Piscataway and Sayreville share WCTC Team of the Year Honors; Somerville's Vanderbeek named Coach of the Year

The Piscataway Chiefs and Sayreville Bombers are WCTC's Co-Teams of the Year in Central Jersey High School Football for 2016.  Both teams finished the year 10-2 and won state championships on December 3rd at Rutgers.

Piscataway won its first state title since 2011.  The 2nd-seeded Chiefs knocked off top-seed Manalapan 34-13 in the Central Jersey - Group 5 Championship Game at Rutgers.  The win avenged an earlier regular season defeat at the hands of Manalapan at the same venue, 21-10, on October 29th, as part of a Rutgers high school football showcase.  It was the 9th title for Piscataway in the playoff era (since 1974), and the 6th for Chiefs' head coach Dan Higgins.  He's brought P'way to the finals in 9 of his 14 years as head coach, with a 6-3 mark in title games.

Sayreville won the school's 5th overall title.  As the 5-seed, they beat 2nd-seed Middletown North 41-14 in the North Jersey, Section 2 - Group 4 Championship Game at Rutgers.  Not only did the Bombers win, but they reeled off 41 unanswered points in the game, rallying from a 14-0 first-half deficit, trailing 14-7 at halftime.  The win was the first for alum Chris Beagan as the Sayreville head coach, now in his second season after replacing George Najjar, who won the school's previous four titles.  It's also the second ring for Beagan, who won a championship as head coach at Monroe in 2009.

Turnaround at Somerville...

Meanwhile, Somerville head coach Jeff Vanderbeek was named WCTC's Coach of the Year for 2016.  Vanderbeek was the co-head coach along with Chris Cassamento in 2015, when the team went just 2-8, but snapped a 25-game program losing streak.  But he lead a massive turnaround in 2016, as the Pioneers put together an undefeated regular season and finished 10-1, losing to eventual Central Jersey - Group 3 champions Rumson-Fair Haven in the semifinals at Brooks Field.