NJ Multicounty Rewind: Week 3
Recognizing the outstanding players, teams, games and moments in the counties of Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren.
Team of the Week: Newark East Side: The Red Raiders broke into the win column for the first time since Oct. 1, 2011, when they rallied to edge Belleville, 32-30, last Thursday night at Schools Stadium in Newark. The winning play came with 16 seconds to play on a 20-yard pass from Carlos Martinez to fellow senior Romaine Johnson to tie the game at 30-30, and then Martinez connected with DeAndre Speight on the conversion pass to finally end more than five years of heartache.
East Side had come close to ending this streak at 53 two weeks ago, but squandered a one-point lead to Kearny in the final 20 seconds (a Hail Mary TD play and then a fumble recovery in the end zone by the Kardinals) and lost, 28-16. The Red Raiders' poise in those final, minutes Thursday was remarkable considering that stunning finish against Kearny and the many other second-half collapses over the years.
Martinez threw an earlier touchdown pass to Quadir Brown, and teammates Max Counts and Jisir Fullenwider each scored on a run. Martinez had two conversion runs to go along with his game-deciding connection with Speight.
Game of the Week: River Dell edges Westwood, 23-20. This was almost a stirring comeback for Westwood, which trailed, 20-7, early in the third quarter before battling back behind versatile senior QB Sean Hopkins Saturday in Oradell. His Cardinals pulled to within 20-14 late in the third on a crafty hook-and-ladder play that covered 34 yards, a 7-yard yard throw from Hopkins to Kyle Vlasich, and the final 27 covered by Jaden Brown off the pitch.
Westwood tied the game at 20-20 with just 1:17 left in the game on an 83-yard pass from Hopkins to Joe Kramer (he ran the bulk of the play), but the go-ahead point-after attempt was no good. River Dell took the kick, moved to the Westwood 22 and then won it on sophomore Jack Gillies' kick as time expired.
Comeback of the Week: Warren Hills tops Summit, 20-17. Summit appeared to be establishing control over the Blue Streaks (something it had been in the habit of doing) when Max Jackson scored on a 33-yard run in the third quarter for a 17-7 lead. But instead of kicking deep, the Hilltoppers reached for the jugular with an onside kick attempt, and that's where Warren Hills' rally began to take shape.
Senior Nicholas Ortiz scooped up the kick at midfield and bolted for the end zone to bring the Blue Streaks to within 17-13. Late the following quarter, Warren Hills drove deep into Summit territory, but faced a fourth-and-one from the 4-yard line as precious seconds ticked away. With 29 seconds remaining, senior QB Cooper Gabrich found junior wideout Hayden VanSolkema in the end zone to give the Blue Streaks a three-point lead. A heady moment, for sure, for the Blue Streaks, who entered this game 0-7 all-time against the Hilltoppers.
Summit wasn't quite done, however, moving to the Warren Hills 25. Its 32-yard field goal attempt missed with six seconds remaining, giving Warren Hills its first win over the Hilltoppers and lifting it to 2-1 on the season. Warren Hills, under the direction of first-year coach George DiGrande, will attempt to match last year's victory total (it was 3-7) at home Saturday night against Somerville.
Play of the Week: Newark East Side sophomore Carlos Martinez passed to senior Romaine Johnson for a 20-yard TD play with 16 seconds remaining to lift, and the located DeAndre Speight on the ensuing conversion attempt to rally the Red Raiders past Belleville, 32-30, and snap a 55-game losing streak that dated back to 2011.
Upset of the Week: Unranked Philipsburg rolls by No. 12 Bridgewater-Raritan, 30-7. The Stateliners were tied at 7-7 with the Panthers at the half, but dominated play after the break behind three touchdown runs from junior Joe Green and superb defensive play from Mark Zgoda, Jalen Boothman, Nick Josselyn, Bobby Coury and others. That raised Phillipsburg's record to 3-0 and also snapped Bridgewater-Raritan's regular-season winning streak at 24 games. The Panthers, who fell to Westfield in the last two North Jersey, Section 2, Group 5 finals, had not lost in the regular season since a 28-0 setback to Elizabeth Oct. 10, 2014.
Statement Game of the Week: Linden outduels Ridge, 55-48. The Tigers (2-1) kept hopes intact for a Mid-State 37-Watchung Division title and seemed to confirm themselves as a serious postseason contender in North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 with this wild, see-saw battle Friday in Basking Ridge.
Linden was 1-1 at this point last year, too, but fell to Ridge, 34-12, to launch a three-game losing streak that doomed its hopes for a state playoff bid. The Tigers finished 5-5 for the second straight year after going 10-2 and winning the Section 2, Group 5 title in 2014. They are now in Group 4 along with such formidable teams as Irvington, Phillipsburg, Somerville, North Hunterdon and Colonia.
