After compiling more than 4,000 yards in total offense and scoring more than 60 touchdowns in his first three years of high school football, you would expect that there’s not much more Damian Corredor could do in his career at Weehawken High School.
A year ago, Corredor established himself as one of the best running backs in New Jersey, even leading the entire state in rushing yardage for an extended period of time. He collected nearly 1,800 yards rushing and scored 20 touchdowns on the ground, added a handful more scores either on kick returns, punt returns and interceptions.
So what does Corredor do for an encore?
Well, when the Indians defeated Ridgefield in their season opener, Corredor had a pedestrian, almost mediocre 106 yards and two touchdowns. Ho hum.
“Everyone was coming up to me and asking me how I did,” Corredor said. “I told them I had 106 yards and they said, ‘That’s it?’ They wanted to know if I was hurt or something. I told them that I didn’t care. We got the win and that’s all that matters.”
“After what he’s done, you almost have to expect great things from him,” said second-year Weehawken head coach Zach Naszimento. “You almost take it for granted that he’s going to do something great, because that’s what he’s always done. He’s such a special player that you think he’s going to score every time he gets the ball.”
Last Saturday, as the Indians faced Park Ridge, Corredor was nothing close to mediocre. He showed exactly why he’s rated as one of the best all-around performers in the state and the best football player ever to grace Weehawken High School.
What Corredor did reads like a resume of a great football player.
• He punted the ball four times for an average better than 40 yards.
• On defense, he made eight tackles and collected two interceptions.
• He returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown.
• Last but not least, Corredor rushed for 241 yards on 26 carries and scored four touchdowns.
So, to put it all together in a nice, tidy package, Corredor had 412 yards of total offense and broke the school single-game scoring record by scoring five touchdowns. That is nothing short of incredible.
“It’s almost like you don’t pay attention as the game is going on,” Naszimento said. “Then, after the game, you total everything up and you say, ‘Oh, my God,’ and ‘Wow, did he just do that?’ When you think anything he does can’t surprise you, he surprises you. He just keeps making play after play.”
Needless to say, for his efforts, Corredor has been named as The Hudson Reporter Athlete of the Week for the past week.
Corredor becomes only the second athlete to ever be featured as Athlete of the Week three times, joining former Hudson Reporter Athlete of the Year Evan Rodriguez of North Bergen, who is currently playing tight end for the Chicago Bears. That’s some company.
Naszimento will sing Corredor’s praises all day long about all the different things he does. In Saturday’s wild 53-39 win, propelling the Indians to their first 2-0 start since 2007, Corredor stood out in an aspect that won’t show up in any statistical line.
“We needed some big plays, so we turned Damian into the lead blocker on the sweep and gave the ball to Dante [Cieri, the Indians’ other solid back],” Naszimento said. “As much as Damian did all the other things, he made four or five great blocks in front of Dante. You don’t see that on the sheet, but that proves that he’ll do anything you ask him to do.”
“Dante and I make a good combination,” Corredor said. “When he needs me to block for him, I’m there. I think it takes a lot of pressure off me having someone like Dante, because this was a dog fight and we needed everyone.”
Naszimento said that the true value of a great player is what he does without the football in his hands.
“He’s a very special kid,” Naszimento said. “He makes everyone around him better. Seriously, if Dante was to get the ball every time, Damian would be the one to lead the way every time. He really just has a different motor than most. His work ethic is amazing. His main strength is how fierce of a competitor he is. He’s just so motivated all the time.”
Late in the game Saturday, there were moments where Corredor took it upon himself to win the game.
“He said to me, ‘Coach, I need the rock. I need it right now. I’m feeling it,’” Naszimento said. “So all plays went out the window. We were giving the kid the ball. He just took over the game.”
“I’m definitely more of a leader,” Corredor said. “I’m a senior and all the younger kids look up to me. I have to show them the right way.”
Incredibly, Corredor has not received much attention from the college recruiters. He has not received a single solid scholarship offer to date, only a few phone calls.
“I think that will heat up again during the course of the year,” Naszimento said. “I get a lot of e-mails from old-time Weehawken people who say he’s the best ever. He’s unbelievable. He’s put in a tremendous amount of work and it’s paying off. He’s going to get something [from the colleges]. I know it. When the lights go on, he shows up bigger than anyone I’ve ever coached. When the game starts, he’s ready and the others follow.”
Corredor isn’t overly concerned with the lack of attention he has received from the colleges.
“I want to play in college,” Corredor said. “I realize that this is my last chance. I haven’t had an offer and that bothers me a little. I know I’m not the biggest guy around [5-10, 185], but I can definitely play. I know I can qualify [academically], so it boggles my mind a little. I think it will help if I gain more recognition. As the season goes on, I hope the colleges take notice.”
As well they should. – Jim Hague.
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.