Hillside football has 1 more hurdle to climb to complete perfect season; Comets vs. Haddonfield in first-ever South, Group 2 Bowl Game

Undefeated repeat state champions will clash Dec. 1 at MetLife Stadium

PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI – Hillside football will seek to beat Haddonfield in the first-ever South, Group 2 Bowl Game – scheduled for Dec. 1 at 4 p.m. at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.

EAST RUTHERFORD – Twelve months ago Hillside, which went from the seasons of 2009-2016 without finishing above .500, defeated an unknown team (Point Pleasant Boro) that was 11-0 at a neutral site (Rutgers) in its final game of the 2017 season.
Now the Comets are preparing to do the same to another unknown team (Haddonfield) at a different neutral site (MetLife Stadium). This state championship team is also undefeated, sporting a 12-0 record.
Hillside – the repeat Central Jersey, Group 2 state champion – is 11-0 and has won 15 straight. It took the Comets nine years before they finished with a winning record again last season.
Haddonfield – the repeat South Jersey, Group 2 state champion – is 12-0 and has won 16 in a row. The Bulldawgs, contrastly, have not finished under .500 since 2004.
Both teams won state championships with 9-3 records a year ago.
Both repeated as state champions this year with 11-0 marks.
Haddonfield also won on Thanksgiving to get to 12-0 for the second time. The first time was its 12-0 finish in 2014 when the Bulldawgs captured the South Jersey, Group 2 crown for their third of five state championships in the playoff era.
Hillside had these five goals when its 2018 season began:
* the first was to be 1-0 for the first time since 2014 – mission accomplished
* the second was to win its division – mission accomplished, the Comets captured the Mid-State Conference’s Valley Division championship with a perfect 4-0 league mark
* the third was to make the playoffs – mission accomplished, Hillside qualified for the Central Jersey, Group 2 field for the second straight season
* the fourth was to win another state championship – mission accomplished, the Comets repeated as Central Jersey, Group 2 winners
* and the fifth and final one was to win its Bowl Game – which will take place Saturday in the heart of Bergen County.
“We got the first four and now we’re out to go get the fifth one,” Hillside third-year head coach Barris Grant said.
Hillside (11-0), the repeat Central Jersey, Group 2 state champion, will tackle Haddonfield (12-0), the repeat South Jersey, Group 2 state champ, in Saturday’s first-ever South, Group 2 Bowl Game, which has a scheduled kickoff time of 4 p.m. at MetLife Stadium.
Hillside has the Union County spotlight all to its own as it will complete the Union County football season for 2018.
Hillside also owns a Union County-best 15-game winning streak that began last year right before the playoffs.
Haddonfield has won 16 straight. The Bulldawgs also won 18 in a row from the middle of the 2013 season to the end of their 2014 campaign.
“We can’t wait to play at MetLife,” said Hillside senior wide receiver-defensive back Shadon Willis, who is a Giants fan.
Willis scored on offense and defense in Hillside’s state championship win at home over Manasquan.
It was the first time Hillside won a state championship game on its home field.
“We will want to prove there (at MetLife) how good we really are,” Willis said.
Hillside is coming off its only bye week of the season.
You can be sure the Comets are hungry to hit somebody.
Haddonfield will be playing for the 13th straight week.
It used to be that you played nine games if you didn’t make the playoffs and two more maximum if you did. Now some teams are ending up playing 13 games – and without a break.
Haddonfield, with 10 double-digit victories and three shutouts, is led by seniors Jay Foley (QB), Chris Brown (RB-WR), John Foley (WR) and Davis Smith (WR).
Hillside, with 11 double-digit victories and two shutouts, is sparked by the play of seniors Brian Ugwu (RB-LB), Army-bound Boris Nicolas-Paul (WR-DB), Shadon Willis (WR-DB), Najee Peele (LB) and Mateus Ramos (DE) and juniors Gavin Melendez (QB), James Louis (RB) and Nahree Biggins (WR-KR).

