The 2022 promotion to the Christian Brothers Academy football team is made up of players who were freshmen when the Colts won the 2018 NJSIAA Non-Public A Championship.
In a program like CBA, however, two realities make this difficult for players like Dylan Cupo and his classmates. First of all, freshmen rarely play on the CBA varsity team. Second, it is expected to win the Shore Conference tournament and this 2018 team – and every team since the ABC won the conference in 2016 – has failed in that pursuit.
As accomplished as Cupo and his ABC classmates had been in the first three years of their high school careers, they wanted more for their legacy before they wrapped up their swan song season in 2022.
Behind a Herculean effort from Cupo and a group of midfielders and defenders who have steadily improved throughout the season, CBA has returned to the top of the Shore Conference, scored 20 wins, moved closer of a victory in an NJSIAA Non-Public A championship and finished No 2 in New Jersey in 2021.
Cupo’s presence as a physical forward on the team that has always played in big games sparked the Colts throughout the season and won the 2022 Shore Sports Network Player of the Year award.
The area figures attached to Cupo’s season form the basis of a solid case in his favor when it comes to the Player of the Year award. With 21 goals, Cupo was one of six Shore Conference players with 20 or more goals and finished with the fifth highest total. Incorporating his five assists, Cupo also finished seventh in the conference with 47 points in total.
While there have been a handful of players ahead of him in both of these rankings, no player in the Shore Conference Class A North division has beaten Cupo in goals or points – a significant achievement given that A North has returned. on its perch as the undisputed toughest division of the Shore Conference. Of the top seven teams in the Shore Sports Network’s final Top 10, six were Class A North teams.
ABC were 7-0 in division in 2021 and Cupo was all over those seven wins. He has scored eight goals in those seven games, including seven against the four teams directly behind CBA on the A North table: Freehold Township (two goals), Manalapan (hat trick), Marlboro (one goal) and Long Branch (one goal). ). Cupo’s quick start to the year included at least one goal in his side’s first five games, including a two-goal game in a win from behind over Freehold Township on the road.
In addition to the CBA’s seven games in the Class A North schedule, the Colts have also played a loaded roster outside the division and Cupo has also scored regularly against these top opponents. He scored one goal each in a 4-3 loss to LaSalle, Pa. And a win over Colts Neck and netted a hat trick in a big 4-2 win over Toms River North which featured the top two. Shore Conference teams. compete at the CBA on the first Saturday in October.
Cupo’s three-goal game against Toms River North was the first of two consecutive hat tricks for Cupo, who followed their line against Toms River North with a road hat trick in a 4-1 win over Manalapan three days later.
The rest of Cupo’s damage came in a memorable playoff streak for him and the Colts. The ABC won the Shore Conference tournament with four consecutive shutouts to win the 11e conference title and first since 2016. Cupo – who played important minutes in the 2019 squad which lost on penalties to Manasquan in the TBS semi-final – contributed four goals and two assists during the four-game streak, including a goal and an assist in the 3-0 league win over Toms River North.
Cupo finished with four goals in two games against Shore’s No.2 team and three nights before burning the Mariners for the second time, Cupo was beaten by Manalapan in the semifinals. Not only did he face doubles and triples throughout the game, but Cupo also broke his thumb at the end of the first half – just as he hit a crossbar and two-way post. minutes apart.
In the NJSIAA tournament, Cupo contributed to each of CBA’s three wins. He assisted one of the team’s two goals in a 2-0 win over Union Catholic in the non-public southern quarter-finals, then nabbed the golden goal in overtime in a 2-1 win over 2019 Section Champion St. Augustine – who beat the ABC in the Championship game two years ago.
The sectional championship game against Notre Dame was one of the craziest games of the year, with the Colts taking a 3-0 lead that had a chance of being 6-0 if not for three shots that hit the crossbar. Cupo scored one of three goals before Notre Dame returned to come close to 4-3 at the start of the second half.
As the CBA scrambled to keep Notre Dame from equalizing, sophomore Dylan Millevoi took the ball into the CBA’s third defensive end, handed it to junior Jack D’Eletto, who ran it. before sending him back to Cupo for what turned out to be the deciding goal in a 5-4 Colts win to seal the section championship.
Cupo finished with a multi-goal performance in the CBA’s last victory of the year, which sent the Colts to the non-public A final for a record 18e time in the program history. Undefeated Seton Hall Prep and his lockdown defense proved too difficult for CBA in a 2-0 Pirates victory in the non-public A final at Kean University, but long before that result Cupo and CBA had cemented a worthy legacy of some of the best CBA teams over the years.