2012 MSG Varsity All-New Jersey Football Teams
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Jabrill Peppers, Paramus Catholic, Jr., Running back/defensive back
The world as Paramus Catholic knew it changed last spring when Peppers, already a well-known name throughout North Jersey, transferred from powerhouse Don Bosco Prep.
It shifted again on Oct. 20, when Peppers stepped behind center to run the wildcat offense for the first time. He carried 34 times for an astounding 368 yards and four touchdowns to upset the Green Knights, then No. 1 in the MSG Varsity Tri State Top 25, and raise attention toward the Paladins as serious players on the state football landscape.
Peppers used his splendid mix of speed and power and his outstanding leadership qualities to also engineer Paramus Catholic's 37-34 win over Bergen Catholic last Friday for the Non-Public, Group 4 crown, the Paladins' first since 1997. He ran for 210 yards and two TDs in that game to finish his season with 1,552 yards and 18 TDs on just 172 attempts. He also caught 20 passes for 337 yards and five TDs.
Peppers had already contributed to two sectional titles at Don Bosco Prep, where he was probably recognized more highly for his prowess in the defensive secondary. He still packed a punch back there this season, finishing with 33 tackles.
PJ Walker, Elizabeth, Sr., Quarterback (Temple)
He put the finishing touches on a fabulous career by orchestrating a three-play, 98-yard drive that ended on a 49-yard screen pass to Jahad Thomas with 36 seconds to play in the Minutemen's 37-33 comeback against Piscataway last Friday for the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 5 title. Walker's club had been stunned by Piscataway in the final minute of the Section 2, Group 4 championship game one year earlier. Walker passed for 357 yards and four touchdowns in the win over Piscataway and compiled 2,012 yards and 23 TDs this season while completing 70 percent of his attempts and throwing only one interception.
Jahad Thomas, Elizabeth, Sr., Running back
His dazzling 49-yard run off a screen pass by P.J. Walker in the final half-minute last Friday, rallied Elizabeth to a 37-33 win over Piscataway and provided one of the signature highlights of the 2012 season. Thomas' X-Atco-knife cuts and instant acceleration displayed on that screen typified his big-play season. He averaged 9.2 yards a carry and scored 15 TDs on the ground and averaged 17.7 yards a reception and caught six scoring passes. Thomas scored eight of his 25 TDs in three playoff games.
Justin Goodwin, Madison, Sr., Running back (Rutgers)
He capped his marvelous career by accounting for both touchdowns--a run and an option pass--in the Dodgers' 13-0 victory over Mountain Lakes last Saturday for their second consecutive 12-0 season and third straight North Jersey, Section 2, Group 2 championship. The powerful Goodwin ran 177 times for 1,449 yards (8.2 a carry) and scored 30 touchdowns this season, even though he rarely saw the ball in the second half of many Madison games. Goodwin also sparkled in the secondary to help Madison construct a state-leading 37-game winning streak.
JJ Kulcsar, Bergen Catholic, Sr., Wide receiver
Kulcsar began his routes with an explosive step, executed the path with precision and usually completed it with something very beneficial for his Crusaders. He hauled in 66 passes for 1,250 yards and 14 touchdowns. Kulcsar had 11 catches for 165 yards and two TDs in the Non-Public, Group 4 final against Paramus Catholic, though his Crusaders were stunned, 37-34, with 1:18 left in the game.
John Maddaluna, Bernards, Sr., Wide receiver
He used his outstanding speed and rare ability to sniff out open space to pull in 52 passes for 1,231 yards and 16 touchdowns. Maddaluna shattered every conceivable receiving record at Bernards and closed his career with 52 touchdowns. The versatile senior also ran for 677 yards on 41 attempts this season for the 9-2 Mountaineers and was a disruptive force in the secondary.
Anthony Firkser, Manalapan, Sr., Wide receiver (Harvard)
This steady receiver used his lethal combination of speed, smarts and sure hands to grab 53 passes for 996 yards and nine TDs. He also was an effective return man for the Braves until opponents stopped punting the ball his way. Manalapan had an undefeated season spoiled by South Brunswick, 33-22, in the Central Jersey, Group 5 final, though Firkser certainly helped the Braves' cause with five receptions for 113 yards and two TDs.
