Volleyball or Bust: The 2021 Season
COVID-19 has affected high school athletics as we know it in New Jersey, but no sport was impacted more than Girls Volleyball. Originally played in the Fall, the season was pushed to March for just over a month of play to lead into the Spring sport season. JSZ’s Nery Rodriguez chronicles what went into making a year like no other on the court: Thank you to the office of Jon Bramnick for sponsoring our Westfield coverage. Thank you to Cooper University Health Care for sponsoring our Williamstown coverage.
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Meet the 2021 JSZ All-Zone Basketball Teams
All this week, JSZ will honor the top players in New Jersey from both girls and boys varsity basketball. Our week long celebration of the 2021 season concludes with the presentation of JSZ’s Mr. and Miss Hoop Zone. Watch highlight videos of every one of our honorees. The New Jersey high school basketball community made the most of a shortened 2021 high school basketball season. Even though there was a maximum of 15 games and no state playoffs, it didn’t stop great players from around the state to shine and make the most of their limited opportunities. All this week, we will honor our All-Zone teams starting with the girls on Monday and Tuesday followed by the boys All-Zoners on Wednesday and Thursday. Coming up on Friday, JSZ will announce our 2021 Mr. and Miss Hoop Zone winners. Click on each player’s name to watch their JSZ highlight reel and congratulations to all of the players who made this year’s JSZ All-Zone team: PUBLIC NON-PUBLIC Name SchoolName SchoolMr. HZ Finalists Antoine ArnettSterlingDenver AnglinGill St. Bernard'sCorey Floyd, Jr., Roselle Catholic Gannon BradyOcean CityMark ArmstrongSt. Peter's PrepSamson Johnson, Patrick School Jerome BrewerCamdenJayden BrownMontclair ImmaculateWill Richardson, Bergen Catholic Tazir CanteyEasternJulian BrownBergen CatholicBen Roy, Manasquan Christian CevisWest MorrisZion CruzPatrick SchoolDJ Wagner, Camden Jack CollinsManasquanMatt DelaneySt. Augustine Prep Al-Fatir ConnorElizabethRay FordSt. Peter's Prep Jordan DerkackColoniaNoah HarrisRutgers Prep Austin GreenTimber CreekIsaac HesterRanney Aidan KehoePascack HillsZach HicksCamden Catholic Elijah LewisWatchung HillsTristan JeffriesSt. Thomas Aquinas Carlos LopezEgg Harbor Twp.Amare MarshallRoselle Catholic Chad MartiniWatchung HillsKeith Mency Hudson Catholic Diante MilesWildwoodMarcus PierceSt. Joseph Academy Dave OlaniyiNewark East SideElijah PerkinsRanney Chris RubayoMontgomeryJosh RiveraSt. Thomas Aquinas Derek SimpsonLenapeWisler SanonPaul VI Jack SeidlerMarlboroAkil Watson Don Bosco Prep Jon SpatolaMarlboroSimeon WilcherRoselle Catholic TaQuan WoodleyCamdenZakai ZeiglerMontclair Immaculate PUBLIC NON-PUBLIC Name SchoolName SchoolMiss HZ Finalists Lauren AchterRamapoAbby AntognoliSaint RoseDestiny Adams, Manchester Township Nina BranchizioMonroeA'Nyah BarkerIHAZoe Brooks, Trenton Catholic Amaya BurchTimber CreekEmma BruenSt. John VianneyKatie Hill, St. John Vianney Kiley CapstrawWest OrangeMeg CahalanSt. John VianneyMadison St. Rose, St. John Vianney Rachel CapuaJackson MemorialSaniah CaldwellSaddle River DayAlexa Therien, Cherokee Julia CorsentinoRumson-Fair HavenAlly CarmanRed Bank Catholic Alexis DavisGlassboroChristina DalceRutgers Prep Mary Elizabeth DonnellyManasquanAaylah Del RosarioTrenton Catholic Keegan DouglasHaddonfieldElla FajardoGill St. Bernard's Kate HerlihyMiddle Twp.Hannah HidalgoPaul VI Brooke HollawellManasquanZanai JonesHudson Catholic Tara JohnsonUniversityMarianna PapazoglouWildwood Catholic Lexi Linton Jackson MemorialPaulina ParisSaddle River Day Brynn McCurrySpartaBelle PellecchiaRutgers Prep Colleen McQuillenCresskillJustine PissottRed Bank Catholic Grace MuntRumson-Fair HavenAlana RobinsonPope John Madison SchillerRamapoSophia SabinoRed Bank Catholic Ally SweeneySpartaAngelica VelezTrenton Catholic Chloe TeterRed Bank RegionalCaileigh WalshGill St. Bernard's Bella VitoMontvilleMia YanogacioRutgers Prep JSZ All-Zone Basketball Coverage Monday, March 15: JSZ All-Zone Girls Public Team (20 players) Tuesday, March 16: JSZ All-Zone Girls Non-Public Team (20 players) Wednesday, March 17: JSZ All-Zone Boys Public Team (20 players) Thursday, March 18: JSZ All-Zone Boys Non-Public Team (20 players) Friday, March 19: JSZ 2021 Mr. and Miss Hoop Zone announced
Meet the 2021 JSZ All-Zone Hockey Team
Jersey Sports Zone honors the top high school hockey players in New Jersey. We have selected the top players in the Garden State – check out all the highlight videos from a great 2021 season. JSZ’s All-Zone Hockey Team It might have been a shortened season, but New Jersey high school hockey delivered plenty of exciting moments and stellar play across the state. Jersey Sports Zone is proud to announce its 2021 All-Zone hockey team honoring the best players in the state. Click on each players name below to watch their highlight reel. GoaliesDefensemanForwardsForwardsPlayer of the Year Mack Alvino, Glen Rock Kareem Al-Azem, Morristown-BeardAntonio Arcaroli, Bergen CatholicMatteo Mancheno, WestfieldConnor Sedlak, Don Bosco Prep - 2021 JSZ POY Ben Kopacki, LakelandDrew Fortescue, Don Bosco PrepMichael Balzarotti, RidgeAram Minnetian, Bergen Catholic Zach McErlain, Gloucester CatholicColin Grable, CBANate Block, Middletown SouthAidan Niceberg, Madison Luke McManus, Morristown-BeardZach Johnson, Gloucester CatholicRyan Bunting, Gloucester CatholicTrip Pendy, Delbarton Lukas Klemm, Don Bosco PrepMitchell Ducalo, RobbinsvilleBrett Pritchard, Rumson-Fair Haven Griffen O'Shaughnessy, Mountain LakesAidan D'Urso, Seton Hall Prep Ryan Rodrigues, Seton Hall Prep Patrick Reilly, CBARyan Fine, Don Bosco PrepBilly Sheridan, Gloucester Catholic Connor Kaczmarek, St. Joe-MetuchenBrady