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Knee Pain Treatment & Specialist

In Highlands, NJ

Avoid Surgery and Reduce Pain with

Advanced Knee Pain Treatment in Highlands, NJ

Are you experiencing knee pain symptoms such as popping, clicking, bone-on-bone grinding, achiness, or sharp stabs? You're not alone in this journey. Knee pain affects nearly 25% of adults in the United States, causing discomfort, swelling, and chronic pain that can hinder everyday activities like childcare, walking, and exercise. Shockingly, recent statistics from The American Academy of Family Physicians indicate a 65% increase in diagnosed knee pain cases.

In a world where invasive surgeries and prescription painkillers are often the default solutions, it's crucial to explore the effective non-invasive options that are available. These alternative treatments provide relief without the associated risks of surgery.

Today, many doctors still recommend invasive surgeries and prescription painkillers rather than exploring non-invasive options. While those treatments are needed in some circumstances, there are alternative treatments available that can help you overcome knee pain without needing to go under the knife.

NJ Sports Spine and Wellness' advanced knee pain treatment in Highlands, NJ gives men and women suffering from knee pain hope. Instead of relying on surgery, our team of doctors and physical therapists use non-invasive, highly effective treatments to help heal prevalent conditions such as:

Service Areas

Arthritis

Soft tissue injury

ACL tears

MCL tears

Patella dislocation

Misalignment of the kneecap

Patella tendonitis

Jumper's knee

Osgood Schlatter's Disease

Knee

With the right treatment,

many people can reduce their pain and improve their function, allowing them to return to normal daily activities. Plus, by taking preventative measures and seeking prompt care from our team, it's possible to reduce your risk of developing chronic knee pain and other painful knee conditions. If you've been searching for a non-invasive way to eliminate knee pain and get back to an active life, your journey to recovery starts here.

Let's take a closer look at some of the knee pain treatments available at NJ Sports Spine and Wellness, which all serve as great alternatives to knee replacement surgery.

Physical Therapy:

Optimizing Musculoskeletal Health with Conservative Care

The field of Physical Therapy (PT) aims to rehabilitate individuals who have experienced injury, illness, or disability by restoring their mobility and function. Physical therapists cater to patients of various ages and capabilities, ranging from young athletes to senior citizens, in order to help them surpass physical limitations and improve their standard of living with advanced knee pain treatment in Highlands, NJ.

At NJ Sports Spine and Wellness, our physical therapy program was founded on a patient-centric philosophy, where physical therapists work closely with patients to get a deep understanding of their goals, preferences, and capabilities. In doing so, they can create a tailor-made treatment strategy to address their unique knee pain with the goal of avoiding a knee replacement. Treatment may involve exercises that are therapeutic in nature and can include:

  • Joint mobilizations
  • Soft tissue mobilization using cupping
  • Graston technique
  • Soft tissue massage
  • Stretching of associated muscle groups

Joint Mobilization for Knee Pain

This unique knee pain solution involves physical therapists using skilled manual therapy techniques to help improve your joint range of motion while simultaneously reducing your knee pain.

During joint mobilization, a physical therapist applies targeted pressures or forces to a joint in specific directions to improve its mobility. The intensity of the force applied can vary, and it is adjusted based on the patient's comfort level. Joint mobilization is generally pain-free.

STM

Soft Tissue Mobilization (STM)

Soft Tissue Mobilization is a manual therapy technique that involves stretching and applying deep pressure to rigid muscle tissue. This helps to relax muscle tension and move fluids that are trapped in the tissues that cause pain and inflammation. This effective form of physical therapy is often used as an advanced knee pain treatment in Highlands, NJ for treating knee strains, knee sprains, knee pain, and more.

Graston

The Graston Technique

The Graston Technique involves the use of handheld instruments to identify and break up scar tissue through specialized massage. During a Graston Technique session, physical therapists use convex and concave tools for cross-friction massage, which involves rubbing or brushing against the grain of the scar tissue. This process re-introduces small amounts of trauma to the affected area. In some cases, this process temporarily causes inflammation, which can actually boost the amount and rate of blood flow in the knee. This process helps initiate and promote the healing process so you can get back to a normal life.