Shawn Flaherty, St. Joseph (Mont.), Sr., Lineman
The Green Knights' rugged center earns All-State honors a second consecutive year, but this time with the added feature of having done so for New Jersey's No. 1 team. Flaherty directed a hard-working line that helped St. Joseph (10-2) carve out 3,023 rushing yards and amass 1,723 through the air. He helped the Green Knights claim two straight Non-Public, Group 3 championships.
Dorian Miller, Metuchen, Sr., Lineman (Rutgers)
Miller's Bulldogs had a tough season at 3-7, but he compensated more than adequately by roughing up any defensive linemen that stood in his path. He averaged just over three pancake blocks a game and played the last three years without ever allowing a sack. His quick feet led the way for 95 percent of Metuchen's running plays.
Marcell Lazard, Bloomfield, Sr., Lineman (West Virginia)
He used his surprising quickness and brute strength to lead the Bengals' balanced ground attack and provide security for QB Mike Carter. Bloomfield produced over 3,500 yards behind Lazard and reached the North Jersey, Section 1, Group 5 final. He helped out at DT in that game and was a big reason why Bloomfield was able to force OT with undefeated Montclair without the injured Carter in the lineup. Bloomfield lost on a field goal, 16-13.
Quenton Nelson, Red Bank Catholic, Jr., Lineman
Behind Nelson's sturdy work at left tackle, the Caseys racked up almost 2,700 rushing yards and scored a school-record 386 points on their way to a 10-1 season. He also was a mainstay on the RBC defensive line, compiling 42 tackles (seven for losses), seven sacks, and 15 QB pressures.
Jon Germano, Bergen Catholic, Sr., Quarterback
Game after game, Germano fed his receivers well and tested the skills and sanity of talented defensive backs all over North Jersey---and this was with 2011 All-State receiver John Tsimis sidelined the entire season by injury. Germano completed 61 percent of his passes for 3,139 yards and 38 touchdowns and also rushed for 513 yards and 10 TDs. His ability find the open man with a crisp, accurate throw was only surpassed at times by his penchant to scramble for big first downs.
QB Robbie Meyers, Pompton Lakes, Sr.
RB Donald Panciello, Roxbury, Sr.
RB Cameron Nash, Piscataway, Sr.
WR Ricky Jeune, St. Joseph (Mont.), Sr.
WR Charlie Callinan, St. Peter's Prep, Sr.
WR Noah Brown, Pope John, Jr.
OL Sam Zeff, Montclair, Sr. (UMass)
OL Bryan McMahon, Sayreville, Sr.
OL Joel Campo, St. Joseph (Mont.), Sr.
OL Sean Carey, Don Bosco Prep, Sr.
ATH Mike Badgley, Summit, Sr.
K David Bonagura, Ramapo, Sr.
Alquadin Muhammad, Don Bosco Prep, Sr., Lineman
This rangy, explosive end was an important part of the Ironmen's last two Non-Public, Group 4 titles and a thoroughly disruptive force again this season, though young Don Bosco was not able to extend its six-year title run. Muhammad made an official visit to Miami last weekend and has a second lined up this weekend with Notre Dame. Muhammad will represent New Jersey in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Jan. 5 in San Antonio.
Razohnn Gross, Don Bosco Prep, Sr., Lineman
Gross and Alquadin Muhammad anchored a fierce defensive line that was unarguably the strength of Don Bosco's defense, and perhaps the entire team. Following a 13-6 loss to Gilman (Md.) to open the season, the Ironmen called upon the experience and leadership of that unit to restore order, and Bosco did with a 20-10 win over talented St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) to set off an eight-game winning streak.
Kurt Holuba, Bergen Catholic, Jr., Lineman
He did a tremendous job of funneling ball carriers to the linebackers, but also took matters into his own hands only plenty of occasions. Holuba had 12 solo tackles and 45 assists and compiled eight sacks for the Crusaders.
