Best football season in 28 years comes to end for Lyndhurst


Photo by Jim Hague/ Junior Marcus Brandon scored a touchdown in the North Jersey Section 2, Group I semifinals for Lyndhurst last Saturday, but unfortunately, his team lost to Weequahic, ending the Golden Bears’ season to remember at 8-3.


By Jim Hague

Scott Rubinetti tried to rationalize with what went wrong in Lyndhurst’s lopsided 53-14 loss to Weequahic in the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I semifinals Saturday afternoon.
“We made some unfortunate mistakes,” said Rubinetti, who guided his high school alma mater to its first state playoff win since 1983 a week earlier against Rutherford. “We fumbled the ball inside the 30-yard line. We fumbled a kickoff. We made some mistakes we don’t usually make.”
And Weequahic played a little uncharacteristically as well.
“They usually play with the philosophy of running the Wishbone right at you,” Rubinetti said. “They try to punch you in the face over and over to see if you can handle it.”
But Weequahic caught the Golden Bears off-guard with some play-action passes early on. Quarterback Will Robinson threw out of the predominately run offensive set, completing 10 passes for 257 yards, three of which went for touchdowns. Robinson also scored a touchdown on the ground.
“It just didn’t work out well for us,” Rubinetti said. “Our kids played hard the whole time. But to be honest, they were bigger, stronger and more athletic. They were the better team.”
A guy with the very unique name of Kadarious Bullock caught three TD passes and also ran for a touchdown. It was not a very pretty event for the locals. They were playing for the chance to end their season at MetLife Stadium next week, playing for a state title and instead, they ended up having the dream all blow up in horrific fashion.
The Golden Bears did get touchdowns from Marcus Brandon and Danny Kesack, but not much else.
In fact, Weequahic did an excellent job of keeping the multi-talented Kesack in check. In the Golden Bears’ upset 38-13 win over Rutherford, Kesack had 153 yards rushing and three touchdowns as well as throwing for two touchdowns. But no such success against Weequahic.
“They came into the game, wanting to stop Danny and they did that well,” Rubinetti said. “They came out and hit him. It was part of their game plan to go after him.”
Despite the setback, nothing was going to take away from the Golden Bears’ highly successful and history making season.
“I’m proud of our kids,” said Rubinetti, who guided the Golden Bears to 3-7 and 4-6 records during his first two seasons as head coach at his alma mater. “To bounce back after a 4-6 season and go 8-3 says a lot about our coaches, but it says a lot about our kids as well. These kids took some lumps over the last two years, but they acquired a boatload of experience in doing so. They jelled over that time as a unit and had a tremendous amount of success, beating some good teams along the way. I’m super proud of them.”
The Golden Bears completed the 2011 season with an 8-3 record, the best mark of any local team. They defeated teams like Becton Regional, Park Ridge, Hasbrouck Heights and finally Rutherford, which entered the NJSIAA North 2, Group I playoffs as the top seed of the section.
“I really think we opened up a lot of eyes this year, not only in Lyndhurst,” Rubinetti said. “They put in the time necessary to have success and the record is a direct result of the hard work. They had the right work ethic in the weight room, in training. They understood the time it takes to have a good team.”
Rubinetti doesn’t want the 2011 season to be a “one-and-done” campaign.
“That’s what we’ve been trying to talk about with the entire team,” Rubinetti said. “We’re talking about the entire program. We talked about how much this senior group did, but we need the program to take the extra step. We’re already motivated for next year.”
Rubinetti has a right to be excited about the 2012 season. The team’s best player, Kesack, returns. So do two of his main targets, Kyle Pollio and Brandon. Standout running back Bobby DeMarco will be back to take over the rushing load that will be left by the graduations of Danny Nahra and Marc Carrier. Ian Cairns, only a sophomore, solidified the defense. Nick Galvez is a standout two-way lineman and has been since his freshman year. Nick Coviello, all 6-foot-3, 295-pounds of him, will return next year as a strong college prospect.
“We have 26 members of our sophomore class and our junior varsity went 8-1 this year,” Rubinetti said. “We have the pieces to keep things going, if the kids continue to work hard. The kids have to be the ones to do it. They have to be the ones to buy into it, buy into each other. We had a great run this year, but we have to keep it going forward.”
Needless to say, Rubinetti is pleased to be able to see the excitement that comes with taking a Lyndhurst team to the state playoffs and winning a playoff game. He’s Lyndhurst through and through.
“My grandfather was part of the booster club and my father (John) was a team captain (in 1963),” Rubinetti said. “All of my father’s good friends played at Lyndhurst. I played here (Class of 1990). I grew up with the history and tradition of Lyndhurst. It’s always been a part of my family. It’s great to see this all happen. I’ve always had a sense of pride about Lyndhurst. I got to be a part of it as a player, now I am part of it as a coach.”
So there was a sense of disappointment that the season came to an end before reaching the pinnacle, but there was nothing to be ashamed of in what turned out to be a season to remember.
“We put Lyndhurst back on the map,” Rubinetti said. “Where it should be.”
And where it should be again next season, provided the program keeps moving in the right direction. With a proud Lyndhurst guy leading the way, it definitely seems possible for more of the same success in 2012.

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