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Standout tight end Dominic Busby (left) and the first-year starting quarterback Zander Zebrowski (in top photo) are two of the key seniors to watch for Seton Hall Prep this fall, while (below) one of the Pirates' more versatile performers is wide receiver and running back Matt Colantuono. SHP opens new season 5 p.m., Friday, Aug. 31, in the 'Rumble on the Raritan' at Rutgers' SHI Stadium facing Archbishop Carroll of Pa., who had defeated the Pirates last fall. (top photo-Sideline Chatter, bottom photo by Richard Morris/SHP)

Optimism Runs High For SHP Gridders
As New Season Kicks Off At Rutgers U.

By Steve Tober
For sidelinechatter.com 

WAYNE- There is an air of optimism and also a good degree of confidence as well for the Seton Hall Prep football team as the Pirates prepare for an early opener vs. Archbishop Carroll of Radnor, Pa., 5 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 31, in the first 'Rumble On The Raritan' at Rutgers’ SHI Stadium in Piscataway.

“The team is coming along well and I really like the talent on our offense (including nine returning starters),” said highly-recruited senior tight end and outside linebacker Dominic Busby, who joined the other five SHP senior captains on hand during the Thursday, Aug. 15, Super Football Conference Media Day at Wayne Valley. “We know that need to clean up a few things from our first scrimmage (vs. St. Peter’s Prep), but we have the experience and skill at a number of positions in order for us to put together a successful season.”

SHP finished 5-6 last fall under then new head coach Bill Fitzgerald, a former St. Peter’s Prep assistant, who also has a positive feeling about his 2019 Pirates.

“We have a good group of guys who come ready to compete each and every day, strong numbers (73-man roster) and very good senior leadership,” said the young SHP head mentor.

"We’re really focused on preparing for our season opener with Archbishop Carroll and are looking to limit the mistakes that cost us in last year’s game (54-28) loss to them.
“We have a lot of experience on the offensive line and most of the skill positions, which should also help us quite a bit.”

One key position that will have a new starter in place is at quarterback where senior captain Zander Zebrowski is stepping in to try and fill the shoes of the graduated standout Aidan Gilman (Brown University).

“Being the quarterback for The Prep is definitely an honor with the great tradition of talented players who have played the position through the years, including, of course, Aidan Gilman, who I really looked up to," said the new SHP starting QB. “He’ll be tough to replace, but I’ll do my best, and I know there are a number of weapons I can turn to in order to make our offense click.”

Busby (24 receptions, 224 yards, 2 TDs, while missing four game last fall due to a high ankle sprain) has 25 college offers, including from FBS schools such as Rutgers, Maryland, West Point and UMass, and with good hands to go along with his solid 6-4, 220-pound frame, is a handful to cover for any opposing defense.

Senior captain Matt Colantuono, who had 54 catches for 488 yards and 2 TDs last fall, is a running back and wide receiver who has played every offensive skill position during his SHP career as one of the team’s most versatile performers.

Nicholas Gullace, another top wide out, had 18 receptions for 272 yards and 2 TDs last fall. Another senior, Tim Macko (18-147, 2 TDs) and exciting junior Giye Jenkins (12-133, 1 TD) are other receivers to keep an eye on at a very deep position.

Another highly-recruited performer is one of the top two-way linemen on the team, big (6-4, 285-pound) senior Lucas Giordano, who helps anchor the O-Line along with fellow seniors Jack Michelotti, Matt Siegel, captain Tom Grippo and Anthony Liebig.

Giordano is a force on the defensive front in the Pirates’ 4-3 after recording 33 tackles and 5 ½ sacks in 2018. He’ll have to be at the top of his game since there is less experience (five returning starters) on that side of the ball for the Pirates, but there are other talented veteran performers to watch in addition to Giordano such as senior linebackers Andrew Mitzak (64 tackles) and (captain) Tyler Cook (59 tackles).

A potentially stingy secondary includes a bevy of good athletes including Jenkins, seniors Tim Macko and (captain) Ryan Monteleone and junior P.J. Penders.

The team’s placekicker is junior Austin Kuterka, who works under the watchful eye of longtime SHP kicking coach Pat Sempier, who is entering his 35th season of working with Pirate kickers.

“We’re a team that is really coming together, and I know we’re all excited about our season opener and playing at Rutgers, which will be a lot of fun as well,” said Busby. “We certainly want to get off to a good start this season and we will look to come out strong vs. Archbishop Carroll.”     

PIRATE PADDER- Archbishop Carroll finished 5-7 last fall…Zebrowski, who is also a member of the SHP basketball team, has a younger brother, Cael, who is the sophomore starting QB at Verona where their dad also once played the position for the Hillbillies…In addition to Gilman at Brown, other Pirates from last season’s team playing in college this fall are: kicker Zach Hoban (Rice), linebacker Vincent Henrich (Wesleyan), O-lineman Tom Callahan (Fordham), Elie Maurice (TCNJ), DB Foster Bryant (Franklin & Marshall) and D-lineman Niko Diakides (Worcester Polytechnic Institute)…The Pirates have six newcomers on the varsity this season including senior D-lineman Wilson Britto III, and junior D-linemen Patrick Herbert and Jack Larsen, who are all possible starters…Gullace is committed to Hobart College for lacrosse…Giordano’s FBS interest in football includes from Rutgers, Boston College and UMass….Among the former head coaches on Fitzgerald’s SHP coaching staff is ex-Hoboken head man Ed Stinson, who is the Pirates’ defensive coordinator, and Tom Falato (special teams and O-Line), who is a former head coach at Immaculata.….SHP is scheduled to scrimmage Archbishop Ryan of Philadelphia 1 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 17), and Hudson Catholic, 10 a.m., Friday, Aug. 23, both at the Pirates’ Brendan P. Tevlin Memorial Field in West Orange.

Seton Hall Prep 2019 Schedule:
Saturday, Aug. 31: vs. Archbishop (Pa.) Carroll (at Rutgers), 5 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 6, at DePaul, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 21: vs. Passaic Tech, 1 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 27: at Paramus Catholic, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 5: vs. East Orange Campus, 2 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 12: at Montclair, 1 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 19: vs. Delbarton, 1 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 26: vs. St. Joe’s (Montvale), 2 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 2, at Pope John, 1 p.m.                 

Follow Steve Tober on Twitter @Chattermeister        


Seton Hall Prep's six senior captains seen here sporting their brand new uniiforms, get together during Super Football Conference Media Day at Wayne Valley Aug. 15th. From left, are, kneeling in front: Matt Colantuono and Zander Zebrowski; and standing: Tom Grippo, Dominic Busby, Tyler Cook and Ryan Monteleone. SHP returns 9 starters on offense and 5 more 'D' as team looks to improve on 5-6 record. (Sideline Chatter photo)

In addition to being one the more highly-recruited tight ends in New Jersey this fall, SHP's Dominic Busby (81, right) also boosts the Pirate defense as an outside linebacker in the 4-3 alignment for coach Bill Fitzherald's team. (Photo by Richard Morris/SHP)

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