By Mike Drake
Whatever the Colonials’ final record is, one thing is for sure: This is one of the best academic teams in Morristown High School history.
Head Coach Chris Hull always has stressed hitting the books as hard as the tackling dummy, and this year’s team is loaded with students who are as strong in the classroom as on the gridiron.
The 2013 starting offensive line averages an incredible weighted grade-point average of 4.01! Colonials linemen are honors students, taking Advanced Placement classes with their sights set on such top schools as Cornell, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Princeton, Stanford and Yale.
Senior tight end Joey Murphy (6-foot-3) and offensive guard Ben Hoshal (6-foot, 212 pounds) are fine examples of the types of student athletes who represent Morristown.
Murphy is planning on majoring in math while Hoshal wants to study engineering. Senior tackle Brandon Blaise (6-1, 250 pounds) plans to study medicine.
Seniors Brian Bishop (6-foot, 240 pounds), Chris Drake (6-foot, 210), Freddy Ruiz (5-8, 205) and junior Anton Buchner (6-foot, 220) are honors students.
The seniors remember the thrill of being called up as freshmen in 2010 for Morristown’s state championship at MetLife Stadium, where the Colonials trounced Rahway, 40-6. They are hungry to win again after a disappointing rebuilding year in 2012.
Coach Hull is looking to his veteran linemen for strength and leadership when the season kicks off at 2 pm Sunday at Seton Hall Prep.
“I want the seniors to lead, that’s the voice I want to direct this team,” the coach said.
“These senior lineman are outstanding students with excellent work habits. They’ve done a great job all year round, in the classroom, in the weight room and on the field. Every year, someone rises up to lead either the right way or the wrong way. This year we have this fine group of senior linemen, who lead by example on and off the field, so I believe we are in very good shape.”
On the field, the Colonials should control the line of scrimmage. Blaise is especially athletic, and is among the team’s quickest players in addition to being one of the strongest. Nick Sachs (6-5, 265 pounds) is the biggest lineman and he anchors the middle of the defensive front four, along with Bishop. Buchner and Ruiz are versatile enough to play defensive line as well as inside linebacker.
Strong armed junior quarterback Dallas McCall will throw to some fleet-footed receivers, led by wide-out sophomore Ricky Lorenzo, senior AJ Tracy and senior tight end Joey Murphy.
The backfield will feature junior Jordan Powell, a shifty speedster at 6-1 and 190 pounds, and senior Danny Supple, a classic downhill runner and Golden Gloves boxer. Senior fullback Justin Danielsen (6 foot, 190) and Trey Gwynn (5-11, 190) will lead the ground game. Junior fullback/ linebacker Alexis Villegas injured his knee, but hopes to come back this year.
Photo by Patrician Photo.
Linebackers Danielsen, Ruiz, Gwynn and Buchner will anchor the defense. Outside linebacking is manned by Joey Murphy and Danny Supple. Jordan Powell roams the secondary at safety and seniors AJ Tracy and Justin Northern and sophomores Ricky Lorenzo and Jaime Wendell are the cornerbacks.
“We play the best competition possible when we scrimmage preseason: Top 20 Ridgewood; Madison, with the state’s longest winning streak; huge Group 5 Bayonne; and last year’s number 1 preseason team, Elizabeth,” said Coach Hull.
“I believe we’ve taken a lot of strides, but we have a long way to go. This team is hungry and driven. With our senior leadership and their work ethic, we will continue to improve throughout the season.”
Coach Hull reiterated that the Colonials’ most potent weapon will be their offensive line.
“They’re not just experienced, they’re big, they’re athletic, they’re driven and we know they’re smart,” he said.
Now, fans will see if that adds up to a post-season return to MetLife Stadium.
Mike Drake is a member of the MHS Football Boosters Club and the parent of two Colonials football players. In his day, he quarterbacked the Queen of Peace High School team in North Arlington.