Sussex County Sports Blog

By Dan Cleary

9/1/2014 - Fall Sports Are Here

    It is not exactly the Madden Cruiser or the ESPN Tour Bus, but my Ford Escape logged some serious miles in August.

   The Mugs Media team crisscrossed Sussex, Morris and Warren counties talking to football, field hockey and soccer coaches in preparation for the upcoming Fall season and not a minute too soon for my taste.
   As anyone who reads this blog  knows I love all sports and take the same amount of enjoyment covering a football game as I do a soccer, hoops or lacrosse etc.
   But the Fall is special and always will be for me.
   It is a new beginning, a new school year, everyone is optimistic about the future and it doesn’t hurt that the weather, in my view, is the best.
   The excitement of a new season kicking in after the summer recess gets the old juices going again.  Just look at the legend Don Smolyn at Lenape Valley.  Smolyn, who is just six wins away from 300, has the same passion for the game as he did when he first stepped onto the sidelines at Green Brook in the early 1970s.
   How can that not inspire you?
   I love the mystery of it all, watching it all play out on the fields.  I’ve said it once and I will always say it about sports.  To paraphrase the great Bob Costas, sports are the greatest drama without a script.
   As September turns into October you watch what teams have emerged as contenders or teams that were favorites but couldn’t get it together.
   Then the players.  Who came back after a so-so junior season and has now become a force?  That is one I always loved following because it sends the correct message that hard work does pay off.
   And with high school kids two months can allow for a huge growth spurt and an athlete that looked like they belonged on the junior varsity has now entered the season looking every bit the part of a varsity starter.
   I also look forward to see if any promising freshmen make a splash on the varsity level.  It was only a few short years ago that I watched Alyssa Cronin take the pitch for the Newton girls soccer team.
   I had heard so much about her, and let me tell you, she didn’t, and hasn’t’ disappointed, as she looks to cap her career as one of the best Sussex County has ever seen.
   There is so much to look forward to this Fall and here are just a few of things I will be looking out for.
   FOOTBALL--Ah , yes, football.  Last season was one of the best in a long time in the area with Sparta winning a state title, Pope John getting back to a final for the first time in a decade and Newton playing Back to the Future with its first state win since 1985.
   Lucas Faria set the state on fire as a junior and led the talent-laded Garden State in rushing, including a 541-yard, six TD masterpiece in the Spartans’ state tourney win over Englewood.
   Can he and the Spartans do it again?  Don’t bet against it.  If the offensive line holds, the Spartans have the capability of putting up video game numbers.
   PJ lost an amazing senior class including Noah Brown, who is playing at Ohio State and Ryan Izzo who is at Florida State.
   But something tells me Sonny Abramson and the gang will battle to defend its American Division title again and the Lions will use their first two games as a springboard.
   And who are the Lions playing you may ask?  Just DePaul on the road Friday night in an early opener and then Paramus Catholic at home the next week.
   Wow.
   PJ coach Brian Carlson vowed to beef up the schedule when he took over four years ago and he has kept his word.  But will the Lions be ready?  We will find out soon enough.
   As I mentioned before Smolyn needs six wins to get 300 and after ending last year on a five-game losing streak, the Pats will be hungry to get those wins for him.
   And after having JR Reese run the show at quarterback the last four years how will Jefferson do in the rugged Freedom Division which it won last year?
   Finally, who will be this year’s Newton?  A team that comes out of nowhere, makes the states and wins a game?  Could it be Wallkill Valley and new head coach Adam Vazquez?
   And is this the year North Warren gets to the title game after falling in the semis the last two years?  And will Bobby Leach complete his incredible resurrection job at Sussex Tech and get the Mustangs into the states?
   SOCCER--Newton’s boys made to the state final for the second straight season and won its county record third straight section title.  But the Braves only return two starters.
   But don’t count out Brian Martin and the Braves in the realigned Colonial Division in the NJAC.
   On the girls side Newton and Pope John, paced by Rebecca Frisk and Alex McGill, will battle all year long for the position as the No. 1 team in the county.  They will play on Oct. 27 in what should be a dandy.
   FIELD HOCKEY--Lenape Valley, which has a new coach in Lauren Fasano, emerged as one of the top teams in the area last year. With the return of numerous starters and our Player of the Year in Sally Olson, look for the Pats give High Point all it wants in the realigned Freedom Division.
   The new rivals will square off this Friday at 4 p.m. at High Point in a great season-opener.
   And watch out for Kittatinny this season.  I have a feeling the Cougars will be one of the top teams around.
   And in other sports it should be a joy to watch Craig Corti of Wallkill Valley cap his tremendous career in cross country and will Ryan Hashway’s girls up at North Warren continue their winning ways and become a dynasty like Pope John?
   Julia Murawinski is just a junior but she is the top volleyball player in the area and she has the Falcons thinking big in Morris County.
   And in girls tennis, Sparta will be with out Shirley Wang for the first time in four years.  Who will ascend to her throne?
   And finally we shall see how the NJAC realignment from five divisions to seven works out.  I’m not a fan, but it is not fair to judge until it plays out, so we wait.
   There it is.  A whole bunch of reasons to get excited about the Fall season and we haven’t even started yet!
   That’s it for now see you on the sidelines.
9/1/2014
Fall Sports Are Here


