Matt Percelli

Matt Percelli (’99)

Matt Percelli was an outstanding three-sport athlete, being a Third Team, All-County defensive tackle, a District Champion wrestler and a Second Team, All-County pitcher.

On the football field, Matt was a three-year starting center and defensive tackle. As a sophomore, he helped make the 1996 team have one of the school’s most successful seasons. They were undefeated in regular season play (9-0) and were B-PSL Carpenter League Champions. In the Group 1, Sectional Playoffs, they defeated Becton by a score of 69-13 and then shutout Secaucus by a score of 21-0 in the rain and on a mud soaked home field to win the Sectional Championship and finish the season 11-0, making them the first team since the 1960 team to end their season undefeated.

As a junior, Matt continued to be a leader on both offense and defense and received Honorable Mention, All-County Defense (by The Bergen Record). 

As a senior, Matt was a Co-Captain of the 1998 football team and helped lead that team to a Group 1, Sectional Championship. After being narrowly defeated (20-13) in the season opener by Group 4 (and eventual Sectional Champion) Passaic Tech, the team was undefeated over the remainder of that season and won the championship with a 19-7 victory over Hasbrouck Heights. That team scored 41.83 points per game (the second highest amount after the Hall of Fame inducted 1999 team) and only allowed 5.17 points per game (the second lowest total after that 1960 team). At the end of the season, Matt was named to the Third Team, All-County Defense and received Honorable Mention to the All-County, Offense. 

In the winter, Matt wrestled in the 215 pound weight class. His sophomore year was curtailed because of a broken hand. As a junior, he finished second in the year-end District 6 championship. As a senior and team Co-Captain, with a 50 second pin of his opponent, Matt helped lead Glen Rock to its first Sectional Championship, defeating Ridgefield 46-24 to be crowned Group 1, Sectional Champions. In the subsequent, District 6 competition, Matt won his weight class and was crowned champion.

Matt’s prowess was never more apparent than on the baseball diamond. As a junior, he was a top pitcher for the 1998 team that defeated Hopatcong by a score of 8-2 to win the Group 2, Sectional Championship and then defeated Governor Livingstone by a score of 8-7 to win the Group 2, North Championship. Unfortunately, they lost to Audubon by a score of 7-6 in the Group 1, State Championship game. 

As a senior, as the team’s Co-Captain, Matt’s pitching led the 1999 team to the school’s first Group, State Championship. He pitched and won 4 of the 5 games that ended with a victory in the championship game. In the Group 1, Sectional Championship game, Matt pitched a no hitter to lead the Panthers to a 12-1 victory over Emerson. He then pitched the subsequent Group 1, North Championship game, leading the team to a 13-2 victory over Roselle Park. Finally, he pitched the Group 1, State Championship game against Riverside, the school that had defeated Glen Rock in the 1997 Group 1, State Championship game. Matt started the scoring with a solo home run in the fourth inning. The Panthers would end up winning that game by a score of 3-2 with Matt yielding only 6 hits (all singles) and 4 walks and striking out a career high 14 batters. 

Matt ended the season with a 10-2 record, tied for the most wins by a pitcher in Bergen County, and an ERA far under 2 runs per game. He also batted over .400 and he and Hall of Fame inductee Greg Adams led the team in RBIs. He was named to the Second Team, All-County. He was also named to the North New Jersey Section 1 All Star Team. 

In June 1999, the administration and coaches of Glen Rock High School recognized Matt as the top male athlete in that year’s graduating class and gave him the esteemed Athlete of the Year Award.