Bernards, Hillside, and Somerville to Compete in Rutgers Showcase
PISCATAWAY, NJ–This upcoming Labor Day Weekend will be an extravaganza for those who enjoy Central Jersey Football. On Thursday night, Rutgers opens its 2021 college football season with a non-conference game against long time rival Temple of The American Conference.
Then, New Jersey High School Football will invade SHI Stadium in Piscataway for the next three days with the 2021 Rumble on the Raritan. Teams from all over the Garden State will participate as well as teams from around the Mid-Atlantic.
Bernards, Hillside, and Somerville will represent the Big Central Conference in two games with Bernards and Hillside renewing acquaintances in one game while Somerville will be taking on North Jersey powerhouse Northern Highlands. Both games will be played on Sunday, September 5th
Entering Sunday’s contests, Bernards and Somerville already have a game under their belts while Hillside will be playing its season opener. Bernards competed last weekend in the Battle at the Beach in Ocean City against Penns Grove (lost 40-20) while Somerville traveled to Pennsylvania to take on Olney Charter (won 25-0).
Hillside, which finished 4-2 a year ago, defeated Bernards 14-9 at Conant Park in the season opener for both teams, and has won the last five meetings by a combined score of 120-32. For the Mountaineers, the lost to the Comets a year ago was the only defeat it suffered in 2020 as they finished 8-1 despite the obstacles to the schedule presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coming off an undefeated 7-0 season last year, and winning its opener last week, Somerville is currently riding an 8 game winning streak after losing its finale to Camden Wilson in the South Jersey Group 3 Championship at the end of the 2019 season. The Pioneers have 9 starters returning from a year ago including QB Matt Miller and Jamien Bryant.
In Somerville’s opening game shutout of Olney Charter, Miller threw three TD passes with Nigel Tucker catching two of them while Bryant caught one as well as returned the opening kickoff for another score. Miller completed 11 of 21 passes for 194 yards while Ethan McNair had 4 catches for 117 yards.
Bernards will be looking to rebound off its Week 0 loss to Penns Grove, and has some good things to build off of from the defeat. Sophomore QB Chris Dietrich had a solid outing with 10 completions for 145 yards and a touchdown while RB Mike Leanza rushed 19 times for 146 yards and a score. Wide receiver, Brady Walsh also made a number of big plays to help set up scores en route to a 6 catch, 137 yard performance.
Other games on the schedule include: Wall vs. Rumson in a battle of two Shore Conference football powers on Sunday night at 8:00 PM. Willingboro vs. Cedar Creek, which defeated Scotch Plains this past Sunday in the Battle at the Beach, at 2:00 PM on Saturday, and East Orange Campus taking on Montclair in the Friday nightcap just to name a few. Powerhouse schools such as Don Bosco Prep, DePaul Catholic, and Seton Hall Prep will also be playing. View the complete schedule at the Rumble on the Raritan website.
Below is the Big Central schedule at the Rumble on the Raritan this weekend:
2021 Rumble on the Raritan—Big Central Schedule—Sunday, September 5th
- Bernards vs. Hillside, 2:00 PM
- Northern Highlands vs. Somerville, 5:00 PM