On the Trail With Ted
Football 2019

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 Reports on Eastern Regional's games . . .

tedtee307@yahoo.com.

 


Due to health issues, I was unable to cover the rest of ER's games. My apologies.
Complete season stats are on this page.

OCT. 11
SOUTH JERSEY FOOTBALL
Eastern 48, Atlantic City 14
 
You know how most NFL games seemingly last forever? So did this one, even though the quarters in high school tilts are only 12 minutes long, not 15. A second quarter that was like a stake through an eye made the first half last until 8:21 and the game didn't end until 9:58! Anyone in favor of a running clock through an entire game? (smile) This affair could have lasted even longer, but things got a little chippy down the stretch and the referee ordered the clock operator to keep his hands off the controls even though the mercy rule was not in effect. Strange vibes were present even before the opening kickoff. At 6:36, there was a slight snap-crackle-pop sound and . . . the lights went out. Assistant Nick Yotsko told me later that the lights also went out briefly inside the locker room, which is not part of the field. Scheeeez. Eastern scored the first TD midway through the first quarter as jr. Connor Stafford hit soph WR Aaron "AJ" Brooks for a 32-yarder on a screen pass. Sr. T Jakob Doan made a nice early block. You are now advised to buckle your seat belts. Over the final 14-odd minutes of the half, there were EIGHT turnovers. Two sequences featured back-to-back TOs. It was nuts. For Eastern, jr. CB Tavion Corbett-Collier had an interception and a recovered squib kickoff and sr. LB Mike Suarez (of rushing fame) recovered a fumble. Sr. NG Teddy Osei-Kyei and jr. RB Amiel Davis (likewise of rushing fame) also recovered fumbles. The home Vikings' other first half scores went to Davis and Suarez on runs while the visiting Vikings posted a score on a wonderful 89-yard pass play from soph QB Adonis Diaz to jr. Ja'Heem Frederick. Really, the pass was no more than 10 yards. But Frederick displayed a sweet move and made off-to-the-races memories. Eastern scored in the third quarter on a pass play -- 23 yards down the middle -- from Stafford to Suarez. At this point Mike was wearing No. 15 because his No. 1 jersey had been damaged. The last four TDs, three for Our Guys and one for Those Guys, were notched over the last 7:37. The best was Davis' fight-'em-off, dash-like-crazy 65-yarder. He also had a 20-yarder and soph RB Julian "Muscles/Footwork" Rivera zipped for 1 19-yarder. AC's backup QB, sr. Connor Culmone, sprinted to the left for a score on a 1-yard keeper. Sub sr. DB Ethan Trauger created some late buzz with an interception and classmate DB Allan Belizaire did so beforehand with a breakup. As always lately, jr. K Danny Francesconi owned the student section. Meanwhile, sr. P Isaac Beebe was impressive, turning five punts into 202 yards (40.4 average). Eastern is now 3-2 overall with average victory margins of 36.3 and defeat margins of 28.0. Kinda nutty, right? Three regular season games remain for coach John Doherty's squad: at Trenton Central, home vs. Hammonton and Kingsway.

Eastern's offense
C Brendan Veit
G Ronald Smith
G Shamir Boyd
T Jakob Doan
T Robert Meekins
*TE
Kamauri Weaver
WR
Aaron "AJ" Brooks
WR
Moe Howard
SB Justin Moore
SB Jordan Diaz
QB 
Connor Stafford
RB
Mike Suarez
*depending on format
Eastern's defense
E James "Pop" Heard
T Jaden Vaughters
NG Teddy Osei-Kyei
LB Vernon Boyd
LB Amiel Davis
LB Michael Wall
LB Mike Suarez
CB Jordan Diaz
CB Aaron "AJ" Brooks
SS Tavion Corbett-Collier
FS Jasiah Davis

 

