WEST ESSEX AREA, NJ - The West Essex and James Caldwell High School football teams will both be in action with first-round home games when the playoffs begin Friday night.
West Essex is hosting Ridgefield Park in Section 2, Group 3, and Caldwell will be welcoming Whippany Park in Section 2, Group 2. Both games kick off at 7 p.m.
West Essex (8-1) is averaging nearly 390 yards of offense per game with junior quarterback Zach Lemanski at the controls. Lemanski has thrown for 11 touchdowns with just two interceptions in 96 attempts. He has passed for 1,003 yards.
As efficient as Lemanski has been through the air, the Knights' ground game has rushed for 7.1 yards per carry and 2,364 yards overall through nine games. Senior back Anthony Sangillo (707 yards, 6.4 yards per carry) and Vince Scaglia (427 yards, 6.1 ypc) have each scored five rushing TDs and junior Will Perez (570 yards, 11.4 ypc) had scored four. Junior Phil Lutz leads the West Essex receiving corps with 34 receptions for a 19.8-yard average. He and Scaglia each have caught four TD passes.
On defense, junior linebacker Dorian Gashi leads West Essex in tackles and senior DL Eamon Morrissey has 11 sacks.
Caldwell (7-2) has a productive passing game with quarterback Brian Clarkin, who has completed nearly 70 percent of his passes for 1,128 yards with 13 TDs and just two interceptions. Clarkin's top target in the passing game, James T. Miller, has seven TD receptions among his 24 catches. Brian King has caught 18 passes for 304 yards and three TDs.
Anthony Costigan paces the Chiefs' running game with 526 yards (5.3 per carry) and nine TDs. Joe Jenkins has 272 yards and five TDs on the ground.
Nick Christopher leads the Caldwell defense with five sacks, Pat Theobald has intercepted four passes and Miller has three interceptions.