When the high school football season ended last November, Union City High School’s Steve Ulacia was certain that his career was over, coming to a halt in disappointing fashion. The Soaring Eagles failed to make the NJSIAA Group IV state playoffs in their first season as a unified program, bringing the programs of Emerson and Union Hill together as one.
Ulacia, who was an All-Area standout during his days at Union Hill, had a great game in the season’s last contest, a 42-7 victory over Bergen Tech. Ulacia saved his best game of the season for his last. He carried the ball only nine times, but collected 182 yards and scored two touchdowns, enabling Union City’s first football season, albeit a tumultuous one, to end at 5-5.
For the year, Ulacia rushed for 1,249 yards on 130 carries and scored 13 touchdowns.
“We started to click offensively because of him,” Union City head coach Joe Rotondi said.
Ulacia knew that there were some All-Star games that he could play in, like the annual New Jersey Scholastic Football Coaches Association’s North-South Classic, but he didn’t know whether he would get selected for the game.
“I was hoping, but I didn’t know for sure,” Ulacia said. “I just wanted to put on the gear and the uniform one more time and show everyone what I can do.”
Ulacia is getting his wish. He is one of four Hudson County grid standouts to represent the county in the North-South game, which will be played at Kean University Monday night at 7 p.m.
Kenny Smith of St. Peter’s Prep, Justin McCall of Hudson Catholic and Desmond Bates of Hoboken have also been selected to play in the annual showdown.
Ulacia, who will attend Nassau Community College in Long Island in the fall with the hope of eventually going to a four-year institution to play football, will play running back for the North squad.
“I like playing running back better,” Ulacia said. “Because I’m small [5-foot-9, 190 pounds], I have to prove myself more than anyone else. I have always had to work a little harder and I’ll have to do the same for this game.”
Ulacia and his new teammates will head to camp at Kean this weekend to prepare for the game.
“I’m very excited to be going,” Ulacia said. “It’s an honor to play in the game. I’ll just do what I do best.”
We’ll have more about the North-South game next week…
What a great honor that was bestowed on Jersey City native Ed Lucas last week. When the New York Yankees faced the Washington Nationals at Yankee Stadium, the first 18,000 fans who entered the ballpark received a “Strikeouts for Scholarships” keychain in support of the Ed Lucas Fund at Seton Hall University.
Each keychain featured the image of Lucas, who still works as a sports reporter even though he lost his sight as a young boy. Lucas, who also works for the St. Joseph School for the Blind in Jersey City, has been part of the Strikeouts for Scholarships program since last year.
The program provides financial assistance inside and outside of the classroom for students with disabilities attending Seton Hall. Yankees fans and Seton Hall friends can donate to the scholarship by visiting www.strikeoutsforscholarships.com.
Through the Strikeouts for Scholarships program, WCBS 880-AM radio donates $10 to Seton Hall’s Ed Lucas Fund every time a Yankees pitcher strikes out an opposing batter. Now, there are thousands of fans who were able to take a little piece of Eddie home with them after the game last week.
Lucas also reports that the Gene Michael/Phil Rizzuto Memorial Golf Tournament to benefit St. Joseph’s School for the Blind will be held Aug. 24 at the Brooklake Country Club in Florham Park. There will be a host of celebrities on hand for the tourney. There is still room for golfers and sponsors, so anyone interested can contact Lucas at (201) 876-5432 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org....
Speaking of golf tournaments, the annual Weehawken Open Golf Tournament will be held Thursday, Aug. 13 at the Bowling Green Golf Club in Oak Ridge, with the proceeds of the tourney to benefit Weehawken’s First Aid Squad. For more information, call the Weehawken Recreation Department at (201) 210-8501…
Here’s this week’s version of Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa (which should make the old Latin teachers at Prep very happy). A few weeks ago, it was reported here that County Prep won the first NJSIAA state baseball title for a Jersey City public school since Snyder won Group III in 1963. That was an error. Dickinson was actually the last Jersey City public school to win a state crown and did so in 1966, under the tutelage of head coach Al Glowacki, who is still alive and now living in Kearny. We’re sorry for the mistake…
Local basketball maven Ed Finn, Sr. was ecstatic to announce the field for the 2010 Dan Finn Classic, which will take place on Jan. 16, 2010 at the Jersey City Armory. Perhaps the highlight of the day will be the showdown between two local powers St. Peter’s Prep and St. Anthony, which will cap the day’s festivities at 8 p.m.
Lincoln of Jersey City will face Cardinal McCarrick to start the day at noon, so there is definitely a good local flavor in the field. Other games are Colts Neck vs. Shabazz (girls); Academy New Church vs. Ridge (boys); and Paterson Catholic vs. St. Benedict’s, coached by Jersey City native Dan Hurley.
There will also be a contest between the Jersey City Fire Department and the Jersey City Police Department, which should be more than interesting. Once again, it looks like a great day of basketball, honoring the late and great Dan Finn…
Here’s a heads-up as to what will be in store for the Hudson Reporter’s sports section in the weeks to come.
Next week, the first of the Hudson Reporter Athletes of the Year features will appear. It marks the 19th straight year that the newspaper chain will honor both the top male and female high school athletes in the area.
Also, the popular EXTRA INNINGS feature will commence for the summer months. With the local Little Leagues well underway, it’s time for the EXTRA INNINGS weekly feature that focuses on the best stories that come from local baseball and softball leagues throughout the area.
If you have any noteworthy information to contribute to the EXTRA INNINGS, feel free to contact Jim Hague by voice mail at 201-798-7800, ext. 751, by general mail at 1400 Washington Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030, or via e-mail at OGSMAR@aol.com.
Please include a telephone contact name and number, in order to secure further information for a possible story…. – Jim Hague Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.