OCT. 4
SOUTH JERSEY FOOTBALL
Eastern 57, Paul VI 34
 
Can't imagine too many players in football history have scored five touchdowns in the second half of a game. Eastern sr. RB Mike Suarez accomplished that feat tonight. And . . he came within a double hair of SEVEN six-pointers. We kid you not. And we're pretty certain that, over time, Mike came to think of his first down moment as something akin to a good luck charm. Here we go . . . Mike has been sharing the single RB spot with jr. Amiel Davis and the latter got the nod tonight from offensive coordinator Nick Strom. As the first half wound down, a roughing the passer penalty was followed by runs of eight and nine yards by Davis, thus putting the ball at the PVI 9. Davis was stopped for no gain and Strom called for Suarez to give it a whirl. He carried for five yards and three yards, but then -- uh, oh -- he was stopped inches short of the goal line and the Eagles took over. Along the sideline, no one was happy. That close? No points? Ugh. We move on to the start of the third quarter and Suarez again experienced frustration. With the ball on the Eagles' 18, Mike could not control a slightly off-kilter snap in a wildcat formation and PVI recovered. The hosts even put together a quality drive and wound up seizing the lead at 20-16. No sweat. The Mike Suarez Show was about to debut. To very high ratings. Over 10 minutes and 14 seconds, Suarez rushed for five TDs and needed just nine total carries to do so! The breakdown: 8 yards, 12 yards for a score . . . 19, 13 and 14 for another score . . . seven for another score (immediately after a poor snap placed the ball at that spot) . . . 82 for another score on a first down play . . . six and 23 yards for yet another score. He garnered 184 yards on those nine rushes and finished the game 18 for 214 (while adding a two-point conversion run in the first half). Eastern's last score went to jr. WR Jordan Diaz on an eeeeeeeasy 28-yard pass down the middle from jr. Connor Stafford (corrected info; my apologies for earlier mistake). After PVI responded with a score, Eastern sent the first team back onto the field and Davis (15 carries, 205 yards) zipped for a 73-yard gain before getting dragged down at the 3. Suarez then lost a yard before a would-be TD was wiped out by a holding call. Quite the night for Mikey S, but imagine if he'd scored seven TDs. He'd be the mayor of Voorhees (smile). Oh, almost forgot. On his 14-yarder, I wrote TRUCK! in oversized letters on my play-by-play sheet because he absolutely trucked a would-be tackler close to the sideline. Pow! And the kid wasn't some lesser light. He appeared to be one of the Eagles' top players. Congrats to Eastern's grunts for creating lots of early room for Suarez and Davis and for even getting downfield to deliver some pops. Many of the defenders came up with multiple good plays though I guess allowing 34 points can't be considered a wonderful evening. Jr. lefty kicker Danny Francesconi created good vibrations by nailing his first five of six PAT attempts. The bellowed comments of an adult Eastern fan were particularly entertaining. He begged again and again for holding calls and at one point yelled to a ref, "Yo, what's he gotta do!? Undress him!?" Jr. CB Tavion Corbett-Collier recovered a fumble to set up Suarez' 23-yard score. Soph CB Aaron "AJ" Brooks did likewise to set up Clymer's connection with Diaz. It was nice to interact with Ted Rose, who held the down marker as part of a PVI crew. He played baseball at Archbishop Ryan and La Salle University. The Vikings are now 2-2 with a home game next Friday vs. Atlantic City. . . While Mike Suarez was scoring five TDs, Paul VI jr. QB Joe Gledhill was throwing foe the same number of TDs. He passed 15-for-28 for 308 yards and his major targets were sr. WR Drew Williams (4-134, one TD), sr. WR Alfred Woods (4-78, two) and jr. WR Wisler Sanon (4-71, two). In last year's game, Gledhill, a sub, launched an 83-yard TD toss to Williams to keep the Eagles from suffering a shutout.
 
