Rahway challenge will be to limit Summit early on; Battle of elite 4-0 football squads Saturday at Veterans Field

Host Indians have not defeated visiting Hilltoppers since 1981; Summit's regular season winning streak at 40 and overall win streak at 16; Summit has a 13-game winning streak against Rahway

PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI - Rahway's defense will have to be a bit quicker when trying to stop Summit's versatile, no-huddle offense.
PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI – Rahway’s defense will have to be a bit quicker when trying to stop Summit’s versatile, no-huddle offense.
PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI - One of the top runners in Union County is Rahway senior tailback Gabril Gross (No. 22).
PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI – One of the top runners in Union County is Rahway senior tailback Gabril Gross (No. 22).
PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI - Rahway head coach Gary Mobley confers with senior quarterback Jeffery Bost (No. 1).
PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI – Rahway head coach Gary Mobley confers with senior quarterback Jeffery Bost (No. 1).
PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI - Rahway head coach Gary Mobley is pleased with his team's 4-0 start, but knows that his Indians can still play much better.
PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI – Rahway head coach Gary Mobley is pleased with his team’s 4-0 start, but knows that his Indians can still play much better.
PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI - Rahway is 4-0 for the first time since 2007.
PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI – Rahway is 4-0 for the first time since 2007.
PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI - Rahway's offense, at right, will attempt to reach the end zone Saturday vs. visiting Summit.
PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI – Rahway’s offense, at right, will attempt to reach the end zone Saturday vs. visiting Summit.
PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI - Rahway's spiritual leader is senior Stephan Watkis-Davis (No. 66).
PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI – Rahway’s spiritual leader is senior Stephan Watkis-Davis (No. 66).
PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI - Summit has a 40-game regular season winning streak.
PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI – Summit has a 40-game regular season winning streak.

One of the challenges to staying in a game against Summit is to keep the Hilltoppers off the scoreboard in the first half in order to have a chance after halftime.

So far Somerville, Johnson, Cranford and North Plainfield have not been able to do that. Those teams were not fast enough or focused enough to keep up with Summit’s versatile, no-huddle offense.

Rahway gets the next crack, with the Indians hosting the Hilltoppers in a battle of 4-0 squads. Kickoff is Saturday at 1 p.m. at Rahway’s Veterans Field.

Rahway, seeking to capture Central Jersey, Group 2 this year for the first time, leads the Mid-State 38 Conference’s Mountain Division at 3-0.

Summit, seeking to repeat in North 2, Group 3, leads the Raritan Division with a record of 4-0.

Rahway has not defeated Summit in over 20 years.

Summit has won a program-record 40 straight regular season games going back to a Nov. 7, 2008 loss at West Essex 37-12 in the final regular season game that season.

The Hilltoppers have not lost a regular season game as a member of the Mid-State Conference. Summit is also on an overall winning streak of 16, including last year’s second 12-0 finish.

While the game does not have division implications and both teams are in different sections, it’s a big measuring stick for both.

Rahway has won by an average of 23 points and Summit by 26. Rahway has yielded only 29 points so far, six of them coming on a kickoff return.

Summit led Somerville 22-0 at halftime on its way to a 29-7 road triumph. The Hilltoppers then led Johnson 35-7 at the half on their way to a 48-23 victory in Clark.

In its home-opener last weekend against Cranford, Summit scored all seven times it had the ball in the first half for a 48-7 halftime advantage. Summit defeated Cranford for a fifth straight year by the final score of 48-14.

This past Saturday afternoon at Tatlock Field, theHilltoppers led North Plainfield 28-6 at the half on their way to another commanding 35-12 victory.

Summit – guided by first-year head coach Kevin Kostibos, who was promoted after being an assistant under John Liberato the past six seasons – has scored 19 of its 23 touchdowns in the first half, averaging nearly five for the game’s first 24 minutes.

First-year starter at quarterback, 6-3 senior Charlie Terry, has thrown seven of his eight touchdown passes in the first half and has also rushed for two scores.

He looked as smooth as Joe Montana in throwing four touchdown passes in the first quarter – two to Chris Zanelli, one to David Connelly and one to Andrew Masterfano – in shredding a young Cranford defense.

“We’ve seen them on film and their no-huddle appears to be a bit more diversified,” said Rahway head coach Gary Mobley. “It might be 50-50 or even 60-40 passing.

“Their quarterback has height and a line of sight. We’re going to have to be on our Ps and Qs and bring our A game to stop them.”

