New Year, New Team: West Orange Mountaineer Football 2014

August 24, 2014 at 6:57 PM

WEST ORANGE, NJ - West Orange High School head football coach Jim Matsakis has a simple coaching philosophy: every day is an opportunity to get better. As the team practiced in the heat of the morning sun at Suriano Stadium on Aug. 21, Coach Matsakis talked to TAP Into West Orange about the upcoming season.

Implementing a run-and-shoot offense and a 4-3 defense, Matsakis is pushing the team hard to do well this year. In 2013, Matsakis’ first year as head coach, the team racked up a 7-3 record for the season, successful by any standard. Currently, the program (including freshman and JV) has 127 players, 27 of whom are seniors. This abundance of senior players is one of the key strengths of the team this year, says Matsakis.

The varsity squad lost 18 of 22 starters when the class of 2014 graduated. Eighteen new starters took their places, and while many of them lack experience, the vast majority possesses a more important quality: dedication. Numerous senior players have been dedicated to the program since freshman year, and many of those players played in the PAL football program for years as well. That intense dedication is not something that will fade when times get tough.  In the words of Matsakis, “You need eleven to be good, thirty-three to be great.”

Sign Up for E-News

Matsakis also made note of the players to watch this season which include Jarod Vyent (wide receiver, already committed to Fordham University), Chris Morgan (defensive lineman), Shaquille Grosvenor (defensive lineman), Jonah Brodsky (quarterback), Malik Allen (wide receiver), and Robert Bailey (wide receiver).

Said Matsakis, “Anybody can lose a game of football, but not everybody can win.” The Mountaineers are eager to win their first game against Wayne Valley on Sept. 13 on home turf during the 2014 Fanfest.

TAP Into West Orange also talked to the senior captains Shaquille Grosvenor, Chris Morgan, and Steeve Francois. Grosvenor told TAP Into West Orange, “each practice is all about pushing yourself. It’s all about mental toughness.”

Defensively, the group agreed that the 4-3 set consisted of a strong defensive line and a secondary that needs some work. That being said, none of them were deterred, and they felt  confident that the team would do well. “We’re going to make some noise this season,” said Morgan. “We can at least make the playoffs.”

As far as the offense goes, the captains agreed that “nothing is set in stone.” No positions are definite, and everyone is getting a chance to prove themselves. The rotating of positions, they say, is helping to create a stronger bond between teammates.

When asked for any parting words, Francois immediately said, “People are doubting us. We’re seen as underdogs.”

“Nobody thought the soccer team was going to go anywhere, but look at what they accomplished,” said Morgan, referring to their championship win in the 2013 season. Said Morgan, “Don’t sleep on West Orange.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

West Orange

Montclair First Responders Rush to Rescue Man Under Fallen Oil Tank

December 4, 2016

MONTCLAIR, NJ – Members of the Montclair Fire Department spent nearly two hours on Saturday afternoon rescuing a man who was trapped under an oil tank in a trench at 26 Linden Avenue.

According to published reports, Montclair Fire Department officials arrived after being alerted by witnesses to find the man in a trench filled with dirt and under the tank up to his ...

Randolph's Brendan Fletcher Reaches Top 8 on NBC’s “The Voice”

December 4, 2016

LOS ANGELES, CA - “And though the course may change sometimes, rivers always reach the sea,” Led Zepplin, Ten Years Gone

After years of changing his course, living in New Jersey, Boston, Brooklyn, and Charleston, all while singing in small local bars, at open mic nights, and working as a bartender to make ends meet, Randolph’s Brendan Fletcher always ...

Upcoming Events


Tue, December 6, 11:00 AM

The Manor - Garden Room, West Orange

North Essex Chamber of Commerce 2016 Holiday ...

Arts & Entertainment Business & Finance Food & Drink

Tue, December 6, 12:00 PM

The Cora Hartshorn Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary, Short Hills

Turtle Tots Program Returns to the Cora Hartshorn ...

Education Green

Wed, December 7, 7:00 PM

Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, South Orange

Introduction to Judaism

Education Religions And Spirituality

Don't Sacrifice the Environment to Fund the State Treasury

November 23, 2016

Dear Editor:

New Jersey’s Natural Resource Damages (NRD) program is an incredibly important and necessary program rising from the state’s history of incremental spills and discharges, as well as historic industrialization. 

NRD requires polluters to go beyond the mandated cleanup and to pay damages for restoration and compensation for the public loss of use of natural ...

Andy’s Family Music Showcases Alex Weiss on Drums

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Andy’s Family Music Center of Livingston is proud to highlight 11-year-old Alex Weiss, a fifth grader at Collins Elementary School with an aptitude for drums.

Alex studies drums at Andy’s under the instruction of Joe Vitello. He says hid favorite band is Fall Out Boy and that his dad is his number one musical influence.

Check him out in the video ...

Q/A with New Owners of Meadowbrook Country Day Camp

Recently, the owners of Meadowbrook Country Day Camp, Dan Milman and George Stein, took part in a fun Question and Answer session. Below are the questions and their responses. To learn more about Milman, Stein and Meadowbrook, click here to read a recent article that ran on


George: A six lb.

Getting a Handle on Thanksgiving

This year, on our National Day of Thanks, I would like to express my gratitude for having hands.

We typically don’t thank our body parts because they seldom leave us.  Most of us have not experienced unfortunate accidents or suffered the horrible consequences of war; tragic events  which might cause us to lose a limb.  

Most of us take our fingers and hands and elbows ...

Beckerman’s Theory of Everything

Any armchair theoretical physicist knows that Stephen Hawking has pursued a lifelong quest to come up with a Theory of Everything. This all-encompassing theory would tie together general relativity (large scale and high mass galaxies, stars, etc), quantum theory (quantum mechanics, quarks, atoms, subatomic particles), and Newtonian physics (gravity on small bodies, gas laws, electromagnetism) to ...

‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales' Captures Old-Fashioned Nostalgia at Shakespeare Theatre

MADISON, NJ – It’s clear the Welsh love to sing as the evening moves on with relatives gathering for Christmas dinner at the Thomas home in Wales.

The play opens with three children and then a chorus singing “In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,” a melancholy tune that conjures visions of Swansea, a village in Wales,  with “fallen snow on ...