TASTY TIDBITS

Super Football Conference makes donation to Union City shelter; Prep football loses tough one to Seton Hall; memorable seasons, top fives

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The New Jersey Super Football Conference donated $1,000 to the Palisades Emergency Residence Corporation Self-Sufficiency Program last week. From left are PERC program coordinator Tom Harrigan, PERC executive director Carol Mori, St. Peter’s Prep athletic director and SFC president Rich Hansen and Memorial athletic director John Fraraccio
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St. Peter’s Prep quarterback Tajhamell Bullock (12) hands to running back Paul Lefkowitz (42) during the Marauders’ upset loss to Seton Hall Prep in West Orange last Monday
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The New Jersey Super Football Conference donated $1,000 to the Palisades Emergency Residence Corporation Self-Sufficiency Program last week. From left are PERC program coordinator Tom Harrigan, PERC executive director Carol Mori, St. Peter’s Prep athletic director and SFC president Rich Hansen and Memorial athletic director John Fraraccio
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St. Peter’s Prep quarterback Tajhamell Bullock (12) hands to running back Paul Lefkowitz (42) during the Marauders’ upset loss to Seton Hall Prep in West Orange last Monday

The New Jersey Super Football Conference, the biggest high school scholastic league in the nation with 112 schools participating, always wants to do the right things for the community.

“The Super Football Conference is always more than just football,” said league president and St. Peter’s Prep head coach and athletic director Rich Hansen. “We are looking forward to building our community relations.”

With that in mind, Hansen and Memorial High School athletic director John Fraraccio went to the Palisades Emergency Response Corporation’s Project Self-Sufficiency shelter in Union City last week to make a $1,000 donation in honor of Thanksgiving week.

The Super Football Conference made donations to food banks and shelters at four different locations last week, with the Union City location receiving the donation from the local administrators.

Fraraccio said that Memorial’s students generally volunteer at the shelter.

“This was a no-brainer for our donation,” Fraraccio said. “This has been a very challenging year for so many people in New Jersey. We in the Super Football Conference are eager to help. Our players and coaches share a passion for competition, but we’re even more committed to helping others and giving back to the community. That’s exactly what we’re doing with the donations.”

Tom Harrigan, the program coordinator for the PERC Project Self-Sufficiency shelter, said that the location feeds about 125 people daily and provides shelter for approximately 140 homeless people per night.

“It’s really good to see that the students have taken an interest into what we’re doing,” Harrigan said. “We’ve been dealing with the students of the two schools for years. The students come here and help us cook dinner. It’s a special relationship.”

Carol Mori, the executive director of PERC, said that the donation will help the program continue.

“It’s important for groups to step up and help us keep going,” Mori said. “Without the support of groups like this, we wouldn’t be able to do it. We’re excited to get the support of the young people who care. We’re really appreciative of their support. We’re looking forward to a long and fruitful partnership.”…

While Hansen was there for the check presentation, he was asked about his team’s stunning 26-25 overtime loss to Seton Hall Prep a day earlier.

The Marauders, at the time the top-ranked team in the state, were playing for the first time in almost a month due to several stops and starts with the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The Marauders had to deal with two 14-day quarantines that not only kept the Marauders away from playing, but also kept them off the practice field.

“Being off for the month didn’t help,” Hansen said. “Seton Hall did a really good job preparing for us. We didn’t help ourselves with mistakes.”

The game was played in absolute blustery conditions, with temperatures in the low 30s and wind gusts rising over the mountains in West Orange.

“The wind was certainly difficult,” Hansen said. “When push came to shove, they were able to make the plays to beat us.”

The Marauders were hurt by two point-after-touchdown kicks that were blocked, which sent the game into overtime.

After the Marauders scored first on a Tahjamell Bullock 6-yard run, Hansen, coaching in his next-to-last game after 33 years with the Marauders, elected to go for two points. But Bullock was stopped inches from the goal line, leaving the door open for the Pirates to spring the upset.

