Roselle Park Panthers emphasize eliminating mistakes

Roselle Park High School head coach Greg Dunkerton has the attention of his football players last year during a game.

ROSELLE PARK, NJ — When things don’t go right, and, as a result, you finish with a nine-game losing streak, there are many things to fix.

Is there major tweaking going on at Roselle Park High School?

“The emphasis is to eliminate mistakes,” third-year head coach Greg Dunkerton said. “There are no small mistakes in football.”

Roselle Park was competitive in some of those losses and scoreboardwise not so much in the others.

That brings us to this year. There are some new athletes at different positions and some returning players at others. As is always the case, there are new faces ready to make an immediate impact.

“It’s all about how we are able to bring the big picture together,” Dunkerton said. “In the summer, it was concepts, and then, when practice began, it was installing how we execute technique.”
Roselle Park’s first scrimmage was at home vs. fellow Group 1 school Keyport High School.

“That was a great matchup for us,” Dunkerton said. “It was fast and played with a lot of intensity.”

Roselle Park had its game scrimmage at Group 5 school J.P. Stevens of North Edison on Friday, Aug. 26.

“To go up against a Group 5 school, yes, that was by design,” Dunkerton said. “We know they will have some size, but I want our kids ready to go. I think this will benefit them.”

Roselle Park is scheduled to open at South Hunterdon Regional High School on Friday, Sept. 2, at 7 p.m.

Leading the offense this year is first-year varsity quarterback Xavier Padilla, a junior with some size at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds.

“Xavier is tall, athletic and strong, and has come a long way,” Dunkerton said. “He’s learning to read defenses and trying to work on his passing game.

“As a unit, we’re just trying to stay in our lane right now,” Dunkerton said. “We just want to stay dialed in.”

Returning starters Elijah Ignacio at running back and Kevin Osorio on line have the most experience of the players back on offense. John Ranieri, now a junior, became a starter at fullback last year and, according to Dunkerton, “did a nice job.”

Ranieri, at linebacker, is also a leader on defense.

“He’s our signal-caller there,” Dunkerton said.

Fellow junior Darren Chen is a first-year linebacker.

“He’s our new outside linebacker and a vocal leader as well,” Dunkerton said.

Dunkerton mentioned that Ignacio has provided quality leadership as well.

“After last season we looked at where we can improve,” Dunkerton said. “Details cost us games. Execution is so important.

“We need to execute the entire play, the entire series, the entire game, if we are going to be successful. We have to eliminate a lot of the mistakes we’ve made in the past. That has cost us.”

Roselle Park’s wing-T offense:
• L Kevin Osorio, senior, 5-10, 250.
• L Lucas Belsky, junior, 5-8, 170.
• L Darren Chen, junior, 5-10, 180.
• L Manny Mazuelos, junior, 5-8, 200.
• L Matthew Drada, sophomore, 6-0, 230.
• TE Kushan Patel, junior, 6-0, 175.
• QB Xavier Padilla, junior, 6-2, 195.
• RB Elijah Ignacio, senior, 5-10, 195.
• RB-PK Adrian Palacios, junior, 5-11, 165.
• RB John Ranieri, junior, 5-7, 175.
• WR Tyler Signorello, junior, 5-9, 145.
Returning starters: Osorio, Ignacio, Ranieri.

Roselle Park’s 4-4 defense:
• L Kushan Patel, junior, 6-0, 175.
• L Matthew Drada, sophomore, 6-0, 230.
• L Kevin Osorio, senior, 5-10, 250.
• L Manny Mazuelos, junior, 5-8, 200.
• LB Darren Chen, junior, 5-10, 180.
• LB John Ranieri, junior, 5-7, 175.
• LB-P Xavier Padilla, junior, 6-2, 195.
• LB Elijah Ignacio, senior, 5-10, 195.
• CB Tyler Signorello, junior, 5-9, 145.
• S Adrian Palacios, junior, 5-11, 165.
• CB Jermaine Hart, senior, 6-0, 170.
Returning starters: Osorio, Ranieri, Ignacio, Signorello.

2022 Roselle Park Panthers football schedule:
• Sept. 2: at South Hunterdon, 7 p.m.
• Sept. 9: vs. Jonathan Dayton, 6 p.m.
• Sept. 15: at David Brearley, 6 p.m.
• Sept. 23: vs. Highland Park, 6 p.m.
• Oct. 1: at Spotswood, 1 p.m.
• Oct. 7: vs. Middlesex, 6 p.m.
• Oct. 14: at Dunellen, 7 p.m.
• Oct. 21: vs. Newark Collegiate, 6 p.m.
• Nov. 23: at Roselle, 6 p.m.
Head coach: Greg Dunkerton, third season

2021 Roselle Park Panthers, 1-9:
• Roselle Park 35, Dunellen 0, away.
• Bound Brook 40, Roselle Park 28, away.
• David Brearley over Roselle Park by forfeit.
• Middlesex 20, Roselle Park 14, away.
• South Hunterdon 28, Roselle Park 6, home.
• New Providence 42, Roselle Park 7, away.
• Jonathan Dayton 18, Roselle Park 13, home.
• Belvidere 26, Roselle Park 0, home.
• North Arlington 53, Roselle Park 27, away.
• Roselle 32, Roselle Park 14, home.
Head coach: Greg Dunkerton, second season.
Section: North, Group 1
Conference: Big Central
Division: 1A, 0-4
Record: 1-9
Home: 0-4
Away: 1-5
Neutral: 0-0
Points for: 144
Points against: 259
Shutouts: 1
Overtime: 0-0

Roselle Park Panthers
Head coach: Greg Dunkerton, since 2020,
1989 Dubuque Senior High School, Iowa graduate
Record: 3-13, or .188
Conference: Big Central
Division: Freedom Gold
Section: North, Group 1
Roselle Park’s last sectional title: 1993
2021: 1-9
Herm Shaw Field: Grass

Roselle Park’s final regular season game will be played on Wednesday, Nov. 23, the night before Thanksgiving. Now that the Rams have lights, they plan on hosting Roselle Park the night before Thanksgiving. When Roselle Park next hosts, the game will still be on Thanksgiving morning at Herm Shaw Field. “We want to keep it,” Dunkerton said. “I know the community wants to keep it. It’s something the community gets behind.”

Photo by JR Parachini