Silverman, Governor Livingston Seth Kaplan, Morristown-BeardMick Thompson, Bergen Catholic Brian Kramer, Governor LivingstonZach Wagnon, CBA Ryan Kulaszewski, St. John VianneyBrendan Waivada, Seton Hall Prep Jason Kwestel, Morris Knolls Connor Sedlak Wins JSZ’s 2021 Hockey Player of the Year During a season shrouded in uncertainty, Don Bosco Prep senior Connor Sedlak put together a career year on the ice. Sedlak helped the Ironmen collect double-digit wins and the Gordon Cup championship after a Gordon Conference-best 28 points (18 G, 10 A) for the Ironmen. Sedlak, who also eclipsed 100 career points this season, was selected as the Gordon Conference MVP by the conference’s coaches. Sedlak is the third Don Bosco Prep player to win JSZ’s highest hockey award, following his older brother, Tyler Sedlak, in 2019, and Mickey Burns, in 2018. The Sedlak’s also now become the first siblings to both win a major Jersey Sports Zone end-of-year award. JSZ’s Jay Cook profiles Connor Sedlak after an unforgettable season:
Meet JSZ’s 2021 Mr. Hoop Zone Finalists!
A short 2021 high school basketball season didn’t stop the top players in New Jersey to make a MAJOR impact. Jersey Sports Zone proudly announces our five finalists for our player of the year award. Watch our highlight reels from the best of the best from the Garden State and learn more about JSZ’s post-season coverage which begins next week. Mr. Hoop Zone balloting Voting for the 2021 Mr. Hoop Zone is underway. Numerous coaches from conferences spanning the entire state – along with JSZ’s staff of MMJ’s and other reputable, credentialed media – are casting ballots for the top player. Every ballot has a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place vote with three points awarded for 1st, two for 2nd, and one point for 3rd. The winner will be announced on March 19 and will join a talented collection of players to bring home JSZ’s annual boys basketball honor. In addition, we will present our JSZ All-Zone boys and girls basketball teams featuring 40 players from public and non-public basketball for each team. That coverage begins this Monday. Here are the JSZ Mister Hoop Zone finalists in alphabetical order and their highlight reels. Meet the 2021 JSZ Mr. Hoop Zone Finalists Corey Floyd, Jr. – Roselle Catholic, Junior The first two Mr. Hoop Zone winners (Naz Reid and Kahlil Whitney) are Roselle Catholic Lions and Floyd looks to add to the legacy. Floyd averaged 14.3 points per game to lead RC to a 12-3 record in a shortened season. He erupted for a career-high 30 points in a road win at St. Joe-Metuchen and reached double digits in 11 games. As a sophomore, Floyd Jr. was a major piece to the Lions’ 22-7 team that won the Non-Public B North sectional final a day before the NJSIAA shut down winter sports due to coronavirus concerns. He averaged 11.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 27 games in the 2019-2020 season. Floyd has given a verbal commitment to play for coach Dan Hurley and UConn choosing the Huskies over offers from Rutgers, Providence, Florida, Auburn, Wake Forest and Miami. Check out the dynamic reel from Corey’s junior season: Samson Johnson – The Patrick School, Senior As the Patrick School makes the shift from the NJSIAA to the Prep ranks, Samson Johnson is part of the JSZ Mister Hoop Zone podium due to the Celtics playing their traditional schedule against great teams across the state. The lone senior among our five finalists, Johnson averaged 15 points and 5.6 rebounds per game for coach Chris Chavannes. The Celtics went 13-1 in 2021 and Johnson shined in big time matchups highlighted by a 19 point, 14 rebound, 6 assist effort against Montclair Immaculate and a 15 point, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. Johnson continues the New Jersey pipeline to Storrs where he’ll play for Dan Hurley and the UConn Huskies. Watch Johnson’s throw downs and all around complete game in his senior year highlight reel: Will Richardson, Bergen Catholic, Junior The four-star junior prospect saw his team shut down by COVID but still shined with 18.8 points per game in nine games. Richardson had 18 points in the Crusaders biggest win of 2021, a 60-53 victory against the Patrick School. He currently holds 12 offers including Vanderbilt, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Penn State, TCU and Saint Louis. The top-100 national prospect is more than comfortable on the big stage and his JSZ junior year highlight reel proves it. Ben Roy, Manasquan, Junior The two-time Shore Conference player of the year has seen his recruiting stock rise dramatically. Manasquan won back to back Shore Conference championships and the Warriors have emerged as a top-5 team in 2020 and 2021 despite COVID shutting down and shortening those seasons. Roy is an elite playmaker who has guided Manasquan to a 43-1 record over the last two seasons. What’s even more impressive is the out of conference wins: Don Bosco Prep, Montclair Immaculate, Trenton Catholic and Life Center. Averaging 24 points a game with great three-point shooting range and dynamic drives to the bucket, Roy’s biggest play of his junior season was a pass to Andrew Solomon in overtime to give the Warriors a 58-56 win. Watch JSZ’s highlight reel of Ben Roy’s sensational junior campaign: DJ Wagner, Camden, Sophomore The #1 ranked player in America for the class of 2023 continues his amazing high school career. Wagner averaged 22 points on the way to a perfect 13-0 record. In the midst of all the hype, Wagner continues to develop his game and improve. With two more years of high school basketball for The High, Wagner is going to be one of the most watched players in the nation. JSZ has the exciting highlight reel from the highly recruited phenom:
JSZ’s 2021 Miss Hoop Zone Finalists Announced!
