Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Lining Up for St. Joseph

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Lining Up for St. Joseph

Article excerpt

MONTVALE -- The scene plays out four mornings each week. Same time, same place.

It's enough to make St. Joseph football coach Tony Karcich smile.

"Here they come, walking down the hallway," Karcich said. "Augie [Hoffman, the St. Joseph offensive line coach], followed by these six guys.

"You know how little ducks follow the mother duck? That's what it looks like."

Destination? The computer room. That's where Hoffman, the former St. Joseph and Boston College star, and his offensive linemen get together before classes begin to watch film and talk strategy and technique.

Except for Fridays, of course. That's the day they meet in the cafeteria to share breakfast.

"It's a big deal," said senior guard Joel Campo of Garfield. "We're a tight-knit group. We're a unit. Those sessions bring us together."

And that togetherness and talent has helped forge these players into an offensive line Karcich calls one of the best ever at St. Joseph. They are a big reason the Green Knights (9-2) have one of the premier offenses in North Jersey and are defending their Non- Public Group 3 title against Delbarton on Saturday afternoon at Rutgers.

"We take a lot of pride in what we do," said senior center Shawn Flaherty of Oakland. "After games, we see everyone talking to Spencer [Aukamp, the quarterback], [running back/safety Mark] Fossati or Brion [Wynn, the running back] all the time.

"That's OK. In the film room, these are the guys who are patting us on the back and thanking us for what we've done."

Such is the lot of offensive linemen. They do all the dirty work in the trenches each week, and if they don't mess up, people rarely notice what they've accomplished.

Except, of course, Hoffman.

"They know how I feel about them," Hoffman said. "They do everything I've asked them to do. They work harder than any group we've played against.

"No kickbacks. No problems. They've all bought in, and it shows."

Consider the 42-7 semifinal victory over Red Bank Catholic. The Caseys' defensive line is one of their strengths, featuring nice size and anchored by the Rutgers-bound Josh Klecko (son of the former Jets' Sack Exchange star) and Quenton Nelson, one of the top junior recruits in the state. …

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