Varsity football team builds bonds and spirit on the road to Liberty Division Championship

Kelsey DiMichele, Writer

Recently, the Central Regional Football Program has obtained new-found popularity in Bayville!  Before the official kickoff of the season, Head Coach Jarrett Pidgeon worked hard in assembling a solid coaching staff which included the following individuals: offensive coordinator Frank Papalia, Danny Higgins quarterback (QB) coach, Paul Carrezola as tight end/wide receiver and strength/conditioning coach, Kyle Watson running back (RB) coach, Frank Backle offensive line coach, James Plummer as the outside linebacker (OLB) coach, Terrance Hardy defensive back/special teams coach, Will Wowkanyn as defensive line coach, defensive assistant Dennis Pidgeon, freshman coaches Tommy Koenig and Walter Karasiewicz. It was evident from the start of the season that this professional staff of coaches worked efficiently, and hard with their players to produce the best possible outcomes at each and every game.  This hard work with the players has clearly culminated in the spectacular season on the field the teams had this year.

In the midst of this great season, the program also made Central Regional Football history. This year’s football team went 6-0 and the team won outright the Liberty Division Championship.  This accomplishment marks the first time that Central’s Football Program has won an outright divisional title since 1994.  In the midst of the season, Central was 5-0 which broke records, including being one of three teams to have five games with four of them being shutouts. This year’s team is accompanied by the 1957 and 1971 teams which started their season undefeated after six games. Another outstanding accomplishment was the 2021 football team qualified for the NJSIAA Group 4 playoffs for the first time since 2017. 

Although these achievements have brought attention to individual players, the team plays selflessness and credits the whole sum of its parts for its success.  Coach Frank Papilia stated, “It’s not just the record, championship or playoff berth, but rather the time spent in the weight room, conditioning, practicing, and preparing themselves for the season. The true sense of brotherhood, family, and togetherness these young men play with is truly a football family.” The players this year have obtained relationships with their teammates and coaches which provided a positive environment for both coaches and players. It is quite clear that the coaching staff, especially head coach Jarrett Pidgeon, stresses the importance of performing well on and off the field, whether it be from a classroom, a social environment, or from a mindset. After talking with Coach Papalia he understood that Central’s Football team had gained some admiration, he believes the athletes were fueled and found motivation in performing well and thought they were doing something good for the community. 

From a player’s point of view, the majority of the team argued that the bonds that they had within one another were like brothers. This year’s team was led by senior wide receiver/defensive back Danny Morris, senior strong safety Dominick Fraulo, senior fullback/tight end Anthony Musso, and senior offensive tackle Todd Dudley. Also helping lead the team is the breakout performance of junior Chase Gumbrecht. Who, according to Coach Papalia, leads the Shore Conference in rushing yards and touchdowns and is among the state leaders in both of those categories as well. 

One of Central’s wide receivers, Tyler Germain stated “the most significant part of being a part of the team was the bonds you build, no matter what grade level.” This shows that on and off the field their teammates look out for one another and dearly care about each other. Quarterback Jahaziel Garcia said he believes that this year was just the start of a sensational football program. Garcia stated, “This year was just the changing of Central Regional’s Football culture” Garcia explained that the goals his coaches and teammates set in January, along with the atmosphere, and hard work provided for a memorable season. 

 The coaches, players, and fans say they all have enjoyed a wonderful season, as it came to an end in November. Overall this season was one to remember because of the personal and team achievements this year has brought.  The games were exciting, the pit was packed, and the spirit was super high. Joseph J Boyd Memorial Field was a must-see on Friday nights this fall, in Bayville.