Season Highlights: Football

The 2011 VHS Hillbillies finished their fall football season with a 5-5 record led by captains Jack Cummings, Billy Meade and Nick Rollo.

In their first game, played against long-time rival Cedar Grove, VHS lost 33-29 on what Coach Joe Carollo characterized as a “fluky and controversial play.” Although VHS outplayed their opponent the entire game, Cedar Grove capitalized on a blocked field goal and as a result scored a touchdown to win by four points.

According to Coach Carollo, this game was their most difficult of the season, in part because it was the first loss of an 0-3 start to the season. Mr. Carollo reflects that in all his years as a defensive coordinator at VHS, the Hillbillies have never started out 0-3.

However, on October 1, VHS played Glen Ridge and snapped their losing streak with a 14-6 win. This win was what VHS needed. They continued on to win the next three games only to have that streak broken in a game against Weequahic where the final was 15-14. Un fortunately, this was the game that would have sent VHS to the playoffs.

The team went on to win their next game but ended their season with a loss on Thanksgiving against James Caldwell High School.

This year’s football team was a very young team plagued with injuries early on in the season, among them a broken elbow suffered by junior wide receiver Mike Harrington. Along with injuries, another challenge came from the fact that VHS played in one of the toughest conferences in Group 1 this year.

“I don’t believe in excuses. At the end of the day we didn’t get it done. Our margin of error was razor thin this year, and that is the frustrating part. However, we did show heart all year,” said Mr. Carollo.

He also added that next year the team’s challenge is learning how to win. He believes that the VHS football team was still one of the best teams in the conference this year, and with the return of so many players next year, Mr. Carollo feels that program will find more success.

There are a handful of seniors graduating, and Mr. Carollo admits that it is always a struggle with the loss of seniors who put their four years of work into the program. Nevertheless, he ended with the sentiment that “you make your own luck.”