With the end of the semester comes the end of the Bulldog Blitz. This experience taught me a lot about how to produce online content in journalism, as well as how to maintain my own beat. I had never covered high school sports or a team this heavily and I can say I really enjoyed the experience. I hope you enjoyed all the stories, content, and inside information I was able to provide. I hope you continue to follow this football program, as they created a great story for me to tell this season. Thank You for visiting the Bulldog Blitz! It has been a pleasure writing this blog for you, the Glassboro football fans!
The 2015 season had its highs and its lows for the Glassboro High School Bulldogs.
With the switch back to Group 1 this season, Glassboro did not really need to change their preparation much. They knew their history, background and the way they were taught to play the game. Their coaching staff instilled in them to give 120 percent every game, every play, every second that they set foot on the gridiron. Mark Maccarone entered his fifth season as the head coach of Glassboro with a plan and a mission in mind no matter what teams the Bulldogs would face.
The Bulldogs opened the season strong with a 41-6 win over Gloucester Catholic. The team displayed great running ability and defense. Getting the 1-0 start on the season in such a dominating fashion, it seemed as if this was the team that many news outlets named to be a difference–making team in South Jersey Group 1.
After splitting the next two games, the Bulldogs lost their next four straight games against Woodstown, Gloucester, Camden, and Bishop Eustace. This was a hard time to be losing games as the midway mark of the season approached. Glassboro continued to drop in power points and would find themselves on the outside of the playoff picture, as low as tenth on the list. Yet, in these games, Glassboro played well in the first three quarters and had leads in each of the games, but the result on the scoreboard did not reflect the effort the Bulldogs gave. Unfortunately, they just were not able to finish games.
This could be because of the many injuries the team had throughout the season. Some were concussions, others were week to week injuries. Nonetheless, Group 1 teams in general do not have the roster make-up of bigger schools. It was too much for Glassboro to lose even one player on their roster, because each player was so significant.
Moving on to the final week of the regular season, Glassboro had an opportunity to flip the tide on their season and get into the playoffs. They would have to travel to Penns Grove, one of the top teams in the section, and earn a victory to punch their ticket. In a close match-up, the game came down to the last 2:47. A safety off a snap into the end zone trimmed the deficit to three points for Glassboro. Quarterback Jamir Jenkins, wide receiver AJ Kittles, and the offense took care of getting the lead for good, as the defense shut down the Penns Grove offense with little time to play.
After losing to Salem 24-14 in the regular season, Glassboro flipped the result this time against the top-seeded Rams with a 35-14 sectional quarterfinal victory. They fell short to fourth-seeded Clayton 34-21 in the semifinals.
Despite having to deal with a playoff loss, Glassboro had little time to dwell on it with a Thanksgiving week game at Deptford. The 42-7 win for the Bulldogs earned them a share of the West Jersey Football League Diamond Division title. They posted a 4-1 division record along with Woodstown and Penns Grove. Glassboro finished with a 5-6 record overall.
Here is my interview with Head Coach Mark Maccarone who delivered his thoughts on the 2015 season.
The Glassboro Bulldogs were confined to the gym on a rainy day the day before their Sectional Semifinal with Clayton. Check out the highlights and find out what Head Coach Mark Maccarone’s definition of success is.
No matter how a team starts in September, sometimes it is about how your finishing the season in November.
The Bulldogs punched their ticket to the postseason with a win at Penns Grove 16-12 in their final regular season game last week.
Going in as the eighth seed into the tournament, Glassboro matched up with top seeded Salem for a matinee quarterfinal game on Saturday. Salem defeated Glassboro 24-14 back in Week 2.
It was a flip of the script this time around, as the Bulldogs defeated the Rams 35-14.
Sophomore quarterback Jamir Jenkins completed all five of his pass attempts for 55 yards, including a 24 yard pass to Nick Angelucci that went for six. Jenkins also utilized his mobility to his advantage, rushing for 55 yards on 12 carries, including a 31 yard rush for touchdown.
He was well complemented by running back Qaadir Campbell who tallied 24 rushes for 104 yards and a touchdown.
On the other side of the ball, Taj DeFrance recovered a blocked punt and took it 14 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. In the second, they also earned a safety after a snap over the Salem punter’s head went out of the end zone. In the fourth, Zen Argenio had a 15 yard interception return for a touchdown. Isom Golden also had a pick for the Bulldogs.
Glassboro opened up the game scoring 28 points going into the third quarter. The Rams put their first points on the scoreboard with an 86 yard run for a touchdown from Jon Taylor. He would score again in the fourth from 12 yards out. Taylor carried the ball 12 times for 127 yards, and the two scores.
Next up, Glassboro will visit fourth seeded Clayton in the South Jersey Group 1 Semifinals on November 20. The Clippers defeated Gloucester 16-12 in the quarterfinals.
AJ Kittles was voted the best wide receiver in the West Jersey Football League on an nj.com poll this season. However, leading up to a game against Penns Grove this week with a ticket punch to the playoffs on the line, it was all business for Kittles and the team this past week. I talked to Kittles after Friday’s practice to learn more about his love for football and the season thus far.
