Football: West Orange Gears Up for Competitive Season

WO Football team Quarterback Marshal Lipsey gives a thumbs up for a great fall season. Credits: Cynthia Cumming
Practice Drills. Credits: Cynthia Cumming
Coach Matsakis addresses the team.  Credits: Cynthia Cumming
 Co-Captains Brian Crann and Malik Allen. Credits: Cynthia Cumming

WEST ORANGE, NJ – The West Orange High School Football team has been hard at work gearing up for another competitive season in the North I, Group 5 Division.

The players have spent the summer lifting weights, attending an intensive football camp at Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pa., and starting daily practices that have culminated in several successful scrimmages.  

“The team is progressing very nicely throughout the preseason and will attempt to make the playoffs for the third consecutive season,” said Head Coach Jim Matsakis. 

Sign Up for E-News

“With key losses from last year’s squad (Jared Vyent (Fordham), Chris Morgan (West Point), Danielo Francois (William Paterson) and Quarterback Eric Oden (Muhlenburg), it will be tough to fill those shoes and replace their overall production,” he said.

The coaching team is comprised of Matsakis; Offensive Coach Steve Osborne; Running Back Coach Rich Robo; Receiver Coaches Joe Cena and Dave Strong; Defensive Back Coach Rob LaMoriello; Rushing Coach Eddie Jackson; and Quarterback Coach Billy Bock.

“Offensively, we will be led by Senior QB Marshall Lipsey with returning starter Malik Allen as his primary weapon,” said Matsakis.  “Also helping offensively, will be the dynamic duo of Senior Dylan Ryan and Junior Michael Osuji, who combined for over 1,800 yards last season.”

Matsakis said that the team needs to improve defensively to compete in the Super Essex Coference.

“Leading the way will be Junior Linebacker Christian Oneychi along with senior Ibn Dawes, who will attempt to replace graduating two-year all conference performer Chris Morgan up front.

Co-Captains Brian Crann (senior, Guard) and Malik Allen (senior, Receiver and Safety) have been encouraged as the team has stepped up to improve on defense.

“The defense was surprisingly strong in our last scrimmage,” said Crann.

Allen described the offense as “pretty even.”

The Special Teams will look to improve with the return of John Hamilton (Kicker) to lead the way after a very successful junior season, and Vincent DeSantis will handle the punting duties again for the Mountaineers.

Crann and Allen said they felt that it was important to address team culture and interaction.

“We don’t want the players pointing fingers at each other if a play doesn’t go as planned,” stated Crann. “The team is stronger than one person, and we want team behavior to represent West Orange on and off the field.”

“We will lead by example,” said Allen.

The Mountaineers have also instituted a mentoring program for students placed in ASAP (Athletic Scholars for Academic Proficiency). Upperclassmen who have previously been in ASAP and successfully raised their grades, will work with underclassmen to support them as they focus not only on athletic skill, but on academic proficiency as well.

“You get better by rotating positions,” Matsakis told players during the August 24 practice. “If you’re tired from playing, don’t get off the field…stay on and work on what you need to improve.”

The season begins on Sept. 4, with a 7 p.m. away game at Paterson Eastside. The first scheduled home game is on Sept. 18, at 4 p.m., with the third annual Mountaineer Fanfest, followed by opening game at 7 p.m., in Suriano Stadium.

The following is the starting lineup for the Mountaineers:

Offensive Starters

  • QB Marshall Lipsey
  • SB Dylan Ryan
  • WR Malik Allen
  • WR Jamall Dryden
  • WR Mike Giovine
  • WR Renitho Philemon
  • OL Richard Lindsay
  • OL Brian Crann
  • OL Josh Strauss
  • OL Ibn Dawes
  • OL CJ Oneychi


  • DL Dael Ceneus
  • DL IBN Dawes
  • DL Elias Gerimano
  • DL Nate Ferguson
  • LB CJ Oneychi
  • LB Michael Osuji
  • LB Noah Tandy
  • DB Osyande Soyande
  • DB D’Andre Hull
  • DB Malik Allen
  • DB Sean Middleton

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

West Orange

One Free Class at Cycle Bar Livingston

April 23, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Get a free ride at Cycle Bar Livingston. Livingston’s premium indoor cycling facility invites the public to sign up for their first ride free.