It’s time! Despite a global pandemic and a significantly shortened season, New Jersey high school girls basketball fans were still treated to incredible performances and top-notch talent across the board in 2021. Throughout the year, we saw New Jersey’s best shine on the hardwood in a season unlike any other. That brings us here – the end of the road – where the very best of the Garden State’s top talent are recognized as JSZ’s 2021 Miss Hoop Zone Player of the Year finalists. The Miss Hoop Zone balloting Voting for the 2021 Miss Hoop Zone is underway. Numerous coaches from conferences spanning the entire state – along with JSZ’s staff of MMJ’s and other reputable, credentialed media – are casting ballots for the top player. Every ballot has a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place vote with three points awarded for 1st, two for 2nd and one point for 3rd. The winner will be announced on March 19 and will join a talented collection of players to bring home JSZ’s annual girls basketball honor. So, here are the finalists, listed in alphabetical order! Meet the 2021 JSZ Miss Hoop Zone Finalists Destiny Adams, Manchester, Senior What’s left to say about Destiny Adams that already hasn’t been said? The 6-3 Manchester product is a skilled technician in the paint, has handles like a guard and is a competitor like no other. It’s a shame New Jersey high school basketball fans weren’t able to see Adams suit up for the full compliment of 30-plus games in 2021, because she was on pace to score 900 points in her senior season. Yes, you read that right. Adams was a walking, living, breathing double-double who averaged 30 points and 18.7 rebounds per game this season, helping lead the Hawks to a 10-5 record in the uber-competitive ranks of the Shore Conference. Destiny, a North Caroline signee, was New Jersey’s lone selection to the 2021 McDonald’s All-American Game, following in the footsteps of previous Miss Hoop Zone winners Diamond Miller (2019) and Kylee Watson (2020). Zoe Brooks, Trenton Catholic, Sophomore You could tell Zoe Brooks was on a mission in her sophomore season with Trenton Catholic. Following the news that TCA would close at the end of the 2021 scholastic year, Brooks propelled the Iron Mikes to one of the dominant and impressive seasons in program history. Only a sophomore, Brooks led Trenton Catholic in scoring for the second consecutive season after putting up 290 points (19.3 points per game) on the hardwood. Her all-around game as a point guard shined in various other departments, too, where her 68 assists and 58 steals were both team highs. Trenton Catholic impressed weekly and went 14-1 over a shortened season. Anyone who saw them play knew Zoe Brooks was the captain of the ship. Katie Hill, St. John Vianney, Senior Her stats might not jump off the page, but go ahead and watch the highlight reel below to see why Katie Hill deserves to be a JSZ Miss Hoop Zone finalist. The Richmond commit clearly came into 2021 as an ascending player, and throughout the season, continued to get better and better. Hill averaged 12.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game on the best team in New Jersey, yet arguably her biggest asset was the vital senior leadership she provided to a team that also finished among the best in America. Katie Hill is a winner, through and through, and her legacy at SJV will be as such. Madison St. Rose, St. John Vianney, Junior What didn’t Princeton commit Madison St. Rose accomplish in 2021? That list is incredibly short. The St. John Vianney star truly shined on a nightly basis for the Lancers, a team that was no doubt No. 1 in New Jersey when it was all said and done. St. Rose, a seriously proficient scorer, stuffed the box scores as SJV ransacked their competition all year. Let’s not forget that the Lancers did play the absolute toughest schedule in New Jersey. Notable wins came over Rumson-Fair Haven (twice), Red Bank Catholic (twice), Manasquan, Saddle River Day, Paul VI and Trenton Catholic. In each of those games, St. Rose was the best player on the floor. She averaged a team-best 19.4 points per game and also eclipsed the 1,000 point mark March 2. The sky is the limit for Madison St. Rose. Alexa Therien, Cherokee, Senior Alexa Therien is an absolute winner, plain and simple. Cherokee experienced some of the best basketball in school history when Therien was on the court, evidenced by a 92-11 career record in her four years with the Chiefs. In 2021, Therien was the best player on one of the best teams in South Jersey who averaged a team-best 16 points per game on a 12-2 squad. Alexa is youngest daughter of longtime Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Chris Therien, and is the last Therien sister to suit up for the Cherokee Chiefs. She’ll be bringing her talents to New England where she’s signed to play at Boston University.