Massage

Soft Tissue Massage

Soft tissue massage is a less intense form of massage than it's deep-tissue relative. Instead of focusing on slow and firm strokes to reach the deep layers of muscles and tissues, this massage technique uses a variety of pressures, depths, and durations. Soft tissue massage is helpful in alleviating different types of knee aches, pains, and injuries. Soft tissue massages can also help reduce stress, improve circulation, and promote relaxation.

Advanced Mechanics and Technology:

The Future of Knee Pain Therapy

While knee pain is a common symptom that affects millions of Americans every year, no two cases of knee pain are ever exactly alike. Some types of knee injuries require non-traditional solutions. At New Jersey Sports Spine and Wellness, we offer a range of treatments that leverage mechanics and technology to help patients recover from injuries while treating inflammation and pain as well as resolve the root cause of the pain.

AlterAlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill

The AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill is equipped with NASA Differential Air Pressure (DAP) technology, which is a precise air calibration system that uses the user's actual body weight to enhance rehabilitation and training. By utilizing a pressurized air chamber, the AlterG allows patients and athletes to move without any pain or restrictions.

This advanced knee pain treatment in Highlands, NJ uniformly reduces gravitational load and body weight up to 80% in precise 1% increments. The results can be incredible, with patients reporting benefits such as:

  • Restoring and building of knee strength
  • Restored range of motion in the knee
  • Better balance
  • Improved knee function
  • More

What Makes the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill So Effective?

The AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill can monitor various metrics such as speed, gait pattern, stride length, and weight distribution. With real-time feedback and video monitoring, your rehabilitation team can promptly and accurately identify issues and pain points or monitor your progress throughout your knee pain rehabilitation journey.

One of the key benefits of this cutting-edge equipment is that it replicates natural walking and movement patterns without the artificial feel that hydrotherapy or harnesses create. This makes it an excellent choice for faster recovery after knee injuries or surgeries, as it allows for early mobilization while also preserving strength. Furthermore, it is ideal for sports recovery as athletes can use it for physical conditioning maintenance.

Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Highlands, NJ
Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Highlands, NJ

Low-Level Laser Therapy

Our advanced treatment modalities for knee pain include laser therapy, which harnesses the revolutionary power of light through photobiomodulation (PBM). LiteCureâ„¢ low-level laser therapy is available for acute and chronic types of knee pain and can be hugely beneficial when coupled with physical therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic care, and sports recovery care.

Understanding Photobiomodulation (PBM)

PBM is a medical treatment that harnesses the power of light to stimulate the body's natural healing abilities. The photons from the light penetrate deep into the tissue and interact with mitochondria, which results in a boost in energy production. This interaction sets off a biological chain reaction that increases cellular metabolism. Utilizing low-level light therapy has been shown to:

  • Alleviate knee pain
  • Speed up tissue healing
  • Promote overall health and wellness
  • Expedite knee pain injury recovery
Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Highlands, NJ

Exclusive Access to

Pain Management Professionals

At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, we know that every patient requires a personalized approach to chronic knee pain and condition management. Sometimes, our patients need access to pain management professionals, who can offer relief in conjunction with physical therapy and other solutions like low-level laser therapy.

Two of the most common services we offer for pain management includes acupuncture which can assist in avoiding knee replacement surgery.

Acupuncture is a common treatment for knee pain that involves inserting thin needles into specific points in your knee. This ancient Chinese medicine has gained popularity in Western culture due to its effectiveness in treating various conditions with minimal side effects.

Acupuncture works by stimulating the nervous system to release various biochemicals, including endorphins and other neurotransmitters. The release of these chemicals helps to reduce inflammation, decrease pain perception, and improve overall blood circulation.

Multiple studies have shown that acupuncture can be effective in treating knee pain caused by a variety of conditions, including osteoarthritis and injuries related to physical activity like running. Acupuncture can also help reduce inflammation, improve muscle function, and decrease pain perception, making it a viable treatment on its own or as an addition to traditional treatment methods like physical therapy.

When undergoing acupuncture, a professional acupuncturist will insert thin needles into specific acupoints on the skin. These needles are left in place for roughly 20 to 30 minutes and may be gently stimulated for an enhanced effect. Patients might experience a slight tingle or warmth at the needle insertion site, but overall, acupuncture is considered a painless procedure.

Acupuncture has been a trusted and effective treatment option for thousands of years. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes acupuncture as a legitimate form of healthcare, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has even funded research studies to explore its efficacy for a range of medical conditions. To learn more about acupuncture for knee pain, contact NJSSW today.

Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Highlands, NJ

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a common treatment for knee pain that involves inserting thin needles into specific points in your knee. This ancient Chinese medicine has gained popularity in Western culture due to its effectiveness in treating various conditions with minimal side effects.

Acupuncture works by stimulating the nervous system to release various biochemicals, including endorphins and other neurotransmitters. The release of these chemicals helps to reduce inflammation, decrease pain perception, and improve overall blood circulation.

Multiple studies have shown that acupuncture can be effective in treating knee pain caused by a variety of conditions, including osteoarthritis and injuries related to physical activity like running. Acupuncture can also help reduce inflammation, improve muscle function, and decrease pain perception, making it a viable treatment on its own or as an addition to traditional treatment methods like physical therapy.

Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Highlands, NJ

What Happens During Acupuncture Therapy for Knee Pain?

When undergoing acupuncture, a professional acupuncturist will insert thin needles into specific acupoints on the skin. These needles are left in place for roughly 20 to 30 minutes and may be gently stimulated for an enhanced effect. Patients might experience a slight tingle or warmth at the needle insertion site, but overall, acupuncture is considered a painless procedure.

Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Highlands, NJ

Is Acupuncture Actually Effective for Knee Pain?

Acupuncture has been a trusted and effective treatment option for thousands of years. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes acupuncture as a legitimate form of healthcare, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has even funded research studies to explore its efficacy for a range of medical conditions. To learn more about acupuncture for knee pain, contact NJSSW today.

Avoid Knee Replacements with Advanced Knee Pain Treatment in Highlands, NJ

Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Highlands, NJ

When it comes to knee pain therapies and treatments, getting a knee replacement should be last on your list. Why put your body through such trauma if you haven't tried other non-invasive treatment options? Whether you're an athlete trying to work through a knee injury or you're over 65 and are dealing with osteoarthritis, NJ Sports Spine and Wellness can help.

It all starts with an introductory consultation at our office in Matawan or Marlboro. During your first visit, we'll talk to you about your knee pain symptoms, the goals you have in mind, and the advanced knee pain treatments available to you at our practice. From there, it's only a matter of time before you get back to a healthy, active lifestyle.

Every day you wait can worsen your knee condition. Contact us today and let our team help get you on the road to recovery and life with painful knees.

Latest News in Highlands, NJ

Drawing Done By Highlands Teen Will Be On USS New Jersey Coin

Karshmer's drawing will appear on a commemorative coin. He won $1,000 and an invitation to attend the submarine commissioning this April:|Updated Wed, Jan 10, 2024 at 9:55 am ETThe USS New Jersey, America's newest submarine, and the first U.S. submarine designed to support an integrated male and female crew. (USS New Jersey Commissioning Committee)LEONARDO, NJ — We told you this...

Karshmer's drawing will appear on a commemorative coin. He won $1,000 and an invitation to attend the submarine commissioning this April:

|Updated Wed, Jan 10, 2024 at 9:55 am ET

The USS New Jersey, America's newest submarine, and the first U.S. submarine designed to support an integrated male and female crew. (USS New Jersey Commissioning Committee)

LEONARDO, NJ — We told you this back in December, but here's a reminder that America's newest submarine will be unveiled this April at U.S. Naval Weapons Station Earle in Middletown.

And a drawing created by a local teenager was chosen to go on the back of a commemorative U.S. coin that will be minted for the submarine.

The teen is Russell Karshmer, who lives with his family in Highlands. He is a high school junior at the Marine Academy of Science and Technology (MAST), located on Sandy Hook. Karshmer is also a cadet chief petty officer in the Navy Junior ROTC program, which has a unit at MAST.

To commemorate the new submarine, the USS New Jersey Commissioning Committee held a coin design contest in 2023. Karshmer's drawing was selected as the winner out of more than 300 submissions.

Karshmer will receive a $1,000 scholarship and a special invitation to attend the commissioning ceremony at NWS Earle on April 6.

Find out what's happening in Middletownwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

New Submarine Will Be Commissioned In Middletown This April (Dec. 15, 2023)

Karshmer drew the view from the top of Mount Mitchell, the highest point on the Eastern Seaboard.

