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September 12, 20132012 In Review: The Tigers were 9-3, losing to Summit in the North Jersey Section 2 Group 3 finals, after beating Cranford and Rahway. They scored 249 points for a 20.75 average, while allowing 164 points for a 13.67 average, including two shutouts. Wins included Hasbrouck Heights, Hawthorne, and Becton, while their other losses were to Waldwick/Midland Park and Saddle Brook.
Departures: OL Tony Bonadies - Columbia, OLB Rupert Aranda - Union College, QB/WR/DB Charles Simons - Lackawanna JC (Pa.), ILB Wakimba Davenport - FDU (Madison), WR/DB Jahmir Whitaker - FDU (Madison), G/DT Francisco Brito - FDU (Madison)
Offense: Palisades Park/Leonia runs the multiple spread and returns seven starters. The quarterback is a returning starter in junior Adeyemi DaSilva (6-foot-2, 200), who played some quarterback and wide receiver. The running backs have junior Eric Johnson (6-foot-0, 230) and senior Taj Huggins (5-foot-11, 225) returning, with Huggins splitting out when they are in one back sets.
The slot receiver and tight end are returning starters; with senior Robert Then (5-foot-9, 175) back in the slot and senior Eric Chun (6-foot-0, 200) a returning starter moving from tackle. The wide receivers will be seniors Malik St. Hilaire (5-foot-11, 180) and Johnny Leon (5-foot-7, 160), with St. Hilaire starting on defense last year.
Two starters are back on the line: senior guard Mike Hill (6-foot-4, 285) and junior tackle Austin Joo (6-foot-3, 225). The center will be sophomore Vasili Sotiropoulos (5-foot-10, 300) and the other tackle will be senior Juvic Trinidad (6-foot-0m 215). The other guard is between senior Pete Rumora (6-foot-4, 270) and sophomore Armani Melo (6-foot-1, 235).
Defense: The Tigers play multiple four man fronts and return four starters, plus another who started two years ago. Johnson returns at one end, while Hill is back at one tackle. The other end will be junior Jacob Mercado (6-foot-1, 185), while the other tackle is between Rumora and Melo.
At linebacker, Then is back as the rover and senior Khiri Noerdlinger (6-foot-1, 200) started two years at outside linebacker, but missed last year from injuries suffered in an auto accident. The inside linebackers will be Huggins and Chun.
In the secondary, St. Hilaire is back at one corner and senior Elijah Burguess (6-foot-0, 160) will play opposite him. The safety will be junior David Lopez (5-foot-10, 165).
Special Teams: Rumora will be the kicker and Huggins will punt. The return men will be sophomore Jojo Robinson (5-foot-5, 150) and St. Hilaire on punts and Then and Lopez on kickoffs.
Thursday, 9/12, Hawthorne at home, 7PM
Friday, 9/20, at Waldwick/Midland Park, 7PM
Friday, 9/27, at Weehawken, 7PM
Thursday, 10/3, Saddle Brook at home, 7PM
Friday, 10/11, Becton at home, 7PM
Friday, 10/18, at Queen of Peace, 7PM
Friday, 10/25, at North Arlington, 7PM
Friday, 11/1, Hasbrouck Heights at home, 7PM
Friday, 11/8, Ridgefield at home, 7PM
Question Marks: How well the offensive line plays, including having to replace a four year starter in Bonadies; chemistry will be important there. Replacing some talented players on defense is another concern.
Recruiting: St. Hilaire has an offer from Army. Huggins is a 1-AA candidate. Then is D3 only because of his size. Burguess, Leon, Noerdlinger, and Chun are D3 types. Hill will play somewhere. The sleeper is Rumora, a good athlete who hasn't played since his freshman year, when he was at St. Joe's (Montvale).
In the junior class, DaSilva is a 1-A/1-AA candidate. Joo is Ivy/NESCAC material. Johnson is a special case in the fact this is his last year of eligibility. He is on an accelerated graduation program and if he graduates, he is a 1-AA prospect.
Coach's Comments: "We have some fantastic talent at the skill positions and some excellent linemen. Our quarterback has done well in the summer. Our expectations are high and we have a chance to be better than last year." - Head Coach Dave Schuman
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