Estime Wins 2020 JSZ Zoneman, Signs with Notre Dame
What a day Friday was for Audric Estime. The St. Joe’s (Mont.) product is at the forefront of the New Jersey high school football world after it was announced Estime won the 2020 Zoneman Trophy, Jersey Sports Zone’s honor for the top player in New Jersey. Moments after accepting the honor, Estime sent shockwaves through the national college football recruiting world by announcing he’s be signing with the University of Notre Dame. Watch JSZ’s full breakdown of Estime’s huge day: Zoneman Breakdown Estime put up unprecedented numbers during the 2020 season. In the eight games St. Joe’s played, Estime delivered 1,838 yards and 22 touchdowns against the top competition in the state. Estime garnered votes from coaches and media in every corner of the state to take home the award. Notre Dame Signing Estime will be making plenty of waves with his announcement Friday to flip from his Michigan State commitment to his signing with Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are one of the top teams in America and Estime will be a jolt of energy to the program.
Meet the 2020 JSZ All-Zone Football Team
JSZ honors a season unlike any other with our fourth annual JSZ All-Zone team. We’ve got the top players from New Jersey at every position and the announcement of our 4th Zoneman Trophy Winner The 2020 football season provided incredible memories in the midst of adversity. Despite teams losing games due to the pandemic, JSZ cameras were able to find the best of the best from New Jersey high school football. All this week, we will present the 2020 JSZ All-Zone football team. Audric Estime wins 2020 JSZ Zoneman The St. Joe-Montvale running back will always remember the day he won the Zoneman Trophy. That’s because he happened to make national headlines when he flipped his commitment from Michigan State to Notre Dame signing with the Irish shortly after accepting the JSZ Zoneman Trophy. Estime was a force topping 1800 yards and 22 ground scores in just eight games of action Watch JSZ’s Zoneman Trophy presentation and an extended interview with Audric during his signing day ceremony: Estime received 33 votes from JSZ’s 72 person voting panel of head coaches and statewide media: Thank you to the head coaches and statewide media who cast their vote for the 2020 Zoneman Coaches: Joe Wojechowski, Lenape, Sean Clancy, Notre Dame, Rich Hilliard, St. Joe-Metuchen, Joe LaSala, Woodbridge, Vin Mistretta, Jackson Memorial, Montrey Wright, Salem, Kenny Scott, Winslow, Kevin Smith, Ocean City, Pat Gallagher, Williamstown, Steve Scanlon, Clearview, Chris Sacco, Absegami, Tim Gushue, Shawnee, Pete Lancetta, St. Augustine, John Whitehead, Paramus Catholic, Vito Campanile, Bergen Catholic, John McKenna, DePaul Catholic, Dan Sabella, Don Bosco Prep, Darnell Grant, West Orange, Bill Fitzgerald, Seton Hall Prep, David Schuman, Red Bank Regional, Dan Curcione, Donovan Catholic, Jeff Rainess, Holmdel, Jim Raso, Hammonton, Rich Hansen, St. Peter’s Prep, Tony Grandinetti, Wall, Jim Sharples, Jackson Liberty, Dom Marangi, St. Joe-Montvale, Mike Lange, Red Bank Catholic, Don Klein, Ocean Township, Bryant Garvin, Newark East Side, Jason Acerra, Bayonne, Andrew Patterson, Robbinsville, Brian Bowers, Delbarton, Todd Smith, Hun, Chris Beagen, Sayreville, Dave Ellis, Freehold Boro, Al Chiola, Linden, Dallas Whitaker, Somerville, John Viotto, South Brunswick, John Emel, Penns Grove, Rob Davis, Barnegat, Brian Russo, Rahway, Lou Grasso, Union, Roger Kotlarz, Wayne Valley, Scott Bray, Bridgewater-Raritan, Kevin Kostibos, Summit, Len Zdanowicz, Brick Township Media: Rich Chrampanis, JSZ, Jay Cook, JSZ, Nery Rodriguez, JSZ, Mike Frankel, JSZ, Kenneth Bradley, JSZ, James Mooney, JSZ, Andrew Koob, NJ.com, Sean Miller, NJ.com, Mike McGarry, Press of Atlantic City, Kevin Minnick, NJ.com, Tom Williams, Prime Events, Pat Lanni, NJ.com, Ryan Patti, Rivals.com, Dave McCarthy, McCarthy Report, Shawn Brown, 247 Sports, Chris Melvin, Asbury Park Press, Todderick Hunt, NJ.com, Mike Kinney, NJ.com, Joe Zedalis, NJ.com, Bob Badders, Shore Sports Network, Chris Gallagher, News 12 NJ, Sunil Sunder Raj, Gannett, Kyle Franco, NJ.com, John Jones, Max Preps, GMC Gridron 2020 JSZ All-Zone Non-Public Offense (Click player’s name to watch their JSZ All-Zone profile!) QuarterbackRunning BackWide Receiver Tight EndOffensive LineZoneman Finalists Steve Angeli, Bergen CatholicRyan Butler, Bergen Catholic Naran Buntin, Mater Dei PrepAlex Bauman, Red Bank Catholic Chase Bisontis, Don Bosco Prep Tahj Bullock, St. Peter's Prep Andrew Butler, DePaul CatholicJahdir Loftland, Donovan Catholic Nick Dunneman, Seton Hall Prep Jack Larsen, Seton Hall PrepDominick Brogna, Bergen CatholicCookie Desiderio, Somerville Cole Freeman, DelbartonRickey "Pop" Spruill, Notre Dame Jayon Farrar, Donovan Catholic Nuccio Lisitano, DePaul CatholicCamron McNair, Donovan Catholic Audric Estime, St. Joe-Montvale Kanye Udoh, St. Augustine Prep Nasir Hill, St. Augustine Prep Justin McNulty, Holy