After a three year hiatus, the Sussex Stags have returned to their 2010 home at Skylands Stadium in Augusta, NJ! After spending 2010 in the MLF (formerly BNEFF) at Skylands and their 2011 season in the GDLF at Vernon HS, the organization took a three year hiatus.
This season, the Stags have returned to their original home and are thrilled to be a part of the 2015 Empire Football League. One of the greatest assets of the Stags Game experience was the dance team on the sidelines. In 2010-2011, the team was under the direction of Natalie Hendricks (New York Jets Flight Crew) and Christine Sampson (New Jersey Nets). Upon the team’s return, the Stags Dancers are now under the direction of 2010-2011 team member Kari Brantner. “It has been a dream come true to take over the Sussex Stags Dance Team! I took on the job knowing that I had big shoes to fill. I believe I have embraced their professionalism and creativity while creating the 2015 Game Day experience. I have been fortunate enough to turn to Natalie and Christine for guidance and am lucky to have their support in this new adventure in my dance career!”
The Sussex Stags Dance Team is compiled of 12 dancers from the North Jersey area with impressive resumes! From commercial models to college dance champions to national tour performers, the girls have come together to create the ultimate Game Day experience at Skylands.
The Sussex Stags Dance Team is fortunate to pair up with Kari’s alma mater, Generations of Dance, as the studio sponsor. Several members of the team have studied under the Generations’ nationally ranked choreographers. “It has been wonderful to reunite with dancers from my childhood for the Stags! We have all come back together so seamlessly and our new team members blend right in!” says Kari.
The Stags opened the 2015 season at Skylands Stadium on July 11th to a crown of over 1,500 fans! “We were all thrilled to take the field at our first game so we could show everyone what we worked so hard on over these last several months!” said Nicholle. Maggie summed up the adrenaline rush perfectly by stating “The energy out of the crowd and the Stags team was awesome! Nothing like live football!”
The July 11th game has some extra special meaning. 2010-2011 Stags Quarterback Colin Doyle passed away on July 4th, 2013 from a difficult battle undifferentiated sarcoma. Colin’s family was escorted onto the field during the pre-game ceremonies and greeted by veteran members and coaches of the Stags. The Doyle family was presented with a framed #15 jersey, which is the first retired number in Stags history. Colin Doyle will always be remembered!
Unfortunately, the Stags fell short to the Watertown Red and Black 8-7, but the game finished with children asking for autographs from the Football and Dance Teams as well as a full stadium round of high fives. Even with the loss, the support from the crown was enormous! “We are a lucky organization to have such a positive, supportive crowd out in the stands!” said Cory.
Since the home opener, the Stags currently have a 2-1 record with the top ranked defense in the EFL. The Sussex Stags Dance Team is looking forward to another exciting game at Skylands on August 8th! Be sure to like the Sussex Stags Dance Team on Facebook and follow @StagsDance on Instagram!
Photos courtesy of Mark Fletcher.