The 2015 Hudson Reporter All-Area football team represents the silver anniversary edition. For 25 years, the Hudson Reporter has been selecting the top high school football players in Hudson County and hundreds of those selections over the last quarter century have gone on to become major college football stars.
Some are currently starring for their respective teams in college football. One in particular is two-time Hudson Reporter All-Area honoree Minkah Fitzpatrick, the former St. Peter’s Prep standout, who will grace the Cotton Bowl national semifinal game New Year’s Eve with Alabama as the Crimson Tide faces Michigan State. Fitzpatrick has returned two interceptions for touchdowns this season (both in the same game against Texas A&M).
Some have even gone on to play for pay on Sunday, like former St. Peter’s Prep standout Will Hill, a three-time All-Area honoree who just won the game last Monday night for the Baltimore Ravens with a blocked field goal return for a touchdown on the game’s final play against the Cleveland Browns.
So there has been a ton of talent to grace Hudson’s gridirons over the last 25 years and this year’s crop is the silver anniversary selections.
To start, five members of this year’s group were honorees last year as well, namely Zymire Gordon of Lincoln and Shyiem Simmons of Hudson Catholic on offense and Isaiah James of Hoboken, Stephen Harper of Hudson Catholic and Frank Darby of Lincoln on defense.
In fact, Harper and Simmons join an elite group as three-time honorees.
Breaking it down team-wise, both Lincoln, which lost in the Central Jersey Group II championship game to Raritan last weekend at Kean in heartbreaking fashion, and St. Peter’s Prep lead with eight honorees each, with Hudson Catholic, the state finalist in Non-Public Group 2 next with six.
So the talent was spread about fairly evenly this season. In recent years, St. Peter’s Prep had the most by a considerable margin.
The individual honorees are also broken up evenly as well.
The Hudson Reporter Offensive Player of the Year is St. Peter’s Prep junior quarterback Johnathan Lewis, who had the dubious distinction of replacing last year’s Offensive Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player Brandon Wimbush, now at Notre Dame.
With all the pressure replacing the state’s Player of the Year on the defending state champion, Lewis handled himself well, completing 120 passes for 1,700 yards and 19 touchdowns with only three interceptions while rushing for 500 yards and eight touchdowns. Lewis had a great year for the 8-3 Marauders, who finished the season once again as the top-ranked team in the Hudson Reporter Top Five.
The Hudson Reporter Defensive Player of the Year is Frank Darby of Lincoln. The sensational senior, headed to the University of Iowa next fall, led the Lions to the best record in more than 40 years, as the Lions were undefeated at 11-0, prior to the loss to Raritan in the closing seconds at Kean last week.
Darby was a devastating defensive back in one of the most heralded secondary units in the state. Darby collected 57 tackles at defensive back and had four interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. As a receiver, Darby caught 34 passes for 1,105 yards and 11 touchdowns. He will go down as one of the best football players Lincoln ever produced. He’s also a fine basketball and volleyball player at the school.
The Hudson Reporter Most Valuable Player is Hoboken quarterback Wilden Germain, who had to learn an entirely new offensive scheme (the spread offense) this season after being a wide receiver last year.
The junior simply rushed for 880 yards and scored 16 touchdowns on the ground and threw for nearly 700 yards and another six touchdowns in the air, leading the Redwings (one word, as been instructed by the Superintendent of Schools) to the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I championship, the third state title in four years for the program and the 10th in school’s history, the top total in country history.
The Hudson Reporter Coach of the Year is Ray Marshall of Snyder, who in his first year as head coach inherited a 29-game losing streak, but turned the Tigers immediately into a competitive bunch, posting a 5-5 record, the most wins the Tigers had in football season since 1990.
Not a bad year at all for a silver anniversary edition of Hudson Reporter All-Area football. – Jim Hague
2015 Hudson Reporter All-Area High School Football Team
Quarterback-Johnathan Lewis, St. Peter’s Prep
Quarterback-Zymire Gordon, Lincoln
Quarterback-Wilden Germain, Hoboken
Running Back-Marquis Roberts, Hoboken
Running Back-Syhiem Simmons, Hudson Catholic
Running Back-Joan Andujar, Weehawken
Running Back-Nolan Burns, Snyder
Running Back-Raven Josiah, Union City
Wide Receiver-Kolton Huber, St. Peter’s Prep
Wide Receiver-K.J. Gray, St. Peter’s Prep
Wide Receiver-Satchel Moore, Hudson Catholic
Wide Receiver-Jason Harrison, Lincoln
Tight End-Raul Fernandez, Union City
Offensive Line-Ulises de los Santos, Union City
Offensive Line-Ben Petrula, St. Peter’s Prep
Offensive Line-Louis Negron, Hoboken
Offensive Line-James Brunson, Lincoln
Offensive Line-Jayson Ademilola, St. Peter’s Prep
Kicker-Joe Henry, St. Peter’s Prep
Defensive End-Jalen Scott, Lincoln
Defensive End-Isaiah James, Hoboken
Defensive End-Nyeem Riley, Lincoln
Defensive End-Jose Tavares, Union City
Defensive End-Rafael Ponce de Leon, North Bergen
Defensive Tackle-Alfredo Vera, Hudson Catholic
Defensive Tackle-Matt Newsome, Hudson Catholic
Defensive Tackle-Justin Ademilola, St. Peter’s Prep
Linebacker-James Burgess, Lincoln
Linebacker-Evander Pons, Secaucus
Linebacker-Harrison Fernandez, Union City
Linebacker-Stephen Harper, Hudson Catholic
Defensive Back-Khashawn Decker, Hudson Catholic
Defensive Back-Titus Whitehead, Snyder
Defensive Back-Frank Darby, Lincoln
Defensive Back-Shayne Simon, St. Peter’s Prep
Defensive Back-Kareem Gaulden, Lincoln
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR- Johnathan Lewis, St. Peter’s Prep
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR-Frank Darby, Lincoln
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER-Wilden Germain, Hoboken
COACH OF THE YEAR-Ray Marshall, Snyder
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.