Senior fullback Colm Dougherty has proven tough to handle as well, leading Summit with 364 yards on 32 carries (11.4 average) and nine touchdowns.

“This is our test,” Rahway defensive coordinator Jimmy Young said. “It all starts up front.

“We have to be focused and know our assignments. That will give us the ability to succeed.”

One of Rahway’s seven returning starters on defense is spiritual leader Stephan Watkis-Davis (6-0, 280), a tough senior to block and also run past.

“We’ve watched them on film and we know we’re going to have to work extra hard this week,” Watkis-Davis said. “We’re going to have to.”

Against a different cast of standout offensive players that have since graduated, including Mike Badgley, A.J. Iarussi, Kyre Negron and Tyler Carbone, Rahway fell at Summit 39-20 last year.

“Last year it was the speed of the game for us,” Watkis-Davis said.

Two years ago, also at Summit, Rahway fell 24-14 when Summit’s regular season winning streak was at 20. The game was tied 14-14 heading into the fourth quarter before a crucial turnover proved costly for the visiting Indians.

“We’ve worked real hard so far and put the time in over the summer,” Watkis-Davis said. “We’ve been worker harder on our sprints.”

Saturday’s game will be played on Rahway’s grass, in contrast to the field turf the Hilltoppers play on.

“We feel that might be an advantage forus,” Watkis-Davis said. “We’re going to get down and dirty and play in the mud if we have to.”

It took some time this past Saturday for Rahway – 4-0 for the first time since 2007 – to get itself together against host Governor Livingston, a team it has now defeated seven straight seasons. The Indians were held to just one offensive touchdown in the first half.

“We feel that we haven’t played our best football yet,” Young said. “That’s what we’re gearing for this week.”

Summit will have to contend with one of the best running backs in Union County in diminutive tailback Gabril Gross (5-6, 170). He has rushed for nearly 600 yards far this season, including over 250 against GL. Gross has scored four touchdowns.

Back at quarterback is senior Jeffery Bost, who has rushed for over 400 yards, has scored a team-leading five touchdowns and also passed for two.

Returning standout linebackers include junior Tyler West in the middle and senior Dante Raymond on the outside. Sophomore Edriece Patterson is a returning offensive lineman at tackle and defensive lineman at end, starting for the first time on defense toward the end of last year.

West and Summit’s Zanelli are both capable kickers.

While Rahway has six starters back on offense and seven back on defense, Summit has just three back on offense – linemen Robbie Walsh (6-8), Steve Rainero and Eric Lyman – and only one back on defense, Dougherty at linebacker.

Lately, Summit seems to be able to plug new players into its system and reap success immediately. The Hilltoppers are 48-2 in their last 50 games.

“We feel we have the personnel to match up with them,” Mobley said. “We’ll need to focus on our blocking techniques and eliminate the offsides calls, which goes back to being sound, fundamentally.

“We feel we’ve gotten better every week. Now we’re going up against a state championship-calibre team.”

 

Scores since both entered the Mid-State 39 (now 38) Conference:

2012: Summit 39, Rahway 20 – at Summit

Rahway and Voorhees finished at the top of the Mountain Division standings, each with 4-1 records. Summit concluded first in the Raritan Division at 6-0.

2011: Summit 24, Rahway 14 – at Summit

Summit finished first in the East B Division at 5-0, while Rahway was third at 3-2.

2010: Summit 30, Rahway 7 – at Rahway

Summit finished first in the East B Division at 5-0, while Rahway was tied for second with Cranford and Johnson, all three teams at 3-2.

2009: Did not play.

Both finished 4-0 in the Mountain Division, but did not play each other.

Summit’s offense vs. Rahway’s defense was a game many would like to have seen in 2009.

 

 

SUMMIT’S WING-T,

SPREAD OFFENSE:

77-LT Robbie Walsh, senior, (6-8, 225)

65-LG Matt Greenstein, junior, (6-3, 245)

70-C Stevie Rainero, junior, (6-0, 235)

78-RG Harold Esquivel, senior, (5-10, 230)

50-RT Eric Lyman, senior, (6-3, 205)

16-QB Charlie Terry, senior, (6-3, 175)

42-FB Colm Dougherty, senior, (5-10, 180)

23-RB Chris Zanelli, junior, (5-10, 175)

28-RB Andrew Masterfano, senior, (5-11, 155)

88-WR Drew Mullholland, junior, (5-9, 155)

9-WR Dan Childers, senior, (6-0, 175)

80-WR Andrew Helmer, junior, (6-1, 180)

20-WR Spencer Sink, junior, (5-9, 190)

23-PK Chris Zanelli, junior, (5-10, 175)

Returning starters (3): Walsh, Rainero, Lyman.

