HIllbillies Capture Playoff Berth


The Verona Hillbillies football team has started its season 6-2, securing a two-seed in the NJSIAA Group 2, North 2 playoffs; The team has not made the playoffs their past two seasons.

They will face seventh-seeded Dumont High School Friday night at home, with the winner moving on to round two to face the winner of Lyndhurst and Hanover Park.  Rutherford holds the one-seed in the bracket. 

Verona has also began the year with a new head coach, Kevin Batty. Batty, a Verona native and 1985 graduate of Verona High School, has been named the new head football coach at Verona High School. Coach Batty’s past experience includes time as the assistant coach at East Orange Campus and also as an assistant at Montclair; during his time there the Mounties  won three state championships and four Super Essex Conference Championships.

This change may be toughest on the seniors, who spent their first three years with a different coaching staff, and are now learning a new style and approach. Senior captain and linebacker Matt Frungillo thinks that Coach Batty “came into a tough situation but he’s doing a great job so far.”

In addition to the coaching change, the Hillbillies are also playing with freshman Cael Zebrowski as their starting quarterback. Last season the Hillbillies were led by Tom Sharkey, who has since transferred to another school, and C.J. Lavery, who the team lost to graduation.  

Senior captain and offensive guard Brandon Cariani says he like “how the team is playing” and hopes they can continue to play like this for the rest of the season.