It’s safe to say that veteran St. Peter’s Prep football coach Rich Hansen wasn’t pleased with his team’s defensive performance over the first two weeks of the season.
After all, Hansen has prided himself on always being a defensive minded coach first and foremost. So when the Marauders surrendered 92 points in their first two losses of the season, Hansen had to put his foot down and put the pressure to the Marauders, as they faced North Bergen last Saturday.
The message definitely hit home, as the Marauders were clearly a much better defensive team against the Bruins, posting a 23-0 shutout victory.
“This was a throwback game, the way Prep and North Bergen used to be in the 1980s and 90s,” Hansen said after the win. “It’s good to play defense again. It’s good to be physical and jump on top of things. It’s good to see our defense respond like this. We needed the defense to step up and be resilient and they were.”
Was it a must-win for the Marauders?
“Most definitely,” Hansen said. “We would have been a very broken franchise if we lost. The defense showed what they were made of. It was all about getting back to basics. It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win.”
The very physical contest put both teams with a 1-2 record. Senior Marquise Watson, a Hudson Reporter All-Area performer last year, proved his mettle in the win. Watson, a solid defensive tackle, made several big tackles and recovered a huge fumble late in the game, returning it 65 yards before running out of gas, setting up the Marauders’ final touchdown.
The Bruins were marching in for what appeared to be a touchdown that would have cut the Marauders’ lead to 14-7 with about seven minutes to play in the game, before Watson stripped Bruins quarterback Danny Melian and went off to the races. It was a gigantic play, one that sealed the deal, one that put the Marauders back on track….
It might have gotten a little lost in the shuffle with the performances of the Co-Athletes of the Week both going for more than 300 yards last week.
But two other local grid standouts had weeks of note and could very well have been Athlete of the Week honorees.
Both Nick Schaffer of Secaucus and Chris Gomez of Memorial had excellent games, both leading their respective teams to 3-0 starts.
Schaffer had 223 yards on 19 carries and scored four touchdowns in the Patriots’ impressive 34-7 win over Becton Regional last weekend, while Gomez had 208 yards on 26 carries and four touchdowns in the Tigers’ 49-17 win over Ferris, pushing the surprising Tigers to 3-0, which is already more wins than they had a year ago.
Incredibly, Hudson County had two kids with more than 300 yards and another pair who had better than 200 yards, all in the same weekend. It was definitely a weekend for the record books…
Union City is trying a novel approach to getting the football alumni of the two former high schools, namely Emerson and Union Hill, together for a get-together.
The event is being called “Return to the Future,” and will be held on Friday, Oct. 28 beginning at 5 p.m. in the Union City High School cafeteria, prior to the Soaring Eagles’ game that night against North Bergen.
The $20 fee will include a donation to the Willie Hernandez Memorial Scholarship Fund, named after the former Union Hill standout who passed away after a battle with cancer. It’s a way for former Emerson and Union Hill football players to get together with their former teammates and coaches, then rally together to watch the current team tackle its closest neighboring rival.
For more information, contact Lenny Martinez at (201) 359-5974. Former Emerson head coaches Lenny Introna and Eddie Marinez and former Union Hill head coach Carl Holbig are among the organizers…
Hudson Reporter H.S. Football Top Five: 1. St. Peter’s Prep (1-2). 2. Union City (3-0). 3. Secaucus (3-0). 4. North Bergen (1-2). 5. Memorial (3-0)….
Hudson Reporter H.S. Soccer Top Five: 1. St. Peter’s Prep (7-0). 2. North Bergen (3-3). 3. Union City (3-2-1). 4. Bayonne (5-3). 5. Dickinson (4-3)….
Congrats to Hudson Catholic’s R.J. Tumamak, who became the first girl in the school’s history to score a goal for the boys’ soccer team last week in a win over Marist. The Hawks already have four wins this season, so the program is moving in the right direction… -- Jim Hague Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.