By JR Parachini, Union County Sports Editor
ROSELLE PARK – There’s a new sheriff in town and his name is Terry Hanratty.
The Elizabeth resident and former successful mentor at Governor Livingston, who lives just a few first down markers from Roselle Park’s Herm Shaw Field, is embracing his next coaching challenge with everything he’s got.
Roselle Park last posted a winning season in 2006 and last made the state playoffs in 2001, which was also the last year the Panthers downed arch rivals Brearley and New Providence.
Could this be the season when some – or all – of those streaks come to an end?
“When I first met with the seniors we started to do things to build on,” Hanratty said. “We painted the lockerroom ourselves, we went out and through fundraising bought flags for the field and were able to create signs that read ‘Panther Pride.’
“We changed the color of our helmets to white and were able to purchase new uniforms. The kids our excited about the new things we’ve been able to do so far.”
After the seasons of 2008, 2009 and 2010 produced a total of just three victories, Roselle Park improved last year, finishing 3-7 and almost knocking off Brearley.
Hanratty has six starters back on both offense and defense, with senior running back-linebacker Juan Carmona – one of the top players in Union County last season – leading the way.
“Juan has gotten a lot better,” Hanratty said. “He’s an explosive athlete. He’s a very hard runner and a fierce linebacker.
“He’s really stood out in our scrimmages. Teams are going to want to stop him.”
The other returning starters on offense include senior linemen Greg Kurywczak at right guard, Erick Romero at right tackle, Rob Bianchi at left guard and Kevin Metellus at left tackle. Back at tight end and plackekicker and punter is senior Frank Schneeberger.
Kurywczak, Romero and Metellus are all 6-1 or taller.
“Their size says a lot for a senior class at a Group 1 school,” Hanratty said. “The kids know how to play the game. Some of them have started for three years. Our seniors have really done a good job so far.”
Those experienced players up front will be out to protect first-year signal-caller Jordan Andre, who was Roselle Park’s junior quarterback a year ago.
“Jordan worked really hard this summer and dedicated himself,” Hanratty said. “He’s a very hard-working young man.
“He can run. His strength is that he’s a very good athlete.”
Also back on defense is senior Richie Johns, who was at cornerback last season and is now at inside linebacker along with Carmona.
“Our linemen have been able to hold their ground so far and our linebackers have also come up to make big plays,” Hanratty said. “They’re occupying their gaps very well.”
Among the 36 players on the varsity roster are five newcomers, including junior halfback-safety Brian Matthews, senior wide receiver-outside linebacker Samar Branch, junior guard-defensive end Steve Lovesky, junior center Mark Signorello and junior wide receiver-defensive back Pete Hilburn.
Matthews is a transfer from Brick Township, where he played football and wrestled as a freshman and sophomore. His family moved back to Roselle Park.
Hilburn wrestled at St. Peter’s Prep as a freshman and sophomore, but did not play football at the Jersey City parochial school.
Branch, Lovesky and Signorello are wrestlers who are also playing football this year, with Branch becoming eligible.
Roselle Park is situated in the Mid-State 38 Conference’s Hills Division along with South Hunterdon, Pingry, Manville and Bound Brook.
The Panthers play their first four games of the season against those four opponents.
“Since we play those four teams our first four games, winning the Hills Division championship is our first goal,” Hanratty said.
Last year, Roselle Park defeated South Hunterdon and Bound Brook, lost to Pingry and did not play Manville. The Panthers last faced Manville in 2009, which was a loss, and last defeated the Mustangs in 2005.
“I think the division was done fair, putting teams together that have struggled lately,” Hanratty said.
Being able to play his best players at all times is what Hanratty and his staff seeks the most.
“Just like when I was at GL, we’ve got to stay healthy,” Hanratty said. “I think we have a pretty good team so far and we can have a successful year. The kids have really bought into our philosophy.”
Former head coach James Foy, who succeeded John Wagner with a winning season in 2006, is now coaching the freshman team along with Keith Wintermute. Both played at Roselle Park under Wagner.
Hanratty, who will still be teaching health and physical education at GL, brought along four coaches from his former Berkeley Heights staff. Those coaches include Greg Dunkerton, Jeff Maretta, Justin Polce and John Mahon.