His drawing is incredibly thoughtful: He deliberately included symbols that represent our state, including the state bird, an Eastern Goldfinch, perched atop the state tree, a red oak, as it holds the state flower, a violet, in its beak. Also depicted in Karshmer's drawing is the submarine itself, and the Sandy Hook Lighthouse, the oldest operating lighthouse in the United States.

Even the number "three" is significant in his drawing: The USS New Jersey is the third warship to bear the name of the state, and New Jersey was the third state to join the union. That's why Karshmer drew three oak leaves, three acorns and the three piers of Naval Weapons Station Earle, which itself was designed to look like King Neptune's trident.

He also intentionally used the official state colors of New Jersey, blue and buff.

The judges said they were impressed by how much detail Karshmer put into his design.

“The Commissioning Committee was extremely impressed by the thoughtfulness and detail,” said Julianne Dods, a trustee at the USS New Jersey Commissioning Committee. “We applaud all the students for their creativity and congratulate Russell for his remarkable work in helping to depict this historical event.”

The submarine is called the USS New Jersey and it will be commissioned in a huge ceremony at 10 a.m. April 6 at NWS Earle in Leonardo. It is a Virginia-class submarine, and is also the first U.S. submarine designed to support an integrated male and female crew.

The name of the vessel was announced in May 2015 and it was christened in November 2021. The commissioning ceremony is where military boats or submarines are officially recognized as joining the Navy fleet. Organizers call it a "sacred"" event for a U.S. military vessel.

Hundreds, if not thousands of people attend, including many high-ranking members of the U.S. Navy and U.S. government.

Those who would like to attend the commissioning should go to www.njcommissioning.org to enter the ticket lottery to be on hand for this historic event. The deadline to enter the lottery is Jan. 14 and tickets are limited, so make sure to enter as soon as possible. It may even be possible for some groups to get up close and even tour inside the submarine.

To stay up to date on the Commissioning of the USS New Jersey: www.njcommissioning.org

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11 sets of twins prepare to graduate from New Jersey high school

ALLENDALE, New Jersey (WABC) -- Twins make up about 3% of the U.S. population, but for one high school graduating class in Bergen County, New Jersey, the rate of seeing double is more than doubled!Justin and Roman, Dan and Nico, John and Juliana, Ryan and Robert, Tommy and Isabelle, Andre and Gabe, Kyle and Anthony, and Tommy and Sarah are eight of 11 sets of fraternal twins that all started at Northern Highlands Regional High School together."My teacher said there are a lot of twins in my grade, why don't we do a spreadsh...

ALLENDALE, New Jersey (WABC) -- Twins make up about 3% of the U.S. population, but for one high school graduating class in Bergen County, New Jersey, the rate of seeing double is more than doubled!

Justin and Roman, Dan and Nico, John and Juliana, Ryan and Robert, Tommy and Isabelle, Andre and Gabe, Kyle and Anthony, and Tommy and Sarah are eight of 11 sets of fraternal twins that all started at Northern Highlands Regional High School together.

"My teacher said there are a lot of twins in my grade, why don't we do a spreadsheet on them, so I had to nag everybody," Northern Highlands High School senior Juliana Lavinio said.

The pairs of twins make up about 6.5% of their graduating class of 340 students.

"I think It's neat, I think that's the best way to put it. Oh cool, fun fact," senior Kyle Gentile said.

"We all came from different towns so we didn't realize when we were younger that there were three sets in Allendale and a lot more in other towns," senior Sarah Cornacchia said.

Each set has gone to school together all their lives. Most of them are going in different directions for college, but are they sad about it?

"Absolutely not. He's going to Fairfield, I'm going to Miami," seniors Dan and Nico Pantello said.

"We shared a room for a long time. It was horrible," Anthony Gentile said.

"I think we are very different people even though we're still best friends, we'll be ok, we're only four hours away from each other, so we can take a train," seniors Isabelle and Tommy Padilla said.

Justin and Roman Dario are the only ones headed off together.

"The University of Florida it's big enough to where we can have our own separate lives, but now that we have different roommates we're going to branch out and meet other people," Justin and Roman Dario said.

Andre and Gabe Johnson said they will miss each other's helping hand.

"Unfortunately, I won't have him to help me with homework or any other tasks that usually goes to him, but it's all good," Andre and Gabe Johnson said.

Ryan and Robert said they are going to different schools but will have the same major.

"We're going to be in the pre-dental track, so we'll see where that takes us, hopefully we'll run a practice one day together," Ryan and Robert said.

