High-SchoolNew-Jersey: Andrew Monahan

New Jersey football championships preview

December, 2, 2011
12/02/11
3:38
PM ET
There will be championships galore across the Garden State this weekend. Here are five contests to keep a close eye on:

Don Bosco Prep vs. Bergen Catholic
We've seen this before in last year's Non-Public, Group 4 title game and about two months ago. And even though Don Bosco has won both matchups (along with its last 45 games overall and the last five titles), we all want to see this one again. Bergen Catholic gave the Ironmen their greatest challenge this year, bringing a lead into the fourth quarter before falling 33-22 behind late turnovers. The Crusaders have seen great growth since then, as QB Jon Germano has emerged as a big-time passer while the defense continues to be solid. Thing is, with each passing week, the Ironmen seem to get better and find a different playmaker. Plus, while both teams beat St. Joseph (Mont.) and Paramus Catholic, the Ironmen did so in a much more convincing manner behind its suffocating defense. Regardless, this one should be another classic.
My pick: Don Bosco Prep 34, Bergen Catholic 30

Wayne Hills vs. Old Tappan
Here's another rematch of last year's North Jersey Section 1, Group 3 final, when Wayne Hills ran back a kick return for the decisive TD in the final minute. This year's tilt could be just as thrilling with offensive firepower at a plenty. Wayne Hills boasts talented junior QB Kevin Olsen and do-everything player Andrew Monahan, who is expected to play despite being charged with assault a few weeks back. For Old Tappan, arguably the state's top offensive prospect in Devin Fuller makes the Golden Knights a threat to score on every play.
My pick: Old Tappan 28, Wayne Hills 27

Elizabeth vs. Piscataway
At the start of the year, most wondered what was wrong with Piscataway, as the defending North Jersey Section 2, Group 4 champs lost two of their first three games. But the Chiefs have recovered in a major, letting loose an aggressive defensive attack that's produced five shutouts this year. The Chiefs are also explosive on offense behind QB Nadir Barnwell. Elizabeth doesn't have Piscataway's size, but it has the talent and speed, anchored by RB Elijah Hughes (21 touchdowns).
My pick: Piscataway 31, Elizabeth 24

Summit vs. Madison
It's been 24 games since Madison lost a game. The last one? A 23-14 playoff defeat at the hands of Summit. Of course, the defending North Jersey Section 2, Group 2 champs would like nothing more than to avenge that loss, but that will be easier said than done. Summit's offense has been nearly unstoppable this year, averaging 43 points a game during its 11-0 campaign. Madison has the defensive ability to thwart such an attack, though, as the Dodgers have given up less than 10 points per game and shut out their last two opponents. Which unit will bend in this intense matchup?
My pick: Madison 27, Summit 20

St. Joseph (Mont.) vs. Delbarton
Never mind St. Joseph's blowout loss to Don Bosco Prep. It's a new week and the Non-Public, Group 3 championship is at stake. But the Green Knights' foe this weekend is also formidable in 11-0 Delbarton. The Green Wave's defense has been stifling this year, barely allowing 11 points per game. Likewise, the offense has been solid behind RB Jamie White (1,334 yards and seven scores). On the other side, St. Joseph is certainly battle-tested, facing the likes to Bergen Catholic and Don Bosco Prep this year. Take away those two losses and the Green Knights have given up just 81 points in nine wins. But while Delbarton might not be of the caliber of the top two teams in the state, its firepower and success could be too much for the Green Knights.
My pick: Delbarton 27, St. Joseph (Mont.) 23

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Wayne Hills, St. Joseph (Mont.) battle in Week 8 New Jersey football

November, 4, 2011
11/04/11
12:53
PM ET
St. Joseph (Mont.) is in the middle of the octagon. Of course, the No. 9 Green Knights are a football team, not MMA fighters, but with the schedule they have to finish up this season, win or lose, they'll be beyond battle-tested.