Tashawn Bower, Immaculata, Sr., Lineman (Auburn)
Opponents ran away from Bower's end as much as possible, but often found that course of action to be a futile practice. He racked up close to 90 tackles and had 16 sacks for the 10-2 Spartans. Immaculata had spun off nine straight wins before falling to Holy Spirit last weekend in the Non-Public, Group 2 final.
Mark Fossati, St. Joseph (Mont.), Jr., Linebacker
Passion and durability define the play of this versatile junior. His motor runs at warp speed whether hitting the B gap for a block, tracking down a ball carrier or kicking off. Fossati racked up 154 total tackles (35 on first hits) and 2.5 sacks. He also carried for six touchdowns for the Non-Public, Group 3 champion and No. 1 team in the Tri-State.
Shane Huber, St. Peter's Prep, Sr., Linebacker (UMass)
Huber's intelligence, preparation and technical aptitude routinely put him in the right position to make a play, and then his will and ferocity usually completed the assignment. He made 87 tackles, including 46 solos, and had four sacks for the 8-2 Marauders. Huber's defensive crew played admirably in both losses, 21-0 games against St. Joseph and Paramus Catholic.
Marquise Watson, Paramus Catholic, Sr., Linebacker
The Paladins' defense was a much-overlooked unit while everyone discussed at length the accomplishments of Jabrill Peppers, Steve Shanley and PC's explosive offense. But it was the steady growth of the defense behind Watson that fueled the Paladins' drive to the Non-Public, Group 4 title. Watson recorded 119 tackles and had three sacks.
Nadir Barnwell, Piscataway, Sr., Back, 5-11, 184 (Rutgers)
Barnwell missed the first two games this season (Chiefs were 1-1) with a shoulder injury, but returned to lead Piscataway to a third consecutive sectional final. The Chiefs fell to Elizabeth in the final minute, 37-33, to end a two-year championship run, though Barnwell had already secured his legacy as one of this program's best of all time. He was a sterling talent out of the secondary and he also leaves as one of the school's most prolific QBs ever.
Isaiah Cureton, Sayreville, Sr., Back
Cureton's remarkable versatility helped the Bombers' overcome significant graduation losses and lock down a perfect 12-0 record and a third straight Central Jersey, Group 4 title. He made 33 tackles out of the secondary and provided priceless leadership for a defense that allowed only 7.5 points a game. Cureton also threw six TD passes and ran for four as the team's QB.
Tre Bell, St. Peter's Prep, Sr., Back (Vanderbilt)
Opponents had tremendous difficulty climbing back from deficits against St. Peter's with the speedy Bell patrolling the secondary. The Marauders allowed only 6.8 points per game and produced five shutouts. Bell made two interceptions and also caught two scoring passes at split end.
Saeed Blacknall, Manalapan, Jr., Athlete
He emerged as one of the most exciting juniors in the state, both for his ability to consume big yardage off receptions and returns and his knack for prohibiting sizable gains out of the secondary. Blacknall hauled in 40 passes for 743 yards, scored 16 touchdowns and averaged 47.1 yards on kick returns. He also was in on 44 tackles for the 11-1 Braves.
DL Khilyni Kennedy, Paramus Catholic, Sr.
DL Johnny Appice, Manalapan, Sr.
DL Troy Kay, St. Joseph (Mont.), Sr.
LB Al-Rasheed Benton, Shabazz, Sr.
LB Kamani Odrick, Montclair, Sr.
LB Evan Skea, Ridge, Sr.
DB Kyle Queiro, Bergen Catholic, Sr.
DB Clarence Sears, Montclair, Sr.
DB Patrick Keyes, Seton Hall Prep, Sr.
RET Kason Campbell, Elizabeth, St.
