Bulldogs Face Bears in Renewal of Neighborhood Rivalry on Thursday Night
KENILWORTH, NJ—On Thursday evening, Big Central Gridiron will be traveling up to Northern Union County to take in a BCC Crossover contest between two neighborhood rivals in David Brearley of Kenilworth and Jonathan Dayton of Springfield. The game, which was originally scheduled to be played on Friday, was moved up to Thursday due to the weather threat for Friday afternoon and evening.
Dayton is coming off an 18-13 victory over Roselle Park last Saturday morning while Brearley was idle. The Bears were supposed to play Dunellen, but the Destroyers cancelled, and this week, the game was ruled a forfeit along with a number of other such contests earlier this season by the NJSIAA. One of those earlier games was a September 17th contest scheduled between Brearley and Roselle Park that was also ruled a Panthers forfeit.
As a result, David Brearley picked up two more wins, and is now 6-2 overall on the season, and likely to qualify for the state playoffs in the North Jersey Group 1 super section. Meanwhile, Dayton, which has lost three of its four games by a total of just 13 points, is looking to reach .500 with a 3-4 record entering the contest. The Bulldogs, which also are in the North Jersey Group 1 super section, are currently ranked 22nd, and are likely not to qualify.
Brearley’s two losses have come at the hands of New Providence (42-14) and Bernards (36-12) while Dayton’s four defeats have come to South Hunterdon (13-7), Manville (28-27), New Providence (38-0), and Belvidere (20-14). Both teams have played and lost to New Providence, and both also defeated Dunellen and Roselle Park, but Dayton won on the field while Brearley won by forfeit.
Over its eight games, and counting the forfeits as 2-0 wins, Brearley has scored a total of 168 points while giving up 111, or in other words, the Bears have outscored their opponents by an average of about 21 to 14 per contest. Meanwhile, Dayton has outscored its foes 147 to 126, or by an average of 21 to 18 per game. Brearley finished second behind New Providence in BCC Division 1A while Dayton ended up fourth in Division 1B.
These two teams started playing each other in 1969 with Dayton winning 19-13. After Brearley won the following year, 24-19, the two schools did not meet again until 1981 when the Bears defeated the Bulldogs 17-7. The two schools then played every year until 1990 with Brearley going 7-2-1 during that stretch. The only tie in the series occurred in 1983 (7-7).
The two schools didn’t play each other again until 1997, and played five times with the 2001 contest ending up as a forfeit. Brearley won 4 out of the 5 games during this stretch. The series resumed for good in 2006 with Dayton enjoying much of its success in the rivalry when it won four straight years from 2009 to 2012. Since then, Brearley has won eight straight, and 11 of the last 15 to enjoy a 23-8-1 edge in the all time series.
Over the course of the 32 games played in the series, David Brearley has outscored Jonathan Dayton by a margin of 817 to 406, or by an average of about 26 to 13 per contest. The largest margin of victory in the rivalry was Brearley’s 49-0 shutout of Dayton in 2007. The Bears also recorded a 48-0 win in 1997 and a 40-0 victory in 2018. The closest games between the two were in 1998 and 2016, which were also won by Brearley (30-29) and (22-21). Most points scored in a game between these two schools was 91 in 2014 (won by Brearley 50-41).
Both teams have solid quarterbacks that can beat you with their arm and legs. Matt Sims has enjoyed more success, but Logan Solomine is quite a competitor, who even runs back kickoffs like he did for an 80 yard score versus Roselle Park last week. So far this season, Solomine has completed 15 of 35 passes for 272 yards and 3 TDs. Don’t be fooled by the completion rate though.
In a tough loss against Manville on October 2nd, Solomine was only 2 of 10, but much of that was attributed to the Mustangs secondary, which made tremendous plays in pass coverage, especially late in the contest. Solomine has a very good arm. In addition, the Dayton the senior QB has rushed 39 times for 469 yards and 10 TDs. In the loss to Manville, he rushed 11 times for 145 yards and 3 TDs.
On the other hand, Sims, who threw two TD passes in the loss at New Providence on October 1st, has completed 43 of 79 passes for 533 yards and 7 TDs while only throwing two interceptions. Both of those pick offs came in the second quarter in the loss to the Pioneers. Sims has also rushed 111 times for 682 yards, or about 6.1 yards per carry, and 7 TDs.
Of the 1,839 yards of total offense racked up by Brearley, Sims has accounted for 1,215 of those yards, or approximately 66.1 percent of the offense. Sims, a junior, also accounts for 14 of the Bears 23 touchdowns on the season. Senior RB Quinn Lonergan has rushed 78 times for 451 yards, or about 5.8 yards per rush along with a team high 9 TDs on the ground. Lonergan also has caught 6 passes for 155 yards and 2 more TDs. He averages about 7.2 yards per touch.
Senior RB Joey Lucarello is the second leading rusher for Dayton with 25 carries for 174 yards, or about 6.8 yards per carry and 2 TDs. Justin Carrier is another important weapon in the Bulldogs arsenal, both on the ground and in the air. Carrier has rushed 15 times for 145 yards while catching 4 passes to lead the team in receptions for 44 yards and 2 TDs. Sophomore Brandon Bernknopf leads the team in receiving yards with 82 on 3 receptions for an average of 27.3 yards per catch.
Leading Brearley’s passing game is Brendan Fitzsimmons and Connor Hannon. Both had touchdown catches in the loss to New Providence with Fitzsimmons catching his to open the scoring in the contest while Hannon caught his late in the second period. For the year, Fitzsimmons, a junior, leads the team in receptions with 19 for 175 yards and 3TDs while Hannon has 14 catches for 168 yards and 2 TDs. Combined the duo averages 10.4 per catch, and account for 71 percent of the teams receiving scores.
On defense, Lonergan and sophomore Kristian Janeczko lead the team in solo tackles with 30. Janeczko and junior Alex Chuley lead the team in sacks with two each while Fitzsimmons, Hannon, and junior Riley Caburis each have an interception. Hannon returned his for a touchdown. Sims (2), Lonergan, and Hannon account for the four two point conversions made by Brearley.
Meanwhile for Dayton, sophomore Alex Altemus leads the Bulldogs in total tackles with 19 while Lucarello ranks 2nd with 16. Altemus also contributes to Dayton’s running game with 22 rushes for 113 yards and a TD while also catching a pass for five yards. Lucarello and senior Abiel Camcho each have fumble recoveries while senior Antonio Powanda has the team’s only interception.
Besides Solomine’s kickoff return last week against Roselle Park, Carrier has the team’s only punt return for a score with a 60 yd run back for the Bulldogs only TD in the loss to South Hunterdon on September 17th. Bernknopf has made 6 of 8 extra point attempts this season. Of the two teams, Brearley is the only one to score upon a very good New Providence team. In addition, the Bears have also scored more points and given up fewer per game. More importantly, Brearley is playing at home, and has dominated this rivalry all time, especially over the past 10 years or so.
Prediction: Brearley wins, 31-13.