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2021 Week 1 Football Predictions

By George Muha, 09/02/21, 1:30PM EDT

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Thursday Evening Showdowns

 

Hackettstown Tigers (0-0-0) @ Parsippany Redhawks (0-0-0)

Brian Kenney: The Redhawks had a setback last year but last year was just crazy anyway.  H-Town has dominated Parsippany in years past but they haven’t played since 2015.  Parsippany has a different mindset now and this will be a close one.  I think H-Town will pull it out on a score in the final seconds, when a Puma (Nick Puma) scores for the Tigers.  PICK: H-Town 13-7
George Muha:  I am a big fan of Par High coach Derrick Eatman and I love how he likes to run-and-gun up and down the field.  But I think Hackettstown’s beefy junior back Andrew Carida will be too much for the Red Birds.  PICK:  Htown 28-14

Lodi (0-0-0) @ Butler Bulldogs (0-0-0)

Brian Kenney:  This one goes down to the wire, but I see Rocco Presti busting a big run in the final few minutes to make the different here.  Gavin Huber gets his first interception of the season for the ‘Dawgs, there will be more to come.  PICK: Butler 20-14
George Muha:  Hayden Ribaudo is one of the hottest receivers in Morris-Sussex and he’ll be a mouth full for Lodi.  Look for Ribaudo and the Dawgs to deliver fans a Week 1 dub.  PICK:  Butler 21-20

Kittatinny Cougars (0-0-0) @ Sussex Tech Mustangs (0-0-0)

Brian Kenney: The Kits were interesting last year, they would win by 20 and lose by 20.  I guess that’s some inconsistency, but I think they will level it out more this year and every game will be close.  Except, I think, this one, in which they win big.  Mike Cerbo scores for the Kits at least once.  PICK: Cougars 32-14
George Muha:  It’s never an easy task playing Sussex Tech on their home field.  But Kittatinny junior QB Mike Cerbo and senior WR Trent Molfetto really gelled last season and I see those two coming out right out of the gate this season hotter than ever.  PICK:  Cougars 27-20

Friday Night Lights 

 

Boonton Bombers (0-0-0) @ Weequahic Indians (0-0-0)

Brian Kenney: Weequahic was on a run winning three years in a row against the Bombers until last year when Boonton won by 3 points.  This year, look for it to be yet another barn burner, but I think the Bombers’ O-Line will once against pave a way for several backs, including Hunter Van Zant, who is going to have a heck of a senior year, to reach the promised land.  PICK: Boots 28-19
George Muha:  Playing the Indians on their home turf will be tough for the Bombers.  As potent as Weequahic is going to be this year, I just can’t see how you can bet against the state’s leading rusher Hunter Van Zant in an offense that runs 90% of the time.  PICK:  Boots 35-28

Hudson Catholic (0-0-0) @ Hanover Park Hornets (0-0-0)

Brian Kenney:  I think it goes without saying that I am not only biased, but there is probably a conflict of interest with me picking games for HP.  If it keeps me from getting my first Pulitzer prize I will somehow survive.  Anyway, everything excites me about this HP squad, from Mikey “The Flash” Filippone busting huge runs to Paul “Cos” Cosentino lighting people up from the safety spot to Brett “Da” Behre making one-handed grabs.  They are going to have their hands full with Hudson Catholic and some of their ginormous linemen, (some of whom are headed to D1 schools).  I think Mike Borello makes some great plays at QB and Filippone will outrun HC for a buck fifty and two scores behind some well executed blocking by Rispoli, Siciliano and company.  The defense will get some big plays from Cos, Anthony “AC” Carlucci and Jack Massarano, who combine for 30 plus tackles in this one to spurn the Hornets to a hard-fought W.  PICK: HP 27-20
George Muha:  Defense wins football games and when you have a guy like Paul Cosentino  averaging 13 tackles as a junior, you have to feel good about Hanover Park on their home field.  I predict Hornet’s receiver Brett Behre and back Michael Filippone will see the endzone often in a convincing win in front of the HP faithful.  PICK:  Hornets 44-19

High Point Wildcats (0-0-0) @ Hopatcong Chiefs (0-0-0)

