Summit football moves back to North 2, Group 3

Summit football, guided by head coach John Liberato, is now back in North 2, Group 3. The Hilltoppers will play at defending N2, G3 champion Cranford on Sept. 21

By JR Parachini,  Sports Editor
SUMMIT – The last time the Summit football team captured North 2, Group 3 was 32 years ago.
The last time Cranford won the section was last year – for the first time in its first-ever championship game appearance.
Both teams are sparked by outstanding returning senior players – for starters, Summit with running back A.J. Iarussi (Colgate) and placekicker Mike Badgely and Cranford with quarterback Reggie Green and lineman Chris Folinusz.
And now for something completely different. Both teams are situated in North 2, Group 3 for the first time.
Cranford had jumped around from North 2, Group 2 to Central Jersey, Group 2 to North 2, Group 3.
Summit has been consistently situated in North 2, Group 2 since its days way back in North 2, Group 3. The Hilltoppers captured N2, G3 for the first time in 1976 and last won it in 1980 after beating fellow Union County team Rahway 10-7 in the final at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford.
Summit, which finished 11-1 a year ago, was the only team to defeat Cranford last season, beating the Cougars soundly by the score of 52-21 at Cranford’s Memorial Field.
That game took place the night before the unexpected Oct. 29 snowstorm that hit the area the next day.
Cranford won its last three games to finish a program-best 10-1, capturing its first state title.
The teams will meet again at Memorial Field on Sept. 21, the third game for both.
It will be Summit’s first road game and Cranford’s second home contest.
“There’s a lot of teams in this section that I have never seen before,” Summit sixth-year head coach John Liberato said.
“Like every year, we’re hoping we can make the playoffs.”
The 15 teams situated in the section include Chatham, Cliffside Park, Cranford, Fort Lee, Governor Livingston, Matawan, Newark West Side, Palisades Park, Parsippany, Parsippany Hills, Raritan, Somerville, South Plainfield, Summit and Voorhees.
“Whether we’re in Group 3, Group 2 or Group 4, we can’t control that stuff,” said Liberato, who guided the Hilltoppers to the North 2, Group 2 playoffs the last four years, including winning the section in 2009 and reaching the championship game again in 2011. “We can only control what we do on the field.