Football forecast: Parsippany Hills faces threat to winning streak

Football forecast: Parsippany Hills faces threat to winning streak

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Football forecast: Parsippany Hills faces threat to winning streak

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Parsippany Hills has rolled through its first five games, with the Vikings displaying a tenacious defense and a crisp, fast-paced offense.

However, the Vikings have not faced anything like what they’re going to see Saturday afternoon, when they travel to take on the powerful state-ranked Green Wave of Delbarton.

“It’s an enormous game and the kids all know it,” Parsippany Hills head coach Dave Albano said. “Delbarton doesn’t have a weakness. They’re as good as it gets. They’re good at every position.”

The battle between the 5-0 Vikings and 4-1 Green Wave will be for first place in the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference National Division standings, with the winner having the upper hand toward collecting the conference title.

When Albano met with his team Monday afternoon, he relayed one important message.

“I told them that the game was Saturday and we didn’t want them getting too excited too early,” Albano said. “We had to have it be a normal week. We didn’t want them to be mentally shot by Thursday. We made it a normal week.”

After losing the season opener to nationally ranked Paramus Catholic, the Green Wave has steamrolled four NJAC-National foes to the collective tune of 157-28, including last weekend’s lambasting of Roxbury, 48-14.

The Green Wave has been led by quarterback Giuseppe Bevacqua.

“We’re really pleased with his development,” Delbarton head coach Brian Bowers said. “He’s come a long way. We have confidence in him to do the job. He’s the leader on the field and in the huddle. I’m excited about where he’s taken this team.”

The Green Wave has also established a solid rushing attack, led by do-everything back Robbie Arancio.

“We can do a couple of things with our backfield,” Bowers said. “We can go power with Arancio and Joe Johnson, or we can put (Andrew) Sanders at tailback and Arancio at fullback and that gives us a different look. Sanders is only a sophomore, so we’re excited about him.”

Sanders has eclipsed the 100-yard mark in each of the last two games, while both Sanders and Arancio went over 100 last week in the win over Roxbury. Sanders had 116 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown, while Arancio had 113 yards on 10 attempts and two scores.

“It gives us a solid 1-2 punch,” Bowers said.

But Albano has faith in his defensive unit, which has been among the very best in Morris County, allowing just four touchdowns all season and not more than one in a single game.

“No team has been able to run the ball on us this season,” Albano said. “We’re forcing teams to do things they don’t want to do. We’re getting after the ball pretty well and we need to continue to do that against a team like Delbarton.”

Albano likes to sing the praises of his defense.

“It’s the best front five I’ve ever had and our front seven are just amazing players,” Albano said. “Their contribution is enormous and the others feed off it. Our defense has set the tone for our offense. Right now, the offense is trying to catch up to the defense. I knew they were going to be good on defense. I just didn’t know how good.”

Of course, defensive tackle Michael Dogbe leads the way for the Vikings. The Temple-bound standout has not missed a beat since moving to the inside of the line this season. Michael Weiss is another standout on the defensive line.

“Mike Monroe at nose guard and Patrick Minardi at defensive tackle have been outstanding,” Albano said. “J.D. Keyes at outside linebacker makes a lot of plays. Steven Hill has picked up his game. Andrew Piccoli has four interceptions. It’s the best defensive unit I’ve had since 2005 and 2006 (when the Vikings made back-to-back appearances in the North 1 Group III finals). They’ve all been outstanding.”

The Vikings have quarterback Brandon Katzenberger taking charge. He’s now entrenched as a signal caller, after playing receiver last year.

“Without question, Brandon is a born leader,” Albano said. “The games are getting tighter and tighter and he’s not. He’s calm and cool. He knows he doesn’t have to go out there and complete 20 of 25 for us to make it. He knows he can let the defense take over the game if he does his job.”

Bowers knows that the Green Wave will be tested Saturday at Delbarton.

“They’re a good team,” Bowers said. “They’re undefeated and doing a great job. They’re well coached and playing very well defensively. They have so many good kids up front that we have to try to run the ball well. We know it’s a big challenge. It’s Homecoming for us, so it’s a big game.”

Bowers said that he’s been getting solid play up front from junior offensive lineman Andrew Otterman.

“He’s 6-4 and 265 and has done an outstanding job,” Bowers said. “He’s a big-time prospect.”

