Sports

Watchung Hills Pop Warner Junior Varsity Advances to Eastern Region Finals with Win Over Thundercats, 36-6

7f4f49549e6200424aa5_B2DC9AA4-056B-4094-89AF-E8C6A5262A2B.jpeg
Watchung Hills Pop Warner Junior Varsity Advances to Eastern Region Finals with Win Over Thundercats, 36-6
60f790a94c98ca0fd280_87C661FD-5314-40D4-84EA-57E4FAD4F6FE.jpeg
15d0271f5daa98707ec6_EDF58559-EB0A-4005-B622-C1908F9EE870.jpeg
7dfb5befd2788e4b2b2b_E607D99A-BFA5-4F66-8B98-06CE959C73DE.jpeg
7f4f49549e6200424aa5_B2DC9AA4-056B-4094-89AF-E8C6A5262A2B.jpeg

WARREN, NJ - The Watchung Hills Pop Warner Junior Varsity team prevailed in their Saturday Semi-final game improving to 10-1 on the season with a win over the PA state champs the Juniata Thundercats, 36-6. The Wolverines now advance to their fourth straight Eastern Region Championship game and are the only team in the 45-year history of the program to earn four trips to the region finals. Game Captains were Billy Black, Sherrod Hudson, James Palaia, and Mac McAteer.

The Junior Varsity team will compete for a Regional Championship on Friday, November 24 at 3 p.m. in Marsh Creek, PA. They will face the NY state champs, either the Irondequoit Lancers from Rochester or the Geddes/Westvale Knights from Syracuse.

Regional champs earn a berth in the Pop Warner Super Bowl in Florida December 1-8. These Wolverines advanced to Disney in 2016 at the Pee Wee level and in 2014 at Junior Pee Wee. In 2015, they lost the Regional finals to Ward 5 from Washington, DC. Both trips to Disney saw the Wolverines lose to the eventual National Champion. In 2014 it was a team from Chicago and last season the champs were from Miami.

Sign Up for E-News

Palaia received the opening kick-off and had a strong return to about mid-field. Moving the ball well on the initial drive, the Wolverines faced a key fourth and one in Thundercats territory. Palaia powered through for the first down followed by a Hudson sweep to the sideline for another first down. Jake Checchio made the key block on the touchdown run as it was Palaia again with the ball and the score for the Wolverines. Will Grabko nailed the 2-point conversion kick and Watchung was out in front 8-0.

The Juniata Thundercats took possession and moved the ball with a few strong runs. A breakdown in formation allowed the Thundercat running back a clear lane right through the middle of the field. A 50-yard touchdown run had the Pennsylvania champs fired up. Their point-after attempt was foiled by Checchio who intercepted a pass but Juniata had cut the lead to 8-6.

Momentum had definitely swung Juniata’s way as they recovered the ensuing on-sides kick. Things were getting a little scary for the Wolverines as the Thundercats completed a long pass-play down to the Wolverine 12 yard line and they were threatening to take the lead. The Watchung defense rose to the occasion with Hudson making a dynamic tackle on the edge. Jackson Steele hustled in to help finish the key defensive play. Juniata was forced into a fourth and long to finish the first quarter. The Wolverines made another defensive stop and forced Juniata to turn the ball over on downs.

 

Watchung took possession to begin the second quarter and executed a 90-yard touchdown drive. The touchdown play was a  20-yard pass from Ty Marion to a wide open Jamarques Lawrence. Grabko made another conversion kick and the Wolverines were ahead by 10 points at 16-6.

 

Chris Hopf kicked-off for Watchung and sent a hard bouncing ball toward the Thundercats. The receiver was unable to catch it and McAteer was right there to dive on the free ball. The Wolverines were back on offense with great field position. Another solid Watchung drive resulted in a  Palaia touchdown run, this time assisted by key blocks from Hudson, McAteer, and Elhanan Wilson. The score was 22-6.

 

Hopf’s next on-side kick was not struck very well and appeared to be a Watchung penalty for the ball not traveling the required 10 yards. The ball journeyed so slowly that the Thundercat player assumed it would not make it across the line; but it did. The Wolverines quickly fell on the ball inches over the line and had possession yet again.

 

The Wolverines executed another successful drive as Jamarcus Lawrence hit McAteer for a first down. Watchung was trying to put the game out of reach as they raced against the clock. But, a Thundercat interception brought the game to the half with the Wolverines winning 22-6.

 

Juniata was supposed to take possession to begin the third quarter of play but Hopf nailed an on-sides kick and the Thundercats were scrambling to pick it up. Lawrence recovered the ball and Watchung took over with great field position. Watchung’s ‘Hammer-team’ completed a strong offensive drive and Black carried for the team’s fourth touchdown. Grabko made another 2-point kick and Watchung was leaving no doubt as they took a commanding 30-6 lead.

