Prep football team returns to action after hazing scandal
SAYREVILLE, N.J. (AP) — The New Jersey high school football team that had its season cut short last year amid hazing allegations that led to charges against seven players has emerged victorious in its return to the field.
Sayreville defeated J.P. Stevens 35-7 on Friday, nearly a year after the team’s 2014 season was canceled over accusations that seven players hazed and sexually assaulted four teammates inside the team locker room.
Six of the players were placed on probationary terms by a Family Court judge, prosecutors announced last month. The seventh player is awaiting a trial.
The allegations led to the end of longtime head coach George Najjar’s tenure on the Bombers’ sideline. He was replaced by Chris Beagan, who made his debut Friday.
District Superintendent Richard Labbe said the win was an opportunity for the program to move forward.
“I feel a great sense of relief,” Labbe said from the sidelines, a Bombers cap also on his head. “We’re real happy to take a giant leap forward into the next chapter of the program.”
Sayreville alumnus Dennis Connors, 84, has hardly missed a home game since he quarterbacked the team to a state championship in 1949 and said he felt rudderless without the team last year.
“After we didn’t go to the games last year, I got lost,” Connors said. “I missed it. I didn’t know what to do with myself.”