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Cedar Grove's 'interim' head coach Rob Gogerty is one of the impressive young head coaches in early going this 2016 football season as his youthful Panthers are off to impressive 2-1 start. (Photos by Gene Nann-nann photo)

MKA's Anthony Rea has seen his Cougars follow up last fall's 10-1 season with a strong 3-0 start highlighted by this past Saturday's win at Glen Ridge.

Irvington first-year head coach Ashley "Smoke" Pierre has seen his Blue Knights explode out of the gates with 3-0 start. (photo courtesy of IHS)

New Vanguard Makes Its Impact
In Early Going Of 2016 Season
By Steve Tober

Longtime coaches such as Mike Carter (Bloomfield) and Ken Trimmer (Caldwell) each have their respective teams off to 3-0 starts and both should impact come playoff time in November; however, one of the noticeable coaching impacts in the first month of the 2016 football season are the new vanguard of young 30-something coaches such as Rob Gogerty (2-1 Cedar Grove), Ashley “Smoke” Pierre (3-0 Irvington) and Anthony Rea (3-0 Montclair Kimberley Academy), who all have done exemplary jobs as relatively recent head coaches on the scene.

And, while Rea is in his third season as the head man at MKA of the Metroplitan Football League, Gogerty and Pierre are rookie head coaches who both have significant wins in the new North Jersey Super Football Conference, with the most noteworthy triumphs for each being Cedar Grove’s 33-32 triumph vs. Hoboken two weekends ago and Pierre’s season-opening win at Lincoln followed up by impressive wins over both West Orange and Barringer.

Rea’s creative play-calling, highlighted by a perfectly executed, game-winning, 25-yard touchdown option pass from Dom Romeo to Quinn Meistrich with 1:49 remaining in the fourth quarter to beat Glen Ridge, 14-10, this past Saturday, showed again how solid a sideline presence the young MKA head mentor is.

The Cougars were 10-1 last fall and with their quick start this season appear to be making the most of their 28-man roster that has several new varsity starters on it.

Gogerty is an interesting case at Cedar Grove in that he is in essence a ‘lifer’ in ‘Pantherville’ as a 2000 graduate and former star football quarterback and basketball guard for Cedar Grove before continuing his hoops career at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

He returned to coach and teach at Cedar Grove, was a key assistant on Ed Sadloch’s staff for football and also became a head basketball coach, guiding the Panthers to a North 1, Group 1 state sectional title in 2014.

When all the controversy developed with Sadloch and members of his staff initially being accused of bullying a player in the pre-season of 2013, the aftermath did not affect the performance of the team on the field; however, great acrimony ensued between the Cedar Grove board of education, school administration and Sadloch and his attorney, Steve Farsiou.

Meanwhile, Gogerty simply continued along in his various roles at the school which would also eventually including becoming athletic director. Then, when Sadloch was not rehired last winter and his successor was forced to resign a month after being appointed to the post in May due to a personnel matter in the Hackensack school district, Gogerty was asked to step in as ‘interim’ head coach.

All he has done so far along with his impressive, young coaching staff, is guide the Panthers to early-season wins over both Hoboken and archrival Verona (this past Friday night) and what was once a precarious appearing situation for the 2016 Panthers now has a much more rosy look even though two-thirds of the regular season is still on the horizon.

But, the early returns are very positive about both Gogerty and his relatively inexperienced football team which is led by solid two-way veterans including running back-defensive end Dan DiPrenda, wide receiver-safety Joe Rufo and two-way lineman Eric Kriegsman.

Pierre, a 2004 Bayley-Ellard graduate but a Irvington native, was an assistant on Pete Pascarella’s staff last fall and elevated to head man for the Irvington Blue Knights this fall. He was groomed as a head man by a number of people, including current High Point coach Jim Delaney and Delbarton offensive coordinator Dennis Mikula when both men coached him at Bayley.

The 30-year-old Pierre was an assistant for three seasons at Barringer and one season each at both Columbia and West Side and has learned quickly how to run a program. Now, with a terrific senior quarterback in Jyvon “Silky” Brown and a number of other talented athletes, the crew from Camptown appears to be a definite team to watch both in and out of the NJSFC.

This Week’s Sideline Chatter Essex County Top 10:

1-MONTCLAIR (2-0)- Mounties come off bye week to visit familiar foe Union City Friday night.

2-BLOOMFIELD (3-0)- Bengals crushed North Bergen 35-7 and will now host West Orange Friday night.

3-SETON HALL PREP (0-3)- Pirates’ brutal schedule continues with road contest at Pope John on Saturday.

4-IRVINGTON (3-0)- Blue Knights have answered the call each time in first three weekends and now host 1-2 Nutley Friday night.

5-CALDWELL (3-0)- Talk about great neighborhood rivalries one of the best in Essex takes place Friday night as West Essex visits Bonnel Field.

6-WEST ESSEX (2-1)- Knights still trying to find their groove with several new faces but did have hard-fought 14-10 win over Orange this past Friday night.

7-WEEQUAHIC (2-0)- Indians already have impressive road win in Morris County at Boonton and now try to make it two in a row in Morris at Butler Friday night.

8-BARRINGER (2-1)- Blue Bears come off loss at Irvington to face another very tough road game at Parsippany Hills Saturday afternoon.

9-SHABAZZ (2-1)- Bulldogs, like Weequahic, impressed in Morris in early going highlighted by hard-fought 10-6 win at Butler last Friday night.

10-CEDAR GROVE (2-1)- It doesn’t get much better than the last two weekends for the Panthers who followed up upset of Hoboken with impressive win at Verona.

This Weekend’s Schedule Involving Essex County Teams:

Friday night, Sept. 30, at 7 p.m.:

Montclair at Union City

West Orange at Bloomfield

Livingston at Randolph

Morristown at Columbia

Millburn at Wayne Hills

Nutley at Irvington

Belleville at Snyder

West Essex at Caldwell

Shabazz at Central (Untermann Field)

Glen Ridge at Cedar Grove

Weequahic at Butler

Verona at Ramsey

Parsippany at West Side (Shabazz)

Passaic Valley at Orange

East Side at Memorial


Saturday, Oct. 1:

Seton Hall Prep at Pope John, 2 p.m.

Newark Collegiate at Immaculate, 2;30 p.m.

East Orange at Paterson Kennedy (Buerle Stadium), 1 p.m.

People’s Prep at MKA, 2:30 p.m.

Barringer at Parsippany Hills, 3 p.m.

Dalton (N.Y.) at Newark Academy, 6 p.m.

Follow Steve Tober on Twitter @Chattermeister

Part of the solid 'Old Guard' of veteran coaches off to strong start in 2016 has to include Caldwell's Ken Trimmer whose Chiefs are 3-0 and prepare to host neighborhood rival West Essex Friday night. (file photo by

Bloomfield's Mike Carter, whose Bengals are 3-0, has the current longest tenure as a head coach in Essex County as he is now in the midst of his 26th season of guiding the historic program. (file photo by Dominick Delli Paoli)

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