Dayton football preview – Bulldogs have experience necessary to produce breakout season

PHOTOS BY JR PARACHINI – Dayton, on offense at right vs. Brearley last year, opens Sept. 13 at New Providence.
Dominic Cuniglio (middle in blue) is in his sixth season as head coach of the Dayton Bulldogs. His squad has nearly everyone back this year.

SPRINGFIELD – If experience is worth its weight in gold, then the Dayton Bulldogs could be in for a breakout season.
Almost all of its starters return following a season that saw the Group 1 school from Springfield just try to keep its head above water.
“With the returning players having a year of experience under their belts this Dayton team is poised to improve on last year’s totals,” said head coach Dominic Cuniglio, now in his sixth season at the helm of the Bulldogs.
Returning at quarterback is junior Anthony Apicella, who closed last year as the starter and threw for over 400 yards in two games. Also back are receivers David Ares, Mike Kanarek and Jovanni Salcfas, in addition to leading rusher Justin Mascitelli.
Four of last year’s five starters on the offensive line return. Kyle Guerrero is back after missing last year with an injury.
Cuniglio moved Perez from fullback last year to the offensive line, at left guard, to plug a whole that needed to be filled.
“Juan Perez is a selfless individual,” Cuniglio said last season. “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.”
Dayton has 10 of 11 starters back on defense. Junior end Dan Munoz distinguished himself as a sophomore a year ago.
“The key to our success will be how we respond when adversity sneaks in and how well we can maintain our focus on our goals,” Cuniglio said.
Dayton will be tested severely right off the bat. The Bulldogs open Friday night at defending Mid-State Conference-Union Division champion New Providence.
“As a staff we are excited about the team-first attitude this this group has taken,” Cuniglio said. “We had a great camp and maintained a daily focus on getting better each day.”

Jovanni Salcfas, Anthony Apicella, Justin Mascitelli.

Jovanni Salcfas, WR/LB, senior 3-year starter
Juan Perez, RB/LB, senior 3-year starter
Justin Mascitelli, RB/LB, senior 2-year starter
David Ares, WR/DB/K, junior 2-year starter
Randy Leiva, OL/DL, senior 2-year starter
Aeneas Brown, WR/DB, senior 2-year starter
Mike Kanarek, WR/DB, junior 2-year starter
Dan Munoz, OL/DL, junior 2-year starter
Anthony Corigliano, RB/DB, junior 2-year starter

Chris Katz, senior, WR/DB
Jack Pleva, senior, WR/DB
Justin Carrier, sophomore, RB/DB
Montrell Mayo-Smith, sophomore, OL/DL
Charlie Myers, junior, OL/DL

T Charlie Myers, junior, (6-3, 270)
G Randy Leiva, senior, (5-9, 210)
C Kyle Guerrero, senior, (6-0, 235)
G Dan Munoz, junior, (6-5, 245)
T Montrell Mayo-Smith, sophomore, (6-1, 215)
WR David Ares, junior, (6-0, 150)
WR Mike Kanarek, junior, (6-0, 170)
WR Jovanni Salcfas, senior, (6-1, 205)
QB Anthony Apicella, junior, (5-10, 170)
RB Justin Mascitelli, senior, (5-9, 190)
RB Juan Perez, senior, (5-9, 195)
PK David Ares, junior, (6-0, 170)
Returning starters (8): Myers, Munoz,
Ares, Kanarek, Salcfas, Apicella,
Mascitelli, Perez.

E Randy Leiva, senior, (5-9, 210)
T Charlie Myers, junior, (6-3, 270)
E Dan Munoz, junior, (6-4, 245)
LB Jovani Salcfas, senior, (6-1, 205)
LB Anthony Corigliano, junior, (5-11, 185)
LB Justin Mascitelli, senior, (5-9, 190)
LB Juan Perez, senior, (5-9, 195)
CB Chris Katz, senior, (5-9, 160)
CB David Ares, junior, (6-0, 170)
S Aeneas Brown, senior, (5-9, 195)
S Anthony Apicella, junior, (5-10, 170)
S Jack Pleva, senior, (6-0, 175)
P David Ares, junior, (6-0, 170)
Returning starters (10): Leiva, Myers,
Munoz, Salcfas, Mascitelli, Perez, Katz,
Ares, Brown, Apicella.

Sept. 13 at New Providence, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 Brearley, 7 p.m.
Sept. 27 Roselle Park, 7 p.m.
Oct. 4 South Hunterdon, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 at Belvidere, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 at Manville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 26 at Highland Park, 2 p.m.
Nov. 1 Bound Brook, 7 p.m.
Head coach: Dominic Cuniglio,
sixth season

(H) Dayton forfeit vs. Belvidere
(A) Brearley 40, Dayton 0
(H) New Providence 47, Dayton 6
(A) Dayton forfeit vs. Highland Park
(A) Bound Brook 50, Dayton 6
(A) Middlesex 42, Dayton 0
(H) Manville 31, Dayton 0
(H) South Hunterdon 41, Dayton 21
(A) Bogota 49, Dayton 7
Head coach: Dominic Cuniglio,
fifth season
Section: North, Group 1
Conference: Mid-State 36
Division: Union, 1-5
Record: 2-7
Home: 1-3
Away: 1-4
Points for: 40
Points against: 300
Shutouts: 0
Overtime: 0-0

Head Coach: Dominic Cuniglio, since 2014.
A 1993 Steinert graduate.
Sixth season: 15-34 (.306).
Conference: Mid-State
Division: Union
Section: North, Group 1
Dayton’s last playoff season: 2012
2018: (2-7 and 1-5, sixth in Union Division)
Dayton’s 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 three 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.