Three weeks ago, it was No. 3 Bergen Catholic (a 30-17 loss). Last week, it was a talented Pascack Valley squad (a 42-3 win). And this weekend, it's No. 2 Wayne Hills for the finale.

The Green Knights will look to QB Spencer Aukamp, who has shown great athleticism from the pocket while totaling 13 touchdowns this year, and his favorite target in Ricky Jeune (five touchdowns) to lead an offensive attack that will need to be explosive to keep up with Wayne Hills.

After almost literally playing lights-out football in their first five games by outscoring opponents 185-7, the Patriots have survived upset bids from Ramapo and Ridgewood in the last three weeks. The Green Knights definitely provide their biggest test to date, meaning key players like QB Kevin Olsen (932 pass yards, 16 TDs) and WR/KR Andrew Monahan (11 total TDs) will have to step up even more.

But since the offenses for both teams are proven, defensive play will be the X-factor in this contest. In the Patriots' two close contests, the opponent hung with them early by shutting down their offense. Likewise, in the Green Knights' lone loss, they had to play keep-up after falling behind early.
My pick: Wayne Hills 28, St. Joseph (Mont.) 27

Sayreville vs. Piscataway
After a slow start, both of these teams ride into this matchup on lengthy win streaks. There have been some classic battles since these two started playing in 1995, as chronicled in this Star-Ledger story. I don't expect anything less in this year's bout.
My pick: Sayreville 17, Piscataway 14

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

WRs Tsimis, Monahan can't be caught in New Jersey football

October, 13, 2011
10/13/11
8:41
AM ET
It's time for the New Jersey All-State football stock watch, but from here on out, we're going to switch things up a little bit. Along with highlighting an All-State player who is ballin' out, we're also going to hand out the On The Rise (OTR) award for a player who didn't make the preseason list but is well on his way to earning postseason recognition.

UP — John Tsimis, Bergen Catholic WR
Crusaders coach Nunzio Campanile told me before the season that Tsimis was a tremendous athlete and playmaker. The junior has lived up to his coach's expectations, putting together two big weeks against stiff competition. Two weeks ago, Tsimis racked up 10 catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns in a close loss to top-ranked Don Bosco Prep. He continued his coming-out party this past week in a comeback win against Friendship Academy (Washington, D.C.), catching eight passes for 88 yards and one score.

OTR — Andrew Monahan, Wayne Hills WR
This guy has been all over the field this season. In just five games, he's racked up 12 touchdowns, scoring at receiver (six catches for 150 yard and two TDs in last week's win against Paramus), on the ground and via special teams. No wonder the No. 2 Patriots have outscored opponents 185-7 this season.


Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Don Bosco tops Bergen Catholic, Holy Spirit falls in Week 4 NJ rankings

October, 3, 2011
10/03/11
2:15
PM ET
After games of Sunday, Oct. 2.

Talk about a wild weekend of football. In a much-anticipated rivalry game, Don Bosco Prep showed why the fourth quarter is its time to shine while St. Joseph (Hamm.) avenged its lone loss from a year ago.

Let's start at No. 1, where the nation's top-ranked team once again overcame a fourth-quarter deficit behind its defense. Kyle Sakowski's interception sparked a 12-point final period, as Elijah Shumate scored two of his three touchdowns to push the Ironmen past a tough Bergen Catholic squad, 33-22. For three quarters, it looked like the Crusaders would pull off the upset, but as they showed against Manatee (Fla.) two weeks ago, the Ironmen's resolve carried them to their 39th straight win.

Meanwhile, Holy Spirit saw its 16-game win streak snapped against St. Joseph (Hamm.). You might remember last year that the Spartans easily beat a turnover-prone Wildcats squad, 35-0 last year, so the reversal of fortune in this past Saturday's 34-7 win for the Wildcats was probably very sweet. The defensive duo of Max Valles and Kaiwan Lewis looked stout in holding Holy Spirit to just 56 rushing yards and 155 total yards.

