History Made by WMC Football


Photo via Jen Sheppard

The West Morris Central football team is seeing great success yet again. The historic and tradition rich program clinched the conference title with a win against Morristown, and defended their sectional title from 2021 after beating West Essex.  They have  high hopes to do the same for their state title. Throughout the season, the team has been ranked within the top ten in the state of New Jersey. Currently, they are ranked sixth in the state by NJ.com and are the first ranked public school. The PJR Sports Report has them ranked as the best public school in groups 3-5. 

Stefano Montella holds up a poster following their final regular season game. (Jen Sheppard)

The Wolfpack came into the season ready to defend their division and state titles. They started their season off strong with a win over cross town rival Mendham 28-7. The next week they went to Montville, beating them 21-7. A redemption game came the next week against historic rival Mount Olive where the Wolpack avenged their loss from last year shutting out the Marauders 28-0. The following week they achieved another shutout beating Roxbury 27-0. Going back on the road, the Wolfpack won big over Sparta 43-7. Back at home the next week they defeated Morris Knolls 34-10. Their first true test came against West Essex, the team they beat last year in the sectional final. Going into the fourth quarter WMC was down 6-7 but a 23 yard field goal by Johnny Viera helped the Wolfpack remain undefeated. Another tough game came next, facing fellow undefeated team and top 20 ranked Randolph. But the Pack dominated, winning 34-19. In hopes to win the conference and attain a perfect regular season they traveled to Morristown; where they took care of business winning 42-21. The last WMC football team to go undefeated in the regular season was in 1987.

Junior Sam Rizzuto carrying the ball against West Essex in the regular season. (John Sellars)

The undefeated regular season has served as positive momentum for the Wolfpack into playoffs. In the first round, they dominated Hackettstown 42-7 to reach the North 2 Group 3 semifinals. They took on Warren Hills in the semifinals where they won convincingly 42-19. In the final round of sectionals they faced a familiar foe in West Essex and won 21-7 to earn themselves the North 2 Group 3 crown. The Wolfpack won this same title last year making them the first team in school history to win back to back sectional championships. Senior captain Collin Leonhardt shared that “it means so much to myself and all the other guys. We work so hard and the coaches work so hard so to see it all come together is a great experience. This is the first time in school history we have gone back to back so it was cool to make some history as well.”

In the sectional semifinal Montella tied the single game touchdown record. (Jen Sheppard)

A key contributor to the success of this year’s team on both sides of the ball is Stefano Montella. In the regular season alone the senior fullback rushed for 1,744 yards. Later in the season he broke 2,000 rush yards on the season in the sectional semifinals. With Montella’s impressive numbers he set a new school record for rushing yards in a single season previously held by current fullback for the Kansas City Chiefs, Michael Burton. Montella also broke the career rushing record with 3,527 yards also held by Burton. Montella tied Burton’s single-game touchdown record of five during the sectional semifinal game against Warren Hills. The Wolfpack has the potential to play two more games this season and Montella has the chance to set more school records. Not only does he impact his team on offense but on defense as well. He leads the team in total tackles with 128 as well as sacks with seven. 

The statistics and records speak for themselves and the play by the Wolfpack each week proved that this team is one of the best in program history.