SOMERVILLE, NJ – It was standing room only at Monday night’s Borough Council meeting, as the folding chairs were pushed off the side of the room to make room for members and staff of the 2016 Championship Somerville High School football team.

Parents and supporters of the 10-1 Pioneers also crowded into the room..

The team was honored with a proclamation commemorating their memorable 2016 season, characterized by lopsided scores, dominance on defense and offense and what Mayor Brian Gallagher described as “absolute magic,” the overwhelming support for the team that welled up in the community and continued to grow throughout the season.

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Each member of the team received a copy of the proclamation as they were congratulated individually by Gallagher.

The proclamation reads:


“WHEREAS, the 2016 Somerville High School Varsity Football Team, had an undefeated season of 9-0, reaching the Central Jersey Group 3 semifinals; and

“WHEREAS, at the start of the year, the team was clicking on all cylinders and never let up, with an explosive offensive unit a lock down defense along with special teams that controlled field position the team was destined for a great season with a conference title on their mind; and

“WHEREAS, the Pioneers set the tone to an undefeated season by a dominating winvagainst Cranford (41-17), followed by eight more wins against North Plainfield (55-35), Voorhees (50-14), Warren Hills (45-8), Rahway (59-35), Governor Livingston (49-7), Arthur L. Johnson (50-6), Scotch-Plains Fanwood (63-7), and Summit (42-7); and

“WHEREAS, the undefeated season earned the Pioneers the title of 2016 Mid-State 38 Mountain Division Champions setting up a game against Rahway, a fierce rival in the first round of the State Tournament; and

“WHEREAS, the Pioneers continued their remarkable season by defeating Rahway (47-21) but eventually fell to Rumson-Fair Haven in the semifinals (21-13) wrapping up an overall record of 10-1, a complete turnaround from winless seasons of 2013 and 2014 and a two win season of 2015; and

“WHEREAS, it is most fitting we recognize the 2016 Somerville High School Varsity Football Team under the leadership of Head Coach Jeffrey Vanderbeek and Assistant Head Coach Keith Vanderbeek, along with Joe Petrill, Randy Johnson, Dallas Whitaker, Dave Damaschke, Mike Barber, Matt Bloom, Savon Huggins, Rob Cirino, Gary Knoeppel, Dave Peist, Brett Stibitz, and congratulate players; Hamza Akel, A.J. Akins, Rich Baginski, Owen Booker, Charley Burkhardt, Marcus Burnside, Chris Ciempola, Joseph Ciempola, Tyler Cole,vNick Couzzi, Jason Curau, Michael DeSarno, Robert Fiorentino, Luke Genise, Devin Hack, Ryan Hrabinski, Evan Kizmann, Ryan Kovacs, Sampath Kumar Raghava, Steven Kyle, Markus Lauber, Ahmad Lee, Max Madrazo,Thomas Malaiko, Jordan Malanga, Kyle McCormick, Duke McDuffie, Robert McTernan, Nick Merola, Michael Mosher, Keyshawn Newton, Nasir Petties-Jackson, Brett Sandler, Ethan Sandler, Da’Shaun Smith, QuronvSmith, Keason Spearman, Konnor Spotts, Brett Thomas, Keifer Thomas, Jared Tuazon, Austin Van Ness.

“NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that I, Brian G. Gallagher, Mayor of the Borough of Somerville, along with the Somerville Borough Council and the residents of Somerville Borough, do hereby join in congratulating the 2016 Somerville High School Varsity Football Team on their undefeated regular season (9-0) and their remarkable year.”