By Steve Tober / sidelinechatter.com
The Chief's first-year starting quarterback, senior Jake Zimmerman, is seen with his head coach Ken Trimmer outside the team fieldhouse shortly before a recent practice as the Chiefs prepare for Saturday's
season opener vs. Millburn at Bonnel Field. Credit: Steve Tober
WEST CALDWELL - Joe Garvey would be proud. In fact, the renowned longtime Essex County coach and official will probably be looking down from that big blue playing field high above in order to watch his grandson start at quarterback for James Caldwell in this Saturday’s season opener for the Chiefs vs. Millburn (1 p.m. at Bonnel Field).
Jake Zimmerman, a 5-foot-9, 175-pound senior, comes from a strong athletic background, including his aforementioned grandpa who was a superb basketball and baseball player and coach in his day, or his dad Carl, who was once an outstanding football player at Montclair Immaculate.
Carrying on a tradition that stems from both sides of the family tree, Jake has now moved to the forefront at a key position for one of Essex County’s most consistent gridiron programs.
There have been several outstanding Caldwell QBs through the years, including the 2004 Sideline Chatter Essex County Offensive Player of the Year Andrew Carlough, both Chris and Derek Lawshe, Sonny Puzzo - who directed the Chiefs’ offense in both 2011 and 2012 - and last year’s starter Joe Salter who helped lead the Chiefs to the North 2, Group 2 playoff final.
Zimmerman, like Salter, will be a first-year starter as a senior, and he has earned his place as the opening day signal caller in his final high school season through pure perseverance.
“For Jake, it started last December, not in the summer,
For Zimmerman, his lineage that includes a well-known and highly-respected grandfather who he unfortunately didn’t get a chance to know very well, is something he’s quite cognizant and proud of at the same time.
Chief's quarterback Jake Zimmerman (second from right) is surrounded by three of his experienced Chiefs senior teammates, from left, two-way tackle Jake Charpentier, center Ian Davidson and tight end-linebacker Tom Guiliano. Credit: Steve Tober
“I was at a game at Irvington last year and a man standing nearby
For Zimmerman it’s time to etch his own mark as a high school senior and he’s certainly looking forward to the challenges ahead.
“I've been playing with most of the guys on our team since flag football days and it would be a great cap off to our high school careers
Caldwell has gone a combined 52-17 the last six seasons alone, while reaching three North 2, Group 2 playoff finals (including winning the title in 2008), and advancing to the semifinals in the other three years.
There are a solid core group of seniors led by quad captains Jake Charpentier (OT-DT), Tom Guiliano (TE-LB), Steve Puzzo (WR-DB) and Nolan Smith (LB-TE) along with other key performers such as running back John Mannion, center Ian Davidson, tackle Darian Andresky, D-end Dwayne Forestal and D-lineman Aulon Haziri.
“I like the potential of our running game, with a really good back in John Mannion along with A.J. Curtiss and a freshman James Miller,” said Zimmerman. “You always need to try and establish the run to help set up the passing game, and I’m confident that we’ll have a solid all-around attack this season.”
CALDWELL CHIEF CLIPPINGS
A football Saturday at Bonnel Field remains an event.
James Caldwell's 2014 Regular Season Schedule
Last season's starting QB for Caldwell, Joe Salter, also earned his first-team role for first time as a senior and helped lead the Chiefs to the North 2, Group 2 playoff final. Credit: Glenn Kross
By Steve Tober / SidelineChatter.com
Senior Dom Magliaro will be feature back for West Essex in Wing T as the Knights make big move up into the SEC American Division this fall Credit: Glenn Kross
NORTH CALDWELL, NJ - On paper the move up into the rigorous Super Essex Conference-American Division for a Group 3 team that just graduated 17 of 22 starters might appear to be a bit of a reach. However, when that program happens to be West Essex, which has been one of the county’s strongholds for the last decade and a half, the possibilities are intriguing indeed.
The Knights, coming off a 10-1 season, are now ensconced for the next two seasons with Group 5 powers such as Montclair and a Non-Public, Group 4 in Seton Hall Prep, battling in one of the state’s more challenging divisions.
“It’s an enormous challenge, and maybe the biggest challenge we've faced
West Essex's fourth-year head coach Chris Benacquista realizes that there are big challenges ahead in rigorous SEC-American
Credit: Bill Allen
The Knights, who open the season on Friday night, Sept. 6, with an independent road game at Delaware Valley, return just one starter – guard Roberto LoCascio – on offense, and four defensive starters in linebackers LoCascio and Dom Magliaro, end Marc McDonald and cornerback Luke Magilaro, Dom’s twin brother.
The Magliaros are veteran varsity football, basketball and baseball players at West Essex and have the type of experience that can set the tone for a somewhat green squad in terms of varsity reps.
Dom Magliaro was a big playmaker for West Essex on both sides of the ball in 2013
Credit: Glenn Kross
“Luke is an athletic player at quarterback and has really developed
West Essex must replace a splendid backfield that graduated last June, including quarterback Matt Thies and running backs Peter Norton and Joe Scaglia; however, there are several intriguing pieces to fill some of those key roles, including the versatile Luke Magliaro stepping in as the team’s starting QB and brother Dom assuming the role of the featured left halfback in the Wing T ground-oriented attack.
McDonald, a rock-sold 6-2, 230-pounder who led the team in sacks last fall and is a superb wrestler in the winter, could emerge as a top football player in the county this fall with his powerful running at fullback and ability to dominate at times at defensive end. Monmouth and Bucknell are among the schools already showing interest in the Knights’ strongman.
West Essex's Marc McDonald (42) is a superb two-way performer for the Knights as they look to reload during first season in the SEC-American
Credit: Glenn Kross
LoCascio is another splendid all-around athlete as he has been a superb wrestler and lacrosse player for the Knights through the years in addition to being a 4-year starter in football. LoCascio, the Magliaros and McDonald will serve as quad captains for the 2014 Knights.
Other key players to watch include cornerback-wide receiver Michael Panzarino and wide receiver John Agolia.
On the very plus side for West Essex is the fact the program continues to attract great numbers with 84 players in the upper three grades this fall including 26 seniors. There are also 25 freshmen out for that team.
“We feel we have the depth in numbers to compete at a high level,
West Essex traditionally draws strong student following for its Friday night football games at Travis Field in North Caldwell Credit: Glenn Kross
West Essex's 2014 Regular Season Schedule