Added on Oct. 5
 
Tedbit -- In last night's win over Paul VI, Eastern Regional sr. RB Mike Suarez (pic here) tied the school record for points in a game with 32. Oddly, he scored two in the first half on a conversion run and 30 in the second half on runs of 12, 14, 7, 82 and 23 yards. He came VERY close to notching seven TDs; he came up inches short from the 1 very late in the second quarter and lost a 4-yard TD to a holding call very late in the fourth. Here are ER's top point performances . . .
  32 -- Jahre Cheeseman, 2003 vs. Lenape
  32 -- Adam Taliaferro, 1999 vs. Lenape
  32 -- Mike Suarez, 2019 vs. Paul VI
  30 -- Adam Taliaferro, 1999 vs. Shawnee
  30 -- Adam Taliaferro, 1998 vs. Camden Catholic
  26 -- Chris Canty, 1992 vs. Cherry Hill West

Eastern's offense
C Brendan Veit
G Ronald Smith
G Shamir Boyd
T Jakob Doan
T Robert Meekins
*TE
Kamauri Weaver
WR
Aaron "AJ" Brooks
WR
Moe Howard
SB Justin Moore
SB Jordan Diaz
QB 
Connor Stafford
RB
Amiel Davis
*depending on format
Eastern's defense
E James "Pop" Heard
T Jaden Vaughters
NG Teddy Osei-Kyei
LB Isaac Beebe
LB Amiel Davis
LB Michael Wall
LB Kamauri Weaver
CB Nigel Robertson
CB Aaron "AJ" Brooks
SS Kyaire Segers
FS Jasiah Davis

 

SEPT. 27
SOUTH JERSEY FOOTBALL
Washington Township 41, Eastern 22

  Final scores can be misleading. Not completely, but at least to some degree. Yes, overall, WT was not pressed like crazy in this West Jersey Football League Royal Division contest, which dragged on and on for 2 hours, 46 minutes, and featured a ridiculous amount of lengthy discussions between the referees. However, after an almost completely forgettable first half (just 46 yards and two first downs), Eastern exhibited major juice in the third quarter -- did Vince Lombardi come back to life to give the halftime speech? -- and no doubt had the Minutemen thinking that their seemingly wonderful night could end poorly. Down by 20-0, the Vikings looked like WT on the first drive of the third stanza. Bingo, nice play. Bingo, nice play. Lots of energy on the sidelines. From WT's 48, jr. QB Connor Stafford passed to sr. WR Moe Howard for 15 yards, then sr. RB Mike Suarez zipped for a 17-yard gain. The next play went nowhere, but Stafford then hit wide open jr. WR Jordan Diaz for a 16-yard score down the middle. Jr. K Alex Shedlovsky, leaving behind major struggles in last week's game vs. Cherry Hill East, thumped the PAT through the uprights. WT responded with nothing. Frosh DE James "Pop" Heard notched a 2-yard sack on third down and sr. CB Nigel Robertson broke up a pass on fourth down. Niiiiiiiice. The teams then traded interceptions with sr. S Korre Kerrin notching Eastern's and returning the ball five yards to WT's 11. The first play was a left-side screen pass to Suarez and -- hey, look at that -- he wound up posting six points. One BIG problem. Soph RB Jo'nathan Silver returned the kickoff 61 yards to Eastern's 31 and visited Touchdownville three plays later on a 15-yard run. The kick made it 27-14. Next came the decisive sequence. Stafford suffered an eight-yard sack, then bounced back with a 13-yard pass to soph WR Aaron "AJ" Brooks. An incompletion followed and offensive coordinator Nick Strom opted to show major brass on fourth-and-five. Let's make that Major Brass with capital letters because Eastern had the ball on its own 33. Keep in mind: Punts had not gone well and the smell of momentum was in the air. Alas, Stafford could not quite make a connection with jr. WR Justin Moore and WT needed just two plays to pounce on its opportunity. Sr. RB Andrew Nocille ran for 13 yards and impressive jr. QB Liam Friel scored on a 20-yard keeper on the first play of the fourth quarter, thus making the score 34-14. Ballgame, in effect. Eastern did enjoy one more special moment. Diaz scored his second TD on a 22-yard pass play that featured a deflection . . . with the ball bouncing right into his hands! He then snagged the conversion. Suarez carried 16 times for 83 yards while Stafford passed 20-for-30 for 166 (and hit seven different receivers). Howard (5-47) and Diaz (4-49) were the most productive. It was interesting to see sr. Jakob Doan make his first start at right tackle. Dude is gigantic (smile) and I'm told he hadn't played football since a partial season with the freshman team in 2016. He's listed at 6-4 (looks taller), 280. Let's see what happens going forward. Friel (6-2, 170) finished 11-for-19 for 154 yards and three TDs. He mixed a good pocket presence with an impressive touch, especially on fades. For a road game, Eastern had a respectable fan turnout. The band and cheerleaders also were present.