SpiritCasey Larkin, Wall Najih Rahman, Red Bank Catholic Aidan Monteiro, St. Peter's Prep Patrick Smith, Holy Spirit Jaylan Sanchez, St. Peter's PrepGeno VanDeMark, St. Joe-Montvale 2020 JSZ All-Zone Non-Public Defense/Special Teams Defensive LineLinebackerDefensive BackKicker/Punter Dominick Giudice, Mater Dei PrepPJ Casale, Delbarton Jayden Bellamy, Bergen CatholicPatrick Ryan, Delbarton Keshon Griffin, St. Joseph Academy Timmy Hinspeter, Don Bosco Prep Jordan Campbell, St. Peter's PrepSebastien Tasko, St. Joe-Montvale Jake Louro, Red Bank Catholic Frankie Monte, St. Joe-MontvaleJaeden Gould, Bergen Catholic Qy'aeir Price, DePaul CatholicAi'Johnnie Rembert, Holy SpiritJahqir Haley, St. Joseph Academy Ethan Rodriguez, St. Peter's PrepAhmad Ross, St. Joseph AcademyJake Jarmolowich, Delbarton George Rooks, St. Peter's PrepA'Khoury Lyde, DePaul Catholic DJ Samuels, Bergen Catholic 2020 JSZ All-Zone Public Offense QuarterbackRunning BackWide ReceiverTight EndOffensive Line Joe Crifasi, BectonJaiden Abrams, HammontonJoJo Bermudez, Cedar CreekSean Clapp, RamapoMatthew Fries, Cranford Charles DePrima, RamapoAl-Jay Henderson, IrvingtonJaimen Bryant, SomervilleJordan Harris, Woodbridge Chad Martini, Watchung HillsAli Lee, Jr., WoodbridgeAlijah Clark, CamdenJustin Evans-Jenkins, Irvington Sha'Kim Shuler, Freehold BoroNasir Robinson, Penns GroveXavier Coleman, LenapeWinston Jordan, Highland Regional Demie Sumo, WillingboroTyler Davis, LenapeJoe Metzger, Delsea Will Towns, Jackson MemorialDesmond Igbinosun, UnionJoe Mancino, Holmdel Bhayshul Tuten, PaulsboroAnthony Johnson, Burlington Twp.Grant Puharic, Wall John Volker, Rumson-Fair HavenJake Schneider, Ocean CityBilly Searle, Nutley Josh Toner, Cherokee 2020 JSZ All-Zone Public Defense/Special Teams Defensive LineLinebackerDefensive BackKicker/PunterReturn Specialist Zaire Angoy, IrvingtonLeQuint Allen, MillvilleJayden Brown, Winslow Twp.Jai Patel, South BrunswickAl Shadee-Salaam, East Orange Jihaad Campbell, Timber CreekKharyi Banton, Newark West SideJalen Cheek, Winslow Twp. Donovan Ezeiruaku, WilliamstownLocksley Burke, East OrangeDarian "Duce" Chestnut, Camden Von Factor, Rumson-Fair HavenLuke Cole, LenapeBrody Colbert, Williamstown Luke Doerr-Fredrickson, West MorrisMikai Gbayor, IrvingtonLee Coleman, Salem Mike Jarvis, ShawneeJake Inserra, Ocean CityShaquan Loyal, Newark West Side AJ Pena, SomervilleEmeril Mitchell, Winslow Twp.Dorian Rawls, West Orange Jordan Thompson, Parsippany HillsCharlie Sasso, WallRyan Ruane, Rumson-Fair Haven John Testa, Wayne ValleyKeon Sabb, Williamstown Corey Walker, Newark West Side Meet the 2020 Zoneman Finalists Tahj Bullock, St. Peter’s Prep QB Before ever taking a snap at St. Peter’s Prep, fans and coaches on the St. Peter’s Prep stands and sidelines buzzed about a kid nicknamed “Ducee” who would take New Jersey by storm. Now Tahj Bullock’s illustrious high school career is over – and he’ll be discussed as one of the most impactful player to ever play for the Marauders. Bullock, a Virginia Tech commit, flashed in the six games St. Peter’s Prep played in this season. He completed 51 percent of his passes for 818 yards and a touchdown to interception ratio of 12:0. Ducee also accounted for 306 yards and six more touchdowns on the ground, bringing his career touchdown total to an impeccable 52 scores. JSZ’s Jay Cook has the story on Bullock Cookie Desiderio, Somerville RB Players like Cookie Desiderio don’t come around very often – and the numbers he produced in 2020 were just as unique. The Somerville bruiser exceeded every and all exception in this wild season with 1,569 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns on only 152 carries. That comes out to 10.3 yards every single time Desiderio took a handoff. You know what makes those numbers so impressive? It’s the fact that Desiderio did it in only seven games and that he surpassed every single benchmark he previously set in his junior season. Desiderio becomes the second player in Somerville history to be nominated for the award (Jalahn Dabney, 2018.) The recognition is well-deserved. JSZ’s Nery Rodriguez has the feature: Audric Estime, St. Joe’s (Mont.) RB Audric Estime put in an offseason for the ages to deliver one of the most dominant single season efforts anyone has ever seen in North Jersey. While playing in arguably one of the toughest divisions in the entire country, the St. Joe’s (Mont.) product ran roughshod over the competition for 190 carries, 1,857 yards and 22 touchdowns. All of those were career highs in only eight games played. The Michigan State commit was also the only player in the state to account for 2,000 scrimmage yards and finished 2020 with a total 2,042 yards and 24 touchdowns. The Big 10 better be ready for what’s coming. JSZ’s Jay Cook has the story: Casey Larkin, Wall ATH Both the soul and heartbeat of Wall’s undefeated 2020 team is, without question, Casey Larkin. A starter on both sides of the ball for the Crimson Knights, Larkin shined in every game he played. At running