New York High School: New York Jets

Toal believes Simms can make it in NFL

May, 10, 2012
Don Bosco coach Greg Toal can't forget that strong arm of former quarterback Matt Simms.

"He had the strongest arm by far of any quarterback we've had," Toal said about Simms, who signed with the Jets over the weekend. "No one had the arm of Matt and he was so strong and just a great leader and a heck of a quarterback too. He has the best arm that I've ever seen."

While Simms will have to battle to make the Jets' roster, Toal is hoping that strong arm can help his former star secure a role for himself with a team. Simms is one of five quarterbacks on the Jets roster after he made the team following a tryout during the team's minicamp.

"Matt's worked very hard and has a good opportunity," Toal said. "Hopefully he gets a good shot and I think he's going to impress. I think he's got a lot of skills that can be used in the NFL game. Few guys have as strong an arm as his. He has the ability to be an NFL quarterback."

Simms, son of former Giants quarterback Phil Simms, started for three years at Bosco, leading the Ironmen to a State title in 2006. He played for Louisville, El Camino (Calif.) C.C. and Tennessee. He had his best season in 2010, completing 113-of-195 passes for 1,460 yards and eight touchdowns with the Volunteers.

The quarterback worked out with the Giants before the draft, and after going undrafted, earned an invite to the Jets' minicamp. He earned himself a contract at the camp, although that does not guarantee him a final roster spot with the team. The Jets will carry at least three quarterbacks, and it is not known yet if they will hold four spots.

"He's excited about this opportunity," Toal said. "I'm sure he's going to do the best he can so that he can do real well."

Toal said Simms obviously was well-coached entering high school and the team was able to revolve it's offense around his strong arm. Toal also knows Simms' brother, Chris, and said that Matt reminded him more of Phil in terms of physical build. If Simms can make the Jets' roster, he will join fellow Bosco alum and current Giants defensive end Justin Trattou in New York.

"I've always though if the right team invested in him, he could be a heck of a quarterback in the NFL," Toal said.

Tebowing brothers talk of town after trade

March, 23, 2012
As he checked Twitter on his cell phone during his eighth-period class on Wednesday, Riverhead High School senior Tyler Carroll read that Tim Tebow had been traded to the Jets.

Just three months earlier, Carroll, along with his brother, Connor, had both been suspended one day for "Tebowing" in the Long Island school's hallways, while friends Jordan Fulcoly and Wayne Drexel eventually had their suspensions overturned.

Now, Tebow was the newest quarterback in town.

"We were all in the same class and I turned and told them. At first, everyone was shocked, then everybody was asking us if we were going to be Tebowing again," Tyler said. "Who would have thought three months ago that now he'd be in New York?"

For the Carroll brothers, who both played football for Riverhead, they believe the trade of Tebow to the Jets brings their story full circle after their suspensions in December. They said talk of their Tebowing exploits has picked up in the days after the trade.

"People have been saying we're the reason that the trade happened, which is obviously ridiculous," Tyler joked. "This is definitely ironic."

The suspensions for the brothers led to national attention, with Tebowing becoming a nationwide trend. The school's administration claimed that the act led to blocking of the hallways and it could have presented safety problems, as others were joining in. The brothers and their two friends said they had been Tebowing for several days and were doing it to honor Tebow in a lighthearted way.

Connor remembered how the story caught fire seemingly overnight, and there were about four news trucks outside of the Long Island school the following day. Tyler recalled how the house's phone kept ringing and plenty of media outlets wanted to talk to the brothers.

"The whole experience that came from the Tebowing and the national attention, that experience was unreal, and to think he came to New York, that's crazy," Tyler said. "I would have never expected that to blow up as big as it did and I didn't expect Tebow to be in New York three months ago."

With Tebow in town, the brothers are back in the spotlight. Tyler said that they get referred to as the "Tebowing Kids" and lots of their peers on Long Island know the story and who they are, even those who live in a different town. Connor added that it's part of their legacy at the school.

"Everybody has been coming up to us, our classmates, some security guards, our teachers, asking if we are going to do it again," Connor said. "But we're not going to do it, definitely not in the hallways. Maybe if Tebow comes out to Riverhead, we could do one with him."

The 17-year-old brothers said they would like to meet Tebow, if that opportunity ever arose, but were not expecting to meet him. When they were suspended, Tebow told the Associated Press that if they had good intentions, he commended them for being different, but they also needed to respect authority.

"It would be an amazing honor to meet him," Connor said.

