“I wasn’t used to losing,” Gordon-Green said. “We didn’t go to the [NJSIAA] state playoffs, so that was different. I didn’t like the way my season ended.”
So recently, Gordon-Green got a chance to extend his high school football career, when he was selected to participate in the New Jersey Scholastic Football Coaches Association Phil Simms North-South All-Star Classic at Kean University.
“I was pretty surprised that I was selected, because I knew it wasn’t easy to make the team,” Gordon-Green said.
Gordon-Green was the lone Hudson County product selected to play in the annual All-Star game, although Marcus Manning of Bayonne was a late addition to the team.
It capped a wild career for Gordon-Green, considering the fact that he never played football before his sophomore year of high school.
“I never even thought about playing,” said the 6-foot-3, 320-pound Gordon-Green. “But Ms. [Jeanette] Braswell [the assistant principal at Infinity Academy] told me I should play football. She called Coach Robert Hampton and told him about me. I only played football with my friends.”
Gordon-Green recalled the first time he put on football equipment.
“It was weird, wearing the helmet, the pads,” Gordon-Green said. “Then having to run wearing it. It was tough. It was hard to breathe. I knew I was going to be a lineman. I knew they were going to place me where I was supposed to play.”
Gordon-Green played on both sides of the line, at defensive end/defensive tackle and offensive guard/tackle. He played well enough last season to get recognized and earn a spot on the North squad.
“I got the call from one of the coaches,” Gordon-Green said. “I knew I made it even before Coach Hamp [Hampton]. I knew it was a big honor and a big thrill. I was already getting into playing shape, doing running and workouts.”
He headed to Kean University recently for the four days of intense practice sessions, including the grueling three-a-day practices on Saturday prior to the game on Monday. The players stayed in the dormitories at Kean for the entire time.
“Everyone was telling me how tough that was,” Gordon-Green said. “I just went to the practice, went back upstairs, took a little nap and went back at it. It was tough. It was my first time away from home, so it helped me get ready for college. It showed me what college is going to be like.”
Gordon-Green said that it didn’t take long to get back into a football frame of mind.
“I had to get used to it,” Gordon-Green said. “The hitting, wearing pads, it was tough. I also had to learn all the plays in two days. But I thought I did pretty well. I held my own.”
Gordon-Green played extensively on the offensive line in the game, won by the South, 38-16.
“It was really a great experience,” said Gordon-Green, who is headed to Lackawanna Junior College to continue his football career. “I didn’t think I had a chance for this. To be considered with all the other great Lincoln players means a lot. I only played football for two years and I got this chance.”
Gordon-Green plans to major in physical therapy or sports medicine at Lackawanna and eventually a four-year school…
Congrats to Mike Zadroga on his induction into the New Jersey Scholastic Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame last week. Zadroga is the lone Hudson County coach to win HCIAA titles at three different schools (Dickinson, Hudson Catholic and County Prep) and is a member of the Hudson County Sports Hall of Fame…
Condolences go out to the family of Brian Doyle, who passed away last week. Doyle was a standout baseball player at St. Mary’s of Jersey City and was the father of Brian Doyle, Jr., who played football and baseball at Hudson Catholic. In later days, Doyle was a fixture at Jersey City Recreation. He died all too young at age 59…– Jim Hague.
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.