UNION – When he was given the ball on the night of Sept. 29, 2017 at Roselle Park’s Herm Shaw Field, Brearley senior running back Khalid Bonnet simply could not stopped.
If he had, Roselle Park would have moved to 5-0.
Instead, the bruising, low-to-the ground runner used his 5-10, 230-pound frame to follow his blockers and bull past would-be tacklers for continued yardage.
Six, that’s right six, of his 36 carries saw him reach the end zone for Brearley Bear touchdowns.
Bonnet, who rushed for 184 yards and three touchdowns in each half, lifted Brearley to a 40-21 triumph over arch rival Roselle Park, with the Bears scoring the final 19 points – all in the fourth quarter.
Bonnet will be in the backfield again next week for the Union County All-Stars, seeking to have the same kind of success against Middlesex County’s defense.
Bonnet is one of three Brearley players on the Union County roster for the The MyCentralJersey.com Snapple Bowl XXV, which will be contested Thursday night, July 19 at 7 p.m. at Woodbridge High School’s Nicholas A. Priscoe Stadium.
Brearley concluded a 5-5 season last year with a 31-20 home win over Middlesex County foe Dunellen.
“It’s an honor to be selected to play in this game,” said Bonnet, who seeks to continue playing football in college at Division 2 Shaw University in Raleigh, NC.
“Right now we’re just trying to find the right chemistry,” Bonnet added.
When asked about his six-touchdown game, Bonnet said with a big smile, “it was a great feeling.”
Blocking for him that game was senior Mike Ceceri (6-0, 260), who will do the same in the Snapple Bowl one more time as one of Union County’s offensive linemen.
“It’s a great feeling to have fun with rivals and opponents you have never met before,” said Ceceri, who will continue playing at Montclair State.
Middlesex County leads the series 14-10, but Union County has won the last two.
“We have to keep the streak going, we have to make it three straight,” Ceceri said.
Brearley’s other player in the game is Mike Ramos (5-9, 160), who was Brearley’s quarterback and one of its mainstays in the secondary at safety. Ramos, who will also play at Montclair State, is one of Union County’s defensive backs.
“I’ve always played on defense my whole life, so this is nothing new,” Ramos said. “I prefer to play on defense. For me it’s more fun to run around the field and hit someone.”
Ramos explained that Montclair State was one of his last choices.
“I considered a couple of schools in Pa., because I wanted to get away,” Ramos said. “Then I visited Montclair State and I realized it was perfect for me.
“It’s close enough so that I can come home whenever I want, but it’s far enough so that I can just stay there and enjoy it.”
Antonio Salcfas (6-1, 210) was a three-year varsity starter for Dayton, a versatile player for the Bulldogs who competed at many positions.
As a sophomore and junior, Salcfas was a starter on offense at wide receiver and on defense at safety. Last fall he took over at quarterback and on defense moved over to linebacker. He also punted.
He will play quarterback once more next week.
“I’m ready to do it again,” said Salcfas, who right now has preferred walk-on status at Division 1-A Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla. The head coach of the Owls is former USC and Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin, now in his second year.
“I had a lot of Division 3 offers and a lot of Division 2 offers, some walk-on opportunities at Division 1 and then I went to Florida and I just absolutely loved everything about it,” Salcfas said of Florida Atlantic. “I love the program, they have won three bowl games and it would be an honor to play for them.”
Salcfas said that he has a spot on the 92-man roster, but has not been given any athletic scholarship money yet.
“I’m also doing Army ROTC, so they are paying for my tuition,” Salcfas said.
Although Dayton won only nine games the past three years, Salcfas enjoyed playing for the Bulldogs and the town of Springfield. His older brother Saverio was a two-way starter at guard and linebacker and is a 2016 Dayton graduate. His younger brother Jovanni started last year as a sophomore at running back and safety, will be a returning starter this year as a junior, and is in the Class of 2020.
“It was a good experience, pretty solid,” Salcfas said of his time at Dayton. “We never really had a winning record (5-5 sophomore year was closest) while I was there, but just the bond that I grew up with with these guys was amazing.
“I could have gone to another school, but I stayed and just wanted to represent my hometown. It was an easy decision. I love town that we have.”
For safety reasons, Roselle Park will not field a varsity team this season. That means that Roselle Park’s representatives in next week’s Snapple Bowl – running back Dylan Camilo (5-7, 150), offensive lineman Jawahn Gasque (6-4, 240) and linebacker Devin Hilburn (6-1, 180) – could be the last ones for some time.
“As seniors we tried to mold our younger kids so that they could pick up the program and it’s kind of disappointing that we can’t come back from college and watch the program that we worked so hard for,” said Hilburn, whose older brother Pete played in the 2014 game at Sayreville before going on to Roger Williams University to wrestle.
Last November the 100th Thanksgiving Day game between neighboring towns Roselle Park and Roselle took place at Roselle Park, with the home team Panthers winning 7-6. This year’s game was scheduled to take place at Roselle if Arminio Field was to be playable by then.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen next year,” Camilo said.