 

The Thundercats were unable to field the next kick-off and Watchung got it back yet again. Now it was back-up quarterback Kaden Everly running the offense with the big lead and the Wolverines drove down the field once more. Black ran it in for another touchdown and Watchung moved in front 36-6 at the end of the third quarter.

 

Down by 30 in the fourth, Juanita turned the ball over on downs. The ‘Hammer-team’ ran the ball and the clock the rest of the way. McAteer carried for a first down run to seal the deal.

 

The win improved their four year record to 46-5 and the Wolverines are eyeing 50 wins over this 4-year span. Winning the Region this week and 3 wins in Florida would get them there. 

 

If the Wolverines can win again on Friday, it would be only the fourth time a football squad has advanced to the Nationals in Florida. The only other team to qualify in the 45 year history of the program was the 2006 Junior Pee Wee team which made it to the final game. The 2017 Junior Varsity team also qualified in 2014 and 2016.

 

Eight boys are looking to make their third trip to Disney. They are: Dylan Braunstein, Elhanan Wilson, Johnny King, Anthony Bateh, Kaden Every, Billy Black, Mac McAteer, and Tyler Marion.

 

Joining the team in either 2015 or 2016 and looking to make their second trip to Disney are: Nasir Maryland, Jake Checchio, Jamarques Lawrence, James Palaia, Xavier Ainsworth, Sherrod Hudson, Chris Hopf, Joe Pizzigoni, Gianluca Melo, and Will Grabko.

 

The new crew this year includes: Tyshaun Anderson, Aqili Holmes, Jackson Steele, and Damon Schumann who are all trying to get to Disney for the first time. 

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Warren

It’s Official: Closings, Cancellations and Postponements and No Call in Warren, Watchung Hills Sending Districts and North Plainfield

February 7, 2018

WARREN, NJ - School is open on Wednesday, Feb. 7. The Watchung Hills girls basketball game scheduled against Phillipsburg on Wednesday has been postponed since Phillipsburg has called a snow day. 

In anticipation of inclement weather, the following senior centers operated by the Somerset County Office on Aging and Disability Services will be closed Wednesday, ...

Warrenbrook Senior Center Closes in Anticipation of Storm, No Meals on Wheels

WARREN, NJ - In anticipation of inclement weather, the following senior centers operated by the Somerset County Office on Aging and Disability Services will be closed Wednesday, Feb. 7: Hillsborough, Montgomery, Quail Brook, Warrenbrook and the Senior Wellness Centers in Bernards and Bridgewater.

There will be no Meals on Wheels deliveries on ...

A Celebration of Black History- Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future in North Plainfield

February 15, 2018

Councilwoman Keiona R. Miller will host the 2nd Annual North Plainfield Community Black History Month Event: ‘A Celebration of Black History.’

KEYNOTE SPEAKER:  The Honorable Ronald L.  Rice, New Jersey State Senator and Chair of the New Jersey State Legislative Black Caucus.

SPECIAL ...

Watchung Student and Team Take Second in State CyberPatriot Competition

NEW JERSEY -- Three students from Scotch Plains-Fanwood -- along with others from Watchung, Edison, and Maplewood -- successfully completed the CyberPatriot (Cyber Defense) competition.

Anushka Kumar, of Watchung, is a sophomore at Watchung Hills Regional High School.

The students were  comprised of two teams: 1) high school students and 2) ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_2e2e4830042112095f66_94f09724857a937db1ac_d6404e0a-7afd-4279-b56f-19b0f9b2138c

Sun, February 25, 10:00 AM

Camp Riverbend, Warren

Camp Riverbend Open House

Tue, March 13, 9:30 AM

Congregation Beth Israel , Scotch Plains

Crisis listening line volunteer listening and ...

Education Giving Back Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_ad6c3c447b5accf3e1a1_3ef0aae34bda175becfa_ptp_save_the_date_-_p1

Fri, March 16, 7:00 PM

The Grove, Cedar Grove

Susan G. Komen North Jersey

Giving Back Other

Obituaries

South Plainfield – Joanne Gallo, 68, of Palm Beach Gardens, FL and Warren, NJ, passed away ...
Read more

Low-Income Families Who Need Safe Cribs Have Nowhere to Go

February 16, 2018

One recent email came from a pastor in East Orange, sharing the struggles of a young couple who have no safe place for their baby to sleep.

Then, there was also a phone call from a Newark hospital, making its fourth request in two years, as well as a frantic text from Puerto Rico, for a family who lost everything in the hurricane.

They all pleaded for the same thing: A safe crib for a ...

