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Players, cheerleaders for Snapple Bowl XXIV introduced
6/6/2017 2:37 PM

Published 9:40 p.m. ET May 15, 2017 | Updated 4:18 p.m. ET May 16, 2017

As the most dominant performer in the Greater Middlesex Conference’s small school division, Andrew Brazicki may not have the cachet of some of the league’s Division I scholarship players from the larger schools, but the Bishop Ahr running back is no less impressive.

South Brunswick head coach Joe Goerge, who previously coached at Dayton, a Group I school that produced former Rutgers University standout Anthony Cioffi, who signed last month as an undrafted free agent with the Oakland Raiders, looks forward to seeing small school players such as Brazicki perform on the big stage in MyCentralJersey.com Snapple Bowl XXIV.

Cheerleaders and players who will compete in this year’s installment of the charity all-star football game between recently graduated seniors from Middlesex and Union counties were formally introduced during a news conference at North Brunswick High School on Monday night.

All proceeds from the game, which has raised nearly $600,000 since its inception, benefit the Edison-based Lakeview School, a program of the New Jersey Institute for Disabilities, and Children’s Specialized Hospital in Mountainside.

During game week, players and cheerleaders will visit children from both charities, which has proven over the years to be a life-altering experience for many Snapple Bowl participants, leading some to even pursue careers as special education teachers.

Each county will conduct the first of seven practices at Colonia (Middlesex) and Union (Union) high schools on July 10. Players and cheerleaders from both sides will gather for the annual Snapple Bowl banquet at the Pines Manor on July 19.

Marcus Borden, the game’s founder and director, said he has assembled an all-star lineup of sponsors and media partners including FieldTurf, Autoland of Route 22 in Springfield, the Pines Manor, Snapple, Bai, Body Armor, Sports Paradise, Kean University, the Home News Tribune, the Courier News and MyCentralJersey.com.

Middlesex leads the series 14-9 and has won nine of the past 11 Snapple Bowls. Seven of the past 13 meetings have been decided by a touchdown or less including last year’s game, which Union won 13-7. This year’s contest will be held  at 7 p.m. July 20 at Kean University’s Alumni Stadium.

“This is a chance for a guy like me to see this kid Andrew and other kids that maybe don’t get the recognition in terms of playing a big-school schedule, but could be playing for South Brunswick, Piscataway, Old Bridge or Sayreville,” Goerge said. “There are outstanding football players (at small schools) and they can compete. It’s very difficult (as a coach) during the season to concentrate on any other team than the ones you are going to play. You might hear of a kid (such as Brazicki) – and I relate this very much to my days at Dayton, a small Group I school struggling and trying to get better, and all of a sudden I come in touch with a kid like an Anthony Cioffi, who can play at any level, Group I through Group V.”

Brazicki rushed last season for 1,509 yards and 24 touchdowns on 219 carries. He also played quarterback, completing 5 of 11 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Despite taking 28 percent of Bishop Ahr’s offensive snaps from behind center, he still managed to lead the team in receiving yards and receiving touchdown.

As a linebacker, Brazicki ranked first or second at Bishop Ahr in almost every major defensive category including tackles, tackles for loss, sacks and interceptions. He also handled the punting and kicking duties. At linebacker, he recorded 56 tackles (7.5 for a loss), two sacks and returned an interception for a touchdown. He rushed for more than 300 yards against two-time defending division champion Spotswood and more than 250 yards against reigning sectional champion Asbury Park. Brazicki finished with 40 touchdowns and more than 3,000 yards rushing during his career.

“I think he would fit right in (at a Group V school),” said Bishop Ahr head coach Joe Vigilante, who will serve as offensive coordinator for Middlesex County in Snapple Bowl XIV. “He’s a 200-pound back that can run. If you put that physical skill set on pretty much any team, any coach is going to try to want to feature him.”

One play that perhaps best defined Brazicki’s strength and athleticism came in a regular-season game against Asbury Park in which the 6-foot and 210-pound senior ran over two defensive backs before separating from the rest of the pack for a 75-yard touchdown run.

“The speed is definitely there and the power was always there,” said Vigilante, whose star running back runs a 4.7 in the 40-yard dash and can bench 345 pounds, “so I think he would have done well wherever he went.”

A three-sport star who owns a grade-point average above 4.0 while taking honors and advanced placement courses, Brazicki was a Home News Tribune first-team All-Area selection in football and wrestling, and was named preseason All-Area in baseball.

Earlier this year, Brazicki received the prestigious William Denny Scholarship Award, presented to a football player for his achievements on the gridiron, in the classroom and in the community through the Bill Denny/Rutgers Football Letterwinners Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.

Recruited as a running back, Brazicki will continue his academic and athletic career at Division II Bentley University in Massachusetts. Vigilante said the college, which U.S. News & World Report ranks third in the Northeast behind Providence and Fairfield, fits Brazicki’s academic and athletic needs.

