Winless Warriors Much Better Than Record Indicates
WARREN, NJ—Coming into the season, Watchung Hills still looked to be among the Big Central Conference’s elite despite losing the likes QB and hoops standout, Chad Martini and WR Justin Drews. Big Central Gridiron saw the Warriors host North Brunswick in a pre-season scrimmage at Tozier Stadium on August 25, 2021, and they competed quite well, and even outplayed the Raiders early on.
Unfortunately, Watchung Hills has struggled, and is still searching for its first victory of 2021. However, that has not been due to a lack of effort. The Warriors are much better than their record indicates, and could easily be 5-1 or perhaps 6-0 if they got some bounces to go their way. Although Watchung Hills is 0-6, they have lost all six contests by a combined total of just 34 points, or 5.7 points per game.
The largest margin of defeat suffered by the Warriors was by only 12 to East Brunswick (5-1) in Week 5 on October 1st at Jay Doyle Field. All the other games Watchung Hills has lost by single digits including a three point double overtime loss to an improved Plainfield team at Hub Stine Field on September 25th. Last week, the Warriors gave 6th ranked Ridge (4-1) all it could handle in a 14-6 defeat.
As a result of the flooding caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida on September 1st, Watchung Hills season opener at Montgomery was postponed, and the Warriors had to schedule a different opponent. On short notice, Watchung Hills played Hudson Catholic of Jersey City on the night of September 5th at Tozier Field, and lost 13-7. The Hawks of Hudson Catholic are currently 4-1.
The Warriors then lost back to back heartbreakers at home to BCC Division 5A rivals, Elizabeth (13-11) on September 10th and Westfield (16-13) on September 17th. In both games, Watchung Hills only had leads, but gave way to second half rallies. In addition, the Warriors starting QB Andrew Scopel injured his thumb in the loss to Elizabeth, and they have had to use the likes of junior Dylan Kelly, and sophomore Jack Clintock, who went 8 of 15 for 98 yards in the loss to Ridge last Friday night.
Watchung Hills is only averaging 13.8 points per game, but have managed to stay competitive thanks to its stout defense, which is only giving up 19.5 points per game. The combined record of all Watchung Hills opponents is 20-12. The Warriors have played three ranked teams in their respective counties, and their current strength index is 61.41, which places them 27th out of the 60 teams in the BCC.
Sophomore David Dubas has led the Warrior rushing attack with 232 yards on 53 carries, or an average of 4.4 yards per carry along with a touchdown. Much of that came in the loss to Plainfield where Dubas rushed 22 times for a season high 119 yards and his only TD of the year. Junior Nino Garcia has contributed to the Watchung Hills ground game with 29 carries for 147 yards.
Senior Brian Hayward is the Warriors leading receiver with 12 receptions for a team high 192 yards, or an average of 16 yards per catch. Riley McCann is second in receiving yardage with 139 yards, or just under 28 yards per catch along with 2 of the teams 3 TD receptions. Dubas is 2nd on the team in receptions with 7 for 46 yards, and combined with his rushing yardage, is averaging 4.6 yards per touch.
Chris Baker not only has 29 rushes for 114 yards to rank 3rd on the team, but also helps anchor the tough defense with 24 solo tackles, 4 tackles for loss, and a sack as well as a fumble recovery and an interception. Junior Joe Vecchio leads the team in solo tackles with 31 while David Labib has 29. Scott Drews has 22 solo tackles as well as an interception. Labib and Dubas have the other two interceptions for Watchung Hills this season.
Junior Hunter Seubert, a 285 pound offensive lineman, who also contributes on defense at nose tackle, has 16 solo tackles including 6 tackles for loss. Seubert, the son of WH head coach, Rich Seubert, was also listed among NJ.com’s top returning offensive lineman this season. The Warriors have rushed nearly 65 percent of the time, and thrown just over 36 percent of the time. The Warriors have tallied 1129 total yards on offense, or about 6.1 yards per touch.
Watchung Hills has three games remaining in its regular season including two on the road. The Warriors host Monroe (3-3) in a Big Central Conference crossover at Tozier Stadium on Friday night at 7:00 PM. Then, the Warriors will travel to 4th ranked Union (5-1) for its final BCC Division 5A game on October 22nd before wrapping up its regular season schedule with another BCC Crossover at Edison (3-3) on October 29th.