Summit Hilltoppers have several talented players worth watching

Summit High School’s football team finished 5-5 last year for the first time since 2004. The Hilltoppers look to rebound this fall.

SUMMIT, NJ — The Hilltoppers were hit as hard as a punishing sack for a 15-yard loss by graduation, but the team does have some talented players returning on both sides of the ball.

Senior linemen on offense include Jake Rainero, Jack Apruzzese and Fisher Cantone. They will be blocking for senior running backs Lucas Stocks and Jake Lowry. Last year Lowry carried the ball 33 times for 179 yards and five touchdowns.

Senior Jacob Penner is a returning wide receiver. Also back at wide receiver is senior Will Johnson, who is also Summit High School’s place kicker and punter.

Quarterbacks listed on the roster include senior Brian Bauman, 6-2, 165 pounds; junior Declan Heary, 6-0, 175; and sophomore Shane Walsh, 5-11, 155. Bauman is No. 8, Heary No. 18 and Walsh No. 30.
Summit’s defense is sparked by the play of returning senior linebackers Joe Fagan and George Morgan.

Andrew Richardson, a senior, returns on the defensive line. A two-way tackle with some size for the Hilltoppers is junior Leo Haselmann, 6-4, 225.

Summit had its game scrimmage at Ridge on Thursday, Aug. 25.
The Hilltoppers open this weekend at Woodbridge High School on Friday, Sept. 2, at 7 p.m. Summit’s home opener is against Cranford High School on Saturday, Sept. 10, at 2 p.m. at Tatlock Field.
Woodbridge opened last weekend with a 20-7 home loss to Irvington High School on Friday, Aug. 26, the opening night of the football season in New Jersey.

Summit is situated in the Big Central Conference’s United Gold Division, along with Scotch Plains–Fanwood, Cranford, Rahway and St. Thomas Aquinas. Nondivision games will be against Woodbridge, Linden, Colonia and St. Joseph’s of Metuchen.

Last year was sort of a tale of two seasons for a Summit cast that included many seniors with experience. The Hilltoppers got out to a 5-1 start, with their only loss coming at eventual North 2, Group 3 state champion Cranford.

Summit then lost three in a row, the first two of those setbacks by just a touchdown and by 1 point, and then drew a road game at West Morris Central High School in the first round of the North 1, Group 3 playoffs.

Summit managed to score, the Hilltoppers reached the end zone four times and Johnson kicked a field goal, but they could not stop the host Wolfpack as West Morris Central, behind a stellar performance from junior running back Stefano Montella, defeated Summit 56-31.

Players returning from last season who are on the 2022 Summit roster:

Offense — Summit runs multiple spread wing-T:
• L Jake Rainero, senior, 5-10, 195.
• L Jack Apruzzese, senior, 5-10, 230.
• L Fisher Cantone, senior, 5-8, 185.
• RB Lucas Stocks, senior, 5-10, 175.
• RB Jake Lowry, senior, 5-9, 185.
• WR Jacob Penner, senior, 5-9, 140.
• WR-PK Will Johnson, senior, 5-11, 180.

Defense — Summit’s scheme is 4-4:
• L Andrew Richardson, senior, 6-0, 205.
• LB Joe Fagan, senior, 5-9, 180.
• LB George Morgan, senior, 5-9, 185.
• LB Lucas Stocks, senior, 5-10, 175.
• P Will Johnson, senior, 5-11, 180.

2022 Summit Hilltoppers football schedule:
• Sept. 2: at Woodbridge, 7 p.m.
• Sept. 10: vs. Cranford, 2 p.m.
• Sept. 16: at St. Thomas Aquinas, 6 p.m.
• Sept. 24: vs. Rahway, 1 p.m.
• Sept. 30: at Scotch Plains–Fanwood, 7 p.m.
• Oct. 7: at Linden, 7 p.m.
• Oct. 15: vs. Colonia, 1 p.m.
• Oct. 22: vs. St. Joseph’s Metuchen, 2 p.m.
Head coach: Kevin Kostibos, 10th season

2021 Summit Hilltoppers, 5-5
• Summit 39, Elizabeth 12, home.
• Summit 34, Rahway 13, away.
• Cranford 45, Summit 8, away.
• Summit 44, South Plainfield 7, home.
• Summit 21, Carteret 14, home.
• Summit 33, Gov. Livingston 0, home.
• Warren Hills 20, Summit 13, home.
• Weequahic 14, Summit 13, away.
• Somerville 45, Summit 22, away.
• West Morris 56, Summit 31, away.
Head coach: Kevin Kostibos, Ninth season.
Section: North, Group 3
Conference: Big Central
Division: 3, 3-2
Record: 5-5
Home: 4-1
Away: 1-4
Neutral: 0-0
Points for: 258
Points against: 226
Shutouts: 1
Overtime: 0-0

Summit Hilltoppers
Head coach: Kevin Kostibos, since 2013,
1999 Hanover Park graduate.
10th season: 64-26 or .711
Section: North, Group 3
Conference: Big Central
Division: United Gold
Summit’s last sectional title: 2018
2021: 5-5
Tatlock Field: Turf

Kostibos is in the final season of his first decade as head coach of the Hilltoppers. Kostibos has guided Summit to two state championships, 2013 and 2018, both of them coming in the North 2, Group 3 section. Summit is celebrating 130 years of football this year: 1892 to 2022. The Summit Football Alumni Association will be celebrating 130 years of Summit football Oct. 13-16. Summit hosts Colonia on Saturday, Oct. 15, at 1 p.m. Summit does not have one home game scheduled to be played at night this year, as it usually has in the past.