TASTY TIDBITS HCIAA soccer finals set; state scoring leaders have Hudson flavor

The HCIAA soccer championships will be held today (Sunday, Nov. 5) at Bruins Stadium inside North Hudson Braddock Park in North Bergen, with a tripleheader scheduled for noon.

In the first game at 12, High Tech will take on McNair Academic for the boys’ Seglio title. High Tech, with “Hat Trick Nick” Nicholas Hopkins and the county’s best goalkeeper in Ryan Woods, is a heavy favorite to win a second straight HCIAA Seglio crown.

At 2 p.m., the girls’ title game between Holy Family Academy and Bayonne will be held and HFA, which went undefeated in the HCIAA regular season, should emerge victorious.

Then, at 4 p.m., Memorial will tangle with North Bergen for the HCIAA Coviello boys’ championship. Memorial, which dominated play in the league all year, thanks to its high-powered 1-2 scoring punch of Adrian M. Lagos and Innocent Buule, should complete its fine season with the premier title in the county.

It should be a fine day of soccer for all local enthusiasts and purists…

Speaking of soccer, the New Jersey City University Gothic Knights are poised to make history as well. The nationally ranked Gothic Knights advanced to the New Jersey Athletic Conference championship game for the first time and was set to face Montclair State for the NJAC title, which was scheduled to take place after press time on Friday. Just getting to the title game shows how great of a job Kevin East has done at NJCU. Former Hudson Catholic goalkeeper Bruce Neves has been downright brilliant in net for the Gothic Knights down the stretch. It’s safe to say that NJCU will get a berth in the upcoming NCAA Division III tournament, win or lose against Montclair…

The current race for the high school football scoring championship in New Jersey certainly has a Hudson County flavor, with five players currently ranked among the top 12 leading scorers in the Garden State.

Right now, Damien Bates of Hoboken is No. 2 in the state with 164 points, one touchdown behind leader Jeremy Tucker of Pope John. But close behind is Yessy Tejada of St. Joseph of the Palisades (No. 4 with 140 points), Darius Kinney of Hudson Catholic (No. 5 with 128 points), Davon Shaw of Ferris (No. 6 with 118 points) and Jawan Carson of Marist (No. 12 with 105 points).

It’s one thing to have three teams ranked among the state’s top 20, but having five among the state’s leading scorers is very impressive and certainly something to be proud of…

Maybe it went unnoticed, but how wild is it that Hudson County’s two top football teams, St. Peter’s Prep and Hoboken, both won by the same identical lopsided scores last Friday night. The Marauders, the No. 1 team in New Jersey, defeated Bayonne, 61-0, and Hoboken, the No. 4 team in the state, knocked off Emerson by the very same score.

It only makes the scheduled Nov. 24 showdown between the two state powers at Caven Point Cochrane Stadium even more important. Make sure to circle that date, because it will be a grand spectacle, Hudson County’s version of “Friday Night Lights”…

We received a nice letter from Weehawken native Brian Dorsey, who has become one of the most respected officials in college basketball. Dorsey, who is now a teacher in the Union City school district, was saddened by the passing of referee Artie McDonald, who died of a heart attack last week.

“Early in my officiating career, I had the opportunity of working my first college assignment with him,” Dorsey wrote in the letter. “I will never forget how easy he made it for me. Over the years, I was always impressed how helpful he was to me and to so many others. He was a man who truly had such a positive impact on so many of us in the officiating world and beyond.”

McDonald was a fixture in working at several Hudson County games in the past. With his fire-engine red hair and his fiery approach, he certainly left his mark and was way too young to go at age 59. We know that he will be sorely missed…

Congrats to two Hudson County natives who recently received induction into the Seton Hall Prep Athletic Hall of Fame in basketball player Steve Ricciardi, Jr. of Weehawken and hockey player Brandon Doria of Bayonne.

The younger Ricciardi is the younger half of the father/son coaching tandem. Steve, Sr. is the head basketball coach at Hudson Catholic, while Steve, Jr. is the head coach at High Tech.

Ricciardi, Jr. (SHP Class of ’97) was only the eighth player ever to score 1,000 points at Seton Hall Prep and led the Pony Pirates to two state titles during his playing career. Doria (SHP Class of ’99), who began his high school career at Hudson Catholic, transferred to Seton Hall and led the Pony Pirates to the Tournament of Champions title… — Jim Hague


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