RAHWAY – The only thing the Indians have not achieved yet under head coach Gary Mobley is posing in front of a trophy in the middle of a field the first weekend in December.
A senior-dominated team that includes six returning starters on offense and seven on defense could be the group that brings home Rahway’s first state championship in 29 years.
“I do think this team can be a special one,” said Mobley, who has guided Rahway to eight winning seasons, eight playoff appearances and one state championship game in his first nine seasons at the helm. “It’s the mix of talent we have and the influx of our young guys.”
Last year’s squad finished 5-5, but had a two-touchdown lead in its North 2, Group 3 quarterfinal before falling at Palisades Park.
“That left a bad taste in our mouths,” said Mobley, whose Indians were defeated by Palisades Park 21-14. “Were were up 14-0, so that was disheartening.
“We were encouraged by what we had coming back.”
In addition to some solid linemen and a steady placekicker, Rahway – which last year lost two games by one touchdown and the Mountain Division by one point at Voorhees 14-13 – returns its top three backfield performers in senior quarterback Jeffery Bost, junior fullback Tyler West (who is also the kicker and punter) and senior tailback Gabril Gross.
Add to those key performers returning offensive linemen Edriece Patterson, only a sophomore, junior Sean Twerdak and senior Stephan Watkis-Davis and senior outside linebacker Dante Raymond, who leads a very experienced defense.
“It’s where the experience is that bodes well for us,” Mobley said.
Bost is back at signal-caller after producing a solid junior campaign.
“He’s more comfortable and has a good understanding of the offense,” Mobley said. “His reads are cleaner.
“He’s worked on his ability to recognize coverage in the passing game. He’s a leader by example and wants to be that guy.”
West returns at fullback and Gross at tailback, both runners capable of taking the ball to either sideline and then racing down field with it and into the end zone.
“They each understand their roles, both running and blocking,” Mobley said. “They look to exploit the gaps they’re given to be productive runners. They have the necessary chemistry to succeed.”
Raymond is one of the most highly-ranked college-bound seniors in Union County.
“He’s very aggressive, a solid run-stopper,” Mobley said. “He has the ability to run sideline-to-sideline.”
Patterson started on the defensive line toward the end of last year and will now be a difficult player to get past on both sides of the ball.
“We wouldn’t have played him as a freshman last year if we felt he wasn’t physical enough or didn’t have the mental attitude,” Mobley said. “He’s big, strong and gifted.”
West joins Raymond and senior Michael Stradford as a returning linebacker.
“Tyler has the ability to shed blockers,” Mobley said. “That comes naturally, to be in the right position and in front of the ball.”
It’s been three years since Rahway won a playoff game, with the Indians falling in first round play the last two years. The Indians were moved back to Central Jersey, Group 2, which was a section they reached the semifinals in for four straight seasons from 2004-2007.
The last time Rahway won in the playoffs was in 2010 when the Indians narrowly missed going to the North 2, Group 3 final for the second time in three years.
“We expect to take the experience we got from last year and continue with that,” Mobley said. “We want to get back to winning playoff games.
“We kind of cut our teeth in Central Jersey. That adds to the credibility of our program.”
RAHWAY’S MULTIPLE OFFENSE:
LT Edriece Patterson, sophomore, (6-3, 235)
LG Brandon Royal, junior, (6-0, 265)
C Sean Twerdak, junior, (6-0, 200)
RG Stephan Watkis-Davis, senior, (6-0, 280)
RT Rajul Thomas, senior, (6-2, 220)
TE Daejon Weeks-Landy, senior, (6-0, 180)
WR Jeffery Reyes, senior, (5-11, 160)
SE Thorne Roberts, senior, (6-3, 175)
QB Jeffery Bost, senior, (5-9, 160)
FB Tyler West, junior, (5-10, 220)
TB Gabril Gross, senior, (5-7, 170)
PK Tyler West, junior, (5-10, 220)
Returning starters (6): Patterson,
Twerdak, Watkis-Davis, Bost,
RAHWAY’S 4-4 DEFENSE:
LE Edriece Patterson, sophomore, (6-3, 235)
LT Brandon Royal, junior, (6-0, 265)
RT Stephan Watkis-Davis, senior, (6-0, 280)
RE Thorne Roberts, senior, (6-3, 175)
OLB Dante Raymond, senior, (6-0, 205)
MLB Tyler West, junior, (5-10, 220)
ILB Justin Hodges, senior, (5-10, 190)
OLB Michael Stradford, senior, (5-7, 160)
LCB Jeffery Bost, senior, (5-9, 160)
FS Daejon Weeks-Landy, senior, (6-0, 180)
RCB Jeffery Reyes, senior, (5-11, 160)
Returning starters (7): Patterson, Watkis-Davis,
Raymond, West, Stradford, Bost, Weeks-Landy.
Head coach: Gary Mobley, since 2004.
A 1986 Union graduate.
10th season: 66-31 (.680)
Conference: Mid-State 38
Section: Central Jersey, Group 2
Rahway’s last sectional title: 1984
2012: (5-5 and 4-1 in Mountain Division-second)
Veterans Field: Grass
Mobley was an assistant at Rahway for four years –
2000 and 2001 under Paul Sep, 2002 under Mark Ciccotelli
and 2003 under Kevin Conroy – before taking over as head
coach in 2004. He has guided the Indians to eight playoff
seasons and one state championship game.
RAHWAY INDIANS 2013
Sept. 13 at Hillside, 3 p.m.
Sept. 21 Delaware Valley, 1 p.m.
Sept. 28 at Scotch Plains, 2 p.m.
Oct. 5 at Gov. Livingston, 2 p.m.
Oct. 12 Summit, 1 p.m.
Oct. 19 Warren Hills, 1 p.m
Nov. 2 Voorhees, 2 p.m.
Nov. 9 at Roselle, 1 p.m.
Nov. 28 Johnson, 10 a.m.
Head coach: Gary Mobley,
2012 RAHWAY INDIANS (5-5)
(H) Rahway 39, Hillside 6
(A) Delaware Valley 27, Rahway 20
(H) Rahway 39, Scotch Plains 14
(H) Rahway 41, Gov. Livingston 10
(A) Summit 39, Rahway 20
(A) Rahway 20, Warren Hills 6
(A) Voorhees 14, Rahway 13
(H) Rahway 29, Roselle 6 – at Johnson
(A) Palisades Park 21, Rahway 14
(A) Johnson 33, Rahway 20
Head coach: Gary Mobley,
Section: North 2, Group 3
Conference: Mid-State 38
Division: Mountain 4-1