Sophomore quarterback Zion Marshall placed a big gold star on this game with 27 yards rushing and five touchdowns and also two scoring passes, one each to Markel McDuffie and Luis Rodriguez. Rodriguez also showcased his speed on a 75-yard kick return for a touchdown. Linden faces longtime rival Elizabeth at home Friday night with aspirations to avenge a 23-10 loss last season.
Non-Public Player of the Week: Shayne Simon, St. Peter's Prep. The senior WR/OLB caught eight passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns and also had six tackles in the Marauders' 43-20 victory over Seton Hall Prep.
Player of the Week (big-school version): Sal DeBenedetto, Old Tappan. The senior WR/CB intercepted two passes, one he returned 27 yards for a touchdown, recovered fumble that led to a score, compiled seven tackles and caught two passes in the Golden Knights' 35-0 victory over Wayne Hills.
Player of the Week (small-school version): Andy Cook, Newark Collegiate. The junior WR racked up six touchdowns to steer the Panthers to a 42-14 victory over Ferris. He caught six passes for 165 yards and three touchdowns, rushed three times for 24 yards and a TD and also scored with a 70-yard punt return and a 50-yard interception return.
Offensive Player of the Week (big-school version): Zion Marshall, Linden. The sophomore QB carried for 267 yards and five touchdowns on just 11 attempts and hit on 6 of 10 passes for 87 yards and two scores in a 55-48 triumph against Ridge.
Offensive Player of the Week (small-school version): Mike DeSantis, South River. The junior QB connected on 14 of 19 passes for 246 yards and four touchdowns and he rushed 10 times for 84 yards and one TD in a 35-12 victory over North Bergen.
Defensive Player of the Week (big-school version): Nick Nyers, Woodbridge. The senior LB recorded 22 tackles, two of them for loses, and he also caught one pass to help the Barrons defeat South Plainfield, 13-7.
Defensive Player of the Week (small-school version): Joseph Beljan, Delaware Valley. The senior outside linebacker came up with nine tackles and also had an interception and fumble recovery in a 40-0 victory over New Providence.
Special Teams Player of the Week: Angelo DeSalvo, Emerson. The senior scored on kick returns of 80 and 82 yards and he added an 82-yard scoring reception in a 61-6 win over Bogota.
Offensive Line of the Week (big-school version): Notre Dame. Sophomore twins Cortaz and Coleon Williams combined for 475 yards and five rushing touchdowns behind the big blocks provided by Connor Lugo, Colin Bromwell, Joe Horn and Tom Burns in a 41-21 victory over Hopewell Valley. Coleon added a fourth TD Friday with a 22-yard interception return. The brothers had followed those hardy blocks to combine for 228 yards and four TDs the previous week in a 42-14 victory over Hamilton West.
Offensive Line of the Week (small-school version): Newton. This diligent offensive line plays no favorites; if you're carrying the ball for the Braves, Justin Samiljen, Matt Somers, Jimmy Harding, Paul Casperson and Devin Mager will be working hard to spring you free. Newton used a whopping 13 ball carriers Friday to accumulate 435 yards en route to a 47-13 win over Hopatcong. Will Larsen ran four times for 85 yards and two TDs to lead the Braves (3-0).
Team Defense of the Week: North Bergen. The Bruins were a stingy bunch behind safety Justice Rivera, linebackers David Drouet, Chris Angulo and Michael Santini and linemen Ramon Chia and Jacob Rodriguez as they posted a 21-0 shutout over 2-0 Bloomfield Friday night in Bloomfield. North Bergen yielded just 35 rushing yards and 150 through the air to improve to 3-0.
Top Offensive Player in a Loss: George Eberle, Voorhees. The junior threw two touchdown passes and kicked field goals of 22 and 36 yards in a 34-20 loss to Somerville.
Top Defensive Player in a Loss: Joe Cullen, Livingston. The junior LB compiled 12 tackles and a sack in a 26-2 loss to East Orange Campus.
Junior of the Week: Any Cook, Newark Collegiate. The receiver scored six touchdowns, three on receptions, in a 42-14 win over Ferris.
Sophomore of the Week: Zion Marshall, Linden. The QB rushed for 267 yards and five touchdowns and passed for two more in a 55-48 win over Ridge.
Freshman of the Week: Dillon Jennings, Cedar Grove. The LB made seven tackles and was in on a sack in a 28-7 win over Verona.
Coach of the Week: Brian Meeney, Newark East Side. The long-suffering Red Raiders needed 56 games to achieve victory, but only four under the first-year coach, who guided his club to a 32-30 victory over Belleville Thursday night. His guys almost snapped the long losing streak at 53 games against Kearny two weeks ago, but squandered a late lead and fell, 28-16. The team showed surprising poise and confidence in the late stages of last Thursday's game as it rallied for the win.
