One team in Union County that can’t wait for the 2020 football season is the Roselle Rams.
Roselle went 5-6 the very best way you can do it – by winning its final five games.
Roselle hosted Roselle Park on Thanksgiving for the first time since 2015 and on Thursday morning the Rams came away with a convincing 50-36 triumph.
It was the first time Roselle defeated Roselle Park on Thanksgiving since 2016.
Last year was the first year the teams did not play on the holiday or holiday weekend because Roselle Park opted to not field a varsity team because of a lack of seniors and juniors.
The 2017 game, which was the 100th in the series, was moved to Roselle Park because Roselle’s Arminio Field was under construction.
Roselle Park still leads the series, which began in 1915, at 51-42-8.
Roselle was able to play seven games on its brand new turf this season, going 4-3. Included were consolation wins over Newark Collegiate 13-12 and Gov. Livingston 40-22.
Roselle’s first five losses were against teams that qualified for the state playoffs in their respective sections.
“Our schedule was very tough at top,” seventh-year Roselle head coach James Williams said. “Of our 41 kids we only had two seniors.”
This may very well be the final time Roselle and Roselle Park clash on Thanksgiving. The game, if still scheduled, would be moved up.
“We just don’t see a reason to play the game on Thanksgiving anymore,” Williams said. “It doesn’t really serve a purpose for us.”
With a young team Williams wanted his Rams to get as much experience as it could this year, which is why he scheduled two consolation games. Last year’s squad did not play any because Williams did not want to subject an even younger squad to further punishment.
“This year I felt these kids needed the experience of playing in those games,” Williams said. “Finishing 5-6 points us in the right direction for next year.”
Roselle outscored its final five foes 192-97.
“Hopefully we have a good off-season,” Williams said. “We’re looking forward to next year. We think the sky’s the limit.”
In its first season back at the varsity level Roselle Park finished 2-9, including a last-second win at Dayton and a consolation shutout triumph at home over Highland Park.
UNION COUNTY THANKSGIVING SCOREBOARD:
Roselle 50, Roselle Park 56 – at Roselle’s Arminio Field
New Providence 14, Gov. Livingston 7 – at GL’s Frey Field
Rahway 42, Johnson 7 – at Rahway River Park
Westfield 24, Plainfield 0 – at Gary Kehler Stadium
New Providence snapped a two-game losing streak to finish 7-3 after coming back to win at Gov. Livingston 14-7. For the visiting Pioneers it was their first win in the series since 2013.
GL, with a very young team that comprised of very little varsity experience, finished 1-10. For the second straight season the Highlanders played two consolation games, including a 41-31 win at Monmouth.
Rahway downed Johnson 42-7 at Rahway River Park, beating the Crusaders for the fourth year in a row on Thanksgiving.
The Indians, who finished 5-1 at home including 5-0 in the regular season, won their first game on the field since topping Cranford 46-14 back on Oct. 11.
Rahway shared the Mid-State 38 Conference’s Mountain Division championship with Summit and Somerville, each finishing 5-1 in league play. Rahway defeated Summit, Summit downed Somerville and Somerville beat Rahway.
Johnson finished 4-7, including a 48-25 consolation win at home over Spotswood. The Crusaders shut out Gov. Livingston (14-0), Roselle (26-0) and Dunellen (35-0) at home for their first three victories.
Westfield blanked Plainfield 24-0 at home in the 115th meeting, the longest holiday rivalry in Union County and near the top of the list in the entire state.
For the Blue Devils, who finished 7-4 one year after concluding at 4-7, it was their lone shutout of their 2019 campaign.
Westfield reached the North 2, Group 5 semifinals and won a playoff game for the fifth time in six seasons.
Plainfield came in at 2-8 under first-year head coach Don Sofilkanich, with both of their wins on the road. The Cardinals topped two Middlesex County schools, first winning at Iselin Kennedy 30-6 in their opener and then at J.P. Stevens 20-0 for their lone shutout.