HADDONFIELD’S LAST LOSS: Nov. 4, 2017 – at Sterling 37-19

HILLSIDE’S LAST LOSS: Oct. 27, 2017 – at Cranford 34-21

HADDONFIELD BULLDAWGS:
QUARTERBACK: Senior Jay Foley, 77-132, 1284, 21 TDs, 4 INTs
RUNNING BACK: Senior Chris Brown, 77-504 (6.55 average), 5 TDs
WIDE RECEIVERS: Senior John Foley, 14-252 (18 average), 5 TDs
Senior Chris Brown, 11-138 (12.5 average), 1 TD
Senior Davis Smith, 9-221 (24.6 average), 5TDs

HILLSIDE COMETS:
QUARTERBACK: Junior Gavin Melendez, 80-124, 1725, 20 TDs, 6 INTs
RUNNING BACKS: Senior Brian Ugwu, 62-1105 (17.8 average), 8 TDs
Junior James Louis, 67-918 (13.7 average), 11 TDs
WIDE RECEIVERS: Senior Shadon Willis, 23-589 (25.6 average), 10 TDs
Senior Boris Nicolas-Paul, 23-435 (18.9 average), 3 TDs
Junior Nahree Biggins, 18-471 (26.2 average), 6 TDs
TACKLERS: Senior Najee Peele, 138, 3 of them sacks, 2 INTs
Senior Brian Ugwu, 116, 8 of them sacks
Senior Boris Nicolas-Paul, 116, 5 of them sacks, 1 INT
Senior Mateus Ramos, 106, 5 of them sacks

HILLSIDE GRANTBALL OFFENSE:
LT Amad Jean-Charles, junior, (6-1, 217)
LG Jason Wheeler, senior (6-3, 319)
C Jayden Shaw, junior, (5-10, 206)
RG Kwame Frimpong, senior, (6-0, 260)
RT Aboubakar Diaby, senior, (6-2, 220)
TE Mateus Ramos, senior, (5-11, 215)
QB Gavin Melendez, junior, (6-4, 200)
RB James Louis, junior, (5-7, 165)
RB Brian Ugwu, senior, (6-3, 228)
RB Jahon Moore, junior, (5-9, 205)
WR Charles Amissah, senior, (6-3, 190)
WR Boris Nicolas-Paul, senior, (5-10, 175)
WR Nahree Biggins, junior, (6-0, 180)
WR Shadon Willis, senior, (6-0, 160)
PK Hugo Carrico, senior, (5-8, 158)
Returning starters (11): Wheeler, Shaw,
Frimpong, Diaby, Louis, Ugwu, Amissah,
Nicolas-Paul, Biggins, Willis, Carrico.

HILLSIDE 3-3 STACK DEFENSE:
E Mateus Ramos, senior, (5-11, 215)
NT Derick Estinvil, senior, (5-10, 205)
E Aboubakar Diaby, senior, (6-2, 220)
LB Brian Ugwu, senior, (6-3, 228)
LB Najee Peele, senior (5-8, 164)
LB Akuge Osomaro, junior, (6-0, 215)
CB Preston Mekoba, senior, (6-3, 175)
CB Emmanuel Sass, senior, (5-11, 160)
S Shadon Willis, senior, (6-0, 160)
S Boris Nicolas-Paul, senior, (5-10, 175)
FS Nahree Biggins, junior, (6-0, 180)
P Hugo Carrico, senior, (5-8, 158)
Returning starters (8): Ramos, Diaby,
Ugwu, Peele, Sass, Willis, Nicolas-Paul, Biggins.

