Panthers Host Eagles in Big Central Conference Crossover on Saturday Morning
ROSELLE PARK, NJ—On Saturday morning, Big Central Gridiron will be heading over to Roselle Park High School to take in a Big Central Conference Crossover contest between two Group 1 schools, Roselle Park of the BCC’s Division 1A and South Hunterdon from the BCC’s Division 1B. The Panthers are looking to move up to .500 with a victory while South Hunterdon is trying to improve to 5-1 overall on the season.
Coming into the contest, South Hunterdon has outscored its opponents by a margin of 77-60 overall, or by an average score of about 26-20 per contest. Meanwhile, South Hunterdon has outscored its foes by a margin of 136-67, or an average margin of about 27-14. The Eagles have won their last two games over Manville (43-14) and Highland Park (47-13) by an average margin of 45-14 per game.
Roselle Park, which was originally scheduled to have a game versus David Brearley on September 17th, returned to play last week with a 20-14 loss to Middlesex. The Panthers opened their season with a 35-0 victory over Dunellen at Columbia Park on Friday, September 3rd. On the other hand, the Eagles have played all five of their games with their only loss of the season coming at the hands of Bound Brook at home on September 4th.
A year ago, Roselle Park and South Hunterdon did not play each other in the COVID pandemic shortened season. The Panthers finished 2-4 overall while the Eagles ended up 4-4. The last time the Panthers and Eagles played was back on September 13, 2019 when the Eagles got their 2nd and final victory of the season with a 31-0 win.
Prior to that, the Panthers had won the previous three meetings from 2015 to 2017 by a combined score of 101-14, or an average of 37-4. The Eagles had won the previous three meetings from 2012 to 2014 by a combined margin of 84-36, or an average of 28-12. South Hunterdon has won 6 of the last 10 meetings dating back to the 2009 season.
Prior to 2009, the two teams had only met twice with Roselle Park winning both games in 1992 (41-7) and 1993 (48-0) by a combined margin of 89-7. The series is tied at 6-6. Over the 12 contests, Roselle Park has outscored South Hunterdon by an overall margin of 258-197, or an average margin of about 22-16 per contest.
Roselle Park had to cancel its season back in 2018 due to low numbers. In the two seasons since then, the Panthers have only compiled a record of 4-13. Since 2010, and including the first five games of 2021, South Hunterdon has gone 50-64 overall. Despite losing Ryan Hinman, its QB from last season due to graduation, South Hunterdon has excelled.
Meanwhile, Roselle Park, which lost a great deal to graduation including RB Nasir Williams. QB Tanner McCaffery has directed the South Hunterdon offense this season, and has completed 50 percent of his 40 passes for 297 yards along with 9 TDs while throwing only 2 interceptions. Junior running back, Bode Dunn has led the Eagles ground game with 759 yards on 86 carries, or an average of 8.8 yards per carry along with 5 TDs.
Dunn has accounted for 56 percent of South Hunterdon’s total rushing yards while collecting 23 total tackles including 8 solos and 2 sacks. Trevor McCloughan leads the Eagles in receiving with 6 catches for 129 yards and 4 TDs. Nick Vennettone has been a versatile player on offense with 32 rushes for 203 yards and 3 TDs while catching 5 passes for 54 yards and another 3 scores for an average of 6.9 yards per touch.
Donald Gallagher has made 3 catches for 74 yards and 2 TDs while Tommy Ramsin has rushed 24 times for 171 yards, or an average of 7.1 yards per carry along with one TD. McCloughan leads the team in total tackles with 34 while Dunn leads the team in sacks with 2. Braden Hinman and Vennettone each lead a team in interceptions with one. McCloughan has connected on 2 of 4 extra points while Vennettone has the team’s only two point conversion.
Mateo Perez leads the Roselle Park offense at QB with four completions for 95 yards and a TD. The Panthers have a committee of four RBs that account for almost all of the team’s rushing yards. Junior RB, Christopher Costa leads the Panthers with 278 yards on 24 carries, or an average of 11.6 yards per carry along with 2 TDs.
Manuel Faxas is 2nd on Roselle Park in rushing with 26 carries for 265 yards, or an average of 10.2 yards per carry along with 2 TDs. William Peay leads the Panthers with 5 rushing TDs while compiling 175 yards on 23 carries, or an average of 7.6 yards per carry. Elijah Ignacio is also a contributor to the Panthers rushing attack with 18 carries for 183 yards, or over 10 yards per carry and a TD.
Ted Gregoire (2 catches for 38 yards) and Ethan Jones (1 reception for 25 yards) accounted for 3 of the team’s four receptions for 63 yards. Gregoire leads the team in tackles with 16 total tackles including 6 solos while having the team’s only fumble recovery, and scoring a TD off of that. Ethan Jones is 2nd on the team in total tackles with 13 while Faxas and Melvin Claudio each have 11 total tackles while Claudio leads the team in solo tackles with 10.
Both teams have played Bound Brook earlier this season with the Crusaders edging South Hunterdon by a margin of 19-12 in the Eagles season opener while Roselle Park lost to the Crusaders in Week 2 by a margin of 40-28. The Eagles are on the road, but recently defeated Manville away from home by nearly 30 points. South Hunterdon is our pick to win the game.
Prediction: South Hunterdon wins, 29-20.