8/20/2014
Sussex Hall of Fame Inductees Announced


8/15/2014
New Law Good For Coaches


8/8/2014
PJ-Newton Alumni Game Great Idea


8/1/2014
Hall of Fame Bios


7/26/2014
DiPaolo Serves As Inspiration


7/18/2014
SUCO Hall Honors Parichuk


7/11/2014
Soccer Shootouts Would Be Fun


7/7/2014
NJAC Needs Strength Of Program Scheduling


6/26/2014
When Does Football Season Start Or End?


6/19/2014
Sussex Softball Needs All-Star Game


6/13/2014
Diagne picks Syracuse


6/9/2014
Perfect Ending For High Point


6/4/2014
Wildcats Heading To The Shore


5/26/2014
Talent Gap Shrinking In Lacrosse


5/19/2014
Wildcats Special Group


5/12/2014
State Lacrosse Preview


5/12/2014
Lacrosse State Pairings


5/5/2014
HWS Lacrosse To Get Under Way


4/28/2014
Morville Goes Out A Winner


4/16/2014
Weather Could Wreak Havoc on H/W/S


4/10/2014
Delaney To Return To High Point


4/7/2014
Lenape's LaBell Named Scholar Athlete


3/31/2014
NJAC Adds Boys Lacrosse


3/24/2014
Super Season For Hoops


3/17/2014
Great Run For Braves


3/6/2014
Special Night For Spartans


2/27/2014
Nanius Rings Up 2,000th Point


2/20/2014
PJ Looks To Defend Crown


2/13/2014
HWS Hoops Preview


2/7/2014
Teamwork, Seniors Boost Sparta


1/31/2014
Jefferson Boys Hoops Snubbed


1/26/2014
New NJAC Realingment


1/17/2014
Proposal Takes Aim At Transfers


1/10/2014
Round One Goes To PJ


1/8/2014
Winter Broadcast Schedule


1/3/2014
Sussex Cup Great Idea


12/27/2013
Green A Class Act


12/20/2013
Hoops Season Is Here


12/12/2013
Special Season For Spartans


12/5/2013
Football Plan Rejected Again


11/27/2013
Many Thanks!


