Thursday, August 31, 2017

2017 Wayne Valley Football Outlook


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When Roger Kotlarz arrived as head coach of the Wayne Valley football team in 2014, the question he faced most from inquiring reporters and fans was, “can Wayne Valley make the playoffs?” Four short years later, it would be absurd to ask Kotlarz that question. Wayne Valley didn’t make the playoffs that first year (5-5). They have since become a powerhouse, putting together back-to-back 9-win seasons in 2015 and 2016. They reached the State Sectional semifinals in 2015 and the finals in 2016. Accordingly, the expectations are for a championship in 2017.

“We are not satisfied with winning 9 games two years in a row. After being in Met Life and being so close (to winning it), our expectations are to win it all,” said Kotlarz in reference to the overtime championship game loss to Wayne Hills last year.

The skeptics may point out that Wayne Valley only has 10 seniors this year, a lot less than the 20-plus seniors they had in each of the last three years.

“It’s the smallest senior class I’ve had here, but we also have the biggest junior class (35) since I’ve had here,” Kotlarz says. “That means we have 45 upperclassmen. That’s a good number.”

The challenge initially will be to somehow replace last year’s prolific offensive attack that amassed more than 400 yards per game. Notable losses to graduation include Grant Ferrauilo (3,330 passing yards), Nick Gould (1,179 rushing yards) and Joe Scancarella (1,045 receiving yards).

The plan is to simply adjust the offensive scheme. Senior quarterback Vinny Marrone will be featured as a dual threat in that he’s equally effective throwing and running. In that sense, Kotlarz compares him to Nick Goodwin (2014 and 2015).

“We were so effective passing last year that Grant’s first read was the linebackers,” Kotlarz said. “The first read this year will be the line. That means we’re more likely going to use the run to set up the pass.”

When running the ball, Kotlarz will have plenty of options. For one thing, Marrone will simply be able to carry the ball himself.

“Vinny is a first year (varsity) quarterback for us, but he started 12 games at cornerback last year, so he has plenty of big game experience,” said Kotlarz. “He’s extremely versatile and we will be able to use him in many different ways.”

It will then be running back by committee. That’s a departure from the last few years, as Valley tended to feature workhorse runners Mark DeLuise (2014), Will Kearney (2015) and Nick Gould (2016).

“We have a lot of options at running back this year,” Kotlarz said. “The best part about it is that they are all different in terms of size, speed and agility.”

Senior Greg Poloso is the leading returning rusher. He’s agile and strong. Junior Shaheem Maple has blinding speed and good size. Junior Nick Trani is big and fast. Junior fullback David Trinidad is a powerful force. Senior Isaac Rosado is a tough, hard runner. Junior Nick Duncan adds quickness.
If defenses key on the run, Marrone will simply look down field. Senior AJ Tedesco is the leading returning target (688 yards). He was a tighend last year, but will be switched to wideout this year. Senior James Pollack will be utilized opposite of Tedeseco. Pollack has terrific hands and is an outstanding route runner and downfield blocker.

“AJ and James are both very versatile,” Kotlarz said. “Both can lineup outside or inside, so we’ll be able to give defenses multiple looks.

Junior Sam Bumbaco, senior Ryan Hughes and sophomore Chase Hemming are also expected to make impacts at wideout. 

Senior Tyler DiMaio and junior Danny Murphy will be the tightends. Trinidad will also see some time at tightend. All three big and strong pass catchers and strong blockers. Junior Ryan Michels is the strong-armed and deadly accurate backup quarterback.

The offensive and defensive lines are also coping with big losses to graduation, most notably Jake Pluta and Joe Monsen. Senior tackle Shane Connelly is the key returnee on offensive line. He will be joined by junior Greg Fox, who started on the defensive line last year. Senior Gabe Ortiz, juniors Ian Lancelotti and Joe Esposito; and sophomore Ricky Ruggiero and Jordan Botero are also expected to contribute. 

DiMaio and Fox are the key returnees on the defensive line. Connelly, Lancelotti, Ortiz, and Botero will also play on the defensive line.

 The linebackers are the “strength” of the defense, according to Kotlarz. Trani (87 tackles) and Trinidad (38 tackles, including 4.5 sacks) are the leading returnees. Rosado and Poloso, both had major roles off the bench last year, are also back. Junior Selim Maksut and sophomore Jake DeLuccia is also expected to be factors.

 The cornerbacks will be Marrone (22 tackles), Maple, Tedesco, junior Liam Dring and sophomore Tommy Moran. Bumbaco, Pollack, Duncan, and junior Chris Ventura will be safeties. With Marrone playing quarterback and Maple, Tedesco and Pollack also playing offense, Kotlarz could be looking to have a big rotation in the defensive backfield.

Wayne Valley Football Preview

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

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From North Jersey:
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100 yards with Wayne Valley QB Vincent Marrone

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Work begins on Paterson's historic Hinchliffe Stadium