Needless to say, Holy Spirit dropped out of the POWERADE FAB 50 while Don Bosco remains on top. This week, the Ironmen cap an intriguing tripleheader at Fordham University (N.Y.), as they face national No. 6 St. Edward (Ohio) after Bergen Catholic takes on Friendship Academy (Washington, D.C.) and St. Peter's Prep battles Ursuline (Ohio). In the meantime, click here to see what else is going down on the New Jersey high school sports scene.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings are in parentheses):

1. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey) 4-0 (1)
The Ironmen once again overcame a fourth-quarter deficit against a tough opponent, this time beating rival Bergen Catholic, 33-22, behind three touchdowns by Elijah Shumate. And as has been the trend this season, the road doesn't get any easier, with national No. 6 St. Edward (Ohio) coming to town this week.

2. Wayne Hills 4-0 (4)
Andrew Monahan scored three more touchdowns and the Patriots shut out their third straight opponent in a 34-0 win against Teaneck. Next up: Paramus.

3. Bergen Catholic (Oradell) 2-2 (3)
A 22-21 fourth-quarter lead ended in a loss for the Crusaders, who have now lost nine straight to rival Don Bosco Prep. Still, the Crusaders can notch a huge bounceback win when they face Friendship Academy (Washington, D.C.) this Saturday in New York.

Click here for the full POWERADE New Jersey weekly football rankings.

Wayne Hills and Wayne Valley renew rivalry in Week 3 NJ football

September, 23, 2011
9/23/11
2:56
PM ET
About this time last year, Passaic County rivals Wayne Hills and Wayne Valley each brought 2-0 records into their annual clash with Wayne Hills as the favorite. But the Patriots got a scare, falling behind 10-7 early before clawing back for a 21-6 victory. Some weeks later, the two met again and the Patriots again took care of business, winning 48-0 en route to the North 1, Group 3 sectional championship.

All of that is certainly not lost on either team as they face off in similar circumstances tonight. Wayne Valley is seeking revenge while No. 4 Wayne Hills is looking to continue its dominance. The Indians will lean on the home crowd as well as tailbacks Alesandro Trani and Anthony Lanberg, but their defense will be key. Patriots wideout Andrew Monahan scored three times one quarter last week and leads an offense that's outscored opponents 72-7 in two games.
My pick: Wayne Hills 31, Wayne Valley 17

No. 8 Montclair (2-0) at Seton Hall Prep (1-1)
The Pirates' task against Montclair is simple: Stop Khalif Herbin. If only that were easier done than said. The dual-threat back has already scored eleven touchdowns and topped 500 yards rushing during the Mounties' quick start. Plus, on defense All-State lineman Julian Pinnix-Odrick will be pursuing Pirates QB Sean Maguire. No small task, but if anything the Pirates can try to match the Mounties on the scoreboard.
My pick: Montclair 35, Seton Hall Prep 24

Linden (0-1) at Elizabeth (2-0)
The Tigers have had a week to regroup after falling to a strong Hunterdon Central squad in the opener. Running back Ruhann Peele makes Linden a threat to score on almost every play, but Elizabeth will have some say in that. After losing by 29 points to the Tigers last season, Elizabeth looks like a formidable opponent, led by quarterback P.J. Walker (660 passing yards, seven TDs). Plus, the Minutemen are fresh off a win against the very squad that beat Linden, which is why I think this year's contest will have a happier ending for Elizabeth.
My pick: Elizabeth 24, Linden 17

Timber Creek (2-0) at Moorestown (2-0)
In two wins this season, Moorestown has displayed a balanced attack. Quarterback Andrew Lisa has looked solid (450 yards, four scores, no picks), tailback Delaney Wallace has reached the end zone four times and five players have caught at least two passes this year. But that all will be tested against a Timber Creek defense that features highly touted LB Quanzell Lambert as well as lineman Greg Webb. This one should go down to the wire, but I think Timber Creek's defense makes the difference.
My pick: Timber Creek 17, Moorestown 14

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

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