2009-09-09 / Sports

Bulldogs football team looking to duplicate '08 success

Deep playoff run for Metuchen last season thanks to playoff upsets

The postseason run that the Metuchen High School football team made last season was a historic one for the Bulldogs. Metuchen opened the playoffs with a 12-10 upset of No. 2 Shore Regional High School and followed with another upset of No. 3 Bound Brook High School. The Bulldogs' historic run came to an end at Rutgers Stadium after a loss to No. 1 Asbury Park High School in the title game.

"We want to be as competitive as possible and hopefully get back to where we were last year," Metuchen head coach Bob Ulmer said. "Hopefully, things will fall our way."

The Bulldogs lost a number of key players from last year's 8-4 squad. Wide receiver Phil Lewis is gone after setting a new single-season mark for reception yards. Lewis' 754 yards for a season beat the old mark set by current Oklahoma Sooner Dejuan Miller.

"We lost a lot of weapons," Ulmer said. "We'll miss guys like Peter Strom, Jake Duva, Josh Edwards, Ray Doherty and Matt Wakeman."

Fortunately, the Dogs bring back quarterback and team leader Steve Deinzer to captain the offense. Now a senior, Deinzer appears poised to get Metuchen back to the state playoffs.

"Steve has definitely matured and he's become more of a leader," Ulmer said. "He's a threat with his arm and his legs, and he looks ready to get the season started."

Deinzer will get his first crack at the new season on Sept. 12 when the Bulldogs take on Keyport for a noon game. Metuchen will compete in its first Gold Division contest on Sept. 18 against Middlesex High School. Last year, the Bulldogs finished third in the division standings.

"Taking third in the division was almost a blessing in disguise for us," Ulmer said. "Because of it, we got the No. 7 seed at the other end of the bracket away from Asbury Park."

Ulmer and the Dogs are aiming higher than third place this season, and if the goal is to be met, the senior class will have a lot to do with it.

"We have a big senior class and strong senior leadership," Ulmer said. "The season really rests on them, and I think they'll take it as far as they want."

Along with Deinzer, seniors Anthony Terenzi and James Warren will be relied upon for big seasons. Terenzi amassed over 500 receiving yards, and Warren provides a strong presence at both tight end and linebacker.

"Anthony kind of snuck under the radar last year with the big season Phil Lewis had," Ulmer said. "We expect bigger things from Anthony this season. James is an excellent blocker with good hands, and he makes a lot of plays on defense."

Rejoining Warren at linebacker are classmates Quinn Meng and Ray Bonet. Both Bonet and Meng will see time at fullback as well.

Metuchen will look to get more production this season from junior running back Elijah Sellers and sophomore wide out Anthony Seltre.

"We have a number of untested players that are getting better every day in practices and in our scrimmages," Ulmer said. "We'll find out soon how much we can expect from these players. Keyport is going to be a tough season-opener for us. They are very physical, tough, and big. They're a dominant program."

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