Rams Visit Minutemen in an NJSIAA Regional Crossover on Thursday Night
MENDHAM, NJ—On Thursday evening, Big Central Gridiron will be traveling north up to Morris County to see Roselle of the BCC’s Division 2B take on Mendham from the Super Football Conference in an NJSIAA Regional Crossover game. Both teams will be playing their second and final NJSIAA regional crossover game. Roselle will still have one game remaining though, a Thanksgiving Day clash against Roselle Park.
Both teams played last week with Mendham defeating Voorhees (31-13) in its regional crossover while Roselle lost to Keansburg at Arminio Field (28-21). Entering Thursday night’s contest, Roselle is 4-5 overall including a 4-1 record in division. Meanwhile, Mendham is 3-7 overall, but comes into the game on a two game winning streak.
On the road this season, Roselle is 1-3 while Mendham is 2-4 at home. The Minutemen have defeated Parsippany Hills (12-6), and the Vikings won at North Plainfield last week (21-13). Mendham also defeated Morristown (14-0), which lost to Watchung Hills last week (21-7). Roselle has defeated Metuchen (35-0), Spotswood (33-0), A.L. Johnson (49-7), and South River (14-7).
In its seven losses this season, Mendham lost two of them by single digits including at Immaculata (29-21), which is No. 7 in the latest BCG Somerset County Top 10, and at Montville (30-27) in two overtimes. If the Minutemen had won those two games, they would be playing for at least a winning season on Thursday night.
Roselle had two close losses as well. In addition to losing to Keansburg by a touchdown a week ago, the Rams also lost a one score game on the road to Bound Brook two weeks ago to end its regular season. Both teams have endured their fair share of blowout losses with Roselle losing three of its games by 28 points or more to the likes of St. Thomas Aquinas (43-0), Hillside (42-14), and Delaware Valley (43-7). Meanwhile, Mendham has lost 5 of its games by 21 points or more.
Mendham’s worst loss of the season came at the hands of Randolph. The Rams, which lost to Colonia (32-21) in the opening round of the North Jersey Section 2 Group 4 playoffs last week, hosted the Minutemen back on September 24th, and handed them a 48-14 loss. Roselle’s worst defeat came at the hands of Aquinas by 43 points in their BCC Division 2B season opener at Arminio Field on September 10th.
Entering Thursday night’s contest, the Rams have been outscored 190-187, or by an average of less than a point per game. Roselle has been a bit Jekyll and Hyde though. In its four victories, the Rams have outscored their opponents by a margin of 131-14, or an average of about 33 to 5 per contest. However, in its five defeats, Roselle has been outscored by a margin of 177-56, or an average of about 35 to 11 per game.
On the other hand, Mendham has not been as dominant in all three of its wins. Although, they limited one team to a score, and shut out another, the Minutemen have only outscored its foes by a margin of 57-19, or an average of about 19 to 6 per game. Over half of those points came in the win over Voorhees last week. In its seven losses, Mendham has been outscored by a margin of 253-92, or an average of about 36 to 13 per contest. Overall, Mendham has been outscored 272-149, or by an average of about 27 to 15 per game.
Looking at a the season schedules of both teams, Mendham played 6 teams that qualified for the playoffs (Jefferson, Chatham, Randolph, Immaculate, Sparta, and Montville) while Roselle played four teams that qualified (Aquinas, Bound Brook, Delaware Valley, and Hillside). Prior to tonight’s regional crossover clash, these two teams have never met on the football field before.
Roselle had always competed in the Mountain Valley and Mid-State 38 Conferences before joining the Big Central Conference last year. Mendham had most recently competed in the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference before joining the Super Football Conference in 2016. Coming into Thursday’s clash, Roselle has tallied 479 yards through the air, and 507 yards on the ground for 986 yards of total offense, or about 110 yards per game.
The Rams, which lost Samir Cherry, who transferred to Plainfield, are led on offense by senior QB, Adonis Abad, who has completed 75 percent of his passes for 479 yards, or an average of 22.8 yards per completion. Abad, who has thrown for 3 TDs and only one interception, has also rushed 15 times for 132 yards and three more scores. Junior RB, Emmanuel Lyles, who spearheaded a comeback win at Spotswood last year, leads the Rams rushing attack with 34 carries for 237 yards and 6 TDs.
Complementing Lyles on the ground is sophomore Nireese McDougald, who has rushed 7 times for 123 yards and 2 TDs. Meanwhile, junior wideout, Maribeau Romeus leads Roselle in receiving with 4 receptions for 167 yards, or nearly 42 yards per catch and 2 TDs. Angelo Delisma anchors the defense with the most total tackles on the season. Placekicker Joshua Blair has made 75 percent of his extra point attempts.
Senior QB Frank Kontely leads Mendham’s offense while junior RB Joey Alexion and senior RB Luke Fehnel lead the Minutemen’s rushing attack. Junior wide receiver Aidan Lowry leads the team in receiving while Thomas Post spearheads the defense. Senior Dylan Schoenfeld handles the placekicking duties. Both teams have a blend of youth and experience with many of their skilled players returning next season.
Although Roselle has more wins overall on the season, and a better record, Mendham has played a tough schedule with more of its opponents qualifying for the state playoffs. Roselle has scored more points, and given up fewer points, but also is two groups below Mendham in school size. Mendham also handily defeated Voorhees last week, and the Vikings lost to both Delaware Valley and Hillside by lesser or similar margins as Roselle did to both teams. Mendham is also playing at home and has a higher strength index.
Prediction: Mendham wins 35-19