Chris Schafer, who missed all of last season due to injury, has returned to play well along the line. Tom Lenz is a two-year starter at center. Corbin Davis is a 295-pound guard who has developed well. Aaron Slodowitz rounds out the starters up front.

“I’m really happy with the way our offensive line is playing,” Bowers said.

Here’s a look at the other games on the schedule for this weekend:

Boonton (3-2) at North Warren (3-2): The Bombers, coming off their big overtime win over Pequannock, make the sojourn to Blairstown in a game that has huge playoff ramifications for both teams. Josh Corporan has been a defensive beast at safety for the Bombers.

Chatham (0-5) at West Morris (3-2): The Cougars are still trying to get head coach Jason Izsa his first coaching win and snap a 15-game losing streak. It won’t be easy playing the Wolfpack on their home field, where they are next to unbeatable. Connor Thompson is a two-way standout for West Morris, which needs the win to stay in the North 2 Group IV playoff picture.

Dover (2-3) at Hackettstown (1-4): It’s a battle of the Tigers, as George Scalley leads Dover’s Tigers, who desperately need a win to keep their Group II playoff hopes alive.

Hanover Park (3-2) at Morristown-Beard (5-0): The Hornets are licking their wounds after last week’s tough loss to Jefferson. They now travel to face the undefeated Crimson in a rare night game at Mo-Beard, which has rented lights for the occasion. Max Reynolds has developed into a clutch receiver for the Hornets, while Nick Rella (141 yards, three touchdowns) has returned from an early season injury to pace the Crimson rushing attack.

Kinnelon (3-2) at Hopatcong (3-2): Here’s another showdown with gigantic state playoff ramifications. The Colts enjoyed their come-from-behind 24-20 win over Wallkill Valley last week to keep hopes of defending the North 1 Group II crown. The Chiefs have won two straight to keep their North 1 Group I hopes alive, but need the power points that come with a win here.

Madison (3-1) at Jefferson (4-1): Here’s one of the top games of the weekend. The Dodgers, led by QB A.J. Schmitz, travel north to take on the high-flying Falcons, leaders in the NJAC-Freedom Division, paced by sensational QB J.R. Reese.

Parsippany (0-5) at Kittatinny (3-2): Workhorse back Andrew Massefski collects 100 yards every game for the Red Hawks, but it hasn’t helped new coach Flip McGuane get his first win. The Cougars have dropped two straight after starting off 3-0.

Morris Knolls (4-1) at Montville (1-4): The rushing tandem of the two Mikes – Mike Marra and Mike Sweeney – pace the Golden Eagles, who are off to their best start since 2005. The Mustangs have struggled, losing four straight since their season-opening win.

Whippany Park (1-4) at Pequannock (1-4): Here’s a battle of two teams playing for pride, with linebackers Nick Cetrulo and Mike Poulter leading the Wildcats’ defense trying to stop A.J. Adamczyk and the Golden Panthers’ offense.

Morris Catholic (0-5) at Wallkill Valley (1-4): If veteran coach Greg Lusardi’s Crusaders are going to get one this season, it might be this weekend against the Rangers. Sophomores Shawn Davis and Wayne Patterson hold the future for the Crusaders.

Mount Olive (2-3) at Morris Hills (1-4): The Marauders, thanks to the running attack of Michael Moran (206 yards, four TDs in a win over Vernon last week), will look to stop the running attack of Jose Delgado.

Randolph (2-2-1) at Morristown (2-3): This is a huge game for two teams holding onto playoff hopes. The Rams, with QB Connor Logoyda leading the way, will look to get some sort of attack going against the extremely stingy Colonials’ defense, coming off a tough loss to Parsippany Hills last weekend.

Roxbury (2-3) at Mendham (1-3-1): The two local rivals lock horns in what should be a good one. The Gaels have dropped three straight, including last week’s lambasting by Delbarton. The hard luck Minutemen lost a tough one, 28-21, to West Morris, one week after the 38-38 tie with Randolph.

Butler (5-0) at Mountain Lakes (5-0): Here’s the second top game of the week. The Bulldogs, led by QB Glenn Reger, will try to upend the Herd, led by RB Chris Sammarro, in the annual showdown for supremacy in the NJAC-Independence Division.

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