NORTH/CENTRAL JERSEY RANKINGS
1. St. Joseph Regional (Mont.) (2-1)
2. St. Peter's Prep (2-1)
3. Bergen Catholic (2-2)
4. DePaul (2-1)
5. Pope John (3-0)
6. Don Bosco Prep (1-3)
7. Paramus Catholic (2-2)
8. Seton Hall Prep (0-3)
9. St. Joseph (Met.) (3-0)
10. Delbarton (0-3)
North Jersey Big Schools
(Groups 3,4,5 in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, Warren counties)
1. Montclair (2-0)
2. Ridgewood (3-0)
3. Old Tappan (3-0)
4. Irvington (2-1)
5. River Dell (3-0)
6. Phillipsburg (3-0)
7. Passaic Tech (2-1)
8. Wayne Hills (2-2)
9. Ramapo (2-1)
10. Union City (2-2)
North Jersey Small Schools
(Groups 1,2 in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, Warren counties)
1. Shabazz (3-0)
2. Westwood (2-1)
3. Hasbrouck Heights (2-0)
4. Caldwell (3-0)
5. New Milford (2-0)
6. Pequannock (3-0)
7. Newton (3-0)
8. Weequahic (2-0)
9. Lenape Valley (2-1)
10. Madison (2-1)
Central Jersey Big Schools
(Groups 3,4,5 in Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset, Union counties)
1. Westfield (3-0)
2. Piscataway (3-0)
3. Sayreville (3-0)
4. South Brunswick (2-1)
5. Bridgewater-Raritan (2-1)
6. Hillsborough (2-1)
7. North Hunterdon (3-0)
8. Linden (2-1)
9. Ridge (1-2)
10. Hamilton West (3-1)
Central Jersey Small Schools
(Groups 1,2 in Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset, Union counties)
1. Bound Brook (3-0)
2. A.L. Johnson (3-0)
3. Roselle (2-1)
4. Delaware Valley (2-1)
5. Roselle Park (4-0)
6. South River (3-0)
7. Hillside (2-1
8. Brearley (1-2)
9. Middlesex (2-1)
10. Manville (2-1)
North/Central Jersey Group 3
1. River Dell (3-0)
2. Ramapo (2-1)
3. Sparta (3-0)
4. Somerville (3-0)
5. South Plainfield (2-1)
6. Hamilton West (3-1)
7. Parsippany Hills (3-0)
8. West Essex (2-1)
9. Carteret (2-1)
10. Voorhees (2-1)
FAN VOTE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Review the Week 3 performances of the players listed below and cast your vote for Player of the Week (Players listed alphabetically)
Week 2: Clarence Wilkins, Elizabeth, Jr. SB/CB
Week 1: Marcellus Earlington, Don Bosco Prep, Sr. TE/DE
Week 0: Evan Stewart, St. Joseph Regional, Sr. OLB
Liam Anderson, Mount Olive, Sr. QB/S. He completed 16 of 21 passes for 277 yards and three touchdowns, ran 12 times for 145 yards and four TDs and was in on six tackles in a 61-27 victory against High Point.
Andy Cook, Newark Collegiate, Sr. WR/DB. He caught six passes for 165 yards and three touchdowns, scored on a 70-yard punt return, a 5-yard run and 50-yard interception return, giving him six in all, in a 42-14 win over Ferris.
Sal DeBenedetto, Old Tappan, Sr. WR/DB. He intercepted two passes, one of which was returned 27 yards for a touchdown, recovered a fumble that led to a score, caught two passes and finished with seven tackles in a 35-0 victory over Wayne Hills.
Michael DeSantis, South River, Jr. QB. He hit on 14 of 19 passes for 246 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 84 yards and one TD on 10 attempts in a 35-12 win over Bishop Ahr.
Azmir Ivy, Paterson Kennedy, Sr. RB. He rushed for four touchdowns totaling 111 yards in a 46-21 win over Hackensack.
Juwon Jackson, Piscataway, Jr. RB. He carried for 200 yards and three touchdowns on 24 attempts in a 28-14 win over South Brunswick.
Zion Marshall, Linden, Soph. QB. He rushed 11 times for 267 yards and five touchdowns and completed 6 of 10 passes for 87 yards and two TDs in a 55-48 win over Ridge.
Carlos Martinez, Newark East Side. Soph. QB. He threw two touchdown passes, had two conversion runs and connected on a fourth-quarter conversion pass to help his team snap a 55-game losing streak, 32-30, over Belleville.
Nick Nyers, Woodbridge, Sr. LB. He came up with 22 tackles and a hurry in a 13-7 victory over South Plainfield.
Shayne Simon, St. Peter's Prep, Sr. WR/OLB. He caught eight passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns and made six tackles in a 43-20 win over Seton Hall Prep.
Coleston Smith, Ridgewood, Sr. TE/OLB. He compiled 15 tackles and a sack and also caught three passes for 52 yards in a 28-7 victory against Clifton.