High School Preview - St. Joe's Offense

This is the first of a two part pre-season tour of the St. Joseph's Regional High School Green Knights. We will begin our pre-season look with a look at the offensive side of the ball.


With the departure of Devin and Jason McCourty to Rutgers, the loss of starting QB Brent Weiss to a future baseball career and LBs Andrew Romans and Dean Duchak to graduation, the casual fan may believe that the Green Knights are in for a rebuilding year this go-around.  However, senior leadership abounds at several key positions, and St. Joe's returns talent and experience virtually everywhere. 

The starters up front - from left to right:  Sr. Brandon Glyck [TE], Sr. William Braaf [RT], Sr. Ace Oldham [RG], Sr. Taylor Ciali [C], Sr. Chris DellaFave [LG], John Tashjian [LT], Sr. Doug Klopacz [TE].

As is the case from High School all the way up to the League, every team's success must begin up front.  The top returning offensive lineman for St. Joe's is Doug Klopacz [6-foot-3 and 250-pounds].  However, Klopacz will be moving from his native Tackle position to Tight End for the upcoming year, a position he may be headed for during his collegiate career at Penn State.  John Tashjian [6-foot-3 and 240-pounds] who earlier this summer made the move from Center (the position he is likely headed for at college - Tashjian is likely headed for a Prep school after his senior season at St. Joe's - stay tuned for an upcoming update on the Green Knight star) to Left Tackle has since switched back to Center, while Chris DellaFave [6-foot and 230-pounds], one of the strongest players in New Jersey, and Ace Oldham [6-foot-1 and 235-pounds] will anchor the line at the left and right guard positions, respectively.  The Right Guard position, initially left open by Tashjian's move to Center, will be filled in by Sr. Taylor Ciali [5-foot-11 and 235-pounds].  Returning Sr. letter-winner Brandon Glyck [6-foot-3 and 230-pounds] will make the switch to TE but could see time at either of the tackle positions if needed. 

One important note that needs to be made is that regarding the definitiveness of the current positions.  Both Klopacz and Glyck could conceivably see time at Tackle and current Cneter Tashjian could also spend time elsewhere.  This situation arises for two reasons.  First, depth is not a luxury that St. Joe's currently has, thus necessitating the interchangeability of parts, as needed.  Second, the ability of the staff to move players from position to position certainly indicates something about the versatility of the Green Knights. 

Senior leadership up front - St. Joe's Green Knights continue preparation for their upcoming season.


Today and tomorrow - currently leading the way for the starting QB spot is Jr. Rob Cervini [left in image].  Likely headed for that position is the new kid on the block, a young signal-caller who has looked impressive in practice this summer - Fr. Gabriel Hernandez [right in image]. 

The quarterback situation is not nearly as clear-cut as the offensive line is.  The senior leadership from last year is gone and there is a bit of a quarterback battle for the Green Knights' top spot.  Currently leading the way is Jr. Rob Cervini, with Rob Wilk, a Jr. transfer from Bethlehem Catholic in Pennsylvania close behind.  Cervini currently has the upper hand as Wilk continues to get acclimated with the system.  Making the move to St. Joe's, by way of Edison (NJ) is Fr. QB Gabriel Hernandez.  Hernandez, who will be entering his first season at St. Joe's has shown some potential early on and will be playing on the freshman team this upcoming year.

The Green Knights are loaded in the backfield this year.  St. Joe's backfield trio consists of feature back Sr. Anthony Ferla [TB], Jason Velasquez [FB], and Sr. Terrence Klein [WB].

"It feels good [about taking the additional responsibility of feature back].  I don't know if its pressure or expectations, because all the backs before me have done an awesome job and been the man.  It does feel good though knowing you are going to get the ball a lot, and that it's expected of you to make big plays," stated Ferla.

Ferla is a three-year starter in the defensive backfield but will see an addition to his primary role this year as he makes the move to the offensive backfield, in addition to his duties on the defensive side of the ball.  One of the hardest workers in the entire state Ferla will bring his sub-4.5 40-speed to an offense that will rely on him significantly this year.  Teammate Terrence Klein, who has seen his recruiting stock rise during the summer months (Klein currently hold two offers - one from Rutgers) may see time at virtually every skill offensive position this year.  A jack-of-all-trades, Klein presents the St. Joe's staff with the kind of flexibility that allows the Green Knights to utilize him at a number of positions.

A QBs dream - the cast of WRs, from left to right are, Sr. Terrence Klein, Sr. Dominic Wright, and Jr. Jon Suarez.

Klein, as mentioned above, will see time at a variety of positions, on both the offensive side and defensive side of the ball.  In addition to his defensive duties and appearance in the offensive backfield, Klein will also split wide with the hope of taking some attention from rising Sr. Dom Wright.  "Klein will also see time at split end and he'll also be a receiver fro his wing back position," stated St. Joe's Head Coach Tony Karcich.

Wright, who presents all the measureables a college staff looks for in a wide receiver is a physical specimen.  At the Elite College Combine, Wright's tape measure standing broad jump, turned heads and had several coaches take a long look at the 6-foot-4 and 200-pound WR prospect.  Joining Klein and Wright at the WR position will be Jon Suarez, who like many of his teammates, will also see time on defense.

Chris DellaFave on lining up across a defensive lineman any given game:  I know that when they watch film on Monday that his coach is going to give him so much crap for getting tossed around by a 230lb offensive lineman.



Chris DellaFave, Anthony Ferla, Doug Klopacz, and Terrence Klein were voted on by their teammates earlier this year as St. Joe's four team reps.

At the recent bench press competition at St. Joe's, Sr. Doug Klopacz and Sr. Chris DellaFave came in first and second lifting 200-pounds 25 times and 23 times, respectively.

St. Joseph's Regional HS has their first scrimmage of the year set for today against Ramapo HS at 4 p.m.


Matei: mgeorge@rutgersfootball.com
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