 

SUMMIT’S 4-3 DEFENSE:

85-E Mac Wiesner, senior, (6-5, 210)

54-E Michael Maldonado, junior, (6-4, 220)

62-T Colin Andrews, junior, (6-1, 230)

75-T Gerber Bolanos, senior, (5-9, 235)

42-LB Colm Dougherty, senior, (5-10, 180)

32-LB Matt Oristanio, senior, (5-9, 175)

1-LB Nick Ruiz, senior, (5-11, 185)

4-CB Will Huck, junior, (6-0, 175)

80-CB Andrew Helmer, junior, (6-1, 180)

13-S Peter McKinley, junior, (5-10, 180)

10-S John Cordrey, junior, (5-10, 175)

16-P Charlie Terry, senior, (6-3, 175)

Returning starters (1): Dougherty.

 

SUMMIT HILLTOPPERS (4-0)

(A) Summit 29, Somerville 7

(A) Summit 48, Johnson 23

(H) Summit 48, Cranford 14

(H) Summit 35, North Plainfield 12

Oct. 12 at Rahway, 1 p.m.

Oct. 19 Roselle, 1 p.m.

Oct. 25 at Warren Hills, 7 p.m.

Nov. 2 Delaware Valley, 2 p.m.

Nov. 9 at Hillside, 1 p.m.

Head coach: Kevin Kostibos,

first season, 4-0 (1.000)

Section: North 2, Group 3

Conference: Mid-State 38

Division: Raritan 4-0

Record: 4-0

Home: 2-0

Away: 2-0

Points for: 160

Points against: 56

Shutouts: 0

Overtime: 0-0

 

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, (5-5, 170)

PK Tyler West, junior, (5-10, 220)

Returning starters (6): Patterson,

Twerdak, Watkis-Davis, Bost,

West, Gross.

 

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.

 

RAHWAY INDIANS (4-0)

(A) Rahway 27, Hillside 13

(H) Rahway 26, Delaware Valley 6

(A) Rahway 34, Scotch Plains 10

(A) Rahway 35, Gov. Livingston 0

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,

10th season, 70-31 (.693)

Section: Central Jersey, Group 2

Conference: Mid-State 38

Division: Mountain 3-0

Record: 4-0

Home: 1-0

Away: 3-0

Points for: 122

Points against: 29

Shutouts: 1

Overtime: 0-0

 

RAHWAY VS. SUMMIT FOOTBALL SCORES SINCE 1980:

2012: Summit 39, Rahway 20 – at Summit

2011: Summit 24, Rahway 14 – at Summit

2010: Summit 30, Rahway 7 – at Rahway

2009: Did not play. First year both were in

Mid-State 39 (now 38) Conference.

1996-2008:Did not play. Summit was in

the Hills Division of the Iron Hills Conference.

1995: Summit 35, Rahway 0

1994: Summit 41, Rahway 0

1993: Summit 27, Rahway 0

1992: Summit 13, Rahway 8

1991: Summit 22, Rahway 21

1990: Summit 28, Rahway 7

1989: Summit 14, Rahway 10

1988: Summit 14, Rahway 7

1987: Summit 23, Rahway 20

1986: Summit 35, Rahway 6

1985: Did not play.

1984: Did not play.

1983: Did not play.

1982: Did not play.

1981: Rahway 27, Summit 22

1980: Summit 10, Rahway 7 – N2, G3 final

1980: Did not play in regular season.

NOTES: Former Rahway standout Bobby Akbar (McClain)

wrote a book – edited by Mary Ryan – called, “What It Means

To Wear The Red And Black: 100 Years Of Rahway High  School

Indian Football.” Published and distributed before the 2006 season,

I was able to find out that Rahway last beat Summit in 1981 by

going through the wonderful book Akbar put together.

The 1981 Rahway team captured the Watchung Conference’s

National Division championship for the fourth straight season

and also reached the North 2, Group 3 championship game for

the fourth consecutive year, winning the game in 1978 and 1979

and losing it in 1980 and 1981. The 1981 team finished 8-1-2, with its

only loss coming against Caldwell 17-6 in the N2, G3 final.

Summit has defeated Rahway the last 13 times they have clashed.

COMMENTS