In addition to beginning its 2014 campaign with a program-best 45-game regular season winning streak, the Summit Hilltoppers football team will also start the season with a state-best overall 24-game winning streak.
After producing a 12-0 record for the second consecutive season for the first time, Summit has now not only gone the past five seasons without losing a regular season game, but has also gone the last two without losing a single contest!
Summit went 12-0 for the third time in program history and for the third time in the past five seasons after holding off Parsippany Hills 16-13 in Friday night’s North 2, Group 3 championship game at Kean University’s Alumni Stadium in Union. The game was played during cold, misty and rainy conditions.
An interception by Summit’s Andrew Masterfano – his second of the game, which came on a pass by Parsippany Hills quarterback Brandon Katzenberg to wide receiver Tommy Bluj ticketed for the corner of the end zone – clinched the victory with 1:30 remaining and the Vikings out of timeouts.
Parsippany Hills elected to throw the ball into the end zone on the fourth down play rather than attempt a game-tying field goal from 34 yards out. Summit’s third and final score was a field goal in the second quarter.
Summit’s defensive line stopped Parsippany Hills short on a fourth-and-inches from the Hilltopper 14-yard line earlier in the fourth quarter.
Summit won its second straight state championship and third in five years. The Hilltoppers repeated as state champions in the playoff era for the second time and for the first time in North 2, Group 3.
Summit has played in state championship games the past three years and fourt times in the past five.
The Hilltoppers are now also an amazing 56-2 since the start of the 2009 season.
With an entirely new starting cast this year – and new head coach in former assistant Kevin Kostibos – Summit kept the winning and domination going.
Kostibos joined John Liberato (twice at Summit in 2009 and 2012) and Scott Miller (once at Brearley in 2006) as the only Union County coaches to guide teams to 12-0 state championship seasons.
The Hilltoppers won 10 of their 12 games by double digits.
The only exception in the regular season was coming back to beat a 4-0 Rahway team on the road 26-20 back on Oct. 12 at Veterans Field. Rahway led 13-0 after scoring touchdowns on its first two possessions. Summit outscored Rahway 20-0 in the all-important fourth quarter.
Second-seeded and defending champion Summit led fourth-seeded Parsippany Hills 16-0 before the Vikings finally scored a touchdown right before halftime to trail 16-6 at intermission.
Summit led 16-13 going into the fourth quarter. In the 2011 North 2, Group 2 final on a Friday night at Kean against Madison in a battle of that section’s last two champions (Summit 2009 and Madison 2010) Madison downed Summit 47-7, with the Hilltoppers also not scoring in the second half of that clash which featured two 11-0 teams.
This was Summit’s lowest point total since the 47-7 loss to Madison two years ago.
Parsippany Hills, which opened in 1970, still has not won a championship, pre-playoffs or playoffs. The Vikings – who finished 9-3 – are now 0-4 in state championship games: 0-2 in North 1, Group 3 and 0-2 in North 2, Group 3.
Summit defeated Parsippany Hills 30-13 at home in last year’s semifinals at Tatlock Field.
Summit tied Elizabeth for the most championships in the playoff era among Union County schools with eight. The Hilltoppers have now won four in North 2, Group 2 (4-3 in those finals) and four in North 2, Group 3 (4-1 in those finals).
Union has won the most with 10 and for the third time will be going after its 11th Sunday morning at Rutgers when it faces Ridge in the North 2, Group 5 championship game in Piscataway.
Both quarterbacks threw two touchdown passes, with Summit’s Charlie Terry completing a 24-yard TD pass to Colm Dougherty in the first quarter and a 27-yard TD pass to Chris Zanelli in the second.
Summit made it 16-0 when Jack Johnson made a 27-yard field goal with 5:24 remaining before halftime.
Katzenberg completed a 53-yard touchdown pass to Evan Smith with 1:03 left in the second quarter. The ensuing two-point pass to pull the Vikings to within one score fell incomplete.
Katzenberg then completed a 75-yard touchdown pass to Bluj and then kicked the extra point to make it 16-13 with 11:03 remaining in the third quarter.
Amazingly, no more points were scored after that.
Summit went 9-0 in 1963, with several of those former Hilltopper players honored at halftime of the team’s first home game this season.
Fifty years later the Hilltoppers went undefeated and untied for the seventh time in program history and for the fourth time in the playoff era, which began in 1974. One other Summit team finished undefeated with one tie.
Here’s a closer look:
SUMMIT UNDEFEATED, UNTIED TEAMS:
2013: (12-0) – North 2, Group 3 champions
2012: (12-0) – North 2, Group 3 champions
2009: (12-0) – North 2, Group 2 champions
1993: (11-0) – North 2, Group 2 champions
1973: (9-0) – NJ state champions, No. 1 rank in NJ
1972: (9-0) – NJ state champions
1963: (9-0) – NJ state champions
SUMMIT UNDEFEATED, ONE-TIE TEAM:
1928: (9-0-1) – NJ state co-champions
SUMMIT PLAYOFF CHAMPIONSHIPS:
NORTH 2, GROUP 3 – 2013, 2012, 1980, 1976.
NORTH 2, GROUP 2 – 2009, 1994, 1993, 1988.