TASTY TIDBITS Strong local participation in North-South All-Star Classic

Prep enjoys solid baseball start; Mocco makes headway in MMA

Devell Jones has enjoyed a lot of memorable moments during his high school career, both as a student at University Charter and a football player at Lincoln.
On June 27, Jones will get one more chance to represent both schools and Jersey City, when he plays for the North All-Stars in the 37th Annual New Jersey Scholastic Football Coaches Association North-South All-Star Classic at Kean University.
“This is my last chance to represent Jersey City, my school and my teammates,” said Jones, who will head to Monmouth University to play football in the fall. “I want to put up a good show. I’m absolutely looking forward to playing with all these big-time players. I know a lot of these guys are also going to be playing football in college, so this is a great opportunity for me.”
Jones, who attended the press conference last Sunday at Piscataway High School announcing the teams, thought that his high school career was over. He didn’t think he stood a chance to get selected to play in the All-Star Classic that now bears Phil Simms’ name. The New York Giants Super Bowl MVP became involved with the game last year and serves as a huge ambassador to the sport.
“I didn’t think I had a chance to make the team, but Coach [Robert] Hampton called me and told me that I was nominated,” said Jones, who rushed for a school-record 3.346 yards and 46 touchdowns during his career for the Lions, who lost to Mountain Lakes in the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group II championship game in MetLife Stadium last December. “When I found out I was nominated, I said, ‘I want this one.’ I was really excited.”
The players will get the chance to live in the Kean dorms for the week-long practices, so there is a lot of chance for camaraderie with the other players. It also gives the players a chance to get a feel about college life before they head off to college for real later in the summer.
Jones said that he was excited to be on the North team with Hoboken lineman Daniel Clifford, the Wagner-bound lineman who was also selected for the team, but did not attend the press conference.
“I played with Clifford a lot,” Jones said. “He was like one of my best friends. It’s a good feeling to be on the team with him. It’s going to be a great atmosphere. I’m going to learn what college football is all about before I have to go. It’s going to be a great experience, being on the same team with some guys in Hudson County I played against.”
Jones never played against Oliver Molano of Weehawken, who was also selected to play on the North squad, but did face Jonathan Castellanos of Union City, who was also picked, but did not attend Sunday’s press conference.
“I always wanted to play on the same team with the best from Hudson County,” Jones said.
Molano became the second Weehawken product in three years to get picked for the game, joining former Hudson Reporter Athlete of the Year Damien Corredor, who ironically currently plays football at Kean.
“It’s an honor,” said Molano, who is going to play defensive back at Monroe College in New York. “I didn’t think I did that well this year to get picked. I’m just so happy I’m getting a chance to play again.”
Molano was convinced his high school career was over.
“I was very happy when I got the call,” Molano said. “I think this proves that Weehawken kids can play with anyone. Weehawken might be the underdog, but I think we’re opening some eyes. I’m very excited that I’m getting the chance to get back on the field and show everyone who I am. I’m playing baseball right now, but I always think about football every day. It’s number one in my eyes.”
Cheyenn Robinson of St. Peter’s Prep was also chosen and he was not at the press conference as well…
On the local baseball front, St. Peter’s Prep is playing extremely well and climbed back into the state rankings this week. The Marauders have won six straight to improve to 8-1 overall. They defeated Georgetown of Maryland last Saturday, with Dan Cooney (three RBI) and Nick Camilleri (two RBI) doing the damage. The Marauders also defeated Kearny, 10-2, last Tuesday, with Antonio Velardi collecting three RBI and scoring four runs. The Marauders have definitely entrenched themselves as the No. 1 team in Hudson County right now. The Marauders have a big showdown against No. 8-ranked St. Joseph of Montvale Sunday night in the Weehawken Autism Awareness Challenge at Weehawken, beginning at 7 p.m…
But don’t sleep on Ferris, which is playing great baseball, especially after defeating No. 17-ranked Passaic and top local team Marist in a span of three days last week.
Adam Rivera pitched the 6-3 win over Marist and Justin Minaya had two hits and two RBI for the Bulldogs, who welcomed back head coach Mike Hogan after he recently underwent surgery and was on the sidelines for a brief stint…
In softball, St. Dominic Academy’s Christina Mezey is making sure that no one dare wrestle away the Hudson Reporter Pitcher of the Year honor she earned last spring. Mezey came close to her fourth no-hitter of the season and had to settle for a two-hitter. She already has three no-hitters this season for the Blue Devils, now 6-1…
Here’s the good news note of the week.
Last week, a junior varsity baseball game involving Union City was supposed to be played at Laurel Hill Park in Secaucus. Umpires Bobby Powers (the former Marist standout and former professional player in the Milwaukee Brewers chain) and Pete Orozco arrived for the game and saw that the field was unplayable.
Instead of taking their check and going home, Powers and Orozco went to a local Home Depot, bought some field drying solvent and some rakes and got the field playable in time for the 11 a.m. start. Now, that’s dedication. A lot of other umpires would have simply gone home. This was going far and beyond the call of duty. Way to go, guys…
North Bergen native Steve Mocco has successfully made the transformation from collegiate and amateur wrestler, even competing in the Olympics in London a few years ago, to the world of professional mixed martial arts.
Mocco, now living and training in Florida, was featured on NBC Sports Network’s “World Series of Fighting MMA,” and won his bout with a first-round technical knockout. Mocco may live in Florida, but he still enters the ring with North Bergen, N.J. as his hometown…
The first annual Autism Awareness Basketball Clinic will take place at the Colin Powell School in Union City on Saturday, April 25, from 9 a.m. to noon. The free clinic will be for all autistic children ages 12 through 15. It’s definitely the first of its kind. Lunch will also be provided. For more information, contact Carlos Cueto at (201) 207-1672. There will also be a Zumba fundraiser and a 3-on-3 tournament as well…–Jim Hague

Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.

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