Darren Cooper, 41, of Brick, N.J., is a Local Sports Columnist at The Record, the company responsible for the blog Varsity Aces.
After growing up in Slidell, L.A., Cooper pursued his college career at LSU. At the university, he worked for the college radio station and the college newspaper. He graduated in 1996. After graduation, Cooper worked at the New Orleans Times-Picayune, posting the latest standings and putting in box scores as a sports agate clerk.
Cooper moved to New Jersey in July 1998. A friend of his from college was diagnosed with brain cancer at age 24, so Cooper wanted to spend time with him before he died. Cooper would work for six years at the Montclair Times as the Sports Editor for the weekly newspaper. His first day on the job was Thanksgiving of 1998, where he covered a high school Thanksgiving day football game.
In an interview, I asked Cooper what is most exciting about covering New Jersey high school football. “It’s no question the high caliber of play, I mean, these kids are really, really good. And the coaching is off the charts. Back in Louisiana, when I left, HS (high school) football was still a lot of running game and grind it out. In NJ (New Jersey), it’s very sophisticated. The level of play here is amazing. What has also become really enjoyable is the non-public schools in Bergen County play national schedules and travel all over the country. I’ve seen so much of the country, and loved it. I’ve been to California, Utah (with a side trip to Wyoming), Washington D.C. a bunch of times, Philly. Just this past September, I covered games in North Carolina, Buffalo, Cincinnati and went to Ann Arbor, Michigan to see Michigan play. I go to Florida a lot. I really enjoy that,” stated Cooper.
Varsity Aces was started by Cooper and two other high school sports writers at The Record. The blog covers about 70 high schools and 21 sports. For Cooper, the blog is a way to “broaden coverage.” He could treat the story as a conversation with plenty of background and stories to back it up. Cooper is excited about the ability to highlight players or teams that do not get much attention, yet make a difference in a game. “When you have the room on the blog, you can mention the key block thrown by the right guard, or the hustle by a player to tackle a kid from behind. In fact, I had that exact situation happen this season in a football game, where a kid ran down a running back from behind, tackled him at the 10 yard line, and then his team’s defense held them from scoring. In the long run, it may not have been the most important play in the game, but it was notable,” said Cooper.
For someone starting a beat for a blog, Cooper says to find something writers are passionate about and enjoy writing about. Also, have fun with it.
The Glassboro Bulldogs are 2-4 after losing their last three straight. Talking to Head Coach Mark Maccarone after practice, he said that the team did not focus on specific things to tweak during the week, but is confident his team knows how to play their game and that was reflected in their usual practice repertoire. This past week, the team practiced their normal schedule to try to improve on mistakes fundamentally and strategically. I visited practice on Thursday and snapped some of the sights.
Bulldogs offensive and defensive line at Glassboro High School in Glassboro, N.J. on Oct. 22, 2015. (Photo/Cody Decker)
One on one drills with wide receivers, running backs, and secondary at Glassboro High School in Glassboro, N.J. on Oct. 22, 2015. (Photo/Cody Decker)
Glassboro Bullldogs Practice Field at Glassboro High School in Glassboro, N.J. on Oct. 22, 2015. (Photo/Cody Decker)
Glassboro Bulldogs Quarterback Jamir Jenkins at Glassboro High School in Glassboro, N.J. on Oct. 22, 2015. (Photo/Cody Decker)
Coaches get involved with the drills to teach the fundamentals to the players at Glassboro High School in Glassboro, N.J. on Oct. 22, 2015. (Photo/Cody Decker)
Head Coach Mark Maccarone at Glassboro High School in Glassboro, N.J. on Oct. 22, 2015. (Photo/Cody Decker)
Kicker Dan Guerin taking some snaps at out wide as the offense runs some plays out of the playbook at Glassboro High School in Glassboro, N.J. on Oct. 22, 2015. (Photo/Cody Decker)
Wide Receiver A.J. KIttles tries to haul in a pass at Glassboro High School in Glassboro, N.J. on Oct. 22, 2015. (Photo/Cody Decker)
Bulldogs linebackers and secondary at Glassboro High School in Glassboro, N.J. on Oct. 22, 2015. (Photo/Cody Decker)
Strong Safety (#26) Taj DeFrance at Glassboro High School in Glassboro, N.J. on Oct. 22, 2015. (Photo/Cody Decker)
AJ Kittles out wide at Glassboro High School in Glassboro, N.J. on Oct. 22, 2015. (Photo/Cody Decker)
Punt team practice at Glassboro High School in Glassboro, N.J. on Oct. 22, 2015. (Photo/Cody Decker)
Punter Dan Guerin at Glassboro High School in Glassboro, N.J. on Oct. 22, 2015. (Photo/Cody Decker)
Post-Practice huddle at Glassboro High School in Glassboro, N.J. on Oct. 22, 2015. (Photo/Cody Decker)
Glassboro High School football field at Glassboro High School in Glassboro, N.J. on Oct. 22, 2015. (Photo/Cody Decker)