Cranford football preview: Cougars have new look at quarterback in Oblachinski

CRANFORD – When a team gets hit hard by graduation that just adds to the challenge of trying to be competitive.

In Cranford’s case, that includes a more-than-respectable senior class that featured 2013 graduate Reggie Green, who is now playing on the Division 1-A level at the University of Pittsburgh.

Green, from his quarterback position in addition to being a standout in the secondary,  led Cranford to its first state championship in the playoff era two years ago and to another playoff season last year.

In his place is one of Green’s throwing targets from last year, senior John Oblachinski, who goes from catching the ball to throwing it and directing Cranford’s spread offense.

“He’s arguably the best athlete on the team,” said Cranford head coach Erik Rosenmeier. “He throws it, runs well and he reads the option well. He can keep defenses off balance.”

Oblachinski is a returning starter on both sides of the ball, but one of only three on offense and just four on defense.

“Experience is our biggest obstacle,” Rosenmeier said. “We improved in all of our scrimmages.

“However, I don’t know if we’re getting better fast enough.”

Another impact player on offense is junior running back Luke Christiano.

“He’s the toughest kid on the team,” Rosenmeier said. “He’s fast, strong and has the highest football IQ.”

One of the guards is senior Robert O’Shaughnessy (6-0, 295), who is the only senior on the team to start as a sophomore. O’Shaughnessy is looking to play at the next level.

“Robert has great feet and good hip flexibility,” Rosenmeier said. “He just has to decide whether or not he wants to be a dominant player.”

Rosenmeier mentioned senior linebackers Robert Delsandro and Joe Dasilva as defensive stalwarts.

“With Robert it’s his toughness,” Rosenmeier said. “Joe has a nose for the football.”

Back for his third year as Cranford’s placekicker is senior Troy Kettler.

“He’s a weapon that we count on,” Rosenmeier said. “If we get to the 25 we’re in field goal position with him.

“We’re shocked when he doesn’t make a field goal. He also worked on his kickoffs.”

Cranford opens Thursday night at Watchung Hills and has its home-opener Sept. 20 vs. Raritan Division foe Somerville.

 

CRANFORD’S

SPREAD OFFENSE:

T Brian Bruns, senior, (6-1, 230)

T Michael Pastor, senior, (5-9, 235)

C Robert Delsandro, senior, (5-9, 215)

G Robert O’Shaughnessy, senior, (6-0, 295)

G Jonathan El-Khoury, senior, (6-0, 235)

G Will Fries, sophomore, (6-6, 230)

TE Stephen Baglieri, senior, (6-2, 200)

WR Geddy Warner, senior, (5-8, 165)

WR Jack McCaffery, senior, (6-1, 175)

WR Joe Norton, sophomore, (5-10, 165)

QB John Oblachinski, senior, (6-2, 190)

RB Luke Christiano, junior, (5-8, 155)

RB Ahmad Davis, sophomore, (5-9, 160)

RB Donovan Walker, junior, (6-1, 175)

PK Troy Kettler, senior, (5-8, 155)

Returning starters (3): Bruns, O’Shaughnessy

Oblachinski.

 

CRANFORD’S

MULTIPLE DEFENSE:

T Michael Pastor, senior, (5-9, 235)

T Robert O’Shaughnessy, senior, (6-0, 295)

T Brian Bruns, senior, (6-1, 230)

E Stephen Baglieri, senior, (6-2, 200)

E Jake Matthews, junior, (6-0, 175)

E Nick Ballas, junior, (5-9, 175)

E Will Fries, sophomore, (6-6, 230)

LB Robert Delsandro, senior, (5-9, 215)

LB Joe Dasilva, senior, (5-8, 165)

LB Niko Cappello, sophomore, (5-9, 175)

S Kevin Trotter, junior, (5-9, 160)

S Luke Christiano, junior (5-8, 155)

CB John Oblachinski, senior, (6-2, 190)

CB Donovan Walker, junior, (6-1, 175)

P Troy Kettler, senior, (5-8, 155)

Returning starters (4): O’Shaughnessy,

Dasilva, Trotter, Oblachinski.

 

CRANFORD COUGARS

Head coach: Erik Rosenmeier, since 2005.

A 1983 Johnson Regional graduate.

Ninth season: 47-31 (.580)

Conference: Mid-State 38

Division:Raritan

Section: North 2, Group 3

Cranford’s last sectional title: 2011

2012: (7-3 and 4-1 in Raritan Division-second)

Memorial Field: Field Turf

Rosenmeier became the first Cranford coach to

lead the Cougars to back-to-back playoff

appearances, doing so the last two seasons.

 

CRANFORD COUGARS 2013

Sept. 12 at Watchung Hills, 7 p.m.

Sept. 20 Somerville, 7 p.m.

Sept. 28 at Summit, 1 p.m.

Oct. 4 Roselle, 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 DelawareValley, 7 p.m.

Oct. 19 at Scotch Plains, 2 p.m.

Oct. 25 at Ridge, 7 p.m.

Nov. 1 Johnson, 7 p.m.

Nov. 8 at North Plainfield, 7 p.m.

Head coach: Erik Rosenmeier,

ninth season

 

2012 CRANFORD COUGARS (7-3)

(H) Cranford 17, Watchung Hills 14

(A) Cranford 21, Somerville 0

(H) Summit 30, Cranford 27

(A) Cranford 35, Roselle 21

(A) Cranford 15, DelawareValley 14

(H) Cranford 26, Scotch Plains 20

(H) Ridge 35, Cranford 21

(A) Cranford 29, Johnson 3

Nov. 2, 9 – North Plainfield

Cancelled because of Hurricane Sandy.

(H) Cranford 37, South Plainfield 12

(H) PalisadesPark 35, Cranford 21

Head coach: Erik Rosenmeier,

eighth season.

Section: North 2, Group 3

Conference: Mid-State 38

Division:Raritan 4-1, second

did not host North Plainfield

Record: 7-3

Home: 3-3

Away: 4-0

Points for: 212

Points against: 172

Shutouts: 1

Overtime: 0-0

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