GRHS football coaching staff mentors Glen Ridge Red Dogs at camp

Ridgers will play at MetLife Stadium on Aug. 27

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GLEN RIDGE, NJ — In the last few weeks, Glen Ridge High School first-year head football coach Manj Singh has hit the ground running.

Singh directed workout sessions at the high school, getting the Ridgers in shape physically while they were learning some of the aspects of his system.

But Singh understands that the Glen Ridge Athletic Association’s Red Dogs youth football program is just as important, as it serves as a feeder to the GRHS program. That’s why Singh and his staff were on hand directing the Red Dogs football camp at George Washington Avenue Field, July 19-22, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day.

The Red Dogs program divides players by age: third and fourth grade, fifth and sixth grade, and seventh and eighth grade. The players took part in various drills as they prepared for their season this fall.

The Red Dogs seventh and eighth grade team is excited to get to play at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, home of the NFL’s Giants and Jets, on Aug. 27. The team will compete against Cedar Grove in one of four youth games that will be played at MetLife that day. 

“It’s definitely going to be a great experience, going up against one of our divisional rivals in Cedar Grove, so we’re going to make sure to get them prepared,” said Singh in an interview with The Glen Ridge Paper during the final day of the Red Dogs camp on July 22. “I will be there with my staff helping them prepare as well, as well as the Red Dog staff. We’ve had meetings so far to see what we can do and we’re going to put on a show.

“It’s going to be good for everybody, good for the community, to get to MetLife Stadium,” Singh added. 

Dave Manzo is the head coach of the seventh and eighth grade team.

The Red Dogs cheerleaders will also join the football team at MetLife Stadium and perform.

Singh wants to be involved with the Red Dogs, knowing that they are the future of the GRHS program.

“It’s the foundation,” said Singh, who was an assistant coach at powerhouse St. Joseph Regional of Montvale for the past few seasons. “You have to start with the foundation, which is the building block. If you remove a block from the foundation, that house isn’t going to stay steady. So we have to build a strong foundation. … We have to start with these guys. They are very important for us to be successful at the high school level.”

Meanwhile, GRHS enjoyed an impressive showing at the Wayne Valley 7-on-7 shootout on July 20. Despite having just 11 players, including three freshmen, the Ridgers went 2-2, narrowly losing to Pope John and Old Tappan before beating Manchester and Lakewood. Returning senior starting quarterback Dylan O’Neil had a great day, as he threw for 11 touchdowns and four 2-point conversions with only two early interceptions in the four games.

The Ridgers also made an impression in the big man competition at the shootout, finishing in sixth place out of 18 teams, despite having just five linemen, while other teams each had between 12 and 18 linemen.

Photos by Joe Ragozzino.