TASTY TIDBITS St. Anthony forfeits three wins; Rondon dominates at HCIAA

As expected, the NJSIAA ruled that the St. Anthony football team had to forfeit its first three victories of the season against Nazareth of New York, Memorial of West New York, and Sussex Tech, for allegedly using an ineligible player, believed to be an eighth grader, in those games.

So instead of being 5-1 and rolling toward the NJSIAA Non-Public (Parochial) Group 1 state playoffs, the Friars now have a 2-4 record.

Former head coach Bill Sullivan was fired by the school as both the football coach and vice-principal because of the incident. The school has remained completely silent about the situation, failing to return several phone calls and e-mails. Principal Dr. Mathew Glowski is always “out of the office” when calls are made. It’s not even known who the new head coach of the team is.

Someone has to stand up and be held accountable for this mess. When this reporter wrote a glowing feature about the incredible success about the football program, everyone at St. Anthony was totally ecstatic with the report. Now, there’s a hint of controversy and no one wants to speak.

In the 23 years that this reporter has covered Hudson County sports for local newspapers, St. Anthony High School has received thousands of positive articles and very rarely has there been one with a negative tone.

There’s no avoiding this one. The football program was started two years ago with a lot of people raising their eyebrows, asking how could a school that has been operating on a shoestring budget, with barely enough money to keep the doors open, be able to fund a costly sport like football, with a startup cost of approximately $50,000?

Now, there’s a major impropriety in the first year of varsity football, one that has caused a major embarrassment, and no one is willing to step forward, dishing off everything on the spokesman for the Archdiocese of Newark, which really had no say in the decision whatsoever.

It’s definitely something that cannot be avoided and shouldn’t be covered up. Just face the music and get on with it. Ignoring the matter won’t make it just go away.

Because let’s face facts. How could the school not know who was on their football roster? What in the world would have happened, God forbid, if this alleged eighth grader was seriously injured? Who would have faced the music then?

And you have to wonder what in the world was Bill Sullivan thinking, if he knew he was putting an eighth grader on the field? Didn’t he know? Didn’t ANYONE know?

But the administration at St. Anthony is taking the approach that if they ignore the incident, perhaps it will all just go away. That after a while, no one will really care and everything will be just hunky dory all over again.

That can’t be the case. This was a major infraction, especially for a school that just began its football program and now that program is clouded with a shroud of controversy.

It certainly raises questions. Because if there’s one ineligible player, could there be more? We don’t know. No one will speak.

But someone should.

By the way, how wrong is it that this team could still qualify for the state playoffs, even after forfeiting the three wins?

In that bracket, all you need is a .500 record to qualify, and the Friars have winnable games against Dwight-Englewood and Belleville left before the state cutoff. So they still could get in. Amazing…

In other news…

North Bergen cross country standout Danny Rondon’s brilliant season continued last week when he won the HCIAA championship, falling just five seconds short of the county record. Rondon’s time of 15:58 at Bayonne Park is nothing short of spectacular. He ran 17:04 in winning the race last year.

It should be interesting to see how Rondon does in the upcoming NJSIAA state sectionals, because he’s right there among the best runners in that Group IV sectional…

Kudos to the St. Dominic Academy cross country team, which has put together a fine season and won the HCIAA team title last week. The Blue Devils have been doing well, despite the illness of head coach John Nagel. Assistant coaches Patrick McGonigle and Kier Delaney have kept the ball rolling in Nagel’s absence, although Nagel was present for the HCIAA meet last week…

Christina Nicholas of McNair Academic was the winner of the girls’ HCIAA cross country race in 20:27, ahead of runner-up Jennifer Mateo of Union City High School….

West New York police lieutenant Mike Indri is delving into the world of professional boxing promotions and his Dignity Promotions will hold their first card Wednesday night, Oct. 29, at the Medieval Times in Lyndhurst, with the first bout slated for 7:30 p.m.

While Indri’s card was hurt by the loss of local favorite Wayne “Lights Out” Johnsen of “The Contender” fame, who was injured during training recently and had to cancel his appearance, it still features former WBA junior welterweight world champion “Vicious” Vivian Harris, who resides now in Carlstadt.

Indri is really hoping to make a go of it as a pro boxing promoter. He deserves a good turnout, just because he’s a hard working guy who simply loves the sport of boxing. For more information about the fight card, log on to www.dignityboxing.com or call (201) 741-4994…

The recent NJSIAA power point standings definitely have some local flavor.

In the North Jersey Section 2, Group I standings, Hoboken is second behind Brearley Regional and Secaucus is fourth in that same bracket. As it stands now, both local teams would receive first-round home games. Hoboken has a huge game with Hudson Catholic this weekend, with the game having playoff ramifications for both squads.

That bracket stands to be the most competitive Group I bracket in New Jersey. Anything can happen over the next two weeks before the cutoff.

Incredibly, by virtue of the forfeit win over St. Anthony, Memorial got thrust back into the playoff picture in North Section 1, Group IV. The Tigers now have a 4-2 record, courtesy of the forfeit, and have 26 power points, just five behind eighth place Hackensack in the standings. However, the Tigers face St. Peter’s Prep this weekend. Good luck.

In Section 2, Group II, Lincoln is in the mix with 21 points, currently fourth. If the playoffs began today, the Lions would get a home playoff game. But they have a 3-3 record and they need wins over Snyder and Newark East Side over the next two weeks to make their first state playoff appearance since 1987.

In Section 2, Group III, Ferris has 29 power points, good for eighth place, which right now, gives the Bulldogs a playoff berth. The Bulldogs have a winnable game this weekend against Marist, but then face the mighty Marauders of St. Peter’s Prep next weekend. So it looks as if coach Wilbur Valdez and his hard-working team will need the help of others to get into the playoff mix.

In Parochial (Non-Public) standings, Hudson Catholic is sitting pretty in Group 2, current owners of the top spot with 33 power points, seven ahead of runner-up Holy Cross. If the Hawks defeat Hoboken this weekend, they could lock up the top seed in the bracket.

By virtue of their four straight victories, the Marauders of St. Peter’s Prep have moved into seventh place in the Non-Public Group 4 standings with 38 power points. They could very well move into the top four by the cutoff date and secure a home game in the playoffs, but they have to keep winning.

The rest of Hudson County is out of the playoff picture, which means that North Bergen’s incredible 21-year run of consecutive playoff appearances will come to an end this season…

As for individual performances around the county, Secaucus’ Bobby Roesing had a game that would have been worthy of Athlete of the Week honors, if it weren’t for his teammate Mike Nunez getting the nod. Roesing had 156 yards rushing on just nine carries and scored the game-winning touchdown in the Patriots’ huge 14-7 win over rival St. Mary’s of Rutherford.

And Hudson Catholic’s Jason Hendricks, a previous Athlete of the Week honoree this year, had 189 yards on just nine attempts and scored four touchdowns in the Hawks’ win over Snyder…

How dominant was St. Peter’s Prep in its 61-0 win over Bayonne last Saturday? Well, the Marauders didn’t allow a single first down and never allowed the Bees to get past their own 40-yard line the entire game. That’s downright dominant…

On a personal note, condolences go out to Hoboken head coach Lou Taglieri, whose father, Lou, Sr. passed away last week. There’s no question that the elder Taglieri was proud of the good things his coaching son has achieved and now it’s up to Louie to carry the legacy of his dad to his own children. My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Taglieri family… — Jim Hague

© 2000, Newspaper Media Group