Union County football teams prepare for Week 2

Pictured, the last time Union High School played at Westfield High School was in 2019, with the Farmers coming out on top 10-7. Union is scheduled to play at Westfield on Saturday, Sept. 10, at 1 p.m. at Gary Kehler Stadium in Westfield. Both teams are looking for their first win of the season, after opening on Friday, Sept. 2, with close losses. Union lost at home to Bridgewater-Raritan High School 7-6, while Westfield lost at Watchung Hills Regional High School 17-7.

UNION COUNTY, NJ — It was a weekend when prominent Union County football schools Union, Summit, Cranford, Linden, Westfield and New Providence were all playing. In fact, last weekend was opening weekend for all of the above except for New Providence High School.
Union and Linden high schools both lost by 1 point, Summit High School by a touchdown and Westfield High School by 10 points as Week 1 play commenced on Thursday, Sept. 1, and concluded on Friday, Sept. 2, for all 17 Union County squads.

With no bye weeks for any Union County teams this year through to the weekend of Oct. 21-22, all 17 will once again be in action for Week 2 this weekend.

There are nine games involving 11 Union County schools on Friday, Sept. 9, and four that include the other six schools on Saturday, Sept. 10.

Games that have schools seeking their first wins on Saturday, Sept. 10, include Union at Westfield at 1 p.m. and Cranford at Summit at 2 p.m.

Union County’s highest-ranked team, Hillside High School, is scheduled to play at Metuchen High School on Saturday, Sept. 10, at 1 p.m., in the Big Central Conference–Patriot Silver Division opener for both.

Week 2 preview of games involving Union County’s 17 football-playing schools

Friday, Sept. 9, nine games:

• Jonathan Dayton High School (1-0) at Roselle Park High School (0-1), 6 p.m. The Bulldogs produced a 14-8 home win against Dunellen High School, while Roselle Park was defeated at South Hunterdon Regional High School, 42-8, in season openers played on Friday, Sept. 2. This is the first Freedom Gold Division contest for both. Jonathan Dayton, guided by first-year head coach Nick Iannacone, won its season opener for the third straight year. Roselle Park has now lost 10 straight, since opening last year with a 35-0 win at Dunellen.

• Spotswood High School (0-1) at David Brearley High School (1-0), 6 p.m. Spotswood’s second game was at home against Belvidere High School on Saturday, Sept. 3. The Chargers beat the County Seaters, 21-18. The Chargers opened with a 28-14 home victory against Bishop Eustace Preparatory School on Saturday, Aug. 27. David Brearley began its 2022 campaign with a 34-20 win at Manville High School on Thursday, Sept. 1. This is the first Freedom Gold Division game for both.

• Elizabeth High School (1-0) at Hunterdon Central Regional High School (1-1), 7 p.m. For the second straight season, Elizabeth’s home opener was a 1-point win against Plainfield High School. Last year, Elizabeth edged Plainfield, 19-18. In the season-opening triumph on Friday, Sept. 2, Elizabeth’s Vito Tropeano and Joshua Penick rushed for touchdowns after Ibn McDaniels scored a touchdown following a blocked punt that took place in the first quarter. Elizabeth led from start to finish. Hunterdon Central lost at North Hunterdon High School, 29-8, on Friday, Aug. 26, and won at Piscataway, 17-0, on Friday, Sept. 2.

• Rahway High School (1-0) vs. Lincoln High School (1-0) at Caven Point in Jersey City, 7 p.m. Both teams opened with victories on Friday, Sept. 2, Rahway winning at home at Rahway River Park against Linden, 21-20, and Lincoln winning at fellow Hudson County foe North Bergen High School, 40-6. Rahway, behind standout seniors Amir Robinson at quarterback and Kyle Hall at wide receiver, faced Linden for the first time since 2009. The Indians will seek their first 2-0 start since 2019.

• Woodbridge High School (1-1) at Linden (0-1), 7 p.m. Woodbridge opened with a 20-7 loss at Irvington High School on Friday, Aug. 26, and then bounced back to defeat Summit, 34-27, in the home opener on Friday, Sept. 2. Linden opened with a 21-20 loss to Rahway on Friday, Sept. 2 at Rahway River Park. Linden’s home opener will be the first Liberty Gold Division game for both teams.