DB Matt Oplinger, Delbarton
(All seniors unless otherwise noted)
Spencer Aukamp, St. Joseph (Mont.); Michael Bicknese, Delbarton; Mike Carter, Bloomfield; Vincent Gargano, Old Bridge; Reggie Green, Cranford; Chris Heredia, Butler; Conor Hughes, Ridge (Jr.); Carson Lassiter, Madison; Anthony Lovecchio, Ramapo; Jake Melville, Sparta; Angelo Natale, Immaculata; Nick Palladino, Allentown; Ajee Patterson, Neptune; T.J. Perkowski, South Brunswick; Sonny Puzzo, Caldwell; Devin Ray, Bernards; Sean Robbins, Kinnelon; Tyler Rodriguez, Carteret; Kyle Schneider, Pascack Valley; Steve Shanley, Paramus Catholic (Jr.); Tyler Simms, Parsippany Hills; Joe Slattery, Cedar Grove (Jr.); Donny Stires, Bridgewater-Raritan; Luke Westerberg, Nottingham; Jalen Wheeler, Bound Brook (Jr.).
John Banaciski, Hillsborough; Jamauri Bogan, Union (Jr.); Jason Cabinda, Hunterdon Central (Jr,); Donte Carter, Hoboken; Adam Caruso, West Morris; Chiebuka Chukwuneke, J.P. Stevens; Jonathan Diaz, St. Mary (Ruth.); Uzoma Egbuchulam, Mountain Lakes; Gerard Gainer, Newark Central; Jonathan Hilliman, St. Peter's Prep (Jr.); Dion Hooper, South Brunswick; Jerod Johnson, Carteret; Dajuan Lee, Phillipsburg; Eddie Lee, Franklin; Michael Million, Montclair; Joe Moreno, DePaul; Anthony Prus, Watchung Hills; Nick Rafferty, Lenape Valley; Dionisio Roman, Delaware Valley; David Shellhammer, Lakeland; Kevin Taylor, Seton Hall Prep; Danny Tighe, Point Pleasant Beach; Dante Tobler, New Milford; Akrum Wadley, Weequahic; Jamie White, Delbarton; Norman Williams, Allentown.
WIDE RECEIVER/TIGHT END
Kyle Allegrini, Lakeland; Nour Aly, West Essex; Clay Austin, Seton Hall Prep; Jameel Bailey, Nottingham (Jr.); David Claybrook, Piscataway; Connor Cuccinelli, St. Mary (Ruth.); Geoff Fairbanks, Neptune; John Feaster, Bergen Catholic; Matt Flanagan, Mendham; Manny Grant, Columbia; Mike Harrington, Verona; Kevin Illian, Pascack Valley; Jake Lewis, Allentown; Kire Milevski, Parsippany Hills; Nick Smith, Elmwood Park; Billy Pierce, Caldwell; Paul Rufo, Cedar Grove (Jr.); Trevor Socarras, Immaculata; Jamar Summers, Orange; Aaron Tate, Elizabeth; Tim Vangelas, Colts Neck; Sam Walsh, Kinnelon; Kyle Ward, Elizabeth; Tyrone Washington, Paramus Catholic (Jr.).
Kyle Adams, Roxbury; Derek Allen, Edison (Jr.); Ryan Baron, Johnson Reg.; Alex Berkuta, South Brunswick; Austin Berninger, River Dell; Juwan Buschell-Beatty, Paramus Catholic; Scott Flynn, Mountain Lakes; Matt Forst, Manasquan; Brad Henson, Msgr. Donovan; Rob Hughes, West Morris; Lucas Jordy, Point Pleasant Beach; Craig Kurywczak, Roselle Park; Andy Labudev, Cresskill; Brendan Mahon, Randolph; Brandon Manosalvas, Paramus; Chris McBride, Bergen Catholic; Ryan Rabasca, St. Peter's Prep; Mike Realbuto, West Essex; Anthony Rizzolo, Watchung Hills; Thomas Spiecker, Sayreville; Jarrett Williams, Phillipsburg; Kevin Wilkins, St. Joseph (Mont.); Rob Wipfler, Cedar Grove.