11/25/2013
Football Finals Schedule


11/21/2013
Cronin, Braves Just Golden


11/14/2013
Football Playoffs Set To Kick Off


11/7/2013
Braves To Host State Football Game


11/1/2013
Newton Eyes H/W/S Sweep


10/24/2013
Great Fall For Lenape Valley


10/17/2013
Wallkill's Corti Captures H/W/S


10/9/2013
PJ-Sparta Rivalry Runs Deep


10/2/2013
H/W/S Goes To Power Points


9/23/2013
PJ's Izzo Picks Florida State


9/19/2013
What's Good, Bad About H.S. Sports


9/12/2013
Brown Makes County Proud


9/11/2013
We Should Never Forget


9/6/2013
NJAC Faces Changes


9/3/2013
Fall Broadcast Schedule


8/28/2013
Taunting Rule Tough To Enforce


8/21/2013
Humbled By Hall Honor


8/14/2013
School Choice Athletes Must Sit


8/7/2013
SUCO Hall Announces Candidates


7/31/2013
Team Sweeney Wins Sparta League


7/24/2013
Clarification


7/23/2013
Spartans Tap Connors For Boys Soccer Job


7/18/2013
McCarney Eyes Big Season, NFL


7/10/2013
Aiken Leaves Pope John


7/2/2013
Lenape Valley Looking For New AD Again


6/26/2013
Lowery Steps Down At Sparta


6/19/2013
Jefferson Names MacDermid New Girls Hoops Coach


6/17/2013
All-NJAC Freedom Baseball


6/17/2013
All-NJAC American Baseball


6/17/2013
All-NJAC American, Freedom Softball


6/6/2013
Tommy Martino A True Inspiration


5/29/2013
Delaney Takes Wallkill Football Job


5/23/2013
Canning, Lions Capture Crown


5/16/2013
Pope John Takes Aim At Softball Title


5/9/2013
Wildcats Look to Repeat


5/4/2013
Spartans Eye HWS Lax Crowns


4/27/2013
A Tribute To My Dad


4/3/2013
Firing Rice A Good Start


4/1/2013
Spring Broadcast Schedule


3/25/2013
Soccer Coaches Will Be Missed


3/18/2013
Hoops Season Review


3/13/2013
O'Connor Goes Out A Winner


2/21/2013
High Point Eyes H/W/S Crown


2/20/2013
PJ-Sparta III


2/18/2013
Wildcats Bounce Back To Win State Title


2/5/2013
Wynne, Lions Continue to Roar


2/4/2013
Girls Hoops Power Points


2/4/2013
Boys Hoops Power Points


1/29/2013
H/W/S Boys Hoops Preview


1/27/2013
H/W/S Girls Hoops Preview


1/18/2013
Jones Steps Down As Wallkill Football Coach


1/10/2013
How Are Good Are the Lions?


1/2/2013
2013 Comes in With A Bang; Pretty in Pink Saturday


12/27/2012
Winter Broadcast Schedule


12/12/2012
NJAC Football All-Stars Freedom


12/12/2012
NJAC Football All-Stars American -2


12/11/2012
NJAC Girls Soccer All-Stars


12/10/2012
NJAC Football All-Stars American


12/9/2012
NJAC Girls Tennis All-Stars


12/8/2012
NJAC Boys Soccer All-Stars


12/3/2012
Newton Win Worthy Of Parade


11/27/2012
Pats Making History


11/11/2012
State Football Pairings


11/5/2012
Sandy Wreaks Havoc


10/24/2012
SUCO Hall Has New Look


10/17/2012
Pope John Soccer Eyes History


10/3/2012
H/W/S Soccer Set To Start


9/27/2012
H/W/S Field Hockey Starts; State Makes Right Call


9/20/2012
NJSIAA Comes Up Snake Eyes


9/12/2012
Fall Broadcast Schedule


9/11/2012
We Should Never Forget


9/7/2012
Academies Not The Right Way To Go


8/17/2012
Football Group Classifications


8/7/2012
Horse Show Trots On


7/31/2012
Turf Field Great For Newton


7/24/2012
Martinek, Big Blue Good Fit


7/9/2012
BBCOR Bats Right Move


6/27/2012
NJAC Baseball, Softball Stars


6/20/2012
(Mugs Media Exclusive) Van Orden Takes High Point Job


6/17/2012
Wildcats Win Thriller


6/7/2012
High Point Continues Magical Ride


5/30/2012
Tech Caps Record Season


5/21/2012
Wildcats Capture Crown


5/16/2012
State Should Break Lax Tourney Into Sections


5/8/2012
Spartans Eye H/W/S Title


5/1/2012
Girls Lacrosse Tourney Set To Start


4/22/2012
Wildcats Eye Tourney Title


4/13/2012
Games of the Week Back on The Air !


4/6/2012
Scholar-Athlete Dinner Great Event


3/27/2012
Lipscomb Perfect Fit For SCCC


3/20/2012
Geffken Leaves Lasting Legacy


3/5/2012
Mugs Media Will Survive


2/20/2012
Lawrence Makes Big Splash With PJ


1/30/2012
Paternostro Passes Away


1/24/2012
(Mugs Media Exclusive) Falcons Hire DeGennaro


1/23/2012
When Paterno Came to Wallkill


1/19/2012
Vikes Hit Rough Seas


1/15/2012
NJAC Races Heating Up


1/7/2012
Martinek Wraps Fine Career


12/14/2011
NJAC Should Push Back Starting Date


12/6/2011
Football Plan Rejected


11/27/2011
Magical Season For Braves


11/15/2011
Wayne Hills Misses Opportunity


11/8/2011
Vikings Back in The Big Dance


10/31/2011
Christensen, Wildcats Roar


10/25/2011
NJAC Makes Changes


10/13/2011
DiSomma Brings Home Title


10/4/2011
H/W/S Soccer To Start


9/27/2011
Mustangs, Leach Make History


9/19/2011
Lions Bounce Back For Carlson


9/11/2011
We Should Never Forget


9/8/2011
Wildcats Show Fight


8/21/2011
Are You Ready For Some Football?


