Union County well represented in North-South All-Star Football Game; 39th annual event set for June 26 at Kean


PHOTO COURTESY OF STEVE TOBER – Union County players on the North roster for the June 26 North-South All-Star Football Game include, standing from left, Zahir Wilder of Rahway, Jahmin Muse of Elizabeth, Liam Dougherty of Summit and Owen Kessler of Westfield. Kneeling, from left, are Jordan Scott who played at St. Joseph’s, Montvale, but now attends Linden, Isiah Byrd of Roselle and Traivon Hodge of Linden. Also on the North roster are Joseph Stuckey of Hillside and Darrell Davis of Union.

Players from eight Union County high schools are part of the North roster for this year’s 39th annual Phil Simms North-South All-Star Football Game, scheduled to be played Monday, June 26 at 7 p.m. at Kean University’s Alumni Stadium in Union.
Arguably the top defensive player in Union County last year was Westfield lineman Owen Kessler, who will continue playing at Georgetown.
Kessler had a monster game against Bridgewater-Raritan, helping the Blue Devils repeat as North 2, Group 5 champions.
His play on defense is a big reason why Westfield will enter the 2017 season with a Union County-best 25-game winning streak.
Also representing Union County are Jordan Scott and Traivon Hodge of Linden High.
Hodge is Linden’s representative – there can be only one player per team for the North-South Game – while Scott played at St. Joseph’s, Montvale and then transferred to Linden.
Zahir Wilder of Rahway, Jahmin Muse of Elizabeth, Liam Dougherty of Summit, Isiah Byrd of Roselle, Joseph Stuckey of Hillside and Darrell Davis of Union are the others.
Scott is listed on the North roster as a wide receiver. His play helped St. Joe’s defeat DePaul 26-17 at MetLife Stadium in last December’s Non-Public, Group 3 state championship game.
Scott will continue playing at Howard University.
Hodge excelled at running back and linebacker for Linden and will play linebacker in the all-star game. Linden finished 5-5, bouncing back from a 1-4 start.
Zahir Wilder was an excellent quarterback and defensive back for Rahway, leading the Indians to the state playoffs the last two years. He will play in the secondary for the North.
Wilder will play collegiately at Montclair State.
Jahmin Muse was a player coaches had to game-plan for when they went up against Elizabeth. His play helped lead the Minutemen to last year’s North 2, Group 5 semifinals.
Muse will play wide receiver for the North and then head to Boston College on a full scholarship.
Dougherty, Summit’s leading tackler the past two seasons, will continue playing at Bowdoin College. He is listed as a North linebacker.
Dougherty was named to the New Jersey “Super 100” team as sponsored by the New Jersey Football Coaches Association.
His total of 142 tackles last year set the Summit school record for a single season. As a result, Dougherty was named Summit’s Defensive Most Valuable Player.
Byrd was one of the state’s most electrifying running backs last year, rushing for over 2,000 yards and scoring more than 30 touchdowns. His play on offense helped lead Roselle to a first-ever 10-win season (10-1) and the Central Jersey, Group 2 semfinals for the second time in three seasons.
Byrd will attempt to make it at Rutgers for head coach Chris Ash as a preferred walk-on.
Joseph Stuckey was a talented wide receiver and cornerback for Hillside. He will play in the secondary for the North.
Darrell Davis was a solid lineman for Union excelling at tackle on offense and defense.
The North won last year’s rain-filled contest 7-0 to pull to within 18-17-2 in the series. The 2002 game had to be cancelled right before kickoff due to inclement weather.
The North has never led in the series, so it will be seeking to tie the series again so that next year it will have another chance to take its first lead.
Seven of the last eight games have been played at Kean, with the exception being the 2015 contest, which was held at Piscataway High.


2016: North 7, South 0 – at Kean University
2015: South 23, North 21 – at Kean University
2014: South 20, North 14 – at Piscataway High School
2013: North 54, South 8 – at Kean University
2012: North 14, South 7 – at Kean University
2011: South 21, North 14 – at Kean University
2010: North 17, South 3 – at Kean University

2009: South 7, North 0 – at Kean University
2008: North 31, South 25 – at Rutgers Stadium
2007: South 14, North 7 – at Rutgers Stadium
2006: North 31, South 16 – at Rutgers Stadium
2005: North 9, South 7 – at Rutgers Stadium
2004: North 26, South 21 – at Rutgers Stadium
2003: South 3, North 0 – at Rutgers Stadium
2002: No game was played at Rutgers
because of inclement weather before kickoff.
2001: North 24, South 0 – at Rutgers Stadium
2000: South 20, North 5 – at Rutgers Stadium

1999: South 22, North 19 – at Rutgers Stadium
1998: North 33, South 31 – at Rutgers Stadium
1997: South 28, North 24 – at The College of New Jersey
1996: South 32, North 23 – at Rutgers Stadium
1995: North 37, South 15 – at Rutgers Stadium
1994: South 21, North 16 – at Trenton State College
1993: South 9, North 8 – at Giants Stadium
1992: North 7, South 7 (tie) – at Giants Stadium
1991: North 26, South 12 – at Giants Stadium
1990: North 14, South 10 – at Rutgers Stadium

1989: South 24, North 0 – at Rutgers Stadium
1988: South 12, North 9 – at Rutgers Stadium
1987: North 21, South 10 – at Rutgers Stadium
1986: North 20, South 17 – at Rutgers Stadium
1985: North 10, South 10 (tie) – at Rutgers Stadium
1984: North 7, South 0 – at Rutgers Stadium
1983: South 41, North 7 – at Rutgers Stadium
1982: South 16, North 7 – at Rutgers Stadium
1981: South 32, North 0 – at Rutgers Stadium
1980: North 13, South 6 – at Rutgers Stadium

1979: South 34, North 13 – at Rutgers Stadium



North Offense is named after Dave Szott of Clifton. Szott played
collegiately at Penn State and then in the National Football League
for the Kansas City Chiefs, Washington Redskins and New York Jets.

North Defense is named after Jim Burt of Orchard Park, N.Y. Burt
played collegiately at Miami and then in the NFL for the
New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers. Burt played
on the Giants team that won the Super Bowl after the 1986 season.

South Offense is named after Joe Theismann of South River.
Theismann played collegiately at Notre Dame and then in the NFL
for the Washington Redskins. Theismann played on the Redskins
team that won the Super Bowl after the 1982 season.

South Defense is named after Jim Jeffcoat of Matawan. Jeffcoat
played collegiately at Arizona State and then in the NFL for the
Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills. Jeffcoat played on the Cowboys
teams that won the Super Bowl after the 1992 and 1993 seasons.

2016 MVPS:
North Offense: Mike Pimpinella of Pascack Valley
North Defense: Keneek Tomlinson of East Orange Campus
South Offense: Tyreek Jackson of Clayton
South Defense: Dashon Burdett of Collingswood

2015 MVPS:
North Offense: Juwan Dolbrice of Linden
North Defense: Tevaughn Grant of Paterson Eastside
South Offense: Vincent Mota of Long Branch
South Defense: Justin Thompson of Palmyra

2014 MVPS:
North Offense: Joe Slattery of Cedar Grove
North Defense: Jason McRae of Roselle
South Offense: John Chamberlin of Williamstown
South Defense: Chris Noesges of Manalapan