Principal Joe Occhino says they are all great kids.

"They're outstanding students, they're confident, they help each other, highly academic," Occhino said.

But the class missed the twins graduating together record at Northern Highlands by five. The class of 2021 had 16 sets of twins.

"Pretty amazing actually," Occhino said.

The class will graduate on Thursday evening.

ALSO READ | Middle, elementary school students set sail in the East River on their handmade boats

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With a big second half, Ramapo football tops Northern Highlands for sectional title

FRANKLIN LAKES − Same old story: Ramapo and Northern Highlands squared off in a North 1, Group 4 sectional championship classic for the third year in a row.New ending: The Raiders shook off losses in the last two sectional finals and defeated Northern Highlands, 14-10, Friday night at Drew Gibbs Field.Ramapo senior Brandon Del Valle caught the winning 21-yard touchdown from Landon DePrima with 2:00 remaining. That capped a 14-0 second half by the No. 1 seed, which advanced to the Group 4 state semifinals an...

FRANKLIN LAKES − Same old story: Ramapo and Northern Highlands squared off in a North 1, Group 4 sectional championship classic for the third year in a row.

New ending: The Raiders shook off losses in the last two sectional finals and defeated Northern Highlands, 14-10, Friday night at Drew Gibbs Field.

Ramapo senior Brandon Del Valle caught the winning 21-yard touchdown from Landon DePrima with 2:00 remaining. That capped a 14-0 second half by the No. 1 seed, which advanced to the Group 4 state semifinals and will host Mount Olive (11-1) next weekend.

"Our team always starts off slow – I don't know why," Del Valle said. "But we're just a special team. We've all grown up together and been through a lot of stuff together, and I feel like that's why we won this game."

Check out the photo gallery, then continue reading.

Ramapo (11-0) had beaten the No. 3 seed Highlanders (9-3) in September, 34-33, after trailing 21-0. So erasing a deficit half as large was nothing, right?

"It's never nothing, particularly not versus them," Raiders coach Mike DeFazio said. "That's a phenomenally coached team, and they've got great players that are very, very smart football players.

"Would you have expected anything else?"

No one familiar with this rivalry would.

What it means

Ramapo earned its first sectional title since 2019 by knocking off the two-time defending champs. Northern Highlands prevailed in the 2021 North 1, Group 4 final, 35-30 in Allendale, less than two weeks after the death of longtime Raiders coach Drew Gibbs.

Last year, in the rematch at Gibbs Memorial Field, Northern Highlands won a 49-42 overtime thriller that was interrupted by two power outages.

Ramapo now has an opportunity to match the best record in program history: 13-0, achieved in 2018 and 2019 when the NJSIAA tournament went as far as the regional finals.

Key plays

As far as individual plays, several helped swing the game. DePrima completed a 40-yard pass to Zach Schnorrbusch late in the first half for the Raiders' longest play of the night, setting up DePrima's 12-yard TD pass to Charlie Wingfield.

Senior Gavin Taylor then made an interception to set up the drive for Del Valle's winning score, and junior Dylan Rosano broke up a Highlander pass in the end zone as time expired.

The key change on offense, though, was Ramapo committing to the run in the second half. Its running backs totaled four carries in the first half but had 18 in the second half, split between Rosano (14 for 40 overall) and James Magerko (8 for 31).

"We just had to lock in," Rosano said. "Linemen had to get the right mentality, fire off the ball, and it all starts with the line. They win the game."

By the numbers

There was a dramatic shift in Ramapo's defensive results after halftime. In the first two quarters, Northern Highlands QB Nate Johnson completed 14 of 15 passes for 119 yards.

In the second half, the Raiders allowed six completions in 16 attempts for a total of 40 yards.

Meanwhile, DePrima started 7-of-12 for 55 yards in the first half, then went 8-of-11 for 110 yards, two touchdowns and one interception after the break.

Game balls

► Del Valle finished with two catches for 32 yards and a TD, and made nine tackles on defense. Magerko added 12 tackles and a fumble recovery.

► Matthew Boydell gained 179 all-purpose yards for Northern Highlands: six rushes for 50, six catches for 43 (and a TD), three kick returns for 79 and one punt return for 7.

► Jesse DeNobile led the Highlander defense with 10 tackles, 2½ sacks and a forced fumble.

