Of the Jersey City public high schools, Dickinson has the best chance to make some noise this season and make its presence felt in the HCIAA race.
Head coach Rob Maffia welcomes back two talented performers in do-everything running back/linebacker Daniel Cooper and running back/defensive end Lester Bell. If lineman Xavier Walker can develop as much as his potential calls for, then the Rams could really be a force in the league this year. Walker was having his problems in the preseason, but perhaps he’s changed his tune as the season kicked off last weekend.
Snyder was an exciting offensive team last year, but most of the players on Eric Piccolo’s team have graduated. However, speedy running back Larry Holmes has returned and should be one of the more flashy and exciting players in the HCIAA this season.
Lincoln welcomes back head coach Adonis Blue for his second season, but the Lions have been plagued in the early going by a considerably poor turnout, fielding only 20 players for a recent scrimmage. The lack of numbers could be a concern for the Lions as the season progresses.
While Marist does not play in the HCIAA, having gained independent status last year, the Royal Knights do have one of the highest ranked players in the state in wide receiver/defensive back Josh Smith, who is ranked as the No. 40 player in the entire state, according to the McCarthy Report. The 6-2, 215-pound speedster is already getting some major college offers and is definitely a player to watch this season.
Memorial has two standout players to watch in quarterback Gus Lopez and running back Edwin Trinidad, who should make new coach Brian Cooney very happy from the opening kickoff of the season. Lineman Ricky Demby is also a strong performer for the Tigers.
Perhaps the two premier linemen in Hudson County are twin brothers. Two-way tackles Darren and Joe Salinardi of Hudson Catholic are both considered big-time college prospects and should make once and current Hawk coach Rob Stern excited as the season progresses.
We’ll take a closer look at Secaucus and St. Joseph of the Palisades in next week’s editions. – Jim Hague