BCG Game Preview—Belvidere @ Roselle Park—October 30, 2021

Panthers Host Seaters in BCC Crossover on Saturday Morning

ROSELLE PARK, NJ—On Saturday morning, Big Central Gridiron will travel up to Roselle Park again to cover a BCC crossover between the Panthers and the visiting County Seaters of Belvidere from Warren County.  Both teams are coming off Week 8 losses with Belvidere losing to neighborhood rival, North Warren (35-13) and Roselle Park falling to Jonathan Dayton (18-13) last week.

Belvidere enters the contest with an overall mark of 3-3 including a 3-1 record in BCC’s Division 1B.  The only division game the Seaters have not been able to play was against Manville in Week 1 due to the flooding caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida on September 1st.  Meanwhile, Roselle Park enters the contest with an overall record of 1-6 including a mark of 0-4 in BCC’s Division 1A.

The lone game that the Panthers did not play on the field was a forfeit loss to David Brearley, which wasn’t awarded by the NJSIAA until this week in preparation for the state playoffs.  Both teams play in North Jersey Group 1, where Roselle Park is not likely to qualify while Belvidere has a shot.  Belvidere, which is currently ranked 8th in the BCG Hunterdon-Warren County Top 10, is in the North Jersey Group 1 Super Section, where it is ranked 16th ahead of Newark Shabazz (17th) and North Warren (18th), a team the Seaters just lost to.

Roselle Park is ranked 24th in the super section, and will likely play a regional crossover game before playing arch rival Roselle at Herm Shaw Field on Thanksgiving morning.  In the six games it has played on the field, Roselle Park has been outscored by a margin of 150-103, or by an average of 25-17.  Meanwhile, Belvidere has been outscored 134-108 through its six games, or by an average of about 22-18 per contest.

In two of its three losses, Belvidere has been outscored 86-13.  Three of the Panthers’ six defeats have come by 12 points or less.  The Seaters other loss was a seven point loss on the road at South Hunterdon in Week 2, 21-14.  The Eagles also beat Roselle Park (28-6) in a game covered by Big Central Gridiron on October 9th.  Both teams also played Jonathan Dayton with the Panthers losing last week to the Bulldogs while Belvidere defeated Dayton (20-14) two weeks ago.

The history between these two schools on the gridiron is relatively a short one.  Belvidere and Roselle Park didn’t meet each other on the football field until 2009 when the Seaters won 47-7.  Belvidere also won the following year, 2010, 14-7.  Since then, the schools have met six more times with Belvidere winning 5 of the 6 including the last meeting in 2019 (42-13).  Belvidere is 7-1 in the all time series, and has outscored Roselle Park by a margin of 208-106, or by an average of 26 to 13.

The only win by Roselle Park in the series occurred in 2017 when the Panthers shut out the Seaters, 35-0 at Belvidere High School.  Both schools were members of the Mid-State 38 conference before it merged with the Greater Middlesex Conference last year to form the Big Central Conference.  

Belvidere, tied for 2nd with Manville in the Big Central’s Division 1B, is led by senior QB R.J. Auriemma, who has completed 12 of 30 passes for 238 yards while rushing 46 times for 293 yards and 2 TDs.  Senior running back, Justin Connors anchors the ground attack with 81 carries for 586 yards and 7 TDs while junior Gavin Chamberlain also contributes with 56 carries for 374 yards and 3 TDs.

Freshman Mason Chamberlain has also seen action at RB for the Seaters.  He has rushed 19 times for 193 yards and 4 TDs.  Connors is the team’s leading receiver with 5 receptions for 121 yards while Mason Chamberlain ranks 2nd with 5 catches for 96 yards.  Connors also leads the defense with 39 total tackles including 14 solos and 3 for loss.  

Senior lineman, Nick Mourry, who ranks 2nd on Belvidere’s defense with 32 total tackles, leads the Seaters in sacks with 4.  Senior Anthony Rawa, who ranks 3rd in total tackles for Belvidere with 30, has 13 solo tackles, 4 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks.  Gavin Chamberlain, Mason Chamberlain, and Patrick Depew each have an interception for the Seaters as well.

Meanwhile, Roselle Park is led by its rushing attack, which consists of junior RBs William Peay, Manny Faxas, and Christopher Costa.  The trio have combined for 909 yards on 93 carries, or an average of almost 10 yards per carry along with 11 TDs.  Faxas leads the Panthers in rushing with 405 yards on 37 carries, or about 10.9 yards per rush.

Costa, who along with Faxas has 3 TDs, ranks 2nd on the team in rushing with 301 yards on 26 carries, or an average of 11.6 yards per carry.  Costa got the only score in the loss against South Hunterdon with a late fourth quarter TD run.  Peay, who leads the team in rushing TDs with 5, has rushed for 203 yards on 30 carries, or about 6.7 yards per rush.

Ted Gregoire, another junior, who anchors the offensive and defensive lines, leads the team in receiving, and total tackles.  He also collected a first quarter interception on the goal line against South Hunterdon three weeks ago.  Sophomore Ethan Jones, and junior Ahyad Venable are also playmakers to watch out for.  Venable had a 43 yard run off of a reverse that helped set up Roselle Park’s only score of the game against South Hunterdon.

Roselle Park, which is two years removed from not playing at all due to low numbers, has a very young team with many juniors (11) and sophomores (12).  The Panthers only have 5 seniors and even have 6 freshman on the roster.  On the other hand, Belvidere’s roster consists of 10 seniors, 6 juniors, 2 sophomores, and 7 freshmen.  

Although Roselle Park showed some improvement in the loss against Dayton last week, the Panthers will have another tough fight on its hands against a Belvidere team that was more competitive against South Hunterdon, and defeated Dayton.  The Seaters also have more experience, and a better passing game.

Prediction:  Belvidere wins, 24-12.