back, he rushed for 870 yards and 13 touchdowns on only 97 carries. At defensive back, Larkin anchored the Crimson Knights defense with 32 tackles, five pass defenses and a fumble recovery. Wall won the unofficial Shore Conference championship this season and finished the year 7-0. Larkin delivered two standout performances in the semifinal and finals. Some in New Jersey consider Wall to be the state’s top-ranked team – if they indeed are, then Larkin had a major say in that decision. JSZ’s Rich Chrampanis has the story: Patrick “Cheeks” Smith, Holy Spirit RB If you ask any high school football fanatic in South Jersey who the area’s top player was this season, the answer would be short and quick: Cheeks. Patrick Smith, the Holy Spirit standout, was an absolute force to be reckoned with every time the rock was in his hands. Smith concluded an unforgettable 2020 campaign with 1,719 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns on a workhorse-like 221 carries this season. Holy Spirit ended the season at 8-0 after becoming the unofficial South Jersey champions with a 21-7 win over Lenape in the WJFL Bracket A Final. Smith’s incredible top-end speed and vision helped drive the Spartans to the upper echelon on New Jersey high school football in a crazy season. JSZ’s Mike Frankel has the feature: JSZ Plays of the Year The JSZ Football Plays of the Year will wrap up on December 21st with the six winners of each category vying for the top overall play of the year. We’ll interview the winner on December 23rd! Special Teams TD of the Year: Monday, Dec. 7th through Wednesday, Dec. 9th.TD Pass Play of the Year: Thursday, Dec. 10th through Saturday, Dec. 12th.Defensive TD of the Year: Sunday, Dec. 13th through Tuesday, Dec. 15th.TD Run of the Year: Wednesday, Dec. 16th through Friday. Dec. 18th.Sack of the Year: Saturday, Dec. 19th through Monday, Dec. 21st.2020 Overall Play of the Year (6 Plays of the Year winners): Monday, Dec. 21st through Wednesday, Dec. 23rd
Meet Pierce Coppola: NJ’s Towering 6’8″ Southpaw
Try finding a more physically imposing high school pitcher than Pierce Coppola. We dare you. Standing at 6’8″ – and potentially upwards of seven feet tall when on the mound – Verona’s southpaw ace plans to bring competitive baseball back to his hometown in Essex County. In front of nearly two dozen MLB scouts on Opening Day, Coppola fanned 11 batters and allowed only one hit across five shutout innings vs. Caldwell. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Coppola has transformed his body alongside his game into his current situation – a high D1 player committed to the University of Florida who Baseball America considers to be a Top-50 national ranked draft eligible player this summer. JSZ’s Jay Cook has the story on NJ’s own version of the “Big Unit”:
Former Giant Jonathan Casillas Hosts Clinic At Alma Mater New Brunswick
Retired two time Super Bowl Champion with the Saints and Patriots and former Giants captain, Jonathan Casillas returned to his alma mater of New Brunswick to host a free linebacker and lineman clinic for high school athletes in the surrounding area. Current college athletes and NFL veterans attended the event to lend their expertise and also brush up on their skills during the offseason. Casillas and company are dedicated to giving back to the community and will host more events through his “Forward Progress” camp this year to help showcase the high level of football talent in the Garden State. JSZ’s Nery Rodriguez has the story:
Baseball and The Bello’s: Star CF Mike Bello Preps for 2021 Season
Baseball, widely regarded as America’s Pastime, is nearing its return on the New Jersey high school front. Teams across the state are prepping to play meaningful games for the first time in nearly two years. The same preparations are underway up at Pope John, yet its happening with some family flair. Senior Auburn signee Mike Bello is returning to the diamond this spring after batting .488 as a sophomore two seasons ago. Arguably the state’s top position player is getting ready for his last high school season alongside his dad Vin, Pope John’s head coach, and younger brother Dom, a sophomore third basemen. JSZ’s Jay Cook has the story of family and baseball from Sparta:
Loaded With Talent, Delbarton Eyes Redemption 2021
After sitting on the shelf for 22 months, Delbarton has their sights set on returning to glory. The Green Wave are the top ranked Garden State team per Inside Lacrosse and US Lacrosse Magazine, who have given the Morristown private school preseason national rankings of No. 9 and No. 23, respectively. A talented midfield loaded with Division 1 talent will lead the way as Delbarton looks to repeat as Morris County champions, Non-Public A champions and will aim to capture a Tournament of Champions trophy. JSZ’s Jay Cook has the preview from Morristown:
CBA Ready to Resume Quest for Shore Top Spot
