt Olivo, 2014
Spotswood: Chase Fee, 2015
Bishop Ahr: Luke Vizzoni, 2018
UNION MVPs (10):
Summit: Jamie Allen, 1995
Rahway: Louis Campbell, 1997
Elizabeth: Billy Gilbert, 2000
Linden: Brandon Bracey, 2001
Johnson: Mike Vicci, 2003
Westfield: Jan Cocozziello, 2004
Cranford: Chris Drechsel, 2005
Roselle: Darius Mayers, 2011
Hillside: Osaheni Omokaro, 2016
Cranford: Brian Oblachinski, 2017
WHERE SNAPPLE BOWL
HAS BEEN PLAYED AT:
Union: Middlesex is 3-1
Sayreville: tied at 1-1
East Brunswick: tied at 4-4
Kean University: Middlesex is 5-3
South Brunswick: Middlesex is 1-0
Woodbridge: tied at 1-1
In Union County: Middlesex is 8-4
In Middlesex County: Middlesex 7-6