SCOTCH PLAINS-FANWOOD, NJ – After finishing 3-7 last year, the Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School football team will return to the field on Sept. 12 after an intense offseason.
Last season, the Raiders combined for over 3,500 rushing yards, but just 300 passing yards, according to the team’s head coach Jon Stack. The sub-par record neglects to show the 4th quarter leads they held in multiple games, including a 14-point lead against eventual State Champion Linden Tigers.
“Thinking you can pull the upset of the year still stings,” Coach Stack admitted. “Even in the game against Immaculata we fought back, but they made plays and the game slipped through our fingers. A coach said this to me once, ‘It’s not your record, it’s how you get to that record.’ I’m proud of the three wins because we fought and that’s all you ask for.”
The outlook on this season remains neutral as the inaugural game is still over two weeks away.
“There is nobody on our schedule that we can take lightly,” Coach Stack said. “We can win every game, we can lose every game.”
However, the team welcomes back a heavy sense of camaraderie with both the entire offensive and defensive line staying in place, and key playmakers earning roles on both sides of the ball.
Returning varsity players include Ed DePaola (OL, DL), Giancarlo Lorusso (OL, LB), Jason Wendel (OL, DL), and Jalen Bryant (OL, DL), who will all serve as team captains. Seniors Marquel Taylor (QB), Jack Defouw (QB), and Ben Powell (RB, DB) will lead the Raiders’ offense in 2015.
Coach Stack had high praise for juniors Vinnie Ruzek (FB, LB), Yusef Wheeler (RB, LB), and big man Izu Mozie (OL, DL) who will double as one of many linemen on both sides of the ball.
Despite losing four stud graduates in Kevin Maxwell, Kobe White, Emendo Thomas, and Andrew Ciccarino, Coach Stack is optimistic about the returning cast and crew.
“Our attitude in the weight room is phenomenal, they have been with me three days a week since December, and we’re not sick of each other,” he said. “What they’ve built is a team attitude. They are letting us teaching them responsibilities instead of worrying about stats and who’s going to see them. These guys don’t care, they do their job.”
This will be Jon Stack's 14th year coaching and 4th season as head coach for the Raiders.
The current 2015 Football schedule is as follows (home games in bold):
9/12 – 2:30 p.m. vs. Plainfield
9/19 – 1:00 p.m. at Westfield
9/26 – 1:00 p.m. vs. Ridge
10/3 – 2:30 p.m. vs. North Hunterdon
10/9 – 7:00 p.m. at Linden
10/16 – 7:00 p.m. at Montgomery
10/24 – 2:00 p.m. vs. Immaculata
10/30 – 7:00 p.m. at Warren Hills Regional
11/7 – 2:30 p.m. vs. Phillipsburg