They said it

"We can play through pressure. That's one thing about our team that helps us win, we can play through the pressure." − Del Valle

"We made the actual adjustments a little bit toward the end of the second quarter. But they really came to fruition in the second half. The biggest thing is, our guys do such a great job of steadying the ship themselves. The coaches focus on the football stuff; they [the players] bring it together from the team execution and culture part. And again, they just did a great job." − DeFazio

Northern Highlands QB Nate Johnson gets 'O' going early en route to win over Willingboro

Special to NorthJersey.comALLENDALE — Northern Highlands knows the challenges of Group 4 football all too well. In what could be the most stacked Group in New Jersey, you better be battle-tested if you harbor any hopes of attaining a championship.That’s why the Highlanders opened up against one of the top teams in South Jersey, Willingboro on Friday night. The Chimeras obliged by playing Highlands rough and tough. In the end, the deciding factor was a veteran offense.Highlands got their season ...

Special to NorthJersey.com

ALLENDALE — Northern Highlands knows the challenges of Group 4 football all too well. In what could be the most stacked Group in New Jersey, you better be battle-tested if you harbor any hopes of attaining a championship.

That’s why the Highlanders opened up against one of the top teams in South Jersey, Willingboro on Friday night. The Chimeras obliged by playing Highlands rough and tough. In the end, the deciding factor was a veteran offense.

Highlands got their season rolling with a 35-26 football win over Willingboro on Friday night, thanks to both the arm and the legs of quarterback Nate Johnson and an offense that looked more like it was October than the end of August.

The Highlanders scored on each of their first three possessions, taking the pressure off of a defense that has plenty of newcomers and was facing a Chimera offense that featured a multi-dimensional quarterback and a solid running back.

NH struck first on a 36-yard screen pass from Johnson to Cole Stecker 2:41 into the game. Willingboro responded with a 14-play drive leading to a Lamar Best touchdown pass to Nasir Hawkins. Without a kicker, they went for two and missed.

Johnson hit Chase Calarco in the flat for a 12-yard TD to make it 14-6 before Willingboro tied it at 14 on a Derrick Bryant 8-yard run and a two-point conversion pass. Matthew Boydell’s 3-yard run put Highlands up 21-14, and the Chimera offense finally blinked as a Jesse DeNobile sack forced a punt just before halftime.

The teams traded interceptions at the beginning of the third quarter and Willingboro got the best of the exchange, with Hawkins taking his pick back to the Highlands 6. Best scored from two yards out on third down, but the Highlander defense came up big on the two-point try with Jeremiah Rivera breaking up the pass to maintain a 21-20 NH lead.

Johnson came back with a 36-yard flat pass to Calarco for a touchdown and a 29-20 lead and added a 1-yard QB sneak to make it 35-20 with 8:59 left in the game. Willingboro scored on a 9-yard Best to Jarelle Taylor TD pass with 29.2 seconds left, but the two-point conversion was deflected away and Highlands recovered the onside kick.

What it means

For Northern Highlands, it was a good start to its defense of the North Group 4 title. They got exactly what they needed, a challenge to both sides of the ball and a successful ending.

For Willingboro, it was a disappointing loss, but a solid building block. A Group 2 school that consistently plays bigger schools, they showed they are once again going to be a handful for any opponent and will be primed for the South Group 2 postseason.

Inside the game

The first game always brings out some of the things that you just can’t prepare for or expect in the preseason. Four holding penalties by the Highlanders stood out, though they were able to overcome three of them (the fourth was right before the interception). The defense had numerous missed tackles, and while you can tip your cap to the Willingboro skill players for their elusiveness, you can bet that there will be an emphasis on tackling drills this week in practice.

The Chimeras fell prey to the Highlanders’ quick counts as Johnson kept them off-balance. They were hit with defensive encroachment penalties five times, two of them resulting in first downs. Johnson was also able to exploit the Willingboro defense with quick reads that allowed him to find seams into the second level.

Turning point

You can make a solid case for Rivera’s pass breakup on the two-point conversion that could have given Willingboro the lead. Had the Chimeras been able to jump ahead, it would have negated the early Highlands efficiency and potentially changed the complexion of the game.

Instead, they fed off the stop and had plays of 16, 17 (after a holding penalty) 10 and 36 yards to score right back.

