PLAINFIELD – When looking close up at the results of last year’s games, there were – believe it or not – positives to be drawn from a one-win season.
“When I sat down with the coaches and players and watched the films, a lot of what we did was self-inflicted,” second-year head coach Corey Tucker, 30, said.
Plainfield football has some distance to go to get back to its winning days of the past, but Tucker feels he has the Cardinals headed in the right direction.
“We really have to work on ourselves and what we do,” said Tucker, a 2005 Plainfield graduate who played for Clinton Jones and who then had two stints as an assistant coach at Plainfield before moving up and succeeding Jason Glezman as head coach prior for the 2016 season.
“If we do it the way we design it to be done, it will work,” Tucker said. “The proof is in the film. The plays are there and we have to take advantage of the opportunities and eliminate the self-inflicted mistakes.”
Plainfield has won just five games the past five seasons, with only one of those victories not a sectional consolation win. Plainfield opened 2015 with a 27-21 triumph at Scotch Plains, with the Raiders winning only their sectional consolation game that season.
The program’s last playoff season was 2010, the last winning season was 2005 and the last playoff victory was achieved way back in 1998.
Plainfield is one of only three football schools in Union County – Dayton and Governor Livingston are the others – that have not won a state championship during the playoff era.
The Cardinals will attempt to avoid a 12th consecutive sub-.500 campaign.
“We’re really trying to change the whole culture,” said Tucker, who also coached here under Bill Nyers and Jones. “We haven’t won a lot of games in the last 10 years.
“In order to change we need to get the kids to start competing and believing in themselves by doing things the right way. If they do, they will see the benefits.”
Plainfield’s lone win last season was its home sectional consolation victory over Newark East Side 40-6. Before that, the Cardinals only scored 53 points in their first eight contests.
“One of the hardest things to do is to change the mindset, the mentality,” Tucker said. “The hardest thing is to get them (the kids) to be persistent and do things the right way.”
Tucker was the defensive coordinator under Glezman in 2015.
“I’m a little more comfortable this year,” Tucker said concerning his duties as head coach. “Understanding how to organize things and having a good idea of how things operate have been a little easier.
“With a year under my belt I see how things work and didn’t work and how to build a relationship with the kids.”
Leading Plainfield’s multiple offense – which features five returning starters – is first-year starting quarterback Leonte Langston-Wilder, a 5-11, 170-pound junior.
“Leonte played a little bit toward the end of last year,” Tucker said. “He has a little bit of game experience.
“He’s more of a pocket quarterback who can spread the ball around. He’s very smart and knows where the ball needs to go based on coverages and things of that nature.”
Tucker also reported that brothers (not twins) Antwan Boone, the center, and Allen Boone, one of the wide receivers, are players to contend with when Plainfield has the ball.
“Antwan is a solid offensive lineman and Allen is a phenomenal athlete, one that when he gets the ball in space can be very dangerous,” Tucker said.
“We’ve been working with our offensive line, that’s been the main thing. I think we have pretty good skill guys who should be able to do some pretty good things.”
Antwan Spencer, at middle linebacker, is the leader of Plainfield’s 4-3 defense. Colleges are showing interest in the 6-1, 180-pound senior.
“Antwan is a two-year starter, a great athlete who has great range and is being recruited by a lot of schools,” Tucker said. “His instincts as a linebacker are very good and he packs a good punch when he hits guys.
“He knows the scheme, knows the system and has been a great leader in the off season as well.”
Haleem Woods, one of four returning starters on defense, has moved from strong safety to free safety.
“His experience on the field has been great,” Tucker said. “He’s gotten a lot faster and is a real ball hawk.”
Opposing running backs put together more than a few outstanding performances against the Cardinals a year ago.
“We have to be able to stop the run,” Tucker said. “That’s what we’ve been working on the most defensively.
“It starts up front with the linemen. We have a good level of guys up front and linebackers good enough to stop everything else.”
