HS Football Preview: Glen Ridge seeks to compete hard with good depth

Photo by Steve Ellmore.
Tyler Strong, who played receiver and backup QB last year, will be the starting QB this season.

GLEN RIDGE, NJ – Glen Ridge enters the season with a lot of buzz.

With new head coach Steve Trivino, the Ridgers are looking to continue last year’s momentum when they qualified for the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2. Group 1 state playoffs for the fifth consecutive year before finishing with a 6-4 record, their best season since 2010.

Trivino and his coaching staff have stressed the importance of competing hard.

“Competing every day and compete as one every day,” said Trivino of the team’s theme. “Every day, we need to compete when we cross that red line that we have for practice. We want make sure we’re putting forth our best effort, taking care of business outside the red line, doing our things like homework, doing schoolwork, all that, and when we cross the line, we’ll compete every day.”

Trivino was the associate coach at Caldwell for the past four seasons. He was named the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2015. Trivino also previously was the head coach at Dayton and Newark Academy.

This year’s team may not be senior-heavy, but it has a plethora of talented athletes.

On offense, senior tri-captain Tyler Strong takes over at quarterback. Strong, who was a receiver last year and the backup QB to since-graduated star Tyler Liddy, has the makings of being an effective signal caller, displaying excellent throwing and running abilities.

“He’s got a really good arm and great feet,” Trivino said.

Strong’s main targets will be senior tr-captains Simon Low and Kyle Koblinski.

The ground game will be spearheaded by juniors Jackson Crutchfield and Ben Bronstein.

Several candidates are vying for spots on the offensive line. The mainstays will be tackle Charlie Vigna and center Sam Auborn, both sophomores.

With athletic playmakers, expect the Ridgers to keep opposing defenses on their heels.

“We’ll be a real fast-paced offense, using our athletes to the best of our abilities to keep teams off-balanced,” Trivino said.

Defensively, the Ridgers will use several players on the line, with Vigna and Auborn leading the way. Kobylinski and junior Brendan Easter are the inside linebackers, while junior Matt McCann will help as an outside linebacker.

The secondary features Strong and junior Colin Ducey at the corner spots, and Low and Crutchfield at the safety positions.

On special teams, McCann will handle place-kicking duties, while Strong is the punter. Crutchfield and Kobylinski will return kickoffs and punts.

The Ridgers will have a key test to start the season as they host Shabazz, the defending North 2, Group 1 state champions who went undefeated last year.

Unlike the past few years, the Ridgers won’t have to worry about depth, which is always a concern for any small school. That’s something that Trivino hopes will benefit his team as it looks to create its own identity and continue its run of success.

“We definitely want to build off last season,” Trivino said. “But these guys have their own identity. (GRHS) had a very good senior class last year. We’re a little low in terms of seniors, but we have a lot of juniors and sophomores. This team is looking to make their own name. The amount of athletes that we have, for a small team, to be as deep as we are in our positions, is really an advantage for me coming in. Sometimes you have small teams and there’s not much to pick from. We’re going 18, 19 kids deep that we can trust to play on the field. Everything we do right now is aiming toward the first game against Shabazz. We want to work hard to be prepared for that, because (Shabazz) coach (Darnell) Grant has a great program there.”

Trivino’s coaching staff includes defensive coordinator Luke Maginnis, who is a former assistant coach at Fairleigh Dickinson University; secondary/receivers coach Carl Houser, who also is the longtime GRHS head boys’ lacrosse coach, and two-way line coach Tom Novack. Trivino also will be the offensive coordinator.

Trivino succeeds Duke Mendez, who stepped down after 26 seasons in two stints at GRHS, including the last 15 seasons.

Schedule

August 31, Shabazz, 1 p.m.

Sep. 8, Montclair Kimberley Academy, 2 p.m.

Sept. 14, at Weequahic, 7 p.m.

Sept. 22, Cedar Grove, 1 p.m.

Sept. 29, at Newark Collegiate Academy, 1 p.m.

Oct. 5, at Hoboken, 7 p.m.

Oct. 13, Immaculate Conception, 1 p.m.

Oct. 27, Verona, 2 p.m.

 

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