Program status: Becton football lives on heavily as the city’s biggest winner

High school teams around Bergen County often dream of hitting MetLife Stadium.

Football coach Becton Jack Maher can say the NFL is coming to him.

“I was on the track this morning doing a few laps and some of the giants out there training, like Saquon Barkley and David Sales,” Maher said recently. “It looks like they’re down there like every day.”

Although Becton doesn’t have the fame to match its next-door neighbors, East Rutherford School certainly has pedigree – recording more winning seasons in the past decade than the Jets and Giants combined. It’s a byproduct of a consistent, high-score brand of football under Maher (39-25), who led the Wildcats to the NJIC title in 2020.

The big story this year isn’t just the caliber of the low-caliber athletes at Reagan Stadium. It is the size.

Maher counts about 55 players in the Wildcat program, more than at any time in his eight years as head coach.

It’s clear that welcoming Maywood to the regional is part of the uplift. The small town has been divided into 17 active players and that number may rise next year when all four high school grades go to Becton.

Of course, the Wildcats also deserve some recognition because they have become such an attractive destination. Becton continued the 2020 season undefeated by scoring 7-4 last fall.

“The numbers definitely went up this year,” Maher said. “I think it’s because we’ve been successful in the past few years.”


Becton is one of the oldest and most unique programs in North Jersey, with more than 100 years of history.

The Wildcats ranked sixth in North Jersey’s all-time winning slate and held three playoff-era titles, most recently in 2003. Their defense went down in history two years ago when they didn’t allow a point all season until the latter half of the NJIC Championship game.

A new batch of competitors await this year as Becton moves from the Meadowlands to the Colonial squad.

“It will be a different game,” Maher said. “It really is. A bigger difference. There is no easy week, especially the start of the first week with Rutherford out of the gate. That certainly won’t be easy with what they’re back in, especially in the middle.”

Ironically, the Wildcats never made it to the title game at MetLife Stadium (or its predecessor, Giants Stadium), despite their close proximity and track record of success.

the challenge

Newcomers will be pressed into service with only five newbies returning on either side.

Maher loves to play his streak, especially with Chris Zwadzky and Greg Childers back in the trenches. Childers could get time as a quarterback with an outstanding AJ Arroyo transfer to Saddle Brook.

Izayah Royster returns to the middle with a year of experience initially. There are some unknowns about skill positions, but the Balsey brothers (Jonathan and Big Luke) look like big playmakers. Jonathan Balsey is an accomplished receiver and has admired coaches all summer long.

“We have a lot of opportunities. A lot of competition,” Maher said. “This is the theme for this year.”


Winning a sectional title is the last piece of the puzzle left for Becton, and this team has to be in the race.

But for now, Mahar’s main focus is the challenge ahead.

“adapt [in the Colonial] “Take it week after week, especially with Rutherford in the first week,” Maher said. Compete in this section. If we can win the division, that would be great. But we are very young and we have a lot of holes to fill and we lost a lot from last year.”

2022 schedule

September 1st: against Rutherford

September 9: in Glen Rock

September 16: opposite Garfield

September 23: In Waldwick/Midland Park

October 1st: in Lodi

October 7: to be announced later on

October 14: to be announced later on

October 21: to be announced later on

Sean Farrell is a high school sports reporter for For complete access to live scores, breaking news and analysis from the Varsity Aces team, sign up today. To get the breaking news straight to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter and download our app.


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