St. Anthony's of the Empire State, fresh off their 10-1 season and 26-20 victory over Mt. St. Michael Academy in the CHSFL AAA Championship game, has picked up in 2008 right where they left off in 2007. The Friars (alma mater of current Scarlet Knight Scott Vallone) became the first team outside of New Jersey's state boundaries to win the Annual Chuck Mound Football Challenge in 13 years. The Friars brought 27-30 players to compete in the event and were led by a pair of standout prospects in Atiq Lucas [6-foot 180-pounds] and Nick Mercurio [6-foot-1 170].
SOR caught up with St. Anthony's Assistant Coach Mark Maier to get a gauge on some of the advantages of bringing kids to the Chuck Mound Challenge.
"Anthony's Head Coach Rich Reichert is all about helping kids to play great football. I was lucky enough to learn about The Football Challenge about six years ago, and suggest utilizing this as a learning experience," stated Coach Maier providing additional evidence of how well the event was run, especially significant coming from the perspective of a Coach.
"St. Anthony's began to attend in '05 with 2 kids (John-Kevin Dolce [UVA] and Brandon Brown [Fordham]) to the 27-30 kids that attended this past Sunday. Scott Vallone [Rutgers], participated in '06, amongst many other players who have gone on to or will play College Football. Chuck Mound runs an excellent 1 Day Combine/Camp that is a WIN-WIN for every kid involved because of the preparation, the competition, and the experience. Besides the fact that Chris Melvin and Nick Lubischer are there helping and evaluating players. Every rep is a learning experience, especially with the carrot of competing in the Giants Bubble and Giants Stadium!"
"As far as winning the Team Championship or Individual MVP's, it is an honor, but never the goal. As we tell the kids, it's not about your numbers when you get there, it's about the work you put in before you get there. Because Chuck Mound runs a quality event, the kids are motivated to do their best, and that's what it's all about. Another quality stepping-stone in football experience, learning about self, possibly gaining some exposure, and having fun, all in the quest of having a great season in the Fall of '08," concluded Coach Maier.
Coming in second and third place in the team competition were Red Bank Catholic and Notre Dame, respectively.
The top individual performers, distributed by event were, are listed below:
|Nick Mercurio||4.41||St. Anthony's HS, NY|
|Jesse Williams||4.42||Bayonne HS|
|Bryant Fitzgerald||4.44||Highland Park HS|
|David Reeves||4.12||Red Bank Catholic|
|Gabe Hernandez||4.13||St Joe's [Montvale]|
|Nick Mercurio||4.13||St. Anthony's HS, NY|
|Bryant Fitzgerald||10.2||St. Athony's HS, NY|
|Eddie Mated||10.0||Bethlehem Catholic, PA|
|Michael Delaney||9.1||Highland Park HS|
The Football Challenge MVPs, based on performance scores on both individual testing and 1-on-1s, is listed below:
|Quarterback||Gabe Hernandez||St Joe's [Montvale]|
|Running Back||Atiq Lucas||St. Athony's HS, NY|
|Wide Receiver||Shakim Phillips||DePaul HS|
|Offensive Line||Joe Bonadies||Palisades Park HS|
|Defensive Line||Oday Aboushi||Xaverian HS, NY|
|Linebacker||Kevin McFall||Butler HS|
|Secondary||Justin Blake||Piscataway HS|
Matei may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org