“Throughout the (recruiting) process the majority of the schools did like him as a linebacker or strong safety type, but Bentley really liked what they saw from him as a big bruising running back, and that’s certainly the way we tried to showcase him,” Vigilante said, adding, “that’s not to say he doesn’t have the athleticism to go the distance. I think he’s going to be very successful.”

Vigilante said Brazicki’s work ethic – in the classroom, in the weight room and on the practice field – distinguishes him from peers.

“Andrew is an example of what you need to do to get stronger and faster,” Vigilante said, noting Brazicki also has a high acumen for the game. “You are relying (in Bishop Ahr’s power read offense) on somebody to not only have great athleticism, but a great understanding and a great mind. We really saw (during Brazicki’s junior year) that we have something here to build a package around.”

In the history of the Snapple Bowl, only three players from the GMC’s small school division have ever been named the game’s Most Valuable Player. They include Dunellen quarterback Luke Ciannello (Snapple Bowl V in 1998), South River running back Zach Earvin (Snapple Bowl IX in 2002) and Spotswood running back Chase Fee (Snapple Bowl XXII in 2015). Could Brazicki be the next?

“I like to pull a little bit for the underdog,” Goerge said. “I think these type of games are great examples and situations where these kids can one last time – not that they are trying to prove anything – but it’s a nice little chance for them to get out there and play on a bigger stage against the big-time players from the big-time schools.”

Brazicki should feel right at home competing alongside and against players from larger schools in Snapple Bowl XIV.

UNION COUNTY ALL-STAR PLAYERS

Terrence Anderson, Rahway; Nick Arcieri, Brearley; Justin Arnold, Roselle Park; Ryan Bakie, Cranford; Michael Barletta, New Providence; Hudson Barth, New Providence; Justin Beckett, Union; Brian Biskaduros, Governor Livingston; Chris Bournes, Union; Sekou Diaby, Hillside; Alex Esposito, Cranford; Nick Fischetti, A.L. Johnson; Christian Fusco, Summit; Jeff Gagum, Westfield; Robert Gaudenzi, Linden; Matt Grange, Summit; Gerald Hairston, Roselle; Jordan Harris, Plainfield; Tashaun Hutchins, Roselle; Junior Jean, Roselle; Nasir Johnson, Hillside; Jay'quan Johnson, Rahway; Al-Tariq Jones, Union; Steven Karas, Roselle Park; Joe Kastner, Dayton; Azir Lawson, Elizabeth; Malachi Mathis, Elizabeth; Chris McCrary, Elizabeth; Brian McGovern, Cranford; Max Michel, Elizabeth; Kevin Miller, Hillside; Robert Moscicki, Brearley; Izuchukwu Mozie, Scotch Plains-Fanwood; Matt Murdock, Summit; Brian Oblachinski, Cranford; Brett Roessle, A.L. Johnson; Kyree Rogers, Linden; Vincent Rogers, Rahway; Max Schwetje, Westfield; AJ Smith, Rahway; Drew Stephens, Roselle; Jerameel Taylor, Elizabeth; Dan Tomlinson, Governor Livingston; Bryce Wilson, Union; Nasheem Woodard, Plainfield;

MIDDLESEX COUNTY ALL-STAR PLAYERS

Sean Aston, J.F. Kennedy; Dylan Boynton, Highland Park; Andrew Brazicki, Bishop Ahr; Quartius Byrd, Carteret; Alex Cameron, East Brunswick; Roderic Carson, St. Joseph; Marcus Cerminaro, South Brunswick; Carlton Coleman, Monroe; Alain Diaz, Dunellen; Brevin Donerson, Piscataway; Paul Ferrali, Old Bridge; Jahsim Floyd, Sayreville; Deonte Freeman, Perth Amboy; Terrell Hagans, Piscataway;        Dillon Harris, South Plainfield;      Jalen Harris, Carteret; Keshaun Henry, Woodbridge; Nazir James, Piscataway; Jack Keenan, Spotswood; Michael Lampasona, South Plainfield; Tyler Layton, Colonia; Dylan Leone, Woodbridge; Michael Liberti, Sayreville; Naeem Morgan, Middlesex; Ryan O'Shea, Highland Park; German Pimentel, New Brunswick; Michael Porcaro, Sayreville; Bryce Priester, North Brunswick; Keanu Reed, Edison; Lance Rice, Edison; Ibn Robinson, Piscataway; Willi Rojas, Metuchen; Jean Sapini, South Plainfield; Louis Sasso, South River; Javon Scott, J.P. Stevens; DeShai Smith, South Plainfield; Ryan Szatkowski, Spotswood; TJ Townsend, Old Bridge; Justin Turner, Edison; Anthony Villavicencio, Bishop Ahr; Tristan Weathers, Colonia; Kyle Wiggins, East Brunswick; Luke Yakely, St. Joseph; Nick Yanik, Edison; Tyler Zawacki, Colonia.

