Damian Corredor and Donte Carter have never met each other before. They have never played football against each other. But they certainly are aware of each other.
“We would always go at it with touchdowns,” said Carter, the Hoboken grid star who was the Hudson Reporter Most Valuable Player in 2012. “One year, he had more than me and then this year, I got him.”
“Incredibly, I was thinking the same thing,” said Corredor, the Weehawken standout who was the Hudson Reporter Offensive Player of the Year last season. “I’ve never seen him play, but I obviously know who he is.”
The two teams were on the same path last fall in the North Jersey Section 2, Group I playoffs. It appeared as if Weehawken would face Hoboken, but Weehawken lost to Dunellen in the opening round, ending that hope. The Red Wings managed to move on and win the state sectional championship with a win over Roselle Park.
However, the two will now get a chance to be teammates, as they were both selected to play for the North squad in the New Jersey Scholastic Football Coaches Association’s North-South All-Star Classic, to be held at Kean University the last weekend in June.
“I think that’s awesome,” said Corredor, who will become the first Weehawken product to ever play in the game. (Former Hudson Reporter Athlete of the Year Danny Lopez was selected in 2004, but did not play because of his baseball commitments).
“I think it’s great that we get to show off our stuff together,” Corredor said.
“It’s going to be good to play with him,” Carter said.
Carter, who is headed to Monroe Junior College to play in the fall, thought that his high school football career was over.
“When I got the call that I made the All-Star team, I was very excited,” said Carter, who will play baseball for the Red Wings this spring for the first time. “I’m getting to play one more game in high school. I’m going to give it my all. I want people to say, ‘Who was that kid?’ when they watch me play. I have to prove myself and represent my school.”
Corredor didn’t realize that he was the first Weehawken football player to play in the All-Star Classic.
“I think that’s awesome,” Corredor said. “I’m getting a chance to show my skills one more time and I’m looking forward to that. I get to represent Weehawken one more time. I know half of Weehawken said that they’re looking forward to me playing in the game.”
Corredor is headed to Kean to play in the fall, so the All-Star game will represent a head start.
“I think that’s great and makes making the team even more special,” Corredor said. “I’m going to have an advantage on everyone else, because I’ll know where I’m going at Kean.”
Jeffrey Rodriguez, a center on Union City’s state playoff contender the last two years, was also selected to play for the North squad.
“I knew of my other teammates, like Steve Le who made the team last year,” Rodriguez said. “I had a lot of hopes that I made the team, but when we lost in the state playoffs, I thought it was over. Now, I’m getting a second chance and I’m tremendously honored. I want to get the chance to compete with the other All-Stars.”
Rodriguez is undecided about college, choosing between Rowan and William Paterson.
“I definitely have a lot of pride in making the game and I’m glad I could keep the Union City tradition going,” Rodriguez said. “It’s amazing that there are only four players from the county and I’m one of them. I’m very excited.”
The other Hudson County player selected is Joe Stevenson of St. Peter’s Prep.
Incredibly, both of the centers for the North squad, Rodriguez and Stevenson, are from Hudson County.
So is one of the assistant coaches for the North team, namely Zach Naszimento, the head coach and athletic director at Weehawken.
Naszimento played in the North-South game when he was a student at Secaucus in 1996.
“I was excited to be the first coach from Weehawken to go, but when I found out that Damian also got it, it’s such a great honor for him and the school,” Naszimento said. “I’m very honored and excited to represent Weehawken. It’s going to be a great experience. I have great memories of the game as a player and it will be a great experience for Damian.”…
The NCAA Tournament began Thursday and the area is well represented in several capacities.
First, players like Mike Eusebio (Florida), Kyle Anderson (UCLA) and Tray Woodall (Pitt) are in the field, as well as coaches Darren Savino (Cincinnati) and Rashon Burno (Florida). All five have something in common. They are all graduates of St. Anthony. Good luck to the locals in the March Madness…--Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.