8/12/2011
SUCO Hall of Fame Class Stellar


8/3/2011
PJ's Moore Picks BC


7/24/2011
Ungerman Classic Great For Hoops Fans


7/14/2011
Vernon Drops To Group 3


7/8/2011
Kelly, Dugan To Lead Braves


7/2/2011
Sussex Stars Shine


6/21/2011
High Point Finds Solution With Percey


6/13/2011
What A Ride For Sparta


6/4/2011
Historic Blasts For PJ, Sparta


5/23/2011
Judgment Day for Lions, Vikes


5/15/2011
Ruban Steps Down At Wallkill Valley


5/9/2011
Boys Lax Tourney Should Be Good One


5/6/2011
Vernon Girls Favorite To Win H/WS


4/29/2011
Pope John Names New Basketball Coach


4/23/2011
H/W/S Tourneys To Start


4/10/2011
GIrls Hoops NJAC Stars


4/2/2011
History Made At Pope John


4/1/2011
Pope John Names Football Coach


3/25/2011
Local Boys Hoops Stars Honored


3/20/2011
Hopatcong's Rey Wins National Title


3/16/2011
Lions Saga Continues


3/9/2011
(Mugs Media Exclusive) Paternostro Steps Down


3/5/2011
Great Run For High Point Girls


2/17/2011
Hats Off To Cats


2/12/2011
American Division Up For Grabs


2/3/2011
A Look At H/W/S Girls Hoops Tourney


1/25/2011
H/W/S Boys Hoops Preview


1/18/2011
More Females Join Coaching Ranks


1/9/2011
Pretty In Pink Classic Great Success


1/2/2011
Wildcats Look To Make History


12/21/2010
Skyhawks May Fly The Coop


12/14/2010
Alumni Game Fun


12/6/2010
NJAC Girls Soccer Honors


11/30/2010
NJAC Field Hockey Honors


11/18/2010
Local Boys Soccer Players Honored


11/11/2010
Rangers Return To Playoffs


11/6/2010
Vikings Make History


10/28/2010
Tourney Time Brings Questions


10/20/2010
Power Point Presentation


10/14/2010
North Warren Football On The Rise


10/7/2010
H/W/S Tourney Under Way


9/30/2010
Stop The Insanity


9/22/2010
Tough Break For Chiefs


9/11/2010
We Should Never Forget


9/8/2010
NJSIAA Moving In Right Direction


8/17/2010
Activity Fees New Reality


8/10/2010
Zabriskie Makes County Proud


8/2/2010
PJ Soccer Family Rallies For Good Cause


7/24/2010
Is Cheerleading A Sport?


7/15/2010
Marchiano Named Sparta Coach


7/7/2010
Change Good For Vikings


6/27/2010
Up And Down Year For NJAC


6/15/2010
New Sparta Coach Has Big Shoes To Fill


6/8/2010
Shea Steps Down At Sparta


6/1/2010
TOC On Chopping Block


5/20/2010
Beatty Cup Great Idea


5/3/2010
Spartans Gain Top Seed


5/1/2010
Local NJAC Standings


4/23/2010
Bello, Lions Ready To Roar


4/18/2010
Mustangs Ready For H/W/S


4/17/2010
Local NJAC Standings


4/11/2010
Local NJAC Standings


4/5/2010
Girls Lacrosse Has New Look


3/22/2010
Sports Programs In Doubt


3/15/2010
NJSIAA In Fight For Its Life


3/8/2010
No 'Rocky' Ending For Orr


3/1/2010
What We Learned At H/W/S


2/28/2010
Local NJAC Hoops Standings


2/19/2010
Wrestling Needs A TOC


2/12/2010
H/W/S Tourney To Tip Off


2/10/2010
Local NJAC Hoops Standings


2/8/2010
Clearing Up Tourney Questions


2/6/2010
Local NJAC Hoops Standings


2/1/2010
(Exclusive to Mugs Media) Levens, Falcons Part Ways


1/31/2010
Local NJAC Hoops Standings


1/20/2010
Great Night For Wrestling


1/18/2010
Local NJAC Basketball Standings


1/11/2010
Geffken Makes Right Choice


1/3/2010
Top Teams Of The Decade


12/27/2009
O'Connor Hits Magic Mark


12/15/2009
Sports-Specific Way to Go


12/3/2009
NJAC Makes Changes


11/23/2009
Geary, Spartans Play Instant Classic


11/16/2009
NJAC Should Look At Football


11/8/2009
Sussex Football Puts On Show


10/29/2009
Great Start To H/W/S Tourney


10/22/2009
Expanded Brackets Good Idea


10/13/2009
New Tourney Set To Kick Off


10/7/2009
Classy Chernati wins 300th Game


9/29/2009
Tough Start For ex-SCIL Teams


9/11/2009
We Should Never Forget


9/8/2009
NJAC Era Begins


9/1/2009
Parzero Perfect For Pats


8/23/2009
New World For Mugs Media


8/9/2009
Fun At The Fair


8/2/2009
Fond Memories of Dick Stoltenborg


7/24/2009
Hall Nominees All Deserving


7/14/2009
Opening Day Will Be Tough


6/28/2009
SCIL Show Special


6/2/2009
Newton Makes Disque Proud


5/19/2009
Tri-County Tourney Great Idea


5/12/2009
NJSIAA Hits Grand Slam


5/1/2009
How About A Lacrosse Tourney?


