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The start of high school football is just around the corner – Union News Daily

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UNION COUNTY, NJ — Here we are in July.

It will soon be August.

That means the start of another high school football season here in Union County.

Believe it or not, another school season has come to a close and another football season is quickly on the horizon. The first football games of the season and the first days of school are now leading up to Labor Day in New Jersey and will remain that way.

According to the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association calendar, the first official day of practice is Monday, August 12. The first day scrimmages can be scheduled would be the following Monday, August 19.

The Union High School Farmers are coming off a 5-6 2023 season that saw them reach the North 1, Group 5 semifinals after winning at Ridgewood High School, 35-30, in the first round. Union then ventured to Passaic County and was eliminated by top-ranked and eventual champion Passaic County Technical Institute, 35-8, in the semifinal round.

Speaking of Passaic County, Union has a scheduled home scrimmage on Monday, Aug. 19 at 10 a.m. that includes Passaic County Schools Wayne Hills and Passaic High Schools. It also includes Montclair High School, which fell to Passaic County Tech, 34-27, in last year’s North 1, Group 5 final.

Union will look to capture a North, Group 5 sectional championship this season for the first time since 2019 behind three-year senior quarterback Omalley King.

The high school football season in New Jersey begins on Thursday, August 29, which is the start of Week Zero.

The first week begins on Thursday, September 5th.

Eight Union County schools are opening for Week Zero. These include Governor Livingston, Union, Plainfield, Scotch Plains–Fanwood, New Providence, Linden, Abraham Clark and Elizabeth.

Here are your openers:

• Thursday, August 29, South Plainfield in New Providence

• Thursday, August 29, Monroe at Scotch Plains–Fanwood

• Thursday, August 29, Governor Livingston in Lakeland

• Friday, August 30, Linden at Elizabeth

• Friday, August 30, Delran at Abraham Clark

• Friday, August 30, Union at Seton Hall Prep

• Friday, August 30, Plainfield vs. East Side in West Orange

Nine Union County schools are opening their doors in the first week. They include Rahway, David Brearley, Cranford, Arthur L. Johnson, Summit, Westfield, Roselle Park, Jonathan Dayton and Hillside.

Here are your openers:

• Thursday, September 5, Roselle Park in Middlesex

• Friday, September 6, Hillside at Bernards

• Friday, September 6, South Hunterdon at Jonathan Dayton

• Friday, September 6, Westfield in Phillipsburg

• Friday, September 6, Somerville at Cranford

• Friday, September 6, Arthur L. Johnson at David Brearley

• Friday, September 6, Scotch Plains–Fanwood in Rahway

• Saturday, September 7, Montgomery at Summit

Union will play its first three games on the road before opening at home against Westfield on Sept. 20. Both teams have new head coaches who were promoted from within.

Jason Scott, a 2005 Central Regional High School graduate who later played collegiately at Montclair State University, is now Union’s interim head coach, succeeding Lou Grasso Jr., who was the head coach since 2013.

Grasso, who led Union to the 2019 North 2, Group 5 state sectional championship, is now the athletic director at his home high school, Colonia.

Matt Andzel, a 2002 Westfield High School graduate who played for head coach Ed Tranchina at Westfield before playing at The College of New Jersey, is now Westfield’s head coach, succeeding Jim DeSarno, who was the head coach since 2006.

DeSarno led Westfield to the North 2, Group 5 state sectional championship three years in a row in 2015, 2016 and 2017. All three Blue Devils teams went 12-0 and defeated Bridgewater–Raritan Regional High School in the championship games.

When Union plays at Seton Hall Preparatory School on Friday, August 30 at 1 p.m. in West Orange, it will be the first meeting between these two historic programs.

2024 NJSIAA Football

First practice: Monday, August 12

First practice match: Monday, August 19

The season begins – Week Zero – Thursday, August 29

• Week Zero: August 29, August 30, August 31

• Week one: September 5, September 6, September 7
Playoff cutoff weekend: Friday, October 25 and Saturday, October 26

Public School Sectional Playoffs

First round: Friday, November 1 and Saturday, November 2

• Semi-finals: Friday, November 8 and Saturday, November 9.

• Finals: Friday, November 15 and Saturday, November 16.

• Group semi-finals: Friday, November 22 and Saturday, November 23

• Group finals: Friday, November 29 to Wednesday, December 4

The first sectional round, semifinals and final will be played with the highest seeds.

The group semi-finals will be played between the highest seeded teams.

The group finals will be played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford and at Rutgers University in Piscataway, depending on the availability of both sites.

Stock photos