Roselle RB Byrd scores 2 TDs, named North’s Offensive MVP

PHOTOS BY JR PARACHINI – Joseph Stuckey of Hillside (No. 13 in the middle) started at defensive back for the North and almost came up with an interception in the first quarter.
Isiah Byrd of Roselle, No. 6 running back at left, led the North with two touchdowns and two two-point conversions for 16 points. He will continue playing in college at Division 2 Virginia Union.
Present Point Pleasant Beach head coach and the winningest football coach in Roselle Park history, John Wagner was honored with a coaching award at the North-South All-Star Game. Wagner is pictured here second from left (with glasses).

UNION – After a first half that saw both teams score just once, the South took advantage of a turnover on the first play of the second half which enabled it to remain ahead for the entire contest.

Also sparked by a fine performance from lefty-throwing quarterback James Joseph of Seneca and a punt return for a touchdown by Keanu Chapman of Carteret, the South prevented the North from tying the series once again.

The South defeated the North 30-22 in Monday night’s 39th annual Phil Simms New Jersey North-South All-Star Football Classic at Kean University’s Alumni Stadium.

The South leads the series 19-17-2. The North has never led.

The North pulled to within one point in the second quarter and within three in the third before the South scored consecutive touchdowns to put the game out of reach.

South running back Nasir Streeter of Camden Catholic and North running back Isiah Byrd of Roselle scored two touchdowns each for their respective teams.

Joseph, the South’s Offensive MVP, and North quarterback Jyvon Brown of Irvington threw one touchdown pass each.

Streeter scored on a one-yard run near the end of the first quarter and then Jordan Goodarz of Steinert added the first of his three extra point kicks to make it 7-0 South.

Brown threw a perfect spiral over the shoulder of Ramir Tann-Davis of Paterson Eastside for a 42-yard touchdown pass down the left sideline near the conclusion of the first half. The extra point kick was blocked by Amir Murray of Willingboro, who was named the South’s Defensive MVP, as the South led 7-6 at intermission.

Receiving the second half kickoff, the North fumbled the ball away. The South went on to put three more points on the board on a 22-yard field goal by Goodarz, who made one of two field goal attempts.

Then after pinning the North down deep in its own territory, Chapman found a hole on the right side of the field and scampered all the way into the end zone on a 50-yard punt return. A Goodarz extra point made the score 17-6 and put the South ahead by double digits for the first time.

The North quickly fought back, led by the running of Byrd, who had only one carry for negative yardage in the first half.

This time, on this drive, Byrd gained a total of 32 yards, including a 16-yard scamper to the right side of the field that gave the North a first-and-goal at the South 2. Amazingly, the refs did not throw a flag when Byrd was brought down via a horse-collar tackle.

Byrd then reached the end zone on a two-yard run the very next play. Despite the North being pushed back by a penalty, Byrd followed his blockers right once again and reached the end zone for the two-point conversion, making the score 17-14.

Byrd also scored late in the game on a four-yard run and followed it up once again with another two-point run.

He was an easy choice for the North’s Offensive MVP award.

“With my parents and friends here watching this means a lot to me,” said Byrd, who during his senior season rushed for more than 2,000 yards and scored 34 touchdowns to help lead Roselle to its first-ever 10-win campaign.

“This was a great honor play in this game,” Byrd said. “I think because of the season I had last year a lot was expected of me in this game.”

Byrd originally turned down offers from several Division 3 schools to try to make it at Rutgers as a walk-on. Instead, he made the move in late May to attend Division 2 Virginia Union.

“It was a financial decision,” Byrd said. “I’m going to work hard for it and see what I can do.”

After a modest junior year at Roselle after he transferred from East Orange Campus, it was Byrd’s decision to run track that helped form him into the dominant running back he became last fall.

“After my junior year I didn’t think I had a chance to play in college because of my stats,” Byrd said. “Running track helped me become faster and stay in shape. Our offensive line was also very good last year.”

NOTES: Point Pleasant Beach head coach John Wagner, about to begin his seventh season at the helm of the Gulls, was honored before the start of the second quarter.

Wagner was the recipient of this year’s Dr. John F. Bateman Foundation Board of Directors Award for Winners for Life – Current Coach.

The winningest coach in Roselle Park history with 150 wins – the 1969 Roselle Park graduate was the head coach at Roselle Park from 1981-2005 after serving as an assistant on head coach Geoff Hill’s staff from 1976-1980 – Wagner guided Roselle Park to the last two of its three state championships in the playoff era when his 1992 and 1993 teams went 11-0 back-to-back. He was an assistant coach in 1979 when Roselle Park won its first state championship in the playoff era with a 9-0 record that did not include any playoff wins for that year’s North 2, Group 1 crown.

Wagner’s 25-season record at Roselle Park was 150-92-2 (.620). He passed Herm Shaw, who the Roselle Park football field is named after, in wins his final season at Roselle Park in 2005.

Wagner also coached Point Pleasant Beach to its only state championship in the playoff era, which was the 2013 Central Jersey, Group 1 title with a final record of 10-2. After losing to Shore 31-0 in its previous game, PPB went on to defeat Shore 12-7 in the CJ, G1 final at The College of New Jersey.

When asked what his No. 1 victory was, he quickly said Roselle Park’s 30-29 win at top-seeded Cedar Grove in the 1992 North 2, Group 1 semifinals.

Both teams were 8-0.

“We were down by two touchdowns in the first half and also trailed going into the fourth quarter,” Wagner recalled. “We made a big fourth-and-one at our own 30 near the end of the game.

“Jon Nitche kicked a field goal with 4:02 left. Kevin Kirby had a big interception and we held on.”

Roselle Park then defeated longtime holiday rival Roselle on Thanksgiving before winning at second-seeded Butler 27-6 in the final.





SOUTH (19-17-2)                    07        00       16       07 – 30  

NORTH (17-19-2)                   00        06        08      08 – 22




South – Nasir Streeter 1 run, Jordan Goodarz kick (S 7-0)

2:59 remaining



North – Ramir Tann-Davis 42 pass from Jyvon Brown, kick failed (S 7-6)

1:57 remaining



South – FG Goodarz 22 (S 10-6)

South – Keanu Chapman 50 punt return, Jordan Goodarz kick (S 17-6)

7:22 remaining

North – Isiah Byrd 2 run, Isiah Byrd run (S 17-14)

4:50 remaining

South – Darrion Carrington 27 pass from James Joseph,

kick failed (S 23-14)

Last play of third quarter.



South – Nasir Streeter 32 run, Jordan Goodarz kick (S 30-14)

North – Isiah Byrd 4 run, Isiah Byrd run (S 30-22)

3:19 remaining





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.


2017 MVPS:


North Offense: Isiah Byrd of Roselle


North Defense: Harrison Fernandez of Union City


South Offense: James Joseph of Seneca


South Defense: Amir Murray of Willingboro


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





2017: South 30, North 22 – at Kean University

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