SPRINGFIELD – Certain sacrifices have to be made by players who compete for Group 1 programs.
That’s so those Group 1 programs can survive on a yearly basis.
For the 2018 Dayton Bulldogs, junior Juan Perez made one such sacrifice.
Fifth-year head coach Dominic Cuniglio moved Perez from fullback last year to the offensive line this year – specifically at left guard – to plug a whole that needed to be filled.
“Juan Perez is a selfless individual,” Cuniglio said. “We needed someone on the line to play guard and he said that he would do anything or play anywhere to help the team.
“Giving up playing running back to play on the offensive line is not an easy thing.”
So Perez will be up front blocking for whichever player wins the quarterback position. As of Friday, Aug. 31 – following Dayton’s game-scrimmage at Keyport – Cuniglio said senior Rob Spagnola and sophomores Dave Ares and Anthony Apicella were vying.
“The good thing for the other two candidates is that they will play some other place,” Cuniglio said. “It’s not like their services will not be needed elsewhere.”
Returning players on offense include senior right guard Ben Chervinski and junior running backs Jovanni Salcfas and Justin Mascitelli.
“We like Salcfas and Mascitelli running the ball for us,” Cuniglio said. “To have two players like that at the position is a great deal.”
Senior slotback Aneus Brown played at Westfield as a sophomore.
Perez is one of six returning starters in Dayton’s 3-3 defensive scheme. The others are Chervinski at end, Salcfas at outside linebacker, Mascitelli at middle linebacker, junior Chris Katz at cornerback and Spagnola at free safety.
“Spagnola is our captain, he’s a tremendous leader,” Cuniglio said.
Dayton plays only fellow Group 1 schools for a change. No longer are bigger schools such as Hillside and Roselle on the schedule.
“That’s a very big thing,” Cuniglio said. “We have an eight-game Group 1 schedule, playing teams we should be competing against. I’m very happy with that.”
DAYTON’S TRIPLE OPTION OFFENSE:
LT Luigi DelMauro, sophomore, (5-6, 170)
LG Juan Perez, junior, (5-9, 190)
C Dan Munoz, sophomore, (6-4, 220)
RG Ben Chervinski, senior, (6-1, 255)
RT Charlie Myers, sophomore, (6-2, 250)
QB Rob Spagnola, senior, (5-7, 160)
QB David Ares, sophomore, (5-10, 140)
QB Anthony Apicella, sophomore, (5-9, 160)
FB Javonni Salcfas, junior, (6-0, 200)
FB Justin Mascitelli, junior, (5-9, 175)
SB Aneus Brown, senior, (5-9, 175)
SB James Mooney, junior, (5-9, 160)
SB Mike Kanarek, sophomore, (5-10, 160)
WR Dan Madden, senior, (5-10, 150)
WR John Madden, senior, (5-10, 150)
WR Jack Pleva, junior, (5-11, 160)
PK David Ares, sophomore, (5-10, 140)
Returning starters (3): Chervinski, Salcfas,
DAYTON’S 3-3 DEFENSE:
E Dan Munoz, sophomore, (6-4, 220)
T Charlie Myers, sophomore, (6-2, 250
E Ben Chervinski, senior, (6-1, 255)
OLB Jovanni Salcfas junior, (6-0, 200)
MLB Justin Mascitelli, junior, (5-9, 175)
OLB Juan Perez, junior, (5-9, 190)
CB Mike Kanarek, sophomore, (5-10, 160)
CB David Ares, sophomore, (5-10, 140)
CB Chris Katz, junior, (5-9, 1600
FS Rob Spagnola, senior, (5-7, 160)
FS Aneus Brown, senior, (5-9, 175)
FS Anthony Apicella, sophomore, (5-9, 160)
P David Ares, sophomore, (5-10, 140)
Returning starters (6): Chervinski, Salcfas,
Mascitelli, Perez, Katz, Spagnola.
DAYTON BULLDOGS 2018
Sept. 7 Belvidere, 7 p.m.
Sept. 14 at Brearley, 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 New Providence, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 at Highland Park, 7 p.m.
Oct. 5 at Bound Brook, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 at Middlesex, 7 p.m.
Oct. 19 Manville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 26 South Hunterdon, 7 p.m.
Head coach: Dominic Cuniglio,
2017 DAYTON BULLDOGS (1-9)
(H) Belvidere 17, Dayton 14
(A) Roselle Park 41, Dayton 6
(A) Manville 42, Dayton 6
(H) Dayton 42, Highland Park 14
(A) Brearley 41, Dayton 27
(A) Hillside 51, Dayton 8
(H) Roselle 61, Dayton 0
(A) Bound Brook 42, Dayton 0
(A) South Hunterdon 38, Dayton 16
(H) New Providence 27, Dayton 0
Head coach: Dominick Cuniglio,
Section: North 2, Group 1
Conference: Mid-State 38
Division: Union, 0-6
Points for: 119
Points against: 364
Head Coach: Dominic Cuniglio, since 2014.
A 1993 Steinert graduate.
Fifth season: 13-27 (.325).
Conference: Mid-State 36
Section: North, Group 1
Dayton’s last playoff season: 2012
2017: (1-9 and 0-6, sixth in Union Division)
Dayton’s field: Field Turf.
Cuniglio guided Dayton to wins in its last three
games during each of his first two seasons at
the helm of the Bulldogs and then to wins in their
final two games two years ago. Cuniglio was the
interim head coach at Union in 2012 – leading the
Farmers to a 5-4 playoff season – after serving as
the offensive coordinator there in 2011. He was
then an assistant coach at Nottingham in 2013.
Cuniglio returned to coaching in Union County
in 2014 as a full-fledged head coach for
the first time in his coaching career.