High-SchoolNew-Jersey: Leonte Carroo

Hamilton leads big signing day for Don Bosco

February, 1, 2012
Don Bosco Prep signing dayRob Abruzzese/ESPNNewYork

Despite seeing its head coach depart for the NFL last week, Rutgers was still able to sign one of the nation's top players in Don Bosco Prep defensive lineman Darius Hamilton.

The senior, ranked No. 69 in the ESPNU 150 and son of former New York Giant Keith Hamilton, announced his decision Tuesday on the same day that fellow Ironmen and senior wideout Leonte Carroo solidified his commitment to the Scarlet Knights program.

Hamilton and Carroo weren't the only players from the reigning POWERADE FAB 50 champs to sign with Division I programs. Click here to see where five other Ironmen will be playing next fall.

Of course, National Signing Day is a 24-hour affair, so click here to follow all of the day's major news.

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

Don Bosco mounts comeback win, Bergen Catholic falls

September, 17, 2011
Jabrill PeppersDave Rubel/NJSportsMedia/ESPNHSDon Bosco Prep running back Jabrill Peppers dashes for a 31-yard touchdown during Friday's game against No. 19 Manatee (Fla.). The sophomore would later record the decisive score in the top-ranked Ironmen's 22-16 victory in Bradenton, Fla.
In a New Jersey vs. Florida doubleheader where defense reigned supreme, the Garden State earned one victory and let another slip away.

Behind two late touchdowns by Leonte Carroo and Jabrill Peppers, No. 1 Don Bosco Prep overcame a fourth-quarter deficit to down No. 19 Manatee (Fla.) by the count of 22-16. Bergen Catholic wasn't so fortunate in the second contest, as the No. 48 Crusaders watched an early lead morph into a 12-7 loss to Plant (Fla.).

Don Bosco's offense gave Manatee (1-2) several opportunities to win the contest, muffing a punt, missing an extra point and stalling on a number of drives. A 27-yard field goal by Nic Tankersley put Manatee up 10-9 midway through the final quarter.

But just as the upset alert spread throughout Manatee's Hawkins Stadium, where the Hurricanes hadn't lost since October 30, 2009, Don Bosco (2-0) stormed back.

First-year starting quarterback Mike Yankovich found Carroo deep for a 64-yard touchdown strike to put the Ironmen up 15-10 after a failed two-point try. Then Manatee, which had struggled with long snaps throughout the game, hiked one high over the punter's head deep in its territory. Don Bosco recovered at the 6 and Peppers ran it in from there for his second score on the night, sealing the Ironmen's 37th straight victory.

Carroo racked up 113 receiving yards and Peppers finished with 70 rushing yards for the Ironmen, who showed that they can be resilient as well as dominant, witnessed by last week's 35-7 win against Mission Viejo (Calif.).

As Bergen Catholic ran onto the field for its shot at another Florida powerhouse, the Crusaders' rivalry with Don Bosco gave way to state solidarity, as the Ironmen hyped up their fellow Garden State players.

Bergen Catholic turned this adrenaline into a 47-yard touchdown run by Michael Gerst, giving the visiting squad a 7-3 lead in the first quarter. The Crusaders' defense took it from there, holding the explosive Panthers to just one touchdown.

But that one TD — a second-quarter scoring run by Plant's Wesley Bullock — as well as a Crusader offense that turned it over twice and mustered just 158 total yards sealed Bergen Catholic's fate.

For more discussion on the games and what they say about New Jersey's national status, click here to check out the podcast from High School GameNight, which airs Fridays from 11 p.m. to midnight on 1050 ESPN Radio New York. Yours truly appeared last night around the 14-minute mark.

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 Lambert, Carroo

August, 24, 2011
Each week, we'll take a deeper look into our All-State football team to see whose stock is rising and falling based on recent performance and news. I know some of you are wondering, how can you have a stock watch when football hasn't officially started? Easy. Every football fan knows that the season never truly ends.

UP — Quanzell Lambert, LB, Timber Creek
Between an impressive showing at Gridiron Kings this past summer and the relative silence concerning his hot recruitment, Lambert has shifted many eyes toward his upcoming senior season. The linebacker has a nose for the ball, racking up 188 tackles and eight sacks as a junior through aggressive play. Expect more big play from Lambert in the future.

DOWN — Sean Maguire, QB, Seton Hall Prep
Through no fault of his own, Maguire sees his stock take a dip. In June, the Pirates quarterback committed to Florida State, joining what's become one of the nation's top recruiting class. Yet, earlier this month, Hueytown's (Ala.) Jameis Winston, the Elite 11 co-MVP and nation's No. 1 QB in the ESPNU 150, also pledged to the Seminoles. As a result, the pressure is on for Maguire to show his worth this season. Fortunately for him, with record-setting tailback Kevin Monangai graduated, Maguire has the green light to put up big numbers in the Pirates' offense.

UP — Leonte Carroo, WR, Don Bosco Prep
Earlier this month, Carroo pledged to Rutgers, bringing great joy to those across the Garden State. Now with his college commitment out of the way, Carroo can focus on what's expected to be a big season for he and the Ironmen. Granted, the road to a sixth straight championship won't be easy, with the POWERADE FAB 50's fifth-ranked team in Mission Viejo (Calif.) coming to town Sept. 10. But Carroo looks ready to improve upon a junior campaign that included 45 catches for 1,005 yards and 14 scores.

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 Prep FootballSteve Boyle/ESPNHSDon Bosco Prep, the top-ranked football team in the POWERADE FAB 50 and five-time defending state champ, is led by this senior quintet. Clockwise from left: Elijah Shumate, Mike Strizak, Darius Hamilton, Leonte Carroo and Yuri Wright

Winners of the last five state championships. A record of 59-1 in that span. Currently atop the POWERADE FAB 50 Football Team Rankings for the second time in three years.
The maroon-and-white tradition within Don Bosco Prep's football program is indeed a strong one, especially of late. And with 10 of its 11 starters returning on defense, one can't help but think that the saga will continue this upcoming season.

Anchoring this charge is a quintet of seniors headed for Division I BCS programs -- Leonte Carroo, Darius Hamilton, Elijah Shumate, Mike Strizak, Yuri Wright. In the September edition of the ESPNHS New Jersey magazine, each veteran took time to share what it felt like to enter into this special dynasty as well as their plans in making sure it carries on in 2011. Click here to see what they had to say.