Hope Springs Eternal 2019 Football Season


by Kate Shanahan

The Raiders running out of the tunnel before their games always gets the home crowd buzzing with excitement.

Jardin Jacoby, News Editor

School has started and the highly anticipated football games are on their way. Every year Friday night lights are some of the most exciting and spirited events, and this year is no exception. The football team, coached by Kevin Carty, finished 4-5 last year when they lost to Sayreville in the first round of playoffs. Carty is optimistic when it comes to his team and their goals are the following: win all of their home games, the championship, playoffs, and then the state championship. Last year was the third consecutive time they qualified for the playoffs.

Last year, the season got off to an exciting start after the first game was won by a last-minute field goal, made by at the time junior Franklin Wasserman. The team lost some impressive seniors last year, seven of which represented the team at the annual Basilone Bowl: a game that is made up of the best players from the surrounding area. Those seven included seniors Joe Lubas, Norm Washington, Andrew Schemm, Matt Popadiuk, Dylan Boczon, Tawe Tawe, and Tom Zdroik.

The team took a heavy hit by losing many of their linemen; however, there are many returning key players that will make up for the loss. Seniors Ric Sarkar and Jon Seaton were outstanding linemen last year and they have only gotten better. Returning senior quarterback Tom Ramsey is predicted to make a big impact this year not only on offense, but at the linebacker position as well. On the defensive end, seniors TJ Schultz and Matthew Michinard will be key players, while seniors Tony Scannelli and Justin Dietrich will make a similar impact on offense. Wasserman, who was voted All-Area last year and did not miss a single field goal last year will be returning to the position again this season.

There are a lot of very talented newcomers on the varsity roster this year. Sophomore Thomas Amankwaa and Troy Kennedy are going to be explosive wide receivers and defensive backs. Senior Tim Franks played on the team last year, and he is expected to make a big impact this year on the defensive line. 

As far as competition goes, Hillsborough competes in a tough division for all their sports, especially football. Every year the intensity increases and the level of play rises. When asked about the other teams, Carty made sure to mention that Bridgewater, Ridge, Hunterdon Central, and Phillipsburg are always tough competitors.

Junior Sean Levoniatis is embarking on his third year of playing varsity football. Last year he rushed over 1,000 yards, and this year he hopes to surpass his previous record.

“Our chemistry is great this year,” Levonaitis said. “We are working more as a unit, which was definitely helped by our preseason drills. The leadership is great this year, and we are really hoping for a winning season.”

This view is shared by Carty who also agrees that one of the team’s main strengths this year is leadership and the team’s camaraderie.

“Many of our best players from last year are returning,” Carty said. “They are awesome leaders who have done a great job so far supporting each other and everyone else.”

Be sure to check out the Raiders on opening night, as they take on the Elizabeth Minutemen on Sept. 6.