PASSAIC COUNTY, N.J. -- Passaic County Tech’s football team has several key players to replace as it looks to play for another championship in the New Jersey State Athletic Association playoffs.
Passaic Tech reached the North 1 Group 5 title game last year before losing to Montclair, 26-14, at Giants Stadium. The Bulldogs finished the season 10-2 and need to find a replacement for quarterback Zaire Weaver, who threw 17 touchdowns with just two interceptions. He also rushed for nine touchdowns.
The Bulldogs do return running back Rayquan Strand, who rushed for 680 yards and eight TDs last year. Tech kicks off its season on Friday, Sept. 11, when it hosts Eastside of Paterson. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
Optimism is also high at Wayne Hills, where junior running back Luca Grave rushed for 698 yards and two TDs last year. The Patriots went 5-5, but won their final two games by a combined score of 83-0 over Montville and Wayne Valley. The Patriots, a perennial Sectional contender have won eight North 1 Group III titles since 2000, the last coming in 2011. The Patriots host Northern Valley Regional on Friday.
The Cardinals at Pompton Lakes also look to rebound. After going 22-2 over 2012-13, coach Scott Mahoney’s team slipped to 5-5 last year. Running backs Will Verrico and Ronnie Campos return after rushing for nearly 800 yards and seven TDs last year. Pompton Lakes’ season ended last year with a 39-7 loss to eventual champion Verona in the North 1 Group 1 playoffs. Pompton Lakes hosts Elmwood Park in its season opener on Saturday.
Lakeland Regional of Wanaque also looks for a bounce back season. The Lancers (4-6) had their first losing season since 2006 last year. Fourth-year coach Bill Wiegel hopes to see quarterback Danny Mullin (16 touchdown passes, six rushing touchdowns) lead the team back to the playoffs. Lakeland kicks off its season on Sept. 11 at Paramus.
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