High-SchoolNew-Jersey: Elijah Hughes

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.

St. Peter's Prep looks for big win in Week 7 New Jersey football

October, 28, 2011
10/28/11
2:16
PM ET
Two losses marked the start of the season for a St. Peter's Prep not accustomed to losing that often. Granted, defeat came at the hands of talented opponent in Montclair and St. Joseph (Mont.), but the Marauders have righted the ship since then, winning their last five games in convincing fashion.

This weekend, though, the Marauders (5-2) will be back in deep waters, as No. 3 Bergen Catholic (5-2) comes to town. The Crusaders have been surging of late behind the play of QB Jonathan Germano (1,421 yards, 18 scores) and WR John Tsimis, and nearly knocked off national No. 1 Don Bosco Prep a few weeks back.

St. Peter's Prep has its own offensive one-two punch in QB Brandon Napoleon, a West Virginia commit, and WR Jared Crayton, who has 14 touchdowns in the last six games.

The difference is likely to be Bergen Catholic's big-game experience and success, as well as the Crusaders' stingy defense. Still, the Marauders should prove competitive in a contest that could serve as a preview of a future playoff matchup.
My pick: Bergen Catholic 27, St. Peter's Prep 20

No. 7 Immaculata (7-0) vs Elizabeth (6-1)
Both teams are looking to gain some important ground in the Mid-State 39 conference race this weekend. Immaculata has quietly moved up the rankings, but Elizabeth possesses a playmaking threat in tailback Elijah Hughes, who had three scores last week. The Minutemen defense will need an effort similar to last week's win against Plainfield, when they forced seven turnovers.
UPSET ALERT: Elizabeth 20, Immaculata, 17

No. 9 St. Joseph (Mont.) (5-1) vs. Pascack Valley (7-0)
After falling to Bergen Catholic two weeks ago, St. Joseph (Mont.) returns from its bye week to face an emerging Pascack Valley squad. Bent on returning to their winning ways, the Green Knights figure to be hard to stop in this Saturday matchup behind running back Javari Garvin and quarterback Spencer Aukamp.
My pick: St. Joseph (Mont.) 35, Pascack Valley 24

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.

Rivals Don Bosco Prep, Bergen Catholic clash in Week 3 NJ football

September, 30, 2011
9/30/11
12:52
PM ET
Most New Jersey football fans have had this weekend circled on their calendar for weeks now. Not only are is national No. 1 Don Bosco Prep hosting rival Bergen Catholic on Friday but the next day, state No. 2 Holy Spirit faces off against No. 8 St. Joseph (Hamm.).

The five-time defending state champ Ironmen (3-0) have won the last eight meetings, with the most recent coming in last year's Non-Public Group 4 title game. But after losing a close one to Plant (Fla.) two weeks ago and with coach Nunzio Campanile in his second year after moving over from Don Bosco, the Crusaders (2-1) have upset on their mind.

Both teams boast stout defenses and inexperienced quarterbacks, so mistake-free football will be key for each squad. Don Bosco QB Mike Yankovich showed poise in the 22-16 comeback win against Manatee (Fla.) and threw two scores in last week's victory against Ridgewood — their 48th straight against New Jersey teams — but he's still raw under center.

Same goes for Crusaders QB Jonathan Germano. The junior totaled five scores in last week's win against Teaneck but struggled to find a rhythm amid the constant pressure from Plant. Friday won't be any different for either team, but both possess a wealth of weapons on offense to complement their QBs. That's why my guess is that a defensive turnover (and possibly touchdown) will decide this close battle.
My pick: Don Bosco 24, Bergen Catholic 17

No. 2 Holy Spirit (3-0) at No. 8 St. Joseph (Hamm.) (2-0)
An explosive offense meets a stingy defense in what should be an intense version of Saturday football. Holy Spirit boasts the productive tailback tandem of Donta Pollock and Nigel Jones while St. Joseph has All-State defenders Kaiwan Lewis and Max Valles clogging the running lanes. The Spartans are putting up more than 40 points per game, but the Tigers have outscored opponents 107-7 through two games. Last year's battle proved surprisingly lopsided, as Holy Spirit capitalized on five Tiger fumbles for a 35-0 win. It's safe to say this year's matchup will be much closer.
My pick: Holy Spirit 27, St. Joseph (Hamm.) 21

Westfield (3-0) at Elizabeth (3-0)
The other day, I told you about Elizabeth's offensive weapon in Elijah Hughes (533 total yards, six scores), but the senior tailback and his fellow Minutemen will be tested against a talented Westfield squad this Saturday. Tailback James O'Rourke (394 rushing yards, two TDs) leads the Blue Devils, who also possess an aggressive defense that's allowed just seven points in three games. Thing is, the Blue Devils will have to deal with Hughes and the Minutemen passing game, which was put on hold during last week's win against Linden due to a rain-soaked field.
My pick: Elizabeth 28, Westfield 17

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.

Stock is rising for Hughes, Davies on gridiron

September, 29, 2011
9/29/11
1:33
PM ET
"Lookin' at my rollie, it's about that time"... for the New Jersey All-State Football Stock Watch. This week, we feature two players who are living up to the hype and leading the state in production at their respective positions.

UP — Elijah Hughes, Elizabeth RB
He's listed as a running back, but Elijah Hughes is also doing work at wideout this year. Along with his 194 rushing yards and three touchdowns, the Elizabeth senior is leading the state with 14 catches for 339 yards and three scores. Most of that production came in a Sept. 16 win against Hunterdon Central when Hughes caught nine balls for 220 yards and two TDs.

DOWN — Piscataway defense
The hope for Piscataway was that its Sept. 16 loss to South Brunswick was an aberration. But the Chiefs, who entered the season ranked fourth in the state, gave up 28 points for the second straight – this time in a loss to Woodbridge. What's surprising is that the defending North 2, Group 4 champs have no shortage of talent on defense, from Nadir Barnwell, Kyle LaPorte and Tevin Shaw at defensive back and Jonathan Kinslow on the line. But they, along with a special teams unit that surrendered two touchdowns last week, will have to turn things around in a hurry. The silver lining for the Chiefs is that their two losses came against solid squads and with the talent and experience on this team, chances are good that they will rebound.

UP — Ryan Davies, Howell QB
After throwing for 2,864 yards and 36 touchdowns in his first year as starter, most knew that Davies was a legit gunslinger. And not much has changed this season for the senior. Through three games, Davies leads the state in passing, completing 70 of 90 attempts for 907 yards, 12 scores and just one interception. Equally impressive are the five touchdowns he's thrown in each of his last two games, both of which resulted in wins for the 2-1 Rebels.

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.

SPONSORED HEADLINES