Brian Kenney:  This is going to be a battle in the trenches, and no matter what, these squads will leave it all on the field.  I think that High Point has a slight advantage here, and look for Hunter Carney to find the endzone at least once for them, while Vaughn Burnell breaks out on the defensive side for at least two sacks in this one.  PICK: HP 19-14
George Muha:  High Point head coach Austin Caldwell makes his debut as head man in this game as he tries to fill the big shoes left by Jim Delaney.  I see Wildcat senior defensive lineman Vaughn Burnell and DB Hunter “The Butcher” Carney making it easy for Caldwell by keeping the Chief’s defense in check.  PICK:  HP 21-7

Madison Dodgers (0-0-0) vs Immaculata (0-0-0)

Brian Kenney: Dante Izzo will find the endzone twice for the Dodgers, while Stephen Heffernan will record a baker’s dozen worth of tackles on defense and force a turnover that makes the difference as Madison wins a tight game.  PICK: Madison 21-19
George Muha:  The Dodgers will make the trek out to Immaculata to kick off the season but don’t expect this Madison team to have any kind of jet lag for this game.  Brayton Boyer looked great in preseason.  Expect him to lead all the statistics on the ground as maroon and gold take control of this game early.  PICK:  Dodgers 38-19

Irvington @ Mount Olive Marauders (0-0-0)

Brian Kenney: Coach O’Connor has his squad geared up for this one, and I don’t think they will let him down.  Look for Hunter Perez to do some damage on both sides of the ball.  Meanwhile, Dan “Bullseye” Barra hits at least two FGs and JT Abrusci to account for at least two scores as Mt. Olive rolls.   PICK: MO 34-19
George Muha:  Mount Olive wants nothing more to start out of the game 1-0 but it’ll be easier said than done against a very tough Blue Knights team.  Senior Marauder Hunter Perez will reward fantasy owners that drafted him with tons of stats but I predict Irvington will be the victor. PICK:  Knights 30-21

Mendham Minutemen (0-0-0) @ Jefferson Falcons (0-0-0)

Brian Kenney:  Jtown's Peter Delaportas is looking to make his mark for the Falcons this year.  Look for PD to score a TD or two as the Falcons win in a tough one.  PICK: Falcons 34-30
George Muha:  Two players that will reward fantasy owners for drafting them this season are Mendham QB and WR/DB Frank and Quinn Kontely.  These twin brothers are super athletic and total gamers so definitely keep an eye out for them this year.  But I envision this game being the Peter Delaportis Show as the 6-4, 220-pound QB will show fans why he’ll be playing for Boston College next season.  PICK:  Jtown 40-21

Shabazz @ (0-0-0) Kinnelon Colts (0-0-0)

Brian Kenney:  Kinnelon will have a battle on their hands for the first game of the season.  Aidan “Wynn” Duffy (if you have never seen the show “Justified” I suggest you Netflix it).  Anyway Wynn Duffy is a character on that show, who has nothing to do with Aidan, who is a great kid.  Where was I?  Oh yeah, AD lights up Shabazz for 300 yards of total offense and three scores and the Colts win a close one.  PICK: Colts 27-24
George Muha:  There is a reason why Kinnelon's Aidan Duffy is ranked high on all the Fantasy Football charts this preseason so look for the senior QB to rack up the stats in this one.  Although Duffy will keep the Colts in it, I see Shabazz edging them out in a close one.  PICK:  Shabazz 35-34

Lenape Valley Patriots (0-0-0) @ Vernon Vikings (0-0-0)

Brian Kenney:  I wonder if Vernon has a chill in the air in early September, or is going through climate crisis like the rest of the world.  Anyway, the Vikes will play tough at home, but I think the Pats will pull this one out.  Look for Jack Pope to find the endzone at least once for the Valley as they win in the last minute after a hard-fought battle.  PICK: LV 13-10
George Muha:  I’ve been saying since last year that Vernon is my sleeper pick of the year.  I see them coming out of the gate with a vengeance with a lot of steam to burn off.  Viking lineman Kevin Coulther will pave the way for multiple different players to have a big night.  PICK:  Vernon 40-21

Pequannock Golden Panthers (0-0-0) @ Morris Catholic Crusaders (0-0-0)

