New era of North Bergen football begins with new coach Somick
by Jim Hague
Sep 10, 2017 | 1884 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
NEW COACH IN BRUINTOWN – Ed Somick (center) takes over as the new head football coach at North Bergen High School this season. Pictured from left are Ramon Chia, Sandy Santos, Jacob Rodriguez, Justice Rivera, Somick, Ohamy Rosario, Nick Huntt and Christopher Lopez.
NEW COACH IN BRUINTOWN – Ed Somick (center) takes over as the new head football coach at North Bergen High School this season. Pictured from left are Ramon Chia, Sandy Santos, Jacob Rodriguez, Justice Rivera, Somick, Ohamy Rosario, Nick Huntt and Christopher Lopez.
It’s a position that Ed Somick feels he was groomed to take, going back to when he was a player in the late 1980s at North Bergen High School.

That position? Head football coach at his alma mater.

Yes, the same position that the late, legendary Vince Ascolese held for almost 40 years, putting the program on the map, winning seven NJSIAA state championships.

Somick played on the 1988 state championship team coached by Ascolese.

So when Somick was appointed to take over the program, replacing Mike Guasconi, he decided to turn the clock back a bit to his roots.

“We’re going back to the old way,” Somick said.

It meant the installation of the old Delaware Wing-T formation that Ascolese used for ages and Somick played under.

“We’re going back to straight-ahead old-style football,” Somick said. “It’s something I know well. Vinnie always professed that you had to go through people to win. That’s the way we want to play. We want to be tougher than our opponents. It’s a system that I know and I can incorporate.”

And how have the players handled the transformation?

“They love it,” Somick said. “They didn’t have a tough time adjusting to it. Why fix something that wasn’t broken? [Late legendary coach] Joe Coviello and Vinnie had the right ideas and they won a lot of games. I think North Bergen kids are accustomed to it. I’m a North Bergen guy through and through. I wouldn’t want to coach anywhere else. I grew up here. I work here. It’s always a special place. I think we’re bringing back that special feeling.”

Leading the way is senior quarterback Austin O’Shea (5-8, 160), who is one of the toughest kids around.

“He manages the team well,” Somick said of O’Shea. “He has a good arm and makes good decisions with the ball. He needs to manage this team. He leads as he goes.”

Talented junior David Drouet (6-0, 185) is the halfback. Drouet had some moments of brilliance last season as the Bruins’ leading rusher. Somick compared Drouet’s running style with that of another Bruin legend.

“He’s very Evan-like,” Somick said, referring to former Bruin great Evan Rodriguez, the 2006-2007 Hudson Reporter Male Athlete of the Year who had a brief stint in the NFL with the Chicago Bears. “We’re expecting big things from him. I think he’s one of the best athletes in Hudson County. He has good vision and good speed.”

The fullback is junior Michael Santini (5-10, 205), who works well with Drouet.

“The two are like brothers,” Somick said of Santini and Drouet. “They protect each other to the max.”

The hard-nosed Santini has another distinction. He’s the grandson of the late coach Ascolese.

“He’s 100 percent football in his blood,” Somick said.

Junior Sebastian Herrera (5-11, 190) is the wingback.

“He can run,” Somick said. “He blocks unbelievably. He can catch the ball. He’s everything you want in a wingback.”

Senior Joshua Rivera (6-2, 195) is the main receiver, with junior Jaylon Melendez (6-0, 175) also seeing time there.

The tight end is senior Ramon Chia (6-3, 245).

The offensive line features four returning starters from a year ago in senior tackles Sandy Santos (6-3, 290) and Ohamy Rosario (6-2, 260), senior guard Jacob Rodriguez (6-0, 255) and senior center Justice Rivera (5-11, 235). The only newcomer is junior guard Stefano Velorio (5-10, 225).

While the offensive formation is old school Wing-T, the defensive alignment is new school 3-5.

Junior Brandon Rodriguez (5-11, 240) is the defensive tackle with Chia at defensive end and Jacob Rodriguez (no relation to Brandon) at nose guard.

The outside linebackers are junior returning starter Christian Angulo (5-10, 220), who was the Bruins’ leading tackler last year. Junior Joshua Acevedo (5-10, 215) is another inside linebacker. Drouet and Santini move up from the secondary, where they played last year. Santini earned Hudson Reporter All-Area honors on defense last season.

Herrera is the middle linebacker.

The cornerbacks are junior David Pinedo (5-8, 155) and Melendez, with senior Benjamin Pena (5-10, 185) in the mix there.

The safeties are junior Felipe Ogando (6-2, 180) and Rivera.

The backup quarterback is junior Tom Liggio (6-0, 170), who is the grandson of the former football great and Hudson County Freeholder of the same name. So it means that the current Bruins have two grandsons of legendary football greats on their current roster.

The Bruins were scheduled to open their season Sept. 8 at home against Bayonne.

Somick likes the makeup of his squad.

“We have a good mix of seniors and juniors and they’re working well together,” Somick said. “We have good chemistry on the team. We have a good blend of speed and athleticism. It’s a nice feeling to be here.”

Jim Hague can be reached at You can also read Jim’s blog at

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