4/19/2009
Levens Keeps On Winning


4/11/2009
Everyone's Favorite Uncle Mo'


4/2/2009
Morris Will Be Missed


3/21/2009
SCIL Athletes Talk Of The Town


3/12/2009
Wrestlebacks Not For The Meek


3/3/2009
Kuntz Built SCCC Into Winner


2/25/2009
Festival Goes Out In Style


2/17/2009
SCIL Swim Festival First Class


2/11/2009
Heartbreak For Wildcats


2/4/2009
Expanded Brackets A Home Run


1/27/2009
Coaches Sit On Hot Seat


1/20/2009
NJAC Releases Schedules (Part 2)


1/13/2009
NJAC Releases Schedules (Part 1)


1/5/2009
I'm One Lucky Guy


12/21/2008
Tough Break For Sisco


12/7/2008
Nice Guys Finish First


11/28/2008
Back To The Future For Falcons


11/20/2008
Sussex Perfect For Runners


11/14/2008
Fitting End For SCIL Football


11/8/2008
Other Side of Cinderella


10/31/2008
Edelman, Vikes Make Good Point


10/23/2008
Rangers Riding High


10/16/2008
Old Lion Still Roaring


10/9/2008
State Plays 52-Pickup


10/3/2008
SCIL Soccer Plan Perfect


9/25/2008
NJSIAA Lacks Direction


9/17/2008
High Point's Keur Happy To Be Back


9/11/2008
We Should Never Forget


9/1/2008
Football Deaths Sobering Reminder


8/25/2008
State Plan Needs Second Look


8/14/2008
Realingment Plan Disbands SCIL (Exclusive to MugsMedia.Com)


8/11/2008
Martinek Gives Me Knight Fever


8/6/2008
Remembering Ryan Olsen


7/30/2008
No Place Like Home For Crespi


7/21/2008
Trudgeon, Braves Had Great Run


7/13/2008
Safety First For Little Leaguers


7/6/2008
Wolf, Nottle Find Winning Ways


6/29/2008
Are You Ready For The Summer?


6/22/2008
Lanier Right Man For Skyhawks


6/15/2008
A Special Thanks to Dad


6/7/2008
Defense Never Rests


5/30/2008
Kittatinny Crew Saves the Day


5/23/2008
Bello makes right call


5/16/2008
Great to be back at Festival


5/9/2008
Softball Should Have Tourney


4/25/2008
Realignment Could Be Done Deal


4/18/2008
SCIL Teams Born to Score Runs


4/11/2008
SCIL Home to Top Hurlers


4/4/2008
Lacrosse Teams Riding the Wave


3/28/2008
Wallkill's VanZile Set to Retire (Exclusive to MugsMedia.com)


3/21/2008
A Little "Mercy" for Football Teams


3/14/2008
Valenti's Title Caps Banner Year for SCIL Wrestling


3/7/2008
Taking a Hard Look at the New Transfer Rules


2/29/2008
Giving SCIL Basketball a Boost


2/22/2008
Rasslin' to the Top... Finally


2/15/2008
Handicapping the Festival


2/8/2008
The Power of Power Points


1/31/2008
SCIL Adopts Innovative Soccer Plan (Exclusive to MugsMedia.com)


1/25/2008
On the Track to an Elite Program


1/18/2008
Adding Up the Numbers


1/11/2008
Dominating the Paint


1/3/2008
Bowling with the Knights


12/27/2007
Playing Games Over the Holidays


12/20/2007
The Mitchell Report Hits Home


12/13/2007
Are You Ready for the Winter?


12/6/2007
Reform Comes Slowly to New Jersey High School Sports


11/28/2007
Handing Out the Golden Statues


11/21/2007
Time for Change in NJ High School Sports


11/14/2007
Going a Little Extra


11/7/2007
The Single-Sport Athlete Dilemma


10/31/2007
Friday Night Lights


10/23/2007
Kicking Around Re-alignment


10/1/2007
I'm baaaack...


3/17/204
Great Run For Braves