Brian Kenney:  The Golden Panthers (why golden by the way, it’s very specific.  I mean I think there are black panthers, and just regular panthers.  Cool cats either way, I like their mascot) are going to have a better season than last year, and they will put up a fight against the Crusaders.  Look for Jimmy Dolan to have a bunch of tackles and sack for the Golden Panthers, but I think in  the end, Dean Denobilie finds the endzone for MC and they pull it out.  PICK: MC 24-20
George Muha:  Morris Catholic wants to avenge last season’s only loss to Pequannock.  I think they’ll pull it off but Panther’s QB David Rigolioso will make it a lot closer than the Crusaders might like it to be.  PICK:  MC 34-33

Newton Braves (0-0-0) @ Sparta Spartans (0-0-0)

Brian Kenney:  This is definitely the game of the week.  I am always on the Spartans bandwagon, but the Braves are the real deal.  Brave QB Jack Young is a beast, and will be producing yards on offense and tackling everyone but the cheerleaders on defense.  Austen Frattura will not make it easy for the Braves, as the throws for 200 plus yards and runs for half a hundge and two scores.  But look for Matthew May -“Day” to record a couple of sacks in this one for the Braves as they escape with a victory.  PICK: Braves 27-24
George Muha:  I honestly have been having the hardest time predicting this game.  Sparta is absolutely loaded up and down their lineup on both sides of the ball.  Same can be said about Newton.  Both coaches are chess masters and will definitely be throwing the kitchen sink at each other.  Every time I bet against Newton I lose but I just have to go with the home team for no other reason than I give Sparta a slight edge because of the home crowd.  But this game is definitely going to one or two overtimes.  PICK:  Sparta 55-54  

Randolph Rams (0-0-0) @ Old Tappan (0-0-0)

Brian Kenney: This one is tough because I think OT is pretty good, but Randolph is Randolph.  Rams are always successful.  Look for Ryan “Patrick” Swayze and Jordan “Kris” Cross to find the endzone at least one time each as the Rams make it look it easy.  PICK: Rams 34-24
George Muha:  I know Old Tappan is a very good team and Randolph lost a lot of talent to graduation.  But I’m doubling down on Randolph solely based on the fact that the Ram’s line is insane.  I literally could rush for 150-yards behind Gilgrest, Ghahary and company and Randolph has a lot better skill guys than me.  PICK:  Rams 32-25

Riverdell (0-0-0) @ Par Hills Vikings (0-0-0)  

Brian Kenney: Riverdell is always good, and Par Hills graduated a lot of talented kids.  You know who didn’t graduate from Par Hills?  Coach Dave “Lou” Albano.  He’s like the Bill Bellicheck of high school football.  Dom Verducci is still around too, did he get red-shirted one year?  He accounts for 250 yards easy as the Vikes win a close one.  PICK: Par Hills 27-26
George Muha:  There are two things I cannot wait for:  1) to watch The Many Saints of Newark prequel to the Sopranos to see Michael Gandolfini play summon his dad Jim Gandolfini as he portrays a younger version of his dad’s character Tony Soprano and 2) to watch Par Hills QB Dom Verducci summon his older brother Nick Verducci as he takes the helm under center for the first time in his career.  If Dom is half as good as his brother, the division is in trouble.  And the fact that Dom is taller and faster than Nick (sorry Nick) tells me it’s going to be a long season for the Vikings opponents.  PICK:  Par Hills 30-23

West Morris Central Wolfpack (0-0-0) @ Roxbury Gaels (0-0-0)

Brian Kenney:  I have a lot of WMC stuff in my house thanks to Owen.  I have to say, Owen is right, the wolf is a cool mascot.  Is at as cool as a Gael? I used to think Roxbury’s mascot was named after a strong wind, but I finally decided to open a book (okay, I looked online) and I learned that a Gael is a “Irish/Scottish Warrior”.  So, I guess Gaels are pretty cool.  But, wolves, come on.  PICK: The Pack 22-13
George Muha:  I love old time Morris County rivalry games and this is one of the best!  The Gaels will be feisty as junior DB Alex Maldonado will make tackles all over the field.  But Trevor Hillier and the Wolves have big plans this year and I expect them to continue to build on last year’s successful 7-1 season.  PICK:  WMC 30-19

