One thing was very evident about the 2003 local high school football season. There were two levels of play – the one that St. Peter’s Prep played on, and the rest.
The Marauders were clearly the most dominant team in Hudson County this season, marching through their first seven games without surrendering a single point, exploding scoreboards with every passing game.
The only blemish on the Marauders’ record was the loss to Don Bosco Prep in the NJSIAA Parochial Group 4 semifinals two weeks ago. In fact, the Marauders are 20-2 over the last two seasons – with the lone losses coming at the hands of the seemingly invincible Don Bosco Prep.
So it is only fitting that the powerful Marauders dominate the 2003 Hudson Reporter All-Area football team. In an unprecedented fashion, 12 members of the Marauders have been selected to the All-Area team, the biggest single representation in the 12-year history of the team.
Seven Marauder players are on the offensive team, while five Prep players are on the defensive side.
Two players, offensive guard Luke Schade and defensive back Mike Brown, are repeat honorees. In fact, Brown has been selected to the All-Area team in each of the last three seasons.
The Marauders also dominate the individual honors as well.
Junior Rashawn Jackson, who could have earned selection on either side of the line of scrimmage, has been picked as the Most Valuable Player. Jackson rushed for more than 1,000 yards and scored 22 touchdowns as a running back, but he collected 71 tackles and six sacks as a linebacker.
It marks the third straight year that a Prep player earned the Most Valuable Player honors. Quarterback Joe Dailey, currently at the University of Nebraska, was the recipient in each of the last two seasons.
Senior James Tindall, who transferred from the now-closed Bishop Francis Essex Catholic before the season, emerged as a solid two-way performer for the Marauders and became the team’s most ferocious defender. Tindall earns the nod as the Defensive Player of the Year.
Hudson Catholic enjoyed its finest season in school’s history, going 7-2-1 and earning a berth in the NJSIAA Parochial Group 4 playoffs for only the second time ever. One of the major reasons for that success was the play of junior tailback Jonathan Calderon, who is named as the Offensive Player of the Year. Calderon rushed for 1,475 yards and scored 20 touchdowns for the Hawks.
For turning the Hudson Catholic program around and leading the Hawks to an impressive season, head coach Rob Stern earns the nod as the Coach of the Year.
Stern has another reason to be happy these days. His wife, Jennifer, gave birth to a bouncing baby boy, weighing in at seven pounds, 10 ounces, born Dec. 3 at Overlook Hospital. It’s safe to say that the boy, still to be named, will be a linebacker in the near future.
Coach of the Year and a daddy in the same week. Can’t get any better than that.
Fellow Hawks Joe and Darren Salinardi also made the All-Area team for a second straight year, as did Hoboken’s Terrance Vargas, Weehawken’s Danny Lopez and Emerson’s Nabil Salim. – Jim Hague