TASTY TIDBITS Two of state’s top grid performers reside in Hudson; tickets for Giants Stadium tripleheader

When West New York native Dennis McCarthy, the foremost expert on rating college football prospects in New Jersey, releases his annual McCarthy Report to colleges in the coming weeks, it will feature the names of two Hudson County standouts who have earned their place with the very best performers in the state.

First, Hoboken receiver Duval Kamara, who has already declared his intentions to go to Notre Dame, is ranked as the No. 1 all-around player in the entire state, according to the McCarthy Report.

It marks a first, because McCarthy did not choose to rank Hoboken players in the past, because of a failure to get cooperation with the Hoboken coaching staff.

Now, with Lou Taglieri at the helm in Hoboken, McCarthy reached out to evaluate the Red Wings and came away giving Kamara the No. 1 spot in the entire state.

But Union Hill also has a player that is ranked among the very best in New Jersey, namely Union Hill linebacker Manny Abreu.

Abreu has yet to announce his college intentions, but he is getting a fair share of major college offers for his incredible athletic ability and relentless pursuit to the football. With former Hiller teammate Pedro Sosa already at Rutgers, Abreu has been spotted at two Scarlet Knight practices this summer, which makes one believe that maybe Rutgers is going to be able to secure the services of one of Hudson County’s premier prospects.

Abreu and Kamara should both have brilliant senior seasons, which officially began last week when the local teams began practices in preparation for the coming season.

Will Thompson of St. Peter’s Prep, whose decision to attend Boston College, is featured in this week’s Scoreboard, also received a high grade among the state’s best players according to McCarthy, who has been offering his recruiting services to colleges for the last 20 years….

When next year’s senior class is ranked, it’s bound to feature St. Peter’s Prep’s talented junior quarterback/safety Will Hill. In fact, McCarthy believes that Hill could very well be the No. 1 player in New Jersey, which would mean that Hudson County had the premier prospect in the state in two consecutive seasons. Pretty impressive….

Speaking of Will Hill and the Marauders of St. Peter’s Prep, the Marauders, who return about 13 starters from last year’s Parochial Group 4 state champion, kick off the 2006 season in Giants Stadium on Sept. 9 as part of a huge tripleheader that day. The Marauders will face Delbarton, after Bergen Catholic faces Phillipsburg and St. Joseph (Montvale) faces Poly Prep of Brooklyn that day.

Tickets are priced at $12 for adults and $9 for students (18 years and younger) and seniors (62 and older). Tickets are for General Admission seating and are good for all three games. Tickets are on sale now and available at the Continental Airlines Arena Box Office, online at www.ticketmaster.com, through Ticketmaster charge-by-phone at (201) 507-8900, (609) 520-8383 and (212) 307-7171 and Ticketmaster outlets.

For Group Sales of 20 or more, call (201) 460-4370. It is recommended that fans buy their tickets early to avoid long lines on the day of the games….

Here’s a note of local interest. Easily the best player in the Toms River Little League this past season was 12-year-old Thomas Spanarkel.

Thomas, the son of former Hudson Catholic standout and West Side Avenue legend John Sparnarkel and the nephew of former Hudson Catholic, Duke All-American and NBA player Jim, hit a total of 26 homers in 31 regular season games and added three more dingers in five all-star contests, giving Thomas an amazing 29 homers in just 36 games.

Thomas was also a demon on the mound, with a 14-1 pitching record. In one game, Thomas pitched a perfect game and hit a grand slam and a three-run homer, all in one game.

Thomas helped his team win the regular season and World Series titles in the Toms River Little League. They also captured the District 18 Little League All-Star title and the Toms River Mayor’s Trophy game.

“Each kid who retrieved his home run balls was given a can of soda from the Little League,” the proud father known as “Johnny Sparks” said. “Well, Thomas was given a case of soda by himself. Needless to say, he kept our refrigerator stocked with cold drinks all summer.”

Sounds like a star on the horizon… — Jim Hague


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