WHRHS Girls Basketball: Watchung Hills Tops East Orange, 44-40

February 12, 2018

EAST ORANGE, NJ - Julia Cunningham recorded a double-double for Watchung Hills with 21 points, 16 rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block to lead the Watchung Hills girls basketball team over East Orange on Monday, 44-40. 

Jayden Baltuch finished with seven points, four assists and one rebound. 

Watchung Hills is now 19-1 on the season and next plays at Newark ...

WHRHS Boys Basketball: Watchung Hills Routs Somerville, 82-54

WARREN, NJ -  Six Warriors scored in the double digits to lead the Watchung Hills boys basketball game over Somerville on Saturday, 82-54.

Mike Hopwood led Watchung Hills with 17 points, Dan Pilsbury added 14 points and eight rebounds, Steven Bressler sunk 15 points, Gavin DeFuria added 13 points, Micheal Bressler got 11 points and 10 assists and Chad Martini chipped in 10 points and ...

Somerset County Preparing for Construction of Finderne Avenue Bridge, Beginning Feb. 20

February 16, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Finderne Avenue bridge, between Union Avenue and Foothill Road, will be under construction from Feb. 20 for about nine months, according to a release from Somerset County.

The bridge will be constructed in three separate stages, with one lane northbound and one lane southbound being maintained, aside from intermittent single-day closures as required. In addition, ...

Bernards Police Locate Body of Missing Township Teen

BERNARDS TWP., NJ -  Bernards Township Police announced late Thursday afternoon that the body of a 19-year-old township resident, Lydia Comtois, had been located in a wooded area of Liberty Corner following a search by personnel and volunteers from numerous public safety organizations. 

A preliminary investigation indicated the young woman's death was not deemed to ...

SCBP Names Somerset County's Outstanding Citizen

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset County Business Partnership (SCBP) has selected Alina V. Klein, vice president and senior consultant for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management in Bedminster as the 68th Somerset County Outstanding Citizen.

The Outstanding Citizen award recognizes a single person for their community and professional activities that have contributed to making Somerset County a special ...

SCLSNJ’s North Plainfield Memorial Library Branch Main Level to Close for Renovations

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - The main level of SCLSNJ’s North Plainfield Memorial Library will be closed to patrons February 12 through March 3 for renovations. The lower level of the branch, also known as the children's area, will remain open to the public.

“This is the first phase in an effort to create a more welcome and modern library space for our patrons,” ...

From the New York Toy Fair - Travels Reveals the Toys That Will Make You the Star of Your Child’s Life - the Oscars of the Toy World - the TOTY Awards

February 19, 2018

 As you know, we are here to encourage you to travel.  Unfortunately, the New York Toy Fair is one place virtually none of you can go.  So, unless you have been tirelessly been searching the internet, you are not up to date on what toys your children will be wanting soon.

Fortunately, with Press Correspondent credentials, we were able to go in your place.

Our ...

Coast Guard Ends Search for Fishermen Lost at Sea, Fund Established to Help Family

The U.S. Coast Guard has officially ended its search for the two crew members of the fishing boat that went missing off the coast of Barnegat Light during the early morning hours of February 8.  

“We would like to extend our condolences to the families and the fishing community affected by this tragic incident,” said Capt. Scott Anderson, commander of the Coast Guard's ...

Looking for Something to Do? Weekend Events in Somerset County

Things to do in Somerset County

A weekend celebrating Warmer Days!

1. Winter Market, Duke Farms

2. The Mountaintop, Theatre at RVCC - Friday featuring the Peking Acrobats.

3. State Theatre New Jersey - nothing scheduled this weekend - next show Feb 22 

4. Heritage Trail Association - Five Generals House Bus Tour - ...

Coast Guard Ends Search for Fishermen Lost at Sea, Fund Established to Help Family

February 18, 2018

The U.S. Coast Guard has officially ended its search for the two crew members of the fishing boat that went missing off the coast of Barnegat Light during the early morning hours of February 8.  

“We would like to extend our condolences to the families and the fishing community affected by this tragic incident,” said Capt. Scott Anderson, commander of the Coast Guard's ...

Third Annual Long Beach Island Job Fair Set for Saturday, March 31

SURF CITY, NJ - Need a job this summer? Look no further. Shore Fire Grille again has teamed up with local businesses in the area for a special summer 2018 Job Fair event. 

The Third Annual LBI Job Fair will take place Saturday, March 31.  Employers will be looking to hire help for the summer season on busy Long Beach Island.  The event will be held at the Surf City Yacht ...

Guest Column: The Great "Wait" of the College Process

February 14, 2018

"The Great Wait" of the College Application Process

For all the high school seniors and their parents, we are in the stressful "waiting period".  We've just finished or are finishing applications to all the schools we might possibly want to attend next year and now sit and wait our fate after the $60-$80 non-refundable application fees to at least 8-13 schools and ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...