SOUTH JERSEY, GROUP 2
STATE CHAMPION
HADDONFIELD BULLDAWGS (12-0)

(A) Haddonfield 20, Pleasantville 7
(A) Haddonfield 41, Sterling 7
(H) Haddonfield 21, Cinnaminson 0
(A) Haddonfield 41, Overbrook 0
(A) Haddonfield 22, St. Joe’s, Hamm. 15
(H) Haddonfield 27, West Deptford 21
(A) Haddonfield 42, Collingswood 0
(H) Haddonfield 29, Deptford 13
(H) Haddonfield 41, Sterling 7
(H) Haddonfield 28, Pleasantville 6
(H) Haddonfield 23, Camden 12
(H) Haddonfield 41, Haddon Hts 8
Dec. 1 Hillside, 4 p.m., MetLife Stadium
Head coach: Frank Delano,
17th season: 131-55 (.704)
Section: South Jersey, Group 2 (3-0, champs)
Conference: West Jersey Football League
Division: Colonial, 5-0, champions
Record: 12-0
Home: 7-0
Away: 5-0
Neutral: 0-0
Points for: 376
Points against: 96
Shutouts: 3
Overtime: 0-0

CENTRAL JERSEY, GROUP 2
STATE CHAMPION
HILLSIDE COMETS (11-0)

(A) Hillside 55, Middlesex 6
(A) Hillside 35, Roselle 7 – at RRP
(A) Hillside 49, Delaware Valley 0
(A) Hillside 23, Bernards 13
(A) Hillside 47, Johnson 0
(A) Hillside 40, South River 13
(H) Hillside 48, North Plainfield 20 – at RRP
(H) Hillside 39, Cranford 10
(H) Hillside 39, South River 0
(H) Hillside 21, Bernards 3
(H) Hillside 36, Manasquan 10
Dec. 1 Haddonfield, 4 p.m., MetLife Stadium
Head coach: Barris Grant,
third season: 24-9 (.727)
Section: Central Jersey, Group 2 (3-0, champs)
Conference: Mid-State
Division: Valley, 4-0, champions
Record: 11-0
Home: 5-0
Away: 6-0
Neutral: 0-0
Points for: 433
Points against: 82
Shutouts: 2
Overtime: 0-0

HADDONFIELD PLAYOFF HISTORY:
PLAYOFF SEASONS: (15)
FINALS APPEARANCES: (8)
SECTIONAL TITLES: (5)
PLAYOFF RECORD: 24-10 (.706)
STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME RECORD: 5-3
YEARS WON STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS:
2010, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018

HILLSIDE PLAYOFF HISTORY:
PLAYOFF SEASONS: (10)
FINALS APPEARANCES: (4)
SECTIONAL TITLES: (3)
PLAYOFF RECORD: 11-7 (.611)
CHAMPIONSHIP GAME RECORD: 3-1
YEARS WON STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS:
1985, 2017, 2018

HADDONFIELD UNDER HEAD COACH FRANK DELANO:
2002: (3-7)
2003: (6-4) – South Jersey, Group 2 first round
2004: (2-8)
2005: (5-5)
2006: (7-4) – South Jersey, Group 2 semifinals
2007: (5-5)
2008: (8-3) – South Jersey, Group 2 semifinals
2009: (10-2) – South Jersey, Group 2 finalists
2010: (11-1) – South Jersey, Group 2 champs
2011 (11-1) – South Jersey, Group 2 finalists
2012: (6-4)
2013: (10-2) – South Jersey, Group 2 champs
2014: (12-0) – South Jersey, Group 2 champs
2015: (9-2) – South Jersey, Group 2 semifinals
2016: (6-4) – South Jersey, Group 2 first round
2017: (9-3) – South Jersey, Group 2 champs
2018: (12-0) – South Jersey, Group 2 champs
RECORD: 132-55 (.706)
PLAYOFF SEASONS: (12)
STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES: (7)
STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS: (5)

HILLSIDE UNDER HEAD COACH BARRIS GRANT:
2016: (4-6)
2017: (9-3) – Central Jersey, Group 2 champs
2018: (11-0) – Central Jersey, Group 2 champs
RECORD: 24-9 (.727)
PLAYOFF SEASONS: (2)
STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES: (2)
STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS: (2)

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