While the Carroll brothers are now tied to the Jets, they want to set the record straight on one thing. Yes, they like Tebow and will continue Tebowing as a sign of support, but there's another team in New York that they want to see do well. And that teams wears blue.

"At our reunions, we're always going to be connected to this, and we like him and it's cool he's in New York with other great role models," Connor said. "I'm still hoping that the Giants can be better than the Jets."

Click here to read our original story about the Tebowing incident

Nick Sanchez takes in Mission Viejo game

September, 11, 2011
As he stood on the sideline watching Mission Viejo (Calif.) play Don Bosco Saturday night, Nick Sanchez had flashbacks to the time his son, and current Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, used to put on the pads for the Diablos.

"Just yesterday, I was standing on the sidelines watching Mark and the youngsters on that team and they were successful and they played with the same enthusiasm these men have out here," Nick Sanchez said. "Unfortunately, they didn't have the opportunities these guys are going to have of the Mission kids coming all the way from California to visit New York and New Jersey and come to a community like this and play in a wonderful game like this."

While the Jets quarterback couldn't make it out to Ramsey, N.J. to watch his high school play Saturday night, his father watched as Don Bosco emerged victorious in a 35-7 game. At points before and during the game, Bosco fans taunted Mission with "You need Sanchez!" chants, which Nick Sanchez said he did not hear.

Nick Sanchez, with a jacket that had Sanchez written on it wrapped around his waist, was quite pleased to be able to see the game as he attends all of Mission's games. It worked out perfectly for he and his family as Mission played Saturday night in Jersey and Mark opens his season against the Cowboys tomorrow night so they were able to see both contests.

"Having those stars all come into alignment and having the opportunity to take in two great ball games and be out on a beautiful night like this in early September in Jersey and tomorrow the same thing down in Newark, New Jersey, again on a little bigger scale, it doesn't get any better, this is good as it gets," Nick Sanchez said. "We're just a bunch of lucky folks coming form Jersey and enjoying a lot of hospitality and everybody has been more than great and we're loving every second from it."

As he watched Mission Viejo play Saturday, Nick Sanchez was also pleased to be able to watch the team knowing that his son had helped fund the team's trip from California to the East coast. The trip cost more than $125,000 and Mark Sanchez helped chip in.

"Tremendous satisfaction in that and that has nothing do with the Jets, nothing to do with football, that just has to do with someone that had an opportunity once again to do something that was going to be of benefit to a much greater job and something that made him feel good and something that helped make this, in some small way, come about and come to be," Nick Sanchez said. "I think from that perspective, wanting your youngsters to do well and to be good people and be honorable people, I think that warms my heart as much as anything, nothing to do with the football aspect of it and being a quarterback for the New York Jets, just having the opportunity and a good conscience and a good sense of value and what he knows and the love he has for this program, being able to give back to it and doing it."

Mark Sanchez was not able to attend the game Saturday, but according to Nick: "He would have liked to, his heart was here. He's here in some way."

Sanchez helps fund HS road trip

August, 19, 2011
Mark Sanchez is chipping in to help his old high school fly to New Jersey for a football game.

His alma mater, Mission Viejo (Calf.), is slated to play Don Bosco Prep, ranked No. 1 in the nation, on Sept. 10 at Don Bosco's 10,000-seat stadium. The trip is costing more than $125,000, with all the money coming from donations and fundraising efforts, according to Jeff Maass, the Mission Viejo booster club vice president of special events.

The biggest corporate donor is Continental Tire, but much to the delight of the school and the booster club, Sanchez made a matching donation, Maass said. Initially, the plan was for Sanchez to do a promotional appearance to help raise money, but he decided to go beyond that. Maass declined to give the figures, but it's believed the Jets' quarterback donated about $20,000.

"Mark has been huge for us," Maass said Thursday in a phone interview. "His donation made things a whole lot easier. He's always been very supportive of his alma mater."

This won't be just a football game. The Mission Viejo traveling party (75 players, plus 25 coaches and staff members) will arrive Sept. 5. They will practice at Princeton, West Point and, yes, at the Jets' facility in Florham Park, N.J. In between practices, the team will hit the usual tourist attractions, such as the Statue of Liberty and Wall Street.

It should be a terrific football game. Mission Viejo, coached by well-known quarterback guru Bob Johnson (Sanchez's old coach), is ranked among the top teams in California. It will be televised by ESPN.

Sanchez has remained close to his alma mater. In fact, he held the "Jets West" lockout practices at the Mission Viejo football stadium, with Johnson helping out.