Playoff prognostications; Temple earns bowl chance thanks to locals
It’s very rare when a high school football team gets a chance to play the same team twice in the same season.
Well, both of Hudson County’s two remaining teams are playing teams this weekend in the NJSIAA state playoffs whom they had already defeated this season.
Secaucus is facing Becton Regional in the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I semifinals this weekend. On Oct. 23, Becton gave the undefeated Patriots their toughest game to date, with Secaucus coming out of East Rutherford with a 20-15 win.
And the Marauders of St. Peter’s Prep get a return visitor this weekend in the Non-Public Group IV playoffs. The Marauders will play host to Bergen Catholic, a team the Marauders upended, 26-23, in Oradell on Sept. 26.
St. Peter’s Prep head coach Rich Hansen knows how difficult it is to face a team twice in the same season. It’s only happened once in Hansen’s career. In 2004, the Marauders played Hudson Catholic twice, winning 17-14 to start the season, then winning again 25-13 in the state playoffs.
“No doubt about it, it’s not easy,” Hansen said. “But at least you have a reference point to go on. You know what you might see in a given situation. It’s a different game and a different perspective, but there are some things that are the same. You know what’s in front of you.”
Hansen knows that BC is a better team since the last time the two heated rivals faced each other, but he’s sure his team is better as well, especially since junior running back Savon Huggins has become such a huge part of the Marauders’ rushing attack.
“We believe he’s become more seasoned,” Hansen said. “We’ll see what changes have been made in both teams.”
Certainly provides a different and rare challenge…
Sad news coming out of Tennessee, where former St. Peter’s Prep standout running back Nyshier Oliver was arrested recently and charged with shoplifting.
Oliver, who is now playing defensive back at Tennessee, was arrested Nov. 7 after security guards at a Knoxville department store spotted Oliver allegedly concealing a polo shirt, worth $110, in a shopping bag.
Oliver is the fourth Tennessee football player to run into legal problems recently. Three of his teammates were arrested and charged with armed robbery earlier last month. Oliver’s status with the Tennessee football program is not known. Two of the other arrested players have been dismissed from the program. Oliver’s court date was also not released…
In positive news coming from St. Peter’s Prep, basketball standout Ronald Roberts has signed a national letter of intent to attend St. John’s University beginning next fall. Roberts, who led the Marauders in scoring and rebounding last season for a team that went 23-3, is the first Prep basketball player to sign a Division I scholarship letter since Jack Gordon signed with Monmouth in the early 1990s. We’ll have more about Roberts in next week’s editions…
The Temple University football program has made a dramatic turnaround, thanks to the efforts of associate head coach Mark D’Onofrio, the North Bergen native. The Owls are 7-2 and are eligible to go to a post-season bowl game for the first time since 1979. D’Onofrio, the former Bruin standout who became a standout at Penn State and later played for the Green Bay Packers, has helped to fill the Temple roster with local talent, like former Prep standouts Sean Pearson and Kee-Ayre Griffin and former North Bergen star Evan Rodriguez. Griffin has been a mainstay in the backfield, collecting 297 yards and scoring two touchdowns. Rodriguez is now at tight end for the Owls and he’s caught eight passes this season for 66 yards and two TDs…
The women’s volleyball team at Caldwell College won the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Northern Division title and won 20 matches for the first time in school’s history thanks to the efforts of Elise Lennon and Cory Roesing, two proud products of the Secaucus High School program…
Update on Jersey City’s Ahmad Nivins, who was released by the Dallas Mavericks after training camp. Nivins, the former St. Anthony and St. Joseph University standout, has signed on with a team in the Spanish professional league called Bàsquet Manresa…
Hudson Reporter H.S. Football Top Five: 1. St. Peter’s Prep (8-1). 2. Secaucus (9-0). 3. Lincoln (8-2). 4. North Bergen (5-5). 5. St. Anthony (6-3)….
Now, it’s time for the Great Hagueini’s pigskin playoff prognostications. The old wide one went 4-1 last week, with Lincoln’s setback against Orange the only incorrect guess. The turban-wearing soothsayer was almost dead on with his predicted scores of St. Peter’s Prep and Secaucus, as well as unfortunately seeing the St. Anthony season come to an end.
Anyway, here are this week’s selections and remember, don’t use them for any monetary wagering, unless it’s for a smoked turkey wrap and a bottle of Dr. Pepper with your Uncle Looie.
Becton at Secaucus, North Section 2, Group I: The Patriots’ offensive machine of Joe Impreveduto and this week’s AOW Eddie Delgado is just too tough for Becton to stop. The Pats’ offensive line, led by Rutgers-bound Betim Bujari is also too big upfront for Becton. This one won’t be as close as the first one. It’s on to the state title game and maybe the Meadowlands. Secaucus 28, Becton 14. Bergen Catholic at St. Peter’s Prep, Non-Public Group 4: The first time these two teams met this season, it was a barnburner, with Raphael Ortiz passing the Marauders to victory. Both teams have improved since then, with BC’s quarterback Matt Halligan making big play after big play. But the best player on the field is Savon Huggins. Always go with the team that has the best player. St. Peter’s 21, Bergen Catholic 14.
Here’s to hoping Hagueini is right, because it would be a shame to see the football season end locally before December… -- Jim Hague To comment on this story on-line, go to our NEW website, www.hudsonreporter.com, and leave a comment. Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com. OGSMAR@aol.com.