Saturday Afternoon Delights
 

Chatham (0-0-0) @ Orange (0-0-0)

Brian Kenney:  Chatham has a tough opponent on the road the first game of the season, and I think they will put up a fight to the very end.  Look for Jack Crowley to catch at least one TD pass while Liam Carroll records a dozen tackles for the Cougars.  I think Orange pulls it out in the end though.  PICK: Orange 34-21
George Muha:  Chatham is a team that I expect to make a big leap after going o’fer in 2021 with new head coach and defensive guru Evan Picariello who likes to throw a lot of different looks and aggressive blitz packages at opposing offenses.  Navigating past a tough Tornado team on the road in Week 1 won’t be an easy task but I see the Cougs looking a lot different than last season.  PICK:  Orange 33-24

Colombia (0-0-0) @ Morristown Colonials (0-0-0)

Brian Kenney:  This is an evenly-matched game this year, and Morristown is tough at home.  But I think Columbia’s Stephen Henry rumbles for 100 yards and a score or two and that makes the difference in a close one.  PICK: Columbia 20-17
George Muha:  Motown has a lot of pent up frustrations after only playing three games after last season which was riddled with Covid 19 pitfalls.  Coach John Power will give fans something to cheer about as he opens the season 1-0.  PICK:  Colonials 21-14

Delbarton Green Wave (0-0-0) @ Pope John Lions (0-0-0)

Brian Kenney: Pope John had a rough one coming out of the gate last week against Seton Hall Prep.  Hopefully that is not a sign of how this season is going to shake out, but Delby isn’t a good bounce back game.  Look for Aidan Papntonis to find the endzone at least once for the Green Wave.  Meanwhile Pope John’s Jack Morgese will continue to show off his leg punting and kicking a couple of FGs.  PICK Delby 41-13
George Muha: Pope John had a rough go around in Week 0 against Seton Hall.  Unfortunately it won’t get any easier this week even though they are home.  Look for Delbarton TE Nick Petrillo to have 100-yard receiving day and get into the house at least once while pass rushers Patrick Caughey and Matt Gemma make it a long day for the Lion QBs.  PICK:  Delby 44-11

North Hunterdon (0-0-0) @ Morris Knolls Golden Eagles (0-0-0)

Brian Kenney: I don’t know much about North Hunterdon, but it sure is nice down there, farms and what not.  Morris Knolls has had some ups and downs the past couple of seasons, but they are ready to rock this year.  I think they are tough at home with the fans in the stands.  PICK: Knolls 34-28
George Muha:  Nick Tavarone will take the helm for the Golden Eagles as they try to veer their way to a victory at home.  Hunterdon is a viable opponent but Coach Regan and his misdirection offense is always successful against teams they don’t play on a regular basis.  PICK:  Knolls 34-32

Montville Mustangs (0-0-0) @ Morris Hills Scarlet Knights (0-0-0)

Brian Kenney: I think the ‘Stangs will do some damage between Nick Gomez and Josh Shusterman, who will score on the ground and in the air, respectively, but I think David Turner runs for a buck seventy and two scores as Hills wins a nail-biter.  PICK: Hills 27-24
George Muha:  I predict QB Ty Sargent is going to have an explosive season as the senior has it all going on - veteran experience, athleticism and football IQ.  Look for a big performance by him in front of his home fans on Opening Day.  PICK:  Knights 30-13

Sunday Fun Day
 
Wallkill Valley Rangers (0-0-0) @ North Warren Patriots (0-0-0)

Brian Kenney:  Wow a Sunday game?  I didn’t know they did that.  North Warren will score some points before the hometown fans but I see the Rangers doing what they do, scoring points and playing good defense.  The Rangers’ Shane Nugent scores twice in this one.  PICK: The Valley 26-14
George Muha:  Wallkill’s junior RB Shane Nugent is poised to have a breakout season for the Rangers.  The Patriot’s Jay Wohler’s will have a good day on defense but I predict it’ll be the black and white that will be the victor.  PICK:  WV 23-10