Click HERE to see the full class schedule.

During this week only, Cycle Bar is also participating in the Livingston Fitness Crawl, offering five days of free classes through Friday.  

Cycle Bar ...

Livingston Fitness Crawl: Five Days of Free Classes at 12 Livingston Businesses

LIVINGSTON, NJ — The public is invited to enjoy one free class at as many of Livingston’s fitness businesses as they would like during this week’s Livingston Fitness Crawl, a Livingston Business Improvement District event, beginning on April 23 and continuing through April 27.

For five days, no purchase is necessary at the following locations:

BARRE3 ...

Full Pet Grooming Service 25% OFF

LITTLE FALLS, NJ - Cloud Canine Grooming Salon & Spa in Little Falls is open for business and owner and pet stylist Melissa DiRoma is offering 25% off a FULL GROOMING SERVICE for all new customers. Call (973) 837-8884 or visit to schedule your appointment. Mention promo code TAP DOG for discount. 

About Cloud ...

Free Wellness Event at The Joint Chiropractic

WEST CALDWELL, NJ — The public is invited to a "Wellness Event to Remember" at The Joint Chiropractic in West Caldwell on Thursday, April 19 from 7 p.m. to  9 p.m.

Guests will include:

Michael Piercy, owner of The Lab
Justyna Debski, owner of Revive Mind Body
Karen Caplan, owner of Nutrition Transitions

Join the ...

Luxury Facial Services 50% OFF

MILLBURN, NJ - DeAmour Salon & Spa is proud to announce its newest team member, Renee Rudikh, formerly of the famous Georgette Klinger Spa at the Short Hills Mall.

Rudikh has extensive experience and specializes in a plethora of facial styles including: deep pore cleansing/European, microdermabrasion with collagen, teenage, men's, back, LED and customized European ...

YMCA $0 Enrollment in April

LIVINGSTON, NJ - For the month of April, the West Essex YMCA is offer $0 enrollment. 

Take advantage of all that your local Y has to offer for the whole family!

Personal Training
Group Classes
Low monthly membership
And much much more!...

Check out all that the Y has to offer HERE

About the West Essex YMCA:
The West Essex YMCA has ...

Essex County Executive Announces Improvements to County Parks System

April 22, 2018

ORANGE, NJ - Using the tennis courts in Essex County Irvington Park as the backdrop, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced last week that the tennis courts in Irvington Park and Weequahic Park, and the basketball courts in Ivy Hill Park and Monte Irvin Orange Park will receive facelifts with new asphalt playing surfaces, equipment and fencing. The project is part of ...

Upcoming Events


Wed, April 25, 7:00 PM

Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, South Orange

Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity



Thu, April 26, 5:30 PM

West Orange High School - Cafeteria, West Orange

Annual Spaghetti Dinner

Food & Drink

Letter to the Editor: Lions Club of West Orange Spaghetti Dinner

April 16, 2018

Dear Editor,

Since 1953, the Lions Club of West Orange has been recognized throughout the township for our service to the blind and visually impaired. A majority of the world’s eye banks, clinics, and eye research centers are established and supported by all Lions Clubs throughout the world.

We are men and women committed to helping provide quality eye care, eye ...

West Orange Community House Seeks Community Sponsors

April 17, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ — The Boys & Girls Club at the West Orange Community House (WOCH) has opened its new 9,000 square foot recreational facility at 250 Main Street in West Orange.

The WOCH has been supporting families of West Orange for 100 years, and needs help to continue providing much-needed recreational programs to West Orange. By placing an advertisement banner on the gym ...

Cluelessly Clueless

I teenaged my way through high school under the assumption that my parents had no idea what I was doing.  I like to think I was pretty good at withholding information and presenting situations in ways that were other than they really were.


Still, sometimes they found things out.  Like the time my friends plopped me on our front door step at one o'clock in the morning ...

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse


MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...