Despite playing in the formidable NNJIL-C Division, along with nationally renowned programs such as Don Bosco Prep and Bergen Catholic, the Green Knights of Saint Joseph have had little problems staying competitive.
Long viewed as one of the top football programs in the state St. Joe's did little but further solidify that line of thinking this past year by winning their sixth straight Parochial Group III state crown, in a 42-8 drubbing of Pope John (Sparta, NJ) at Rutgers Stadium.
Despite the departure of several of the Green Knights seniors, including QB Brent Weiss (who is looking forward to a future baseball career at the next level - possible destinations include UNC, NC State and the MLB draft) and Rutgers-signees Devin and Jason McCourty, St. Joe's is looking forward to defending their state title.
Below, we will embark on a Spring Preview of St. Joseph's Regional High School, introducing you to the Green Knights' top returning seniors and their prospects beyond.
One of the primary reasons for the continued success of the Green Knights is the return of two-way standout Anthony Ferla (RB/DB). As a Jr. Ferla carried the ball 55 times for 340 yards, including a pair of touchdowns. In a surprising display of athleticism, St. Joe's threw a wrinkle into the playbook by tossing a pair to Ferla in a win versus Paramus Catholic, including a 42-yard catch that Ferla marched into the endzone.
Ferla, who at 5-feet 10-inches and 188-pounds projects as a DB at the next level, has taken advantage of every free moment this off-season. At a recent combine earlier this month, Ferla's long hours and dedication to improvement began to pay dividends as he put together his best 40-time to date: 4.46 seconds.
At this time, Ferla continues to receive interest from a number of schools across the nation, including Northwestern (where his brother attends school on a baseball scholarship), Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Alabama, Virginia, and Rutgers.
What are Ferla's thoughts on his squad's prospects for next year? "Everyone is losing a lot of players. We've got a lot coming back. We've got almost our whole offensive line coming back so we're very excited."
Ferla expects to attend the Elite Combine held May 4th at Giants Stadium and a Nike camp.
Wallace Oldham (6-foot-3 and 238-pounds) is a versatile athlete that can play the defensive end (native position) position, make the switch to OLB or even play the Guard and Fullback position on offense.
Several schools are currently showing Oldham interest including Rutgers, West Virginia, Connecticut and New Hampshire.
Earlier this month, Oldham took a visit to the West Virginia campus, one of the top schools on his list of suitors. "I spent a weekend at West Virginia where I met with the recruiting coordinator there. The campus is really nice. I was pretty impressed with everything," stated Oldham.
Oldham's primary goal during the off-season is to continue to train for upcoming spring and summer camps and his senior year at St. Joe's. "Food is a big thing for me. I'm trying to become more lean."
"I really want us to go undefeated this year. State champs again," stated Oldham in reference to the Green Knights prospects next fall.
Oldham also expects to attend the Elite Combine on May 4th and the MSL Combine on May 17th.
A name certain to become better known across New Jersey and beyond as soon as spring and summer camps get underway, is Dominick Wright. Wright, going into his Sr. year at St. Joe's stands at 6-foot-4 and 210-pounds. A soccer player initially, Wright stepped on the gridiron for the first time this past year as a WR. Though extremely raw, simply due to the lack of playing time, Wright looks the part about as much as anyone, and has all the physical tools necessary to become a very good college football player.
Wright will be participating at several spring and summer camps and is expected to be on hand for the Elite Combine on May 4th.
Doug Klopacz, at 6-foot-3 and 260-pounds is St. Joe's top returning offensive lineman. A tackle by trade, Klopacz is an impressive athlete that will play the defensive end position in addition to his duties on the offensive line. He has also expressed a desire to play the TE position.
Klopacz' forte from the Tackle position is pass blocking. Quite mobile for his size, Klopacz has good feet and displays solid technique.
John Tashjian stands at 6-foot-3 and 240-pounds while playing C for the Green Knights. Tashjian required surgery on one of his knees last year, but has rehabbed well and is back in full form.
An outstanding student, Tashjian currently holds a B+ average.
"I definitely want to win another championship next year, to win the seventh straight and ultimately go undefeated."
Brandon Glyck stands at 6-foot-3 and 220-pounds. While he only he started a couple of games for the Green Knights last year, he is expected to fill in one of the starting roles for the DE spot this upcoming year. He projects as a defensive end at the next level and has both the academic and athletic credentials to become an Ivy League type of player.
At 5-feet-11 and 225-pounds Chris DellaFave started every game for the Green Knights at Right Guard this past year. DellaFave, extremely well put together, will make the switch to the LB spot this upcoming year. DellaFave, like many of his teammates, spends a significant amount of his off-season in the gym or on the track, honing his skills, and specifically, improving on his speed, in preparation for his senior year.
Terrence Klein spent the majority of his Jr. year at the Outside Linebacker position. At 5-feet-11 and 190-pounds Klein has the type of hands that would make him more suitable for the defensive backfield. Indeed, Klein is expected to make the move to the Safety position this coming fall.
This past year, Klein broke his hand before the St. Joe's - Don Bosco game. In that game, an eventual St. Joe's victory, Klein picked off a pass late in the game, ending up with the interception that sealed the win for the Green Knights.
St. Joseph's Regional High School finished this past year with not just another state title, and not just their sixth consecutive. They also finished with a national ranking of 22nd. Led by Head Coach Tony Karcich, the Green Knights, who in the last 6 years have won a total of 61 games and during the last 10 years have won an incredible 103 games, including 9 state titles, are primed for the challenges that 2005 has ready to offer.
And perhaps a remarkable 7th consecutive state title will be added to the trophy case.
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