• St. Thomas Aquinas High School (1-1) at Scotch Plains–Fanwood High School (1-1), 7 p.m. St. Thomas Aquinas lost at home to Timber Creek Regional High School, 26-21, on Friday, Aug. 26, and then rebounded with a 49-14 win at New Providence on Thursday, Sept. 1. Scotch Plains–Fanwood lost at Colonia, 34-24, last Friday night after opening with a 38-16 home triumph against North Plainfield High School on Friday, Aug. 26.

• North Plainfield (0-2) at Governor Livingston High School (0-2), 7 p.m. North Plainfield lost at Scotch Plains–Fanwood, 38-16, on Friday, Aug. 26, and at home to Voorhees High School, 33-12, on Friday, Sept. 2. Governor Livingston lost at New Providence, 29-9, on Friday, Aug. 26, and at Arthur L. Johnson High School, 42-6, on Friday, Sept. 2. Both teams will be looking to generate a bit more offense in order to obtain their first victory. GL’s long-awaited home opener will be the first United Silver Division game for both teams.

• Roselle High School (0-1) at New Providence (1-1), 7 p.m. Roselle was edged in its season opener at home on Friday, Sept. 2, falling to Delaware Valley High School, 20-17. The night before, New Providence lost at home to St. Thomas Aquinas, 49-14. The Pioneers opened with their 29-9 home triumph against Governor Livingston. The Rams are led on offense and defense by returning senior starter Emmanuel Lyles, a standout running back and linebacker.

• Arthur L. Johnson (1-0) at Bound Brook High School (0-1), 7 p.m. Both teams opened last week with completely different results. Arthur L. Johnson trounced Governor Livingston, 42-6, at home to win its season and home opener, both for the first time since 2017. Bound Brook lost at Middlesex High School, 27-0. Arthur L. Johnson has sophomore Robert Gallagher at quarterback, and defensive standouts include senior ends Jason Greenbush and Steven McCaffery.

Saturday, Sept. 10, four games:

• Union (0-1) at Westfield (0-1), 1 p.m. For the second straight year, Union opened with a close loss, falling at home to Bridgewater–Raritan High School, 7-6, on Friday, Sept. 2. Union opened last year with a turnover-filled 31-28 setback to Millville High School at Ocean City High School and then reeled off nine straight wins. This Union team has only two starters back and a new quarterback in sophomore Omalley King. Westfield, which opened with a 17-7 loss at Watchung Hills Regional High School, is led on offense by returning senior quarterback Trey Brown.

• Montgomery High School (2-0) at Plainfield High School (0-1), 1 p.m. Montgomery, 2-0 for the first time since 2014, has wins at Robbinsville High School, 29-6, on Friday, Aug. 26, and at Franklin High School, 28-14, on Friday, Sept. 2. The Cougars are starting with three straight road games. Plainfield, which last year won five games for the first time since 2005, opened with a 23-22 setback at Elizabeth. Plainfield’s home opener at Hub Stine Field is the Liberty Silver Division opener for both teams. The other two schools in the Big Central Conference’s only division that does not have five are North Hunterdon and Watchung Hills.

• Hillside (1-0) at Metuchen (1-0), 1 p.m. Metuchen opened with a 40-6 home win against Highland Park High School on Saturday, Aug. 27, and lost 28-21 when it hosted South River High School on Saturday, Sept. 3. The Bulldogs, who are seeking their first winning season since going 7-3 in 2015, start with a rare three consecutive home games. Hillside opened on Friday, Sept. 2, with a convincing 35-20 win at Bernards High School. This is the first Patriot Silver Division game for both teams.

• Cranford (0-1) at Summit (0-1), 2 p.m. This is a rare time that both of these teams are at less than .500 when facing each other. Cranford has a new quarterback in senior Liam Godwin. Summit returning senior linebackers Joe Fagan and George Morgan will be in pursuit of Godwin. This is the first United Gold Division game for both teams.

Photo by JR Parachini