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***McCarthy Report's list of the Top 15 seniors in state has strong influence from Don Bosco, Bergen Catholic, St. Peter's & Irvington as the powerhouse programs have some of Jersey's very best talent!

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***Montclair must stay healthy in 2022, but there is definitely talent on hand for team's first-year head coach Jermain Johnson who also has first-rate staff on hand he put together in rapid fashion after he arrived. Read "Feature Articles"

***Talented Hillside has terrific players on McCarthy's top seniors from Union County including the duo called 'Thunder & Lightning' for coach Barris Grant's Comets. Learn much more in "The Buzz"

First-year head coach John Fiore looks to put imprint on Elizabeth as Minutemen, seen above with the new gridiron mentor at team's recent Media Day, prepare for their 2022 season opener. Fiore had success in Montclair where he had directed Mounties to four playoff titles during his 11-year reign for the Essex County school. (Photo by JR Parachini)

‘We Before Me’ Is Elizabeth’s Motto in ‘22
As Fiore Era Commences For Minutemen

By JR Parachini
For sidelinechatter.com

ELIZABETH – We’ve all heard the sports cliché, “there’s no I in team.”

At Elizabeth’s Aug. 13th Media Day returning senior Leoncio Remigio (6-3, 195), focusing on increased team unity, proclaimed that the Minutemen motto this year is: “We Before Me.”

“Last year it was me, me, me,” Remigio said. “Last year’s seniors were at the top of everything. This year it’s more about all of us than anything else.”

The other theme of the afternoon emphasized more players for first-year head coach John Fiore to send out.

“We weren’t consistent at all last year,” said senior Gerald Baker III (6-3, 345), who is among the top-rated two-way linemen in the state. “We didn’t have the depth. It was just the starters doing their jobs.”

While some players also discussed a lack of discipline, with just three wins Elizabeth went to East Orange Campus and was respectable in a 21-7 North 1, Group 5 first-round playoff setback.

That turned out to be head coach Jamil Jackson’s final game of his six-season tenure as head coach at Elizabeth. The 1989 Elizabeth graduate who starred on the Minutemen’s second state championship team in the playoff era, 1988, under Jerry Moore, guided Elizabeth to the 2016 and 2017 North 2, Group 5 semifinals his first two seasons at the helm.

“Jamil’s a friend and when he resigned (in February) he said to me, ‘you need to go after this job,’” Fiore said.

Fiore was hired shortly after as the 18th head coach in a rich Elizabeth football history that dates back to 1929. The Minutemen enter their 94th season with an overall record of 505-337-34.

Elizabeth will have its home-opener vs. Plainfield for a second straight season as the Minutemen open their 2022 campaign against the visiting Cardinals on Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. at Williams Field.

Elizabeth will be seeking to finish over .500 for the first time since the 2018 squad went 6-3 after falling at Union 28-17 in the first round of the North 2, Group 5 playoffs.

Three straight seasons under .500 have followed, which is rarely the case concerning Elizabeth.

“I’m finding out that these kids here match the greatest group I’ve had at Montclair,” said Fiore, who turned 54 on Aug 1.

This is Fiore’s 22nd season as a head coach. His record is 155-71-1.

Fiore guided the Mounties to 93 wins in 11 seasons and 10 playoff appearances in 10 seasons playoff games were played. Included in that run was four North 1, Group 5 state championships, three of them with perfect 12-0 records.

Many of his Montclair teams featured high-powered offenses that outscored the opposition by a large amount. Conversely, Elizabeth was outscored 293-167 a year ago, six times giving up 31 points or more.

“Defense is our strength right now,” Fiore said. “Our offense will be better, but we have a strong defensive line and will be strong at linebacker and in the secondary. Baker is one of the best in the state. Plus, we have depth.”

 

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