Because of their dedication to the sport and their knowledge that a very challenging regular season schedule awaits them, the Vernon High School football program is taking every step necessary during the preseason to be as ready as they can be once they take the field for that first game at home versus Morris Hills on September 2.
Among the top returning student athletes to the varsity roster for the Vikings this year are Derek Lazier (senior, quarterback), Gage Moskovitz (senior, running back), Rick Healy (senior, wide receiver), Connor Sensbach (senior, wide receiver), Ian Schmid (senior, free safety), Jake Immesberger (senior, offensive line), Sean Curley (senior, offensive line), Franco Luna (junior, tight end and middle linebacker), Aiden Duffy (senior, middle linebacker), Jack Austin (junior, guard and defensive tackle), Chad Quaranta (junior, offensive tackle and defensive end), Austin Reed (senior, corner back) and Ryan Groves (junior, defensive tackle).
Newcomers looking to make a positive impression at the varsity level include Duke Staley (junior, defensive end and tackle), Logan Pych (junior, outside linebacker and running back), Joseph Pappa (sophomore, defensive end) and Connor Dyk (junior, offensive line and defensive line).
When asked which players stood out as team leaders this season, Vernon head coach Stephen Down listed Jake Immesberger, Duke Staley, Jack Austin, Sean Curley and Chad Quaranta. He also highlighted the efforts of Rick Healy, Derek Lazier, Connor Sensbach, Ian Schmid and Aidan Duffy. “We are looking for the offensive linemen to all take a big step forward and lead with physicality. We’re looking for leaders to emerge and raise the intensity day in and day out.”
The Vikings finished with an overall record of 6-4 in 2021. They compete in the North Jersey Super Football Conference American White Division along with Jefferson, High Point, West Milford, Sparta and Lakeland.
Coach Down views his team as a contender in the American White Division this fall.
“We want to win the Conference and make a deep playoff run,’’ Down said. “The whole division is extremely talented. Sparta, Jefferson, Lakeland and West Milford were all playoff teams last year, and High Point is a program with a lot of tradition. I’m excited to see if this group can come together as a team.”