As we close in on opening day, JSZ previews one of the top teams in the Shore Conference. CBA has a great mix of offense, defense and specialist talent along with an influx of newcomers who are expected to contribute. Watch our preview of the Colts laxers! The CBA boys lacrosse team reached the Shore Conference Tournament finals in 2018 and 2019 falling to Manasquan. Even after a pause due to COVID, the storyline remains the same for coach Dave Santos and his team. The Colts will once again be chasing the Warriors for the top spot in the Shore Conference. CBA has a ton of talent and is looking to end the reign of the Warriors. Led by Villanova commit Dan Martin on offense and Providence signee Noah D’Andrea in goal, the Colts have a reliable FOGO man in Babson’s Jared Lucich and LSM Aidan Quinn (Marist). JSZ’s Rich Chrampanis has the outlook on the 2021 Colts:
RBR’s Ogden Does it All: 3-Sport Star Makes SportsCenter Top 10
Red Bank Regional’s Gordon Ogden’s “Goalie Goal” made ESPN’s Top 10 and it was only a scrimmage! JSZ talks to the Bucs three sport star who’s anxious to make his high school lacrosse debut next week Red Bank Regional’s Gordon Ogden has been a fixture on JSZ highlights over the last two years in football and ice hockey. But his #1 sport is lacrosse. The Jacksonville University long stick commit spent two years at prep school before returning home to play with his friends. With COVID wiping out the 2020 spring sports season, Ogden will finally officially debut next week for the Bucs lacrosse team but made some noise in a scrimmage against CBA. Playing goalie in the fourth quarter, Ogden made a save and went coast to coast for a wild spinning goal that landed him at #8 on ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10. Ogden played three different positions and used three different sticks showing his versatility. JSZ talks with Ogden about his amazing goal and finally getting to play lacrosse in high school: Jersey Sports Zone is excited to bring a whole new level of exposure to high school athletes in the Garden State. There have now been six JSZ clips that have been featured on SportsCenter’s Top 10. The Ogden “goalie goal” is the latest on the list of JSZ highlights featured on ESPN SportsCenter. JSZ Highlights Featured on ESPN SportsCenter Top 10 Plays Gordon Ogden, Red Bank Regional (Lacrosse) – #8 April 14, 2021 Chris Farinacci, Manasquan (Hockey) – #3 February 21, 2020 Jagger Zrada, Moorestown (Basketball) – #2 March 10, 2019 Michael Balzarotti, Delbarton (Hockey) – #3 February 13, 2019 Hayden Volk/Matt Volk, Colts Neck (Football) – #7 October 31, 2015 Julian Kislin/Max Halvorsen, Freehold Township (Hockey) – #1 January 14, 2015 Jersey Sports Zone’s coverage of Red Bank Regional is made possible by Ryser’s Landscape Supply
Four-Star Guard Armstrong Makes College Choice
Basketball players in New Jersey’s elite Class of 2022 continue to make waves on the national stage. This time, the headline comes from Jersey City. Mark Armstrong, a four-star combo guard from St. Peter’s Prep, is the latest Garden State product to give a verbal commitment to Villanova University. 2022 four-star Mark Armstrong has committed to Villanova, he tells me. Ranked 40th Nationally per 247Sports. pic.twitter.com/jNp8ogzLZP— Tipton Edits (@TiptonEdits) April 8, 2021 Standing at 6-3 and 165 pounds, Armstrong has been one of the most productive players across the state since his freshman season. The West Orange native averaged 14.2 PPG in 11 contests during a shortened season this past winter. He eclipsed the 1,000 point mark early in the season and has also led the Marauders in scoring in each of the last three seasons. Watch Armstrong’s JSZ Highlight Reel HERE Playing for head coach Alex Mirabel, Armstrong has blossomed into a complete player at St. Peter’s Prep. He’s shown the ability to hit three’s from beyond the arc and slash to the rim with smooth handles and a sweet touch. Armstrong is also active on the defensive end who collects steals and rebounds. Armstrong’s decision to commit to Villanova keeps a pipeline alive from head coach Jay Wright to the Garden State’s elite talent. Former Ranney star Bryan Antoine and former Rutgers Prep standout Trey Patterson are both currently on the roster for the Wildcats, who reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
Donovan Leary Commits to Illinois
Timber Creek standout Donovan Leary is one of the Garden State’s top quarterbacks. The junior has already thrown for more than 4,400 yards and 35 touchdowns in his high school career. Leary announced his college decision on Monday, making a verbal commitment to the University of Illinois. After long conversations with my family and coaches….I have decided to commit toTHE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS #famILLy22 pic.twitter.com/GZ2NaxdwCI— Donovan Leary (@D_leary2) March 29, 2021 Watch some of Leary’s highlights for the Chargers here: JSZ went 1-on-1 with Leary before his junior season, as part of our “JSZ A to Z: Top Players We Want to See” series: Coverage of Timber Creek is made possibly by Cooper University Health Care.