Eastern's offense
C Brendan Veit
G Ronald Smith
G Shamir Boyd
T Jakob Doan
T Robert Meekins
*TE
Kamauri Weaver
WR
Aaron "AJ" Brooks
WR
Moe Howard
SB Justin Moore
SB Jordan Diaz
QB 
Connor Stafford
RB
Mike Suarez
*depending on format
Eastern's defense
E James "Pop" Heard
T Jaden Vaughters
NG Teddy Osei-Kyei
LB Isaac Beebe
LB Amiel Davis
LB Michael Wall
LB Kamauri Weaver
CB Nigel Robertson
CB Tavion Corbett-Collier
FS Kyaire Segers
SS Korre Kerrin

 

SEPT. 20
SOUTH JERSEY FOOTBALL
Eastern 58, Cherry Hill East 6
 
Some circumstances just can't be explained. One week after getting sliced and diced by Holy Spirit in its opener, ER bounced back in splendid fashion by shredding nearby CHE. Extra impressive was this: the mercy rule went into effect with 10:43 remaining in the third quarter, two minutes and 26 seconds earlier than last week. There was an interesting development early in this one. After CHE's first possession ended with a punt, the ball was bouncing around and ER assistant Gary Worthington was yelling from the sideline, "Poison! Poison!" As in, don't touch the ball and we'll take over right there. Well, the ball was across the way and perhaps jr. Jordan Diaz didn't hear the orders. He picked up the ball and, zoom, ripped off a 26-yard return to put the Vikings in business at CHE's 34. Soon, Diaz was contributing a 31-yard catch on a pass from jr. QB Connor Stafford, who was making his 2019 debut after overcoming some minor injuries, and sr. RB Mike Suarez powered for a 2-yard TD two plays later. The next TD went to the Cougars and it was accompanied by an asterisk. Sr. Mike Wheeler raced 65 yards right up the middle . . . against 10 guys! A Viking had left the field with a slight ding and neglected to tell anyone. Scheeeeez. No sweat, however. On Eastern's first play, jr. Justin Moore snagged a short toss and wound up scoring a 64-yard six-pointer. So nice, let's do it twice. Over much more real estate. On this one he again made a short catch, broke two early tackle attempts and sped for a 93-yard TD! Three more TDs were racked up prior to halftime thanks to Suarez (4-yard run), sr. LB Amiel Davis (36-yard interception return) and sr. DB Allan Belizaire (14-yard fumble return on the subsequent kickoff). There were three scores beyond intermission, all on rushes. Suarez added his third on a 14-yard jaunt and soph sub Justin "Muscles" Rivera scurried in from four and 18 yards. Jr. K Danny Francesconi, who appears to be quite popular with his teammates (and the student rooters), provided good vibrations by going 2-for-2 on PAT. He kicks leftfooted. Early in the game, there was a slight delay and an Eastern kid yelled out from the stands, "I've got choir practice at 8 o'clock! Let's go!" A handul-plus of recent ER players were sideline visitors. Didn't recognize all of them, but linemen Jermaine Donaldson, Rocco Tursi and Ben Sperling were definitely part of the posse. At one point I said to Rocco, "Now that you guys are good luck charms, you'll have to show up for every game." He responded, "100 percent, man." The spectator turnout was great and the Eastern kids brought major juice. Both schools' bands were also quite impressive. Stafford finished 11-for-15 for 236 yards and the two scores. Soph Tru Styles then entered the fray before frosh Walt Clymer finished up. Impressively, in fact. He produced 66 yards on seven plays. This was a non-league game, by the way.