For the first time since 1918 Roselle Park and Roselle will not be playing football against each other on Thanksgiving come this November.
“It means a lot more to us (this Snapple Bowl),” Hilburn said. “In previous years it meant a lot to them (former Roselle Park players), but they always knew that they could come back and root for their team.”
“We all really looking forward now to playing in this game,” Gasque said.
Hilburn will be attending Kings College in New York City to study finance. Gasque will play at Kean University and Camilo will attend Florida International University in Miami to be an architect major.
Camilo debuted at running back last year for the Panthers and began his senior season with a four-touchdown game in a 33-7 season-opening win at Sussex Tech. He also made, from his linebacker position, 11 tackles.
Gasque had eight tackles and two blocked passes.
“It was a great experience,” Camilo said.
“It just meant a lot to us because – nobody knows – we played football since we were 5 years old,” Hilburn said. “It meant a lot to the success, bringing all of your friends with you, and getting to the end.”
Roselle Park went 7-4 last year and reached the North 2, Group 1 semifinals, falling at eventual undefeated champion Shabazz, which finished 12-0 for the first time in school history.
The Panthers will consist of a junior varsity team this fall that has been reported to include 16 freshmen, 18 sophomores and three juniors. Unfortunately returning senior quarterback Patrick Gergich will not be in the mix because seniors are too old to play JV.
“We know how good Patrick is and we know what he could do at other towns, it’s unfortunate,” Hilburn said. “If he transfers, by then they might already have their quarterback. It’s a tough spot for him.”
Gergich was the only non-senior starter on offense last year, while the initial 2017 defensive lineup was all seniors except for juniors Gergich at safety, Angel Tlanipa at outside linebacker and Juan Morales at cornerback.
“I agree with the injury aspect, but I mean you’ve got to get them ready, you’ve got to get them in,” Hilburn said. “They threw us in sophomore year.”
“They need to get more kids to play football and this won’t even happen and they’ll have a varsity team,” Camilo said.
Roselle Park, Brearley, Dayton and New Providence kids all on the same team is somewhat surreal as explained by Hilburn: “it’s ridiculous because these kids, I wanted to rip their heads off. Now we’re all boys and we’re all on the same team.”
Rahway’s Keyshawn Cummings (6-0, 185) is one of the Union County wide receivers.
“He has electric speed,” Rahway head coach Brian Russo said.
Russo also said that Cummings is attempting to play basketball in junior college.
“The last two years were his first playing football,” Russo said.
Cummings helped lead the Indians to the North 2, Group 3 semifinals.
As the leader of the basketball team – he became Rahway’s latest 1,000 point scorer – Cummings guided the Indians to another outright Union County Conference-Valley Division championship this past winter.
Other players from Rahway on the Union County roster include David Hall, Terrell Frazier and Patrick Green.
Hall (6-1, 215) is one of Union County’s defensive linemen.
“He played fullback and defensive end and also tight end for us,” Russo said. “He always works hard and does things the right way. He was a real coachable kid.”
Frazier (6-2, 240) is playing on the offensive line.
“He’s athletic, intelligent and was one of our captains,” Russo said.
Frazier graduated Rahway with an impressive grade-point average of 3.6. He will continue playing football in college at FDU.
Green (5-10, 155) will be used on defense in the secondary.
“Last year was his first year on varsity,” Russo said. “He became a shutdown cornerback for us. He only allowed two pass receptions against him all year.”
Johnson’s representatives include linebacker Joe Turek and defensive back Michael Casalino.
Turek (6-0, 205), who was also one of Union County’s top catchers the past two baseball seasons, will attend the University of Delaware, but will not play sports.
“The past three years Joe was our guy sideline to sideline,” Johnson head coach Anthony DelConte said. “Offensively, running up and down the field, he was a big leader for us.”
Casalino, who was also a steady placekicker for the Crusaders, blossomed at cornerback.
“We knew Mike would be good and he was also a solid kicker,” DelConte said. “His senior year he was one of our best defensive players. Teams did not throw his way.”
The Union and Roselle coaching staffs and Rahway assistant coach Troy Eastman are guiding the Union County All-Stars.
NOTES: Brearley replaced Roselle Park with Highland Park and Dayton replaced the Panthers with Middlesex.
Brearley opens at home against Highland Park on Sept. 7, while Dayton will play at Middlesex on Oct. 12.