By the numbers

Johnson was 14 of 20 passing for 212 yards (12 of 15, 177 in the first half) with three touchdowns and one interception. He spread the ball around to eight different receivers before halftime. He also had 92 rushing yards on 12 runs.

Highlands had 366 total yards and Willingboro had 282. Best was 18 of 28 passing for 164 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, but was just 9 of 17 for 63 yards in the second half. Bryant had 24 carries for 91 yards.

They said it

“Those weren’t designed runs; they were designed reads. He (Johnson) is just so quick with his reads that he makes it look like a designed run. We knew we were going to need the offense to take control, and they did. The holding penalties need to get cleaned up, but I thought they did a good job of keeping (Johnson) upright and giving him the ability to make those reads and throws.” – Northern Highlands coach Dave Cord

“We’ve been on a roll since we started summer workouts, and with so many guys coming back we were confident that we could come into the season with a lot of confidence. We have a really good group of backs and we rotate them in and some good receivers. That makes things a lot easier for me; all I have to do is find the guy in space.” – Johnson.

Northern Highlands football bounces back strong with commanding win over Ridgewood

ALLENDALE − Northern Highlands enjoyed a big bounce-back thanks to “Little Schmo” and friends.Less than a week after falling to Old Tappan, the Highlanders rolled past Ridgewood, 35-7, in Thursday’s Super Football Conference cross-divisional game.Danny Smiechowski caught a 38-ya...

ALLENDALE − Northern Highlands enjoyed a big bounce-back thanks to “Little Schmo” and friends.

Less than a week after falling to Old Tappan, the Highlanders rolled past Ridgewood, 35-7, in Thursday’s Super Football Conference cross-divisional game.

Danny Smiechowski caught a 38-yard pass to get Northern Highlands into the red zone on the second play of the night, and he capped a 28-0 first quarter with a 1-yard touchdown reception from Nate Johnson.

Coach Dave Cord called out, “Hey, Schmo!” to get Smiechowski’s attention afterward – that’s actually a term of endearment to the senior from Upper Saddle River.

“It started with my grandpa,” said the tight end/linebacker, whose last name is pronounced, “schma-HOW-ski”.

“He was ‘Schmo’, my dad was ‘Schmo’, my brother was ‘Schmo’, and I was a ‘Little Schmo’ growing up. And now I’m just ‘Schmo’.”

The Highlanders (3-1) looked like anything but, once again showing the form that helped them reach last year’s Group 4 championship final.

What it means

The result was a far cry from last year’s meeting, a 7-6 Maroon victory in Ridgewood. Since then, Northern Highlands has won 11-of-14, and two of its three losses in that span have come against 2022 NJSIAA champions (Group 4 Millville and Group 3 Old Tappan).

“We’ve got to bounce back,” Smiechowski said. “We’re tired of losing. It’s been four years in a row, we’re tired of coming up short. And we just want to finish the job this year.”

Ridgewood (1-2) has dropped two straight and lost two players to injury in the second quarter, QB Hudson Feeney and left tackle Peter McHugh. Coach Torre Watson said that both sustained ankle injuries.

Key drives

Northern Highlands had four touchdowns before the visitors recorded a first down, as a fumbled kick return and a bad punt snap were among the early miscues that doomed the visitors.

Factor in 75 yards in kick/punt returns by Matthew Boydell, and the Highlanders’ average starting field position for their first four drives was the Ridgewood 33.

Johnson cashed in with two touchdown passes and two scoring runs, and Cole Stecker made it 35-0 on a 13-yard touchdown run with 8:28 left in the second quarter.

Game balls

► Smiechowski made 3 catches for 46 yards and a TD and added 5 tackles on defense.

► Johnson completed 7-of-8 passes for 106 yards and rushed 5 times for 38 yards.

► Charlie Merrick (6 catches, 68 yards) caught a 15-yard TD from backup Gavin McCrone in the fourth quarter to help Ridgewood avert the shutout. Merrick also made five tackles.

They said it

“We had a pretty hard loss last week, and we knew we had to change our mindset from the start. We all knew we had to put in some more work in the practice week, and even with a short week and all… we had lots of excuses we could have made, but we all put in the work, we all changed our mindset, and it showed.” − Smiechowski

“I thought we came out flat against a super talented, really good Old Tappan team. And in a short week, our plan was to keep the playbook thin on both sides and play fast and physical, and that’s exactly what they did.” − Cord

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