Dunkerton and Maretta were at GL with Hanratty for all eight seasons Hanratty (2004-2011) was the head coach, while Polce was a volunteer coach during the 2008 campaign when the Highlanders reached the North 2, Group 2 final. Mahon, who teaches math at Roselle Park, coached the freshmen at GL and is a volunteer coach for Hanratty this season.
ROSELLE PARK’S WING-T OFFENSE:
C Mark Signorello, junior, (5-10-185)
RG Greg Kurywczak, senior, (6-2, 210)
RT Erick Romero, senior, (6-1, 215)
TE Frank Schneeberger, senior, (5-11, 185)
LG Rob Bianchi, senior, (5-10, 195)
LT Kevin Metellus, senior, (6-1, 215)
QB Jordan Andre, junior, (5-9, 160)
FB Juan Carmona, senior, (5-11, 175)
WB Samar Branch, senior, (5-8, 160)
HB Brian Matthews, junior, (5-8, 155)
WR Brandon Pugliese, junior, (5-10, 155)
PK-P Frank Schneeberger, senior, (5-11, 185)
Returning starters (6): Kurywczak, Romero,
Schneeberger, Bianchi, Metellus, Carmona.
ROSELLE PARK’S 4-4 DEFENSE:
T Rob Bianchi, senior, (5-10, 195)
T Kevin Metellus, senior, (6-1, 215)
E Erick Romero, senior, (6-1, 215)
E Greg Kurywczak, senior, (6-2, 210)
ILB Juan Carmona, senior, (5-11, 175)
ILB Richie Johns, senior, (5-10, 175)
OLB Samar Branch, senior, (5-8, 160)
OLB Frank Schneeberger, senior, (5-11, 185)
CB Brandon Pugliese, junior, (5-10, 155)
CB Jordan Andre, junior, (5-9, 160)
S Brian Matthews, junior, (5-8, 155)
Returning starters (6): Bianchi, Metellus, Romero,
Kurywczak, Carmona, Johns-was at cornerback last year.
OTHER KEY CONTRIBUTORS:
RB-LB John Michael Conde, senior, (5-10, 185)
WR-DB Pete Hilburn, junior, (5-9, 165)
RB-DB Bobby Vail, junior, (5-9, 160)
G-DE Steve Lovesky, junior, (5-9, 180)
LB Edwin Castro, senior, (5-10, 185)
RB Michael Velasquez, junior, (5-9, 160)
OL-DL Nick Muccia, junior, (6-1, 195)
2012 ROSELLE PARK PANTHERS
Sept. 8 at Pingry, 1 p.m.
Sept. 14 at Manville, 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 South Hunterdon, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 Bound Brook, 7 p.m.
Oct. 5 at Brearley, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 at Bernards, 7 p.m.
Oct. 26 Dayton, 7 p.m.
Nov. 3 at New Providence, 2 p.m.
Nov. 22 Roselle, 10:30 a.m.
Head coach: Terry Hanratty,
2011 ROSELLE PARK PANTHERS (3-7)
(A) Belvidere 34, Roselle Park 0
(H) Brearley 3, Roselle Park 0
(H) Roselle Park 12, South Hunterdon 10
(A) Dayton 31, Roselle Park 7 – at Union
(H) Roselle Park 17, Bound Brook 2
(A) Pingry 34, Roselle Park 10
(H) Bernards 25, Roselle Park 7
(H) New Providence 20, Roselle Park 3
(H) Roselle Park 26, Keansburg 13
(A) Roselle 27, Roselle Park 0
Head coach: James Foy, sixth year
Section: Central Jersey, Group 1
Mid-State 39, East C Division: 1-4
Points for: 82
Points against: 199
ROSELLE PARK PANTHERS
Head Coach: Terry Hanratty, since 2012.
A 1990 Elizabeth graduate.
Conference: Mid-State 38
Section: North 2, Group 1
Roselle Park’s last sectional title: 1993
2011: (3-7 and 1-4 in East C Division-fifth)
Herm Shaw Field: Grass.
Hanratty was the head coach at GL the last eight seasons,
guiding the Highlanders to the playoffs his first six years,
including the 2008 North 2, Group 2 championship game.
His record at GL was 41-43, including four playoff wins