Youth Football Recap: Watchung Hills Pop Warner Wolverines Pee Wees and Junior Pee Wees Advance

55 Jack Taub 17 Justin Uberoi 1 Christian Rowan 21 Michael Butrico 42 John Bechtle 66 William Tselepis 32 Sean Dillon
Jack Clintock, David Dubas, Kyle Checcio  

WARREN, NJ - The Watchung Hills Pee Wee team won the opening round of the playoffs Sunday, defeating the Philipsburg Colts, 38-7.  The Wolverine offense was led by quarterback Sean Dillon, who completed passes to Connor Cook, Andrew Reale, and Patrick Stefurak. Cook started the scoring on a touchdown run behind the line of John Bechtle, Adam Claxton, Michael Fornaro, Charlie Everhard, Christian Rowan and Anthony Tomaro.  The second touchdown was 45-yard run by Reale, who got a crushing block by Justin Uberoi. The third touchdown was a 65-yard punt return by Cook, who followed Matt Perreira down the field. Cook scored the fourth touchdown on a run behind a key block by George Rooks. The final touchdown was an interception by Joey Denave which he returned 35 yards for the score.  Owen Kovacs converted all four of his extra point attempts.

The Wolverine defense was led by middle linebacker Jack Taub, who kept the Colts' running game in check all game.  The defensive line of Mike Butrico, Claxto, Matt Drews, Isaiah Parker, Rooks and Matt Pereira harassed the Colts quarterback all day.  The Wolverine secondary of Joey Denave, Dillon, Mario Martino, and Stefurak blanketed the Colts receivers all day.  Next week, the Wolverines take on the Flemington Falcons in Somerville for the Jersey Valley championship game.


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The Watchung Hills Pop Warner Junior Pee Wee team improved to 6-2 on the season with an exciting playoff win 13-12 at South Plainfield on Sunday, October 20.  Game captains were Luke Marion, Justin Ferreira, Shane Kelly, and Josh Claxton. The game ended in anticlimactic fashion with the Wolverine quarterback, Adam Cardoza, taking a knee to run out the game's final seconds. What transpired before that kept both sidelines on the edge of their seats.


Luke Malfetti had a tackle for a loss on 4th down that ended South Plainfield's last attempt to score. On the previous play, a South Plainfield wide receiver nearly made a game-winnng, diving catch in the end zone, with about one minute left in the contest. Unfortunately for the home squad, that potential winning play became an incomplete pass when the ball bounced free as the player hit the ground. It would have been a "highlight real" catch. Credit the South Plainfield team for a strong drive after giving up the lead with about 2:45 to go. Jack Valenti scored on about a 5 yard run allowing the Wolverines to take the lead 13-12. The big play on the drive however, was a 30 yard pass from Cardoza to Justin Drews setting up the score.

Most of quarters two, three, and four saw both teams battle, hit hard, and not allow much offense for the other squad. Some key defensive plays during that stretch for Watchung Hills were three tackles by Nick Lourenco including one for a loss, a solo tackle by Thomas Johnson, a fumble recovery for Cardoza, an interception by Drews, and a 'team' tackle for a loss by the entire Wolverine 'D-line.'

The first quarter was a bit of a shootout as it seemed South Plainfield might run away with this one. The home squad scored quickly on their first two possessions but failed to convert the extra point for either score which proved to be the difference in the game. The first extra point attempt failed when Shane Kelly blocked the kick. Ironically, the first meeting between these two teams back on September 8 ended in a similar fashion with South Plainfield prevailing in a 1-point win by converting both extra point runs that day. After trailing 12-0 to start this week, the Wolverines got things going with a Justin Ferreira touchdown. Jack Valenti carried for the point-after conversion and Luke Marion had the critical block that led to the TD run. On the subsequent kickoff, Kelly recovered the on-sides kick but the Wolverine offense couldn't capitalize on the good field position.The Wolverines advance to a league championship game next week versus undefeated Bridgewater. The Panthers beat the Wolverines 24-0 last week.


Gold Flag


The Watchung Hills Wolverines capped off their season with a big win over the Eagles of South Plainfield.  Defense was the theme of the day for all three of the Wolverines flag teams.  The Eagles were held to only one score as the defense was led by Jack Clintock who pulled six flags on the day.  Chase Miller, Jackson Acosta, Jayden Fernandez and Ryan Johnson each grabbed three flags.  David Dubas and Colin Kolakowski grabbed two each while Max Phillips pulled one.


The Wolverines offense reached the end zone six times for their best performance of the season.  Ryan Johnson scored three of the Wolverines touchdowns finishing the day with 90 yards rushing on only four carries.  Charles Morreale had a long 40-yard touchdown run late in the game.  Chase Miller reached the end zone on his last carry of the day finishing with 45 yards rushing on four carries.  Jack Clintock scored a touchdown on a 10-yard run.  Kyle Checchio added 35 yards rushing to the offensive total before having to leave the game due to an injury.  Coaches Ken Diaz, JJ Acosta and Carl Checchio did a great job throughout the season as the boys continued to improve week after week.


