The 2016 high school football season has ended, and although there wasn’t a state championship celebration this year in Hudson County, there was plenty to be proud of.
For instance, there’s the 26th edition of The Hudson Reporter All-Area High School Football Team. That’s right, for 26 straight years, the Hudson Reporter newspaper chain has honored the very best of high school football players in the circulation area.
Some legendary names have graced this All-Area squad, including a handful who eventually went on to play in the National Football League. Guys like Evan Rodriguez and Will Hill were All-Area honorees here before making it to the NFL.
Others have gone on to become NCAA First Team All-America honorees, like former St. Peter’s Prep standout Minkah Fitzpatrick, who earned Associated Press All-America honors last week as a defensive back for the University of Alabama.
Fitzpatrick became the first All-American to have graced the Hudson County gridiron since former Snyder great Rich Glover earned All-America honors in 1972 at Nebraska.
To think, just two years ago, Fitzpatrick graced the Hudson Reporter All-Area squad and now he’s a First Team All-American. It’s truly a great feat.
Well, there are 13 repeat honorees on this year’s Hudson Reporter All-Area Football Team. That’s the largest total of repeat honorees in the history of the All-Area team.
For example, last year, there were only five repeat honorees, so it shows how many were able to duplicate their excellence for a second straight year.
Also, since the abolishment of the Hudson County Interscholastic Athletic League for football, with everyone joining the 119-team North Jersey Super Football Conference this fall, there will not be another All-County team selected in Hudson County.
So this is it.
Let’s give credit to the 13 athletes who grace the Reporter All-Area team for a second time. They are Johnathan Lewis, Ben Petrula, Jayson and Justin Ademilola, Joe Henry and Shayne Simon of St. Peter’s Prep; Harrison Fernandez of Union City, Nolan Burns of Snyder, Wilden Germain of Hoboken, Jalen Scott and James Burgess of Lincoln, Khashawn Decker of Hudson Catholic and Rafael Ponce de Leon of North Bergen.
Those athletes deserve a world of credit for being able to maintain their level of excellence.
The Hudson Reporter Offensive Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player honoree is Johnathan Lewis of St. Peter’s Prep.
Lewis earned the Offensive Player of the Year honors last year as well, but adds the county’s MVP title to his resume this season after rushing for 1,084 yards and scoring 21 touchdowns, while passing for 1,544 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Lewis’ brilliance helped to carry the Marauders to the NJSIAA Non-Public Group 4 title game against Paramus Catholic in MetLife Stadium, where he electrified the crowd with a sensational 69-yard touchdown run. He also engineered two late scoring drives, but the Marauders came up short in a 33-28 setback. Lewis is headed to Rutgers in the fall.
The Hudson Reporter Defensive Player of the Year honors go to Harrison Fernandez of Union City, who really didn’t have a true position on defense. He was a hybrid between a linebacker and a free safety, but he was literally all over the field for the Soaring Eagles, making play after play. Fernandez registered 64 tackles and collected three interceptions, but he was an impact player practically on every snap. Hernandez was also the Soaring Eagles’ starting quarterback, where he rushed for nearly 700 yards and scored 15 touchdowns while passing for 400 more and five more TDs.
The Hudson Reporter Coach of the Year is Jason Acerra of Bayonne, who in his first season guided the Bees to the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group V playoffs. – Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at OGSMAR@aol.com
2016 Hudson Reporter All-Area High School Football Team
Quarterback-Johnathan Lewis, St. Peter’s Prep
Quarterback-Wilden Germain, Hoboken
Quarterback-Jahleel Baker, Snyder
Running Back-Kamani Addison, Lincoln
Running Back-Nolan Burns, Snyder
Running Back-Brayan Padron, Weehawken
Running Back-Algenis Baret, Bayonne
Running Back-Kevin Paul, Union City
Wide Receiver-Jorge Portorreal, St. Peter’s Prep
Wide Receiver-Ayan Castro, Memorial
Wide Receiver-Nasir Smith, Snyder
Wide Receiver-Jonas Marte, North Bergen
Tight End-Jacob Gonzalez, Union City
Offensive Line-Elyezer Oliviery, Union City
Offensive Line-Ben Petrula, St. Peter’s Prep
Offensive Line-Markese Trent, Lincoln
Offensive Line-Rasheed Wallace, Hudson Catholic
Offensive Line-Harley Monteiro, St. Peter’s Prep
Kicker-Joe Henry, St. Peter’s Prep
Defensive End-Andrew Duncan, Snyder
Defensive End-Alex Lozano, Lincoln
Defensive End-Eddie Wilson, Hoboken
Defensive End-Jalen Scott, Lincoln
Defensive Tackle-Jayson Ademilola, St. Peter’s Prep
Defensive Tackle-James Mitchell, St. Anthony
Defensive Tackle-Rafael Ponce de Leon, North Bergen
Defensive Tackle-Justin Ademilola, St. Peter’s Prep
Linebacker-Zamir Mickens, St. Peter’s Prep
Linebacker-Damien Abrams. St. Peter’s Prep
Linebacker-Ibrahama Toure, Hudson Catholic
Linebacker-James Burgess, Lincoln
Defensive Back-Khashawn Decker, Hudson Catholic
Defensive Back-Andrew Liverman, Union City
Defensive Back-Michael Santini, North Bergen
Defensive Back-Shayne Simon, St. Peter’s Prep
Defensive Back-Harrison Fernandez, Union City
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR- Johnathan Lewis, St. Peter’s Prep
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR-Harrison Fernandez, Union City
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER-Johnathan Lewis, St. Peter’s Prep
COACH OF THE YEAR-Jason Acerra, Bayonne