UNION COUNTY ALL-STAR CHEERLEADERS

Arianna Adan, Roselle Park; Amanda Anthenelli, Governor Livingston; Stephanie Cantrell, Roselle Park; Jennifer Casalino, Arthur L. Johnson; Dina Cascarano, David Brearley; Gianna Cassara, Scotch Plains-Fanwood; Zynayah Coleman, Elizabeth; Amya Curry, Roselle Park; Alexa Cutro, Arthur L. Johnson; Elizabeth DePaola, Scotch Plains-Fanwood; Maekenzi Dixon, Abraham Clark; Antonya Dorcely, Hillside; Bobbi Edwards, Rahway; Maria Gerckens, Westfield; Krista Ginesi, Arthur L. Johnson; Lexi Gonnelli, Governor Livingston; Skye Henry, Hillside; Paula Hernandez, Abraham Clark; Tamira Hinton, Linden; Chrissy Internoscia, Governor Livingston; Ashley Jaime, Westfield; Castro Jean, Abraham Clark; Sarah Jean-Philippe, Union; Desmani Johnson, Plainfield; Tylah Jordan, Westfield; Kentayah Larkin, Elizabeth; Paige McMorrow, Scotch Plains-Fanwood; Alison Mebes, Scotch Plains-Fanwood; Laury Medelus, Union; Aylen Mendoza, Roselle Park; Amajae Nesmith, Linden; Corinne Pencinger, Arthur L. Johnson; Emily Peres, Roselle Park; Shakir Philippe, Scotch Plains-Fanwood; Julia Saladino, Jonathan Dayton; Jamiah Samuels, Scotch Plains-Fanwood; Brianna Smalls, Linden; Nicole Tancs, David Brearley; Alex Testa, Scotch Plains-Fanwood; Yazmirah Toro, Hillside; Ally Vuono, Scotch Plains-Fanwood; Camiele Rene Wallace, Linden; Danielle Zihlbauer, Rahway; Alexa Zsak, Scotch Plains-Fanwood.

MIDDLESEX COUNTY ALL-STAR CHEERLEADERS

Christina Bender, Edison; Gina Bengivena, South Plainfield;  Regina Bishop, Perth Amboy; Jaiden Calatoni, Piscataway; Duchesse Corney, Piscataway; Krysta Cuzzola, J.F. Kennedy; Mikayla DeSantis, South River; Candace DiNizo, Middlesex; Julia Fedor, Bishop Ahr; Danielle Freund, Bishop Ahr; Jada Harris, Woodbridge; Kanaysha Hagood, New Brunswick; Jayde Jackson, South River; Sam Jenkins, Middlesex; Carly Kaplan, Old Bridge; Brianna Kemp, Sayreville; Katya Kose, Edison;  Emily Kutz, Monroe; McKenzie Larsen, South Plainfield; Erin LaVielle, North Brunswick; Kaltrina Lleshi, Sayreville; Mary Kate Lukasiuk, Carteret; Demi Massih, East Brunswick; Dana Masters, J.P. Stevens; Olivia Mastrolonardo, Spotswood; Vicky McAllister, Metuchen; Colleen McPartlan, Spotswood; Vimerlis Mendez, Highland Park; Gabriella Montoya, East Brunswick; Nia Muckle, Colonia; Shayla Needham, New Brunswick; Leslie Nunez, J.F. Kennedy; Tori Palfey, Spotswood; Amanda Pavlis, Spotswood; Ashley Pedroza, Perth Amboy; Celeste Piano, Dunellen; Erica Quigley, Monroe;  Isabella Roffo, South Brunswick; Jeannie Shor, South Brunswick; Keona Sierra, Dunellen; Imani Smith, Metuchen; McKenzie Thomas, Woodbridge; Alia Underwood, Highland Park; Jayda Williams, J.P. Stevens; Alyssa Wytanis, Old Bridge.

UNION COUNTY ALL-STAR COACHES AND STAFF

Scott Miller, Brearley; Kevin Kostibos, Summit; Dan Wollman, Summit; Russ Anderson, Summit; Jimmy Siragusa, Summit; Drew Nichols, Summit; Lou Grasso Jr., Union; Carmen Marano, Union; Jim Melody, Union; Chris D’Andrea, Union; Markindy St. Cyr, Hillside; Melinda Toto, Scotch Plains-Fanwood; Lucinda Toto, Scotch Plains-Fanwood; Ryan Jayne ATC, Brearley; Marissa Greenstein-Plancher, Manager, East Brunswick; Adriana Kania, Manager, East Brunswick.

MIDDLESEX COUNTY ALL-STAR COACHES AND STAFF

Ben LaSala, Colonia; Tom Roarty, Colonia; Joe LaSala, Colonia; Ryan Don Diego, Colonia; Pete Christathakis, J.F. Kennedy; Kevin Hemmings, East Brunswick; George Micak, Metuchen; Joe Vigilante, Bishop Ahr; Keith Kopinas, Carteret; Brian Holt, South Plainfield; Colleen Meyers, Spotswood; Jackie Cassidy, Spotswood; Steve Barandica, ATC Woodbridge; Marissa Greenstein-Plancher, Manager, East Brunswick; Adriana Kania, Manager, East Brunswick.

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