Blue Flag

The Wolverines took to the field on defense to start the game against the Eagles of South Plainfield.  The Eagles were unable to reach the end zone on their first ten plays as the Wolverines defense held them to less than 20 yards.  The Wolverines then got the ball and reached the end zone on their first play from scrimmage as Brayden Kelly raced 40 yards for the touchdown.  Brayden finished the day with 115 yards rushing on six carries.  Byron McCann scored the Wolverines second touchdown when he took a handoff from quarterback Mason Kelly and blew past the defenders for a 35-yard score. 

With the Wolverines leading 2-0 after each team ran ten plays each on offense, the Eagles took over and ran 33 consecutive offensive plays.  The defense dominated behind the tough line play of Jack Martin, Gerald Tobia, Michael DiNardi, Kevin Butler and Mason Kelly.  The Wolverines defensive front disrupted every play in the backfield causing multiple plays for a loss.  The Eagles were held to just one score throughout the game.  Brayden Kelly led the defense from his linebacker position grabbing ten flags on the day.  Jack Martin, Gerald Tobia and Michael DiNardi each pulled five flags.  Mason Kelly continued to track down ball carriers pulling four flags while Perry Weingarten and Byron McCann each grabbed three.  K.J. West added to the defensive total pulling two flags.

The Wolverines got back on offense in the second half and continued to move the ball.  Byron McCann scored his second touchdown of the game on a 20-yard run behind big blocks from Kevin Butler and Michael DiNardi.  Byron finished the game with 80 yards rushing on five carries.  K.J. West scored the Wolverines final touchdown of the game when he scampered five yards for the score.  Mason Kelly, Jack Martin, Gerald Tobia, Perry Weingarten, Michael DiNardi and Kevin Butler each added 15 yards rushing to the offensive totals.  The Wolverines were led throughout the season by Coaches Todd Kelly, David Prinzivalli and Stephen Kelly whose dedication to the boys is greatly appreciated.



Junior Flag

 The Wolverines finished their season on a high note by scoring eight touchdowns against the Eagles of South Plainfield.  All eight of the touchdowns were scored on 40-yard runs.  Quarterback Aidan Grochowski took the first snap of the game and raced 40 yards for a touchdown.  Aidan scored the Wolverines final touchdown of the game when he sprinted 40 yards for his second score.  Cameron Kolakowski took the next handoff and sprinted 40 yards for the score.  Cameron scored later in the game on another 40-yard run.  Nicholas Valenti took a handoff in the backfield, shook off two defenders, and then juked his way 40 yards to the end zone.  Stephen Prisco reached the end zone after racing around the end and cutting back to the middle of the field for a 40-yard score.  Lucas Garcia got in on the action with a 40-yard touchdown run.  Charlie Betzner also reached the end zone after taking a handoff and running 40 yards on an end around.  Maximus “Mad Max” Yaeger added 30 yards rushing on four carries.  The Wolverines center, Kyle Ling, played an integral part in the offensive onslaught as he blocked downfield throughout the game.


The Wolverines defense dominated throughout the game limiting the Eagles to only three scores.  Charlie Betzner was the leader on defense recording six flags on the day.  Nicolas Betancourth disrupted the Eagles backfield the entire game from his defensive end position finishing the day with four flags.  Aidan Grochowski pulled four flags while Lucas Garcia grabbed three.  Cameron Kolakowski pulled two flags and Maximum Yaeger grabbed one.  Coach Tom Kolakowski did a tremendous job with the boys ensuring that each of them ran the ball and reached the end zone during the season.  If patience is a virtue then Coach Tom is the most virtuous man alive.


 Mity Mite


The unstoppable Wolverines were determined and fast on their feet in their biggest win and final game of the season against the Phillipsburg Colts.

Defensively, the team forced two turnovers; a fumble recovery by Phillip O’Grady and an interception by Jake Checchio to end the 1st half .  Overall, the defense held the Colts to only one score and three first downs for the game, due to key tackles by Miguel Sauceda, Nirio Garcia III, Elhannan (Ellis) Wilson, Anthony Autenreith, and Dylan Simon.

The Wolverines’ high-octane offense included several key plays that led them to victory. Jake Checchio carried the ball several times, earning the Wolverines more than 45 yards, and completed a beautiful 20-yard pass to Martin Howell. Luke Malin’s focus and skill resulted in a 35-yard touchdown run. Aqili Holmes dashed across the field for three touchdowns – 35 yard run, 40 yard run, and 60-yard kick off return.



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