Eastern's offense
C Brendan Veit
G Yuvraj Khasria
G Ronald Smith
T Shamir Boyd
T Robert Meekins
*TE
Kamauri Weaver
WR
Aaron "AJ" Brooks
WR
Moe Howard
SB Justin Moore
SB Jordan Diaz
QB 
Connor Stafford
RB
Mike Suarez
*depending on format
Eastern's defense
E James "Pop" Heard
T Jaden Vaughters
NG Teddy Osei-Kyei
LB Vernon Boyd
LB Amiel Davis
LB Michael Wall
LB Kamauri Weaver
CB Nigel Robertson
CB Tavion Corbett-Collier
FS Kyaire Segers
SS Korre Kerrin

 

 SEPT. 13
SOUTH JERSEY FOOTBALL
Holy Spirit 52, Eastern 15

  In this Pointfests Era of football, many people like to believe that backs and ends are all that matter and that numerous touchdowns could be scored even with puppets/dummies manning the line of scrimmage. Not even close, folks. QBs need protection. RBs need holes. And when your lines on both sides of the ball are completely different, basically, from one season to the next, snaps of fingers are not going to get the job done. In time, hopefully, Eastern's grunts will become productive and confident, allowing the team to be competitive week after week. Meanwhile, tonight's 2019 opener, played on the road in Absecon, not far from Atlantic City, did not go well. The offense had little room to operate and the defense was shredded early and often. The Spartans were untouched on multiple scoring plays and Eastern rarely made a first-hit stop. The mercy rule took effect with 8:17 remaining in the third quarter as the score reached 46-7. No need for a play-by-play breakdown, obviously, but let's offer from positives . . . Jr. WR Justin Moore had three impressive moments. With 4:15 left in the first quarter, he zipped downfield from his WR spot and snagged a 25-yard scoring pass from soph QB Tru Styles. Early in the second quarter, he was the definition of I-mean-business on a 49-yard kickoff return. Absolutely determined from the instant he touched the ball. Then, on second down, he soared for a one-handed reception. Niiiiiiiice. (Due to a broken arm, suffered a week before the first game, Justin missed the entire 2018 season. On the '17 frosh squad, he totaled EIGHT touchdowns on returns of kickoffs/punts.) . . . Jr. CB Tavion Corbett-Collier perfectly jumped a toward-the-corner route at the goal line and zoomed for a 45-yard return. That occurred near the end of the first quarter. Late in the game, while defending on a kickoff return, he uncorked the kaboom of the night . . . Early in the third quarter, after HS notched one of its easy TDs to make the score 38-7, jr. LB Kyaire Segers showed that there is NEVER an excuse not to hustle by storming in from the side and forcefully blocking the PAT. Similarly, on the last play of the half, Segers broke up a pass at the very back portion of the end zone. Double well dones, sir . . . Styles finished 9-for-24 for 93 yards. He had some impressive moments on last year's freshman squad, but varsity, of course, is a whole different/faster ballgame. Monday, jr. Connor Stafford will begin practicing after being sidelined by assorted minor injuries. In all the roster includes four QBs, including frosh Walt Clymer, so it'll be interesting to see how things play out. Considering the game was played roughly an hour away from Voorhees, Eastern had a decent number of supporters on hand. And here's guessing they all smelled what I smelled: Poop! I don't know what was going on, but the visiting side had a wicked smell, especially at the north end. Is there a farm nearby? A faulty sewage system? How come no one handed out nose clips? (smile).

Eastern's offense
C Brendan Veit
G Yuvraj Khasria
G Ronald Smith
T Shamir Boyd
T Robert Meekins
*TE
Kamauri Weaver
WR
Mike Suarez
WR
Tavion Corbett-Collier
SB Justin Moore
SB Jordan Diaz
QB 
Tru Styles
RB
Amiel Davis
*depending on format
Eastern's defense
E James "Pop" Heard
T Jaden Vaughters
NG Teddy Osei-Kyei
LB Moe Howard
LB Amiel Davis
LB Michael Wall
LB Kamauri Weaver
CB Nigel Robertson
CB Tavion Corbett-Collier
FS Korre Kerrin
SS Mike Suarez