Brearley Bears eye another winning season, state playoff berth

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KENILWORTH, NJ — David Brearley High School didn’t give up a point until its fourth game last year, and did not suffer a defeat until its fifth.

The Bears produced another playoff season that saw them conclude at 7-3 after falling at Boonton High School, 42-24, in a first-round North 2, Group 1 encounter contested in Morris County.

Several players return in hopes of leading David Brearley to another winning season and state playoff berth.

Key returning senior players include Matt Sims, 6-0, 175 pounds; Brendan Fitzsimmons, 5-11, 170; and Bruce Harms, 6-0, 190.

Sims and Harms are three-year starters. Last year, Sims was at quarterback for his second season and on defense as a starting safety.

Sims completed 54-of-97 passes last year for 720 yards, eight touchdowns and only four interceptions.

Head coach Scott Miller said last year that Sims was “the best throwing quarterback we’ve had here in a long time.”

Harms started at guard on David Brearley’s pro-style offense and at linebacker in David Brearley’s 4-3 scheme on defense.

Other seniors on the roster include Ryley Caburis, Anthony Maselli, Joe Cipriano, Ryan Fitzsimmons, Kevin Barcelo, Alex Chuley, Joe Galati, Vaughn Marranca, Michael Nwosu and Isaiah Walker.

Caburis was in the mix on defense last year at one of the two cornerback spots, along with Fitzsimmons.

Leading David Brearley in catches with 25, receiving yards with 262 and touchdown receptions with four was Fitzsimmons from his wide receiver position last year on offense.

Cipriano was David Brearley’s center last year on offense and a tackle on defense. Chuley was one of three tight ends on offense and an end on defense.

A prominent junior is returning two-way starter Kristian Janeczko, who last year was at tight end on offense and linebacker on defense.

Other juniors include Michael Kollarik, Nick Torino, Anthony Pacheco, Vincent Firnstein, Anthony Flowers, Giuseppe Lombardi, Gavin Marranca and Brandon Pires.

Kollarik was the other of the three tight ends on offense last year.

A sophomore listed on the roster is Brandon Puryear.

For the second straight season, David Brearley opens on the Thursday before Labor Day. This time, the season opener is at Manville High School on Thursday, Sept. 1, at 7 p.m.

Last year, David Brearley blanked Arthur L. Johnson High School, 36-0, in the season opener for both.

The Bears, who will attempt to qualify for the playoffs in North, Group 1 once again, are situated in the Big Central Conference’s Freedom Gold Division, along with Spotswood, Jonathan Dayton, Roselle Park and Highland Park. Nondivision games are against Somerset County school Manville, Hunterdon County school South Hunterdon, and Middlesex County schools Highland Park and Middlesex.

David Brearley is scheduled to play on Thursday night two other times, first at home against Roselle Park on Sept. 15 and then at Middlesex on Oct. 13.

David Brearley’s home opener is on Friday, Sept. 9, at 6 p.m. vs. Freedom Gold Division rival Spotswood.

David Brearley outscored the opposition 228-159 and produced two shutouts last year. The Bears went 4-1 at home, losing only to Group 2 school Bernards High School at Ward Field in Kenilworth.

In Miller’s first 20 seasons as head coach, from 2002 to 2021, he guided David Brearley to the playoffs 14 times, and three times he has had the Bears playing in state championship games. David Brearley captured North 2, Group 1 in 2006 and that season became the first school in Union County to finish a season 12-0.

2022 Brearley Bears football schedule:
• Sept. 1: at Manville, 7 p.m.
• Sept. 9: vs. Spotswood, 6 p.m.
• Sept. 15: vs. Roselle Park, 6 p.m.
• Sept. 23: at Jonathan Dayton, 6 p.m.
• Sept. 30: vs. South Hunterdon, 6 p.m.
• Oct. 7: at Highland Park, 7 p.m.
• Oct. 13: at Middlesex, 7 p.m.
• Oct. 21: vs. Dunellen, 6 p.m.
Head coach: Scott Miller, 21st season.

2021 Brearley Bears, 7-3:
• David Brearley 36, Arthur L. Johnson 0, home.
• David Brearley 32, Spotswood 0, away.
• David Brearley over Roselle Park by forfeit.
• David Brearley 36, Middlesex 13, away.
• New Providence 42, David Brearley 14, away.
• Bernards 36, David Brearley 12, home.
• David Brearley 34, Bound Brook 20, away.
• David Brearley beat Dunellen by forfeit.
• David Brearley 40, Jonathan Dayton 6, home.
• Boonton 42, David Brearley 24, away.
Head coach: Scott Miller, 20th season.
Section: North, Group 1
Conference: Big Central
Division: 1A, 3-1
Record: 7-3
Home: 4-1
Away: 3-2
Neutral: 0-0
Points for: 228
Points against: 159
Shutouts: 2
Overtime: 0-0

David Brearley Bears
Head coach: Scott Miller, since 2002,
1987 David Brearley Regional graduate.
21st season: 138-66-1 or .677
Section: North, Group 1
Conference: Big Central
Division: Freedom Gold
David Brearley’s last sectional title: 2006
2021: 7-3
Ward Field in Kenilworth: Grass

Miller has guided David Brearley to the playoffs 14 times, out of a possible 19, in his first 20 seasons at the helm of the Bears. His playoff record is 10-13, including an appearance in the Central Jersey, Group 1 final in 2005 at Rutgers; the North 2, Group 1 final in 2006 at Giants Stadium; and the North 2, Group 1 final in 2015 at Kean University. Miller led David Brearley to the 2006 North 2, Group 1 state championship and has a record of 1-2 in three state championship games. His first team at David Brearley, the 2002 squad which had to play all of its games away from home because Ward Field in Kenilworth was being worked on, entered the state playoffs at 9-0 before falling to Boonton 14-7 in a North 2, Group 1 first-round game at Union High School’s Cooke Memorial Field.

Photos by JR Parachini