MADISON, NJ- When the Madison football program last took home a state title back in 2012—the last of a dominant sectional 3peat —the Dodgers capped off a perfect, 12-0 season.
If the 2015 Dodgers are to be fitted for state championship rings, they’ll need to take down an undefeated squad themselves.
Madison, with a 9-2 on the season, will face 10-0 Rutherford at 5p.m. on Thursday for the North II, Group II sectional crown at MetLife Stadium. The game will be the first of 23 New Jersey football championship clashes over the weekend, including one of eight to be held at MetLife.
With 23, New Jersey awards more state championships in football than any other state in the country. Massachusetts is a distant second with 14.
Madison will be in pursuit of its 9th sectional title, while Rutherford has never won a state title in the playoff era.
While the Dodgers will look to add to a long chain of football glory, their opponents are on the other side of the spectrum.
They will face a Bulldogs squad from lower Bergen County that is desperate to end a 49 year drought without playing state championship football: Rutherford has not won one since being declared North I, Group I champions back in 1966.
Interestingly enough, this game will be Madison coach Chris Kubik’s 100th as head coach of the Dodgers.
Here is a closer look at both teams:
MADISON DODGERS (9-2)
Colors: Maroon & Gold County: Morris
Head Coach: Chris Kubik (9th season, 75-24 record)
League: Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference-Freedom Division
League Record: 5-1, T-1st with Hanover Park and Lenape Valley
Key Wins: Lenape Valley (14-7), Mountain Lakes (33-6), Hanover Park (35-7)
Losses: Lenape Valley (15-23), Butler (41-42)
Last State Championship: 2012
NFL Alumni: Ted Mitchell ’23, Neil O’Donnell ‘84
Impact players: Nick Coviello (#13, QB), Joe Mobley (#2, RB/DB), Zach Shupe (#5, RB/LB), Petar Haboj (#82, OL-DL), P.J. Mulcahy (#24, RB/DB), Mike Dalena (#7, WR/DB), Isaac Zapata (#17, K)
RUTHERFORD BULLDOGS (10-0)
Colors: Royal Blue & White County: Bergen
Head Coach: Andy Howell (6th season, 37-22 record)
League: North Jersey Interscholastic Conference
League Record: 6-0, 1st
Key Wins: Hanover Park (38-28), Glen Rock (26-22), Garfield (27-6)
Last State Championship: 1966
NFL Alumni: Andy Hillhouse ’15, Jim Blumenstock ‘46
Impact Players: Nick Birchby (#7, QB), Kevin Kosakowski (#8, RB/K), Van Foley (#57, FB/MLB), Billy Finn (#24, RB/CB), Tom Reid (#17, WR/CB) Laris Mulic (#81, WR)