2017 Wood-Ridge Football Preview - The Defense

The Wood-Ridge defense prepares for the snap in scrimmage versus Montclair Kimberley Credits: Faith C. Armonaitis
A quick pass rush will be one of the keys to the Blue Devils defense this season. Credits: Faith C. Armonaitis
Michael Giancaspro (7) and James Hutchison (56) pursue the Montclair Kimberley ball carrier. Credits: Faith C. Armonaitis

WOOD-RIDGE, NJ -   A season ago, Greg Carmona was the player getting all the attention on the defensive side of the ball for Wood-Ridge High School, ending the year as a first team All-NJIC Patriot selection. But don't feel sorry for head coach Charlie Trentacosti on the defensive side fo the ball. The Blue Devils return nine starters from last year’s defense, and it looks to be a strength for Wood-Ridge this season..

Defensive Line  - Four senior linemen return to anchor the defensive line. Co-captains Dylan Ha (5-7, 165)  and Ryan Kriegel (6-1, 225) are the ends, with Stephen Drotos (5-11, 195) and James Hutchison (5-11,185) will anchor the middle.   Ha was an Honorable Mention selection a year ago at defensive end. There is depth, with a handful of juniors working hard to push their way into the lineup.

While a bit undersized on the line, Trentacosti believes quickness will make up some of the difference.  

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Linebackers -  Trentacosti likes the speed he gets from his outside linebackers in Jake Colon (6-0, 195) and Jake Reiter (5-11,165). Both are solid tacklers.   Eric Drotos will take over in the middle for Carmona.  

Defensive backs  - The leader on the defensive side, sits in the secondary, is four year starter Giancaspro at free safety.  Last season he was an All-NJIC Patriot first team selection at free safety.

“There is not much that any is going to do that he is not going to know,” Trentacosti stated.

“Evan West has built himself up into a great strong safety over the summer.  The corners, I think, are lockdown.”  

Those corners he is referring to are juniors Drew Packen, and Johnoi Martin.  While they are both first year starters at corner, they saw enough time last year for the coach to be confident on how they will react on the field.  Martin was a second team All-NJIC Patriot choice at linebacker.

Special Teams:  Trentacosti is excited when he talks about another of his seniors, kicker Matthew Roncaioli.    

“Matt came over from soccer last year, and had a great year,”  Trentacosti said.  ”First game last year, we sent him out for 42-yarder and he nailed it like it was nothing. This year, he has already kicked a 50-yarder in practice, and he has put three of the five kickoffs (in the game scrimmages) in the end zone. “

Colon will be the primary returner, with Lamont Hogan backing him up.  Colon has been returning kicks since his freshman year, so Trentacosti is comfortable there.

Offensive Outlook


Date Team Location
9/8/2017 @ Wallington Wallington HS
9/15/2017 Bogota Wood-Ridge HS
9/22/2017 @ Becton Riggin Memorial Field
10/1/2017 Emerson Wood-Ridge HS
10/13/2017 Park Ridge Wood-Ridge HS
10/20/2017 @ Weehawken Weehawken Stadium
10/27/2017 NJIC Crossover Bowl TBD
11/3/2017 NJIC Crossover Bowl TBD

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