Princeton Lands Bruising RB Ryan Butler
He’s tough, physical and cerebral. And now he’s headed to the Ivy League. Ryan Butler, Bergen Catholic’s talented thunder-and-lightning tailback, announced Sunday night he’s keeping his talents in-state and is committed to Princeton University. 100% Committed to the Admissions Process at the #1 University in the Country. #GOTIGERS @PrincetonFTBL @CoachBobSurace @CoachMWillis @CoachCuevas78 @BrianDohn247 @RivalsFriedman @Rivals_Singer @BergenCathFBall pic.twitter.com/yRn4AfrQSE— Ryan Butler ➈ (@ryan24butler) March 8, 2021 Butler, a JSZ All-Zone selection in 2020, was one of New Jersey’s top dual-threat players this past fall. He led Bergen Catholic in rushing with 854 yards and 10 touchdowns and also was the team’s top receiving target with 295 yards and three more touchdown receptions. Watch Butler’s JSZ Junior Year Highlight Reel! With the graduation of JSZ Player of the Year Audric Estime, Butler figures to be one of the top returning running backs in the state when the 2021 season comes around. His blend of IQ, size and speed fit well into a Crusaders offense that’s also led by recent Notre Dame commit and QB Steve Angeli. He led Bergen Catholic in all-purpose yards in 2020 while powering the Crusaders to a 5-1 record in the SFC’s United Red Division. Princeton has done a great job of recruiting talented in-state players in recent years. Fellow JSZ All-Zone RB John Volker, a Rumson-Fair Haven product, is a senior and is also committed to the Tigers. Jersey Sports Zone’s coverage of Bergen Catholic is brought to you by Rothman Orthopaedics.
Millville’s LeQuint Allen Commits to Syracuse
LeQuint Allen did it all for the Thunderbolts during his junior campaign in Millville. On defense, Allen finished with three interceptions, six sacks, and more than 80 tackles. On offense, Allen scored ten touchdowns, rushed for nearly 700 yards, and added almost 300 yards receiving. Allen announced his college decision on Friday evening, verbally committing to Syracuse University. Part 1 @OBGFootball @TBoltAthletics The commitment 🗣 pic.twitter.com/yH2TG4zq3p— LeQuint Allen Jr (@JrLequint) March 5, 2021 THE COMMITMENT Part 2 @TBoltAthletics @OBGFootball pic.twitter.com/XpyoWSrRTN— LeQuint Allen Jr (@JrLequint) March 5, 2021 Check out Allen’s JSZ junior year highlight reel here:
Star QB Steve Angeli Announces Future College Home
The world of college football recruiting couldn’t be any more hectic than it is right now in 2021, but that doesn’t preclude the country’s top prospects from finding their future homes. That’s exactly what happened Thursday night when Bergen Catholic quarterback Steve Angeli took to social media and made waves on the national recruitment front by announcing his verbal commitment to the University of Notre Dame. God, Country, Notre Dame…☘️ 100% C O M M I T T E D ☘️ #GoIrish ☘️#IrishRising22 ☘️ @NDFootball @CoachBrianKelly @T_Rees11 @bccoachvito @BergenCathFBall @EQBcoach @Hayesfawcett3 pic.twitter.com/R7N5Urf4Xg— Steve Angeli (@SteveAngeli_125) March 5, 2021 Angeli, a four-star rated quarterback prospect, is the first major recruit in New Jersey’s talented crop of 2022 passers to make a verbal commitment. In his first full season as a varsity starter, Angeli completed 59 percent of his passes for 945 yards and threw six touchdowns to only two interceptions. He was selected to JSZ’s All-Zone team after his breakout season. Angeli’s work came in the Super Football Conference’s United Red Division – widely hailed as one of the toughest high school football divisions in the entire country. There were no championships awarded in 2020, but Bergen Catholic finished the year at 5-1 and was recognized among the top teams statewide when the season closed. Watch Angeli’s JSZ Junior Year Highlight Reel! Standing at 6-3 and 215 pounds, Angeli has been described as a prototypical quarterback – in both stature and ability – by Bergen Catholic head coach Vito Campanile, a former quarterback. Angeli’s decision to head to South Bend is the latest reminder that Notre Dame still has an incredible foothold when recruiting elite New Jersey talent. In December, the Fighting Irish swooped in at the last minute and signed St. Joe’s (Mont.) RB and JSZ Zoneman Player of the Year Audric Estime. Former JSZ All-Zoners currently on Notre Dame’s roster include DB Clarence Lewis, TE Kevin Bauman, LB Shayne Simon and defensive lineman twins Jayson and Justin Ademilola. Angeli’s best football is ahead of him as New Jersey is set to welcome back a full season and state championships for 2021-2022 season. The Westfield, NJ native will be among the state’s best players suiting up next fall. Jersey Sports Zone’s coverage of Bergen Catholic is brought to you by Rothman Orthopaedics. Visit JerseySportsZone.com for all the latest news and highlights on New Jersey athletes.
Malone, Smith Make College Decisions
Two of the top seniors in the Garden State, Tywone Malone and Patrick “Cheeks” Smith, signed letters of intent on Wednesday. JSZ was on hand for the signings. Malone Signs with Ole Miss Tywone Malone has found his next home. After starring at Bergen Catholic for four years, Malone put pen to paper Wednesday is officially committed to the University of Mississippi. Malone, who will play both football and baseball at Ole Miss, is a rare two-sport athlete for a man of his stature. Arguably New Jersey’s No. 1 recruit, Malone keeps Bergen Catholic’s tradition alive of sending talented players to top Power 5 programs. JSZ’s Jay Cook has the story from Oradell: Jersey Sports Zone’s coverage of Bergen Catholic is brought to you by Rothman Orthopaedics. Smith Signs with Vanderbilt Patrick “Cheeks” Smith is heading to the SEC. The Holy Spirit senior RB signed with Vanderbilt on Wednesday night, in front of family, friends, coaches and teammates. Smith rushed for over 1,700 yards and 16 touchdowns last fall, leading Spirit to an undefeated season and a number one ranking in South Jersey. He originally committed to Colorado State back in May, before decommitting in November. Smith is now officially a Commodore, as he gets set for the next chapter in Nashville. JSZ’s Mike Frankel has more on an emotional night for “Cheeks”:
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