A scary moment happened during Marist’s 55-7 loss to St. Joseph of Hammonton in the NJSIAA Non-Public Group 1 state playoffs last Saturday.
Royal Knights’ standout running back D’Ondre Robinson, who was honored as The Hudson Reporter Athlete of the Week last week, suffered a serious head injury during the game and was airlifted on a stretcher to a Philadelphia hospital, where he remained until Wednesday.
The extent of Robinson’s injury was not readily available, but athletic director Ron Hayward confirmed that Robinson was indeed hospitalized for a few days.
Robinson had suffered a concussion earlier this month, but Hayward said that he received medical clearance to return to action. It was not known whether the previous concussion had anything to do with this latest injury.
One thing is certain: Sure it’s the state playoffs and everyone wants to be a part of the postseason party. But a school with a storied tradition of success like St. Joseph of Hammonton, a team with a roster of 75 players, shouldn’t ever face a small school like Marist, which has perhaps 30 players total in the entire program.
It’s incredibly unfair and unsafe. Not to mention, non-competitive. Not taking anything away from the Royal Knights’ achievement of making the state playoffs, but a school like St. Joseph should play in the Group 3 bracket on competition alone. Enrollment has nothing to do with competitive balance.
The NJSIAA should reconsider its current format involving the Non-Public Schools and narrow the groups down to three, perhaps two.
Meanwhile, can a program have any more adversity than what the Marist football team had to endure over the last three weeks? The Royal Knights had to bury a teammate and then watch their superstar leader get taken to a hospital via an ambulance. It’s safe to say that the school wants to turn the page on the fall season and get on with the winter sports…
Brittany Gibson of McNair Academic heads the local contingent headed to this weekend’s NJSIAA cross country Meet of Champions. Gibson finished sixth at the Group I championships last weekend at Holmdel Park, crossing the line in 20:26.28.
Sondy Polanco of Secaucus was 15th among Group I boys’ runners, while the Marauders of St. Peter’s Prep finished fifth as a team in Non-Public A, thanks to Fritz Heinrich’s 20th place finish and Jimmy Sause, who finished 23rd overall.
Emily Mernar of St. Dominic Academy finished 25th in the Non-Public B girls’ race…
St. Peter’s Prep’s brilliant senior running back Jonathan Hilliman once again paced the local running backs last weekend, collecting 220 yards on 15 carries and scoring three touchdowns, followed by this week’s Athlete of the Week, Tamaine Boyd of Union City, who had 217 and three TDs.
Others to do well include Marcus Moultrie of Ferris, who had 167 yards and three TDs; Oliver Molano of Weehawken (102 yards, 2 TDs), Minkah Fitzpatrick of Prep (101 yards on just four carries and a touchdown) and Malik McNeil, also of Ferris, who had 101 yards on seven carries….
The soothsayer supreme, the old wide one, the wearer of the turban and holding the magic wand, the Great Hagueini, never had a better week picking high school playoff games. Hagueini went a perfect 10-for-10 last week, even coming close with several of the final scores. That crystal ball wasn’t dusty after all.
Hagueini has four games to pick this week, so here goes: And remember, don’t use these Hagueini picks for any wagering, unless it’s for a turkey club sandwich and a bottle of Diet Sunkist with your Uncle Looie.
Union City at Montclair, North Jersey Section 1, Group V: The Soaring Eagles are doing exactly that after last week’s win over West Orange, but now, they’re taking on the big boys of Montclair. Maybe next year, when every one of the Eagles’ standouts return. But not now. Montclair 28, Union City 14.
Lincoln at Mountain Lakes, North Jersey Section 2, Group II: What a great historic season for the Lions, but again, they’re now in uncharted territory, facing a program with a rich playoff history. Mountain Lakes 28, Lincoln 12.
New Providence at Hoboken, North Jersey Section 2, Group I: Can the banged-up Red Wings manage to keep it going for another week? Why not? On to the Meadowlands. Hoboken 20, New Providence 14.
St. Augustine Prep at St. Peter’s Prep, Non-Public Group 4: The Marauders have far too much firepower to stop here. Minkah, Jonathan and Brandon lead the boys from Grand and Warren to the Meadowlands to face Don Bosco one more time. St. Peter’s 48, St. Augustine Prep 21.
Enjoy the playoff excitement. – Jim Hague