Jake Andrejcik, Nottingham; Delvon Artis, Shabazz; Ryan Bell, Ridge (Jr.); Armond Cox, St. Peter's Prep (Jr.); Garrett Dickerson, Bergen Catholic; Mark Duffy, Allentown; Nick Flores, Paramus Catholic; Taylor Hendrickson, Middletown South; Josh Klecko, Red Bank Catholic; Rob Levine, Wayne Hills; Denzell Lockhart, Piscataway; John Magi, Roxbury; Bryan McMahon, Sayreville; Myles McMahon, Pompton Lakes; Evans Osuji, West Orange; Akeem Polk, Elizabeth; Abdel Ragab, Edison; Shone Register, Madison; Joe Rivera, Bloomfield; Josue Romero, Carteret; Garrett Sickels, Red Bank; Kevin Soriano, New Milford; Austin Stevens, Montclair; Brandon Taylor, Montclair; Kemoko Turay, Barringer; Andrew Trumbetti, Demarest (Jr.).
Kevin Butler, Piscataway; Austin Carbone, Summit; Mike Carey, Sayreville; Sha-Quan Champagne, Linden; C.J. Cimilluca, Colonia; Devon Davis, Irvington; Sam Follansbee, North Hunterdon (Jr.); Sidney Gopre, Weequahic (Jr.); Frank Greco, Verona; Kevin Ioannidis, Hunterdon Central; Joscil Jackson, Long Branch; Jake Kobryn, Old Bridge; Greg Lis, DePaul; Ryan Malagrino, Nottingham; Mike Manente, Pascack Valley; Chris Marrie, Immaculata; Matt McDonald, Madison; Deion Miller, Sayreville; Chris Noesges, Manalapan; Michael Pennella, Bridgewater-Raritan; Will Reynolds, Delbarton; Jeovan Santos, Bloomfield; Ben Schumacher, Cedar Grove; John Spagnola, Mountain Lakes; Parker Tobia, Bergen Catholic; Frank Urso, Watchung Hills; Zeke Villafana, Elizabeth.
Tyrice Beverette, Lakewood; Anthony Cioffi, Dayton; Mark Constantino, Shore Reg.; Jonathan Davalos, North Warren; Wakimba Davenport, Palisades Park; Mike D'Alessandro, Don Bosco Prep; Ryan Duran, River Dell; J.P. Garcia, Bergen Catholic; Rahmein Herron Hoboken; Joey Jordan, Lakeland; Kyle LaPorte, Piscataway; Brian Matthews, Roselle Park; Shamier Moon, East Orange Campus; Neil O'Connor, Ramapo; Zeke Perkinson, Sayreville; Austin Roland, West Morris; Derek Singer, New Providence; Eli Smith, Middletown South; John Trainor, Old Tappan; Connor Villante, Kinnelon; Kyle Young, Roxbury.
Cameron Baels, Don Bosco Prep (Jr.); Zach Bednarczyk, DePaul; Tony Capobianco, Pompton Lakes; Mike Creamer, Matawan; John Gallagher, Caldwell; Nick Gentile, Fort Lee; Chris Gulla, Toms River North; Young Hoe Koo, Ridgewood; Matt Kassebaum, Immaculata; Erik Martinez, Wane Hills; Brian Nagy, Hillsborough; Ray Nyhuis, Lakeland (Jr.); Dylan Olsson, South Brunswick; Anthony Seidel, Hasbrouck Heights; Ryan Schreiber, Monroe (Jr.); Scott Skipko, Delaware Valley; Taylor Ullrich, Montclair.
COACH OF THE YEAR
John Quinn, Elizabeth
High schools throughout New Jersey looking to beef up their football program might be wise to hire Quinn to simply park in their lots for a few minutes every now and again.
Because wherever Quinn stops, he wins.
In his third season at Elizabeth, Quinn guided the Minutemen to their second straight title game and first championship since 2006 when they edged Piscataway, 37-33, with a dramatic comeback last Friday in North Jersey, Section 2, Group 5. That put a cap on an 11-0 season and confirmed Quinn's status as a premier tactician, teacher and motivator.
Remarkably, Quinn has now led three schools to a total four sectional championships, and has done so in four of the five public school groups. His 1998 Roxbury team won North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4, and his New Brunswick squads claimed Central Jersey, Group 2 in 2002 and North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 in 2006.
Quinn, who got his coaching start in Union under legendary Lou Rettino, will bring a 139-64 career record into the 2013 season. His 2003 New Brunswick team also finished undefeated, at 12-0.