UNION COUNTY ROSTER:
Alex Acevedo, Union, OL, (5-10, 250)
Temi Adanlawo, Union, DL, (6-3, 205)
Elijah Arroyo, Cranford, DB, (5-10, 170)
Nicholas Basilage, Roselle, DL, (5-11, 260)
Khalid Bonnet, Brearley, RB, (5-10, 230)
Dylan Budnik, Cranford, LB, (6-3, 215)
Dylan Camilo, Roselle Park, RB, (5-7, 150)
Jack Carroll, Cranford, OL, (6-4, 240)
Michael Casalino, Johnson, DB, (5-7, 155)
Mike Ceceri, Brearley, OL, (6-0, 260)
Elijah Cotton, Hillside, DL, (5-11, 255)
Keyshawn Cummings, Rahway, WR, (6-0, 185)
Luca Curran, Summit, LB, (6-0, 185)
Shea Elliot, Westfield, LB, (6-1,215)
Bobby Emmaunuel, Union, OL, (5-10, 225)
Kwabena Ennin-Frimpong, Hillside, DL, (6-2, 240)
Julien Fernandez, Roselle, WR, (6-2, 200)
Terrell Frazier, Rahway, OL, (6-2, 240)
Maurice Garner, Linden, LB, (5-10, 215)
Jawahn Gasque, Roselle Park, OL, (6-4, 240)
Patrick Green, Rahway, DB, (5-10, 165)
David Hall, Rahway, DL, (6-1, 215)
Jabriel Harmon, Elizabeth, WR, (5-10, 170)
Ben Hasenkopf, New Providence, LB, (6-0, 220)
Max Hayford, Summit, WR, (6-0, 175)
Devin Hilburn, Roselle Park, LB, (6-1, 180)
Taj Irby, Hillside, QB, (5-9, 160)
Adham Khalil, Roaselle, OL, (6-3, 285)
Marvens Lormejuste, Roselle, DB, (6-1, 165)
Mike Magliacano, Gov. Livingston, DL, (6-0, 220)
Andrew Martin, Union, WR, (5-11, 175)
Adam McDaniel, Westfield, WR, (6-0, 160)
John Morales, Elizabeth, DL, (6-1, 250)
Drew Ortiz, Westfield, LB, (6-11, 225)
Lawson Paden, Linden, DB, (6-0, 170)
Mike Ramos, Brearley, DB, (5-9, 160)
Antonio Salcfas, Dayton, QB, (6-1, 210)
Joe Shepard, Summit, FB-TE, (6-3, 230)
Joe Turek, Johnson, LB, (6-0, 205)
Jake Vall-Llobera, Westfield, DL, (6-3, 235)
Haleem Woods, Plainfield, WR, (6-0, 185)
Daniella Aeillo, Gov. Livingston
Amanda Anthenelli, Gov. Livingston
Stephanie Cantrell, Roselle Park
Gianna Cassara, Scotch Plains
Jessica Cronin, New Providence
Tamara Daliguar, Scotch Plains
Emily DeLima, Johnson
Elizabeth DePaola, Scotch Plains
Devon Everton, New Providence
Drew Ferriss, Westfield
Alyssa Figueiredo, Brearley
Nick Gamboa, Gov. Livingston
Lexi Gonnelli, Gov. Livingston
Caitlyn Harms, Dayton
Teshona Hicks, Elizabeth
Aliza Howard, Hillside
Nicole Jankowski, New Providence
Serafima Kardonova, Dayton
Myra Kenner, Elizabeth
Ayen Mendoza, Roselle Park
Adriana Palmucci, Johnson
Rayana Patania, Dayton
Emily Peres, Roselle Park
Marissa Petronella, Johnson
Amanda Pratt, Johnson
Samantha Tavares, Johnson
Nicole Tomich, Gov. Livingston
Ally Vuono, Scotch Plains
Aniyyah Williams, Elizabeth
Allegra Wyrick, Brearley
Alexa Zsak, Scotch Plains
Coach: Alexis Jacqueney, New Providence
Coach: Emily Stecher, Gov. Livingston
UNION COUNTY FOOTBALL
MIDDLESEX COUNTY FOOTBALL
Sept. 28 at South Brunswick, 7 p.m.
Sept. 7 Highland Park, 7 p.m.
Oct. 26 at Dunellen, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 at Highland Park, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 at Middlesex, 7 p.m.
Oct. 6 Colonia, 2:30 p.m.
Oct. 19 St. Joseph’s, Metuchen, 7 p.m.
Oct. 26 Old Bridge, 7 p.m.
Sept. 7 at Middlesex, 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 at South River, 1 p.m.
Oct. 12 South Plainfield, 7 p.m.
Oct. 5 Carteret, 7 p.m.
Aug. 31 at Bishop Ahr, 7 p.m.
Sept. 7 South River, 6 p.m.
Sept. 29 Metuchen, 1 p.m.
Oct. 20 at Spotswood, 1 p.m.
Sept. 15 at Metuchen, 1 p.m.
Oct. 26 Spotswood, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 Old Bridge, 1 p.m.
Sept. 29 St. Joseph’s, Metuchen, 1 p.m.
Oct. 27 Piscataway, 1 p.m.
Sept. 28 at J.P. Stevens, 7 p.m.
Oct. 27 Edison, 1 p.m.
Oct. 19 at Colonia, 7 p.m.
Oct. 27 New Brunswick, 1 p.m.
Aug. 30 at Middlesex, 7 p.m.