In a regular season game against the Harvey School of Ketonah, N.Y., Tejada collected 466 all-purpose yards (rushing, receiving and kick returns) and scored an amazing seven touchdowns in the Blue Jays' 49-48 victory.
It was a performance that enabled Tejada to earn Athlete of the Week honors, not only by The Hudson Reporter, but also the MSG Network. That last honor enabled Tejada to attend MSG's Heisman breakfast a month later, where he had his picture taken with Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush, who currently plays for the New Orleans Saints.
You had to have figured that it was an once-in-a-lifetime performance, right? There's no way that a kid could actually try to duplicate that feat, right?
Well, guess again.
Tejada, a native of Weehawken, had another memorable game last weekend for the Blue Jays.
The senior collected 371 total yards in offense and scored six touchdowns, this time in a Blue Jay victory over previously undefeated Fieldstone Prep of New York, a team coached by former Notre Dame and Rowan quarterback Gus Orenstein.
Tejada carried the ball out of the backfield 18 times for 142 yards and scored touchdowns on runs of one and 29 yards. He also caught five passes, three of which went for touchdowns from talented quarterback Mike Cafiero, scored six touchdowns, including one on a 94-yard punt return, to lead St. Joseph's to a 52-28 victory over previously unbeaten Fieldstone Prep of New York in West New York on Saturday.
The similarities between the two performances are almost stunning.
"I never figured it could happen again," Tejada said. "I also thought it was once-in-a-lifetime. This was a tough game. The opposition was tougher."
"I never thought it could happen," St. Joseph head coach Steve Romano said. "I thought last year was just one of those freak days."
Incredibly, when the high school football season began, Romano sat his standout performer down and told Tejada that he was going to change his position, from running back to wide receiver.
"After what we saw of him last year, we knew that he was going to be one of the best all-purpose players in the state," Romano said. "And we knew he had the capability of doing some special things. So we knew going into the year that we were going to have to get him the ball as much as possible. If we moved him out to wide receiver, he could get the ball more in the open field. We also thought we would tire him out at running back. We have a good quarterback (Cafiero) who can get the ball to him. It made more sense."
Tejada didn't know how to handle the position change.
"I didn't think I'd like it," Tejada said. "Coach Romano asked me if I was comfortable with it and after I thought about it, I said that I was good to go with it. If we were basically a running team, it would be different, but I know we like to throw the ball, so it wasn't that bad. I actually began to like the idea, getting me out more into the open field. It's worked out well."
So well that with his 21 touchdowns and assortment of extra points, Tejada has catapulted himself into the lead as the top scorer in all of New Jersey high school football.
"I'm really happy to be No. 1 in the state," Tejada said. "I think I've helped to put St. Joseph on the map. It's an honor and it puts us right there with the big boys."
"Ever since he saw the scoring list, he's been on Cloud 9 all day," Romano said. "He found out Monday and he's been smiling ear to ear since. First, there was silence, then he said, 'Coach, you have to get us another game.'"
Romano has been burning up the phone lines trying to find the Blue Jays another independent game to play to give Tejada a better chance of securing the state scoring title. They only had eight games on the schedule and a state playoff game (which appears very likely now) would be the ninth. They are allowed one more, so the Blue Jays want to have every chance to play a full slate.
Maybe an extra game might help Tejada gain some recognition with the college scouts. Despite his size (6-2, 210), his speed and his obvious talent, Tejada has not received a single college offer to date.
"No one has been able to stop him at all and on defense, he's shut down three other players who have received (NCAA) Division I offers," Romano said. "My question to these people would be this: What are you looking at? And what does he have to do? You're making him seem like he's non-existent. I don't understand it. Every coach who sees the kid play says he's the real deal and could play on the next level. They're obviously missing it. I'm not too familiar with the recruiting process, but I was taught that if you're good enough, they'll find you. But they're missing it with this kid."
Romano said that even Tejada's grades are not an obstacle.
"I don't get it," Romano said.
Tejada hasn't gotten himself caught up in the lack of attention from the recruiters.
"I think it's just the fact that I go to a smaller school," Tejada said. "Colleges tend to go to the bigger schools first. I've been told that I have the size and speed and can play anywhere, so we'll see what happens. I understand there's a lot of talent out there, but in a way, it is a little frustrating."
Tejada said that he really doesn't care about the gaudy statistics.
"If I score one touchdown and we win, then that's all that matters," Tejada said. "I just want to help the team and improve everyone around me. So I'm comfortable being a receiver."
And a running back...and a kick returner...and a punt returner....and a defensive player.
"He's definitely exceeded all expectations," Romano said. "When the game is over and we're sitting on the bus on the way home, adding up the stats, it's really hard to imagine he's done all that. But that's what he does. He continues to amaze us." - Jim Hague