Which they did, scoring on a screen pass and then super kicker Nick Conforti added the extra point, giving the Pirates, coached by Hoboken resident and former St. Peter’s Prep player and coach Bill Fitzgerald, the upset win.

Hansen defended his choice to go for two points.

“We had a breakdown on two kicks in a row and we knew they had a great kicker,” Hansen said. “It’s a call that we have to live with. But the game didn’t come down to one play.”

The loss probably eliminated the Marauders’ chances of finishing the season as the top team in the state. However, if the Marauders win their final game against Bergen Catholic, they would have defeated Don Bosco Prep, St. Joseph of Montvale and Bergen Catholic in the same year – and not be ranked No. 1.

“That’s COVID football for you,” Hansen said. “Of course, we would have loved to run the table. The kids wanted to get two games in. Seton Hall was nice enough to move this game to Monday. It was the only way we could do it. It’s difficult to prepare for any game with only three days of practice, but when you face a team that has talent and is well coached like Seton Hall, you have to be ready.”

And now the Marauders prepare for Hansen’s farewell.

“It doesn’t change the fact that it’s my last game,” Hansen said. “Seton Hall was the focus and was always the focus. We did not play a game for a month. I hadn’t seen the kids for two weeks. The layoff made things harder.”

We’ll see what Prep-Bergen Catholic brings Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in Oradell…

Snyder defeated Palisades Park, 36-16, in their final game of the season, pushing the Tigers’ record to 3-5 to end the year. Coach Matt Gallo got great rushing games from Hezekiah Daise-Adams, who had 155 yards and three touchdowns, and Justin Williams, who added 125 yards and two scores…

Was there a better all-around season than the one enjoyed by Hoboken’s Anthony Henriquez, who finished second in the entire state with 110 tackles defensively and rushed for 644 yards and scored eight touchdowns on offense? It would be hard to find anyone better…

Zahir Abdus-Salaam of Union City closed out his high school career with 715 yards and 12 touchdowns in eight games. In a regular season, Abdus-Salaam gets his second straight 1,000-yard season. His teammate Jaden Phillip was one of the top receivers around with 14 receptions for 298 yards and three TDs…

The brother-to-brother passing combination in Bayonne was effective, as quarterback Richard Gonzalez passed for 870 yards and 12 touchdowns, throwing 14 times to little brother Jerome Edwards for 465 yards and seven scores…

Hudson Catholic’s Amarrie Bolden had 18 receptions for 296 yards and six touchdowns, leading his team to the SFC United Blue divisional crown…

In soccer, North Bergen was a little overlooked with a 7-4 record, but the Bruins had wins over Union City (No. 21 overall in the state) and Dickinson. Pablo Moreno led the way for the Bruins with nine goals and 12 assists and freshman Sebastian Anaya had eight goals…

Among the state’s top goal scorers include Anthony Warmuz of St. Peter’s Prep with 16 goals, Sofian Rahhali of Weehawken with 14. Top goalies include Ibrahim Diallo of McNair Academic, who had 95 saves and Josue Pichardo of Union City, who had 93 saves.

Hudson Catholic’s Xochilt Turijan was the top girls’ soccer goal scorer in the entire state, finding the net 30 times. Bayonne’s Marianna Valencia was fifth in New Jersey with 25 goals.

Others of note include Sheila Albarracin of Union City and Y’aaliyah Bryan of Hudson Catholic (both had 13 goals), Megan Dunne of St. Dominic Academy (12 goals), Gabriella Pacheco of McNair Academic (11 goals) and Josephine Conlon of Hoboken (10 goals)…

Hudson Reporter High School Football Top Five: 1. St. Peter’s Prep (4-1). 2. Hoboken (5-2). 3. Union City (3-3). 4. Lincoln (5-3). 5. Hudson Catholic (3-4)…

Hudson Reporter High School Boys’ Soccer Top Five: 1. Union City (11-2). 2. Dickinson (7-3-1). 3. North Bergen (7-4). 4. St. Peter’s Prep (10-6). 5. Weehawken (8-2). – Jim Hague

Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at OGSMAR@aol.com