2001-09-07 / Sports
Bombers hope to book return trip to CJ Group IV final Sayreville football team to feature some new, some familiar faces
Bombers hope to book return trip to CJ Group IV final
Sayreville football team to feature some new, some familiar faces
A lot can change in a year when it comes to high school football. Graduation affects every team, but some teams seem poised every year to reload with some fresh talent, and make another run at a division title with what is essentially a new team.
Although the Sayreville War Memorial High School football team lost the bulk of its starting lineup to graduation, coach George Najjar said his team still has plenty of talented players.
"We had a great run last year, and now we’re working in a lot of new players," he said. "I think we’ll be a competitive team, and we’ll certainly get better with each game. We have good players, and they’re a hardworking group. As a coach, that’s all you can ask for."
A year ago Najjar’s Bombers went 11-1 and captured the Greater Middlesex Conference Red Division title.
Sayreville’s only loss came against Hillsborough in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV championship game, 16-13.
Key returnees from that team include all-purpose back Junior Jabbie, a junior who ran for more than 700 yards and proved an able pass-catcher last season.
Senior halfback Ken Smith, whose fumble recovery led to a Bombers touchdown in the Hillsborough game, is also a threat out of the backfield.
Two-way linemen Bob Berardi and James Krainski, both seniors, and Matt Bodak, a junior, are also back. Tackle Mawulom Nenonene, a senior, and center Steve Aich, a junior, are also on the line.
"We’ve got good size and experience on the line; that should be one of our strengths," Najjar said.
Dan Huff will be the quarterback. The strong-armed junior saw some playing time in relief of All-State QB/linebacker Brandon Hoyte last year. Junior halfback Dejon Spruill and senior fullback Mike Phelan round out the backfield.
Senior Scott Armstrong and junior Lamar Holmes are the split ends, and junior Matt Pogoda is the tight end.
Berardi and Bodak are the defensive ends, with Krainski and junior Gary Andrew Shetsko.
Pogoda, Smith and senior Gary King are the linebackers with Jabbie and Spruill at safety. Armstrong, Holmes and Phelan are the cornerbacks.
"This is a young team, and the advantage of that is that the players can grow together," Najjar said. "But our inexperience could also hurt us, especially early in the season."
The Bombers open the season at home against East Brunswick on Friday evening. Game time is 7 p.m.
From there, the Bombers will meet Old Bridge, Edison, Piscataway, Perth Amboy, South Brunswick, Bishop Ahr, Woodbridge and J.P. Stevens, all of whom will be looking to avenge losses to last year’s championship Sayreville squad.
There may be a lot of new faces on the Bombers’ squad this year, but there’s still a lot of talent. And Najjar has instilled a winning attitude among his players, making it very likely that they’ll be in the hunt, come the postseason once again.