Perhaps it’s because, as they say, he can’t see the forest for the trees, but as the caretaker of one of the state’s most successful public school football programs, Sayreville coach George Najjar can’t exactly pinpoint why the Bombers have been so consistent.
“I don’t have a specific answer,” said Najjar, who can point to the boro’s two Pop Warner programs, Sayreville’s deep and talented coaching staff, the annual leadership of upperclassmen or the blue-collar mentality that envelops the town.
“I will say the kids we’ve had the last three years have really come together. We are fortunate to have good athletes and good players that have just bought into the program.”
Sayreville bids for a fourth consecutive sectional title – this fall in Central Group V – and for its 19th playoff appearance in the last two decades with its third starting quarterback in as many years.
“We are very excited about that,” Najjar said of his Bombers making the jump from Central Group IV, noting all of the opponents on Sayreville’s regular-season schedule are Group V schools anyway.
Malik Pressley moves from split end, where he caught 13 passes for 191 yards, to quarterback.
“He’s bright and he has a good grasp of the offense and we felt he was the right fit for what we are trying to do,” said Najjar, whose wing-T has evolved into a shotgun wing-T since Isaiah Cureton took over at quarterback for Mike Carey midway through the 2010 campaign.
“The shotgun created a lot of dilemmas and mismatches for us and assignment conflicts for the defense,” said Najjar, noting Pressley is as much a threat to run or pass as was Cureton.
“Malik is very athletic. He’s a cerebral type of kid. In the few (months) we’ve been working with him, he’s really developed nicely. He knows how to read defenses, knows how to check off and really control the offense.”
Pressley will be surrounded by gifted skill position players including junior running back Myles Hartsfield, who has already received a scholarship offer from Rutgers University, and backfield mate Deion Miller.
Both will be counted upon to replace the graduated Zeke Perkinson, who led the Bombers with 968 rushing yards.
The key, perhaps, to Sayreville’s consistency rests with the offensive line, which every year, despite graduation, creates gaping holes for running backs and keeps its quarterbacks upright.
“I think the line is comfortable with what we are doing offensively,” said Najjar, who returns three starters in the trenches. “We feel very comfortable with them really being at the forefront of our offense.”