Wood-Ridge was one of North Jersey’s weakest programs when Charlie Trentacosti took over in 2013. He recognized the only way to build the Blue Devils up was through hard work and grass roots efforts.
He worked on getting the town program more closely affiliated and has kept his coaching staff stable. These are all small, but important factors, in keeping the program moving forward.
Now Trentacosti can boast that he has a stable program with good players that want to play. He could always use more players … what Group 1 school couldn’t? But he’s pleased with the talent he has to work with.
The results have been steady. For the last four years, Wood-Ridge has hovered right at the .500 mark. Literally. The Blue Devils won five games in 2015, 2017 and 2018, and four games in 2016.
But the program hasn’t won a playoff game.
The Blue Devils are hoping to have three levels of football this year, and the youth camp had good numbers.
Trentacosti is proud of what he’s built up so far.
No one looks at their schedule and sees Wood-Ridge and thinks “easy W” anymore. But at some point, being .500 is nice, but being able to take the next step, reaching the playoffs, making the Final Four in the North Jersey Interscholastic Conference become the goals.
That’s where Wood-Ridge finds itself now. It has sustained a certain level of success, and now wants to advance.
There isn’t much. Wood-Ridge can claim four sectional titles before the current playoff system was enacted.
It hasn’t won a league title since 1986 and has never had an undefeated season.
For Wood-Ridge, it used to be all about numbers. It’s one of the smallest schools in Bergen County, and one of the smallest in its section.
That’s not as big a factor any more. The Blue Devils have good numbers, but it has yet to produce that big-time first-team All-County player it can lean on. Championship Group 1 teams always seem one or two big horses it can ride when it needs to.
Wood-Ridge is good. The Blue Devils play hard. They play smart. But their rivals have just had a little bit more talent in the right spots.
Trentacosti looks at his team and sees a unique combination of good skill players and depth up front.
The way the NJIC does its schedule matrix, every game is important, and the Blue Devils will find out where they stand right away in Week 1 against defending division champion Park Ridge.