PLAINFIELD’S MULTIPLE OFFENSE:
C Antwan Boone, senior, (6-2, 260)
RG Manuel Amaya, senior, (6-0, 240)
LG Roger Williams, junior, (6-1, 240)
LT Randy Lopez, junior, (6-2, 260)
RT Eric Rubio, junior, (6-1, 230)
TE Kyle Sparrow, junior, (5-10, 190)
RB Antwan Spencer, senior, (6-1, 180)
RB Khristian Haye, junior, (5-10, 185)
RB Jeffrey Schneck, senior, (5-9, 170)
QB Leonte Langston-Wilder, junior, (5-11, 170)
WR Daekwuan Mullings, junior, (6-0, 165)
WR Haleem Woods, senior, (6-0, 180)
WR Allen Boone, senior, (5-10, 180)
PK Antwan Boone, senior, (6-2, 260)
Returning starters (5): Antwan Boone, Spencer,
Mullings, Woods, Allen Boone.
PLAINFIELD’S 4-3 DEFENSE:
T Antwan Boone, senior, (6-2, 260)
T Christian Chajon, senior, (6-2, 280)
E Randy Lopez, junior, (6-2, 260)
E Ibn Jordan, junior, (5-10, 210)
LB Elijah Wahhab, senior, (5-10, 190)
MLB Antwan Spencer, senior, (6-1, 180)
LB Deriq Thomas, junior, (5-9, 175)
S Haleem Woods, senior, (6-0, 180)
S Stephen Emejuru, sophomore, (5-9, 170)
CB Daekwuan Mullings, junior, (6-0, 165)
CB Al’Wazzer Stembridge, senior, (5-9, 165)
P Allen Boone, senior, (5-10, 180)
Returning starters (4): Antwan Boone, Spencer,
Head coach: Corey Tucker, since 2016.
A 2005 Plainfield graduate.
Second season: 1-9 (.100).
Conference: Mid-State 38
Section: North 2, Group 5
Plainfield’s last playoff season: 2010
2016: (1-9 and 0-6, seventh in Watchung Division)
Hub Stine Field: Grass.
Tucker, promoted from within last year, was an assistant coach at Plainfield before and after a two-year stint as an assistant at Bound Brook. He was Plainfield’s defensive coordinator Jason Glezman in 2015. A 2005 Plainfield graduate who played for Clinton Jones, Tucker also coached at Plainfield under Bill Nyers and Jones.
2017 PLAINFIELD CARDINALS
Sept. 9 Immaculata, 1 p.m.
Sept. 15 at Union, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 at Hillsborough, 7 p.m.
Sept. 29 Ridge, 2 p.m.
Oct. 6 at Montgomery, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 Watchung Hills, 1 p.m.
Oct. 20 at Elizabeth, 7 p.m.
Oct. 28 Linden, 1 p.m.
Nov. 23 at Westfield, 11 a.m.
2016 PLAINFIELD CARDINALS (1-9)
(A) Immaculata 35, Plainfield 7
(H) Union 35, Plainfield 0
(H) Hillsborough 35, Plainfield 0
(A) Ridge 49, Plainfield 7
(H) Montgomery 40, Plainfield 6
(H) Watchung Hills 31, Plainfield 7
(H) Elizabeth 46, Plainfield 14
(A) Linden 41, Plainfield 12
(H) Plainfield 40, Newark East Side 6
(H) Westfield 30, Plainfield 14
Head coach: Corey Tucker,
Section: North 2, Group 5
Conference: Mid-State 38
Division: Watchung 0-6, seventh
Points for: 107
Points against: 348
COREY TUCKER COACHING RESUME:
2017 – head coach at Plainfield
2016 – head coach at Plainfield
2015 – assistant coach (defensive coordinator) at Plainfield under Jason Glezman
2014 – assistant coach at Bound Brook under Dom Longo
2013 – assistant coach at Bound Brook under Dom Longo
2012 – assistant coach at Plainfield under Clinton Jones
2011 – assistant coach at Plainfield under Bill Nyers
2010 – assistant coach at Plainfield under Bill Nyers
Tucker’s first stint as an assistant at Plainfield included
coaching the linebackers, the defensive line, the running backs
and the tight ends. He coached under Bill Nyers the two years
Nyers was the head coach in 2010 and 2011 and for the first year
of Clinton Jones’ second stint as head coach in 2012.