By Jason Cohen
Madison football just keeps winning. The team won 39 straight games from 2010 to 2012. So, going 12-0 in 2016 was nothing new.
The Dodgers capped off their undefeated season Dec. 2, when it won its second straight state championship, defeating the Lenape Valley Patriots in the NJSIAA North 2, Group 2 State Championship.
“It was a good group of kids,” said Chris Kubik, who has been the head coach at Madison since 2006. “Every year is fun, but this year was just tremendous. This is what we expect and this is what we work for.”
Kubik credits the incredible season to hard work, chemistry, veteran leadership and coaching. He always tells the kids to only focus on the game at hand because if they look too far ahead they will fail.
“You can’t treat the games bigger than they are,” he explained.
Kubik, 46, who has coached for 25 years, was the defensive coordinator for three state sectional championship teams- Verona in 2001 and New Brunswick in 2003 and 2006, prior to joining Madison. Head Coaches Lou Racioppe of Verona and John Quinn of New Brunswick had a major impact on him.
“I’m very emotional with coaching,” Kubik said. “Growing up I just loved the game. I knew I was always going to be around football.”
Looking back on the season, he explained sometimes the chips just fall their way. The first game against Lenape Valley the team was without three starters, but won 45-42.
“That’s when I knew we were going to battle,” he said. “These guys were just different in how their approach was.”
According to Kubik, he realized there was something special when the team opened camp in the summer. There were no cliques and everyone was there to help each other grow as a unit, he explained.
Sometimes a coach gets lucky and gets a group of kids like this, he noted. These young men are laid back off the field, but ferocious on it.
“The bottom line is I have great players and great assistants,” he remarked. “I think we all have the same formula. I just think we get there differently. Players will follow you. You just have to lead them there.”
He explained that like most teams, the kids study film, are in the weight room, practice and train. But, there is something about Madison football that allows these kids to succeed, he said.
As a physical education teacher in the school, he often knows what’s going on with his players. This makes his relationship with his players even stronger.
“I’m in the building, so they can’t hide from me,” he said. “No one interferes with my program and that’s how it is.”