Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Band of Brothers

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Band of Brothers

Article excerpt

RAMSEY - The offenses for the remaining Non-Public Group 4 playoff teams, spiced up with several Division I prospects, are good.

Just not scary good as they have been in the past.

That means the road to New Jersey's most prestigious football title figures to be dominated by some top-shelf defenses. And, if that's the case, you won't hear Don Bosco complaining.

"We can be the difference-maker," junior defensive lineman Marcus Valdez said during a break in Monday's practice at Granatell Stadium. "I think we have the best defense in the state. Other teams might have better talent, but not the brotherhood that we have."

And that idea of brotherhood and trust means a lot to this group as the second-seeded Ironmen (7-3) brace themselves for Saturday night's semifinal clash with sixth-seeded archrival Bergen Catholic (7-3). That is the one thing that Bosco's defensive stars believe sets them apart from their rivals.

"We face challenges every game," said senior lineman/linebacker William Mack. "A lot of this season was won on defense, and we always know that we have each other's back."

"We're all in unison, like a family," said Iowa-bound senior lineman Brandon Simon. "Nobody tries to do anyone else's job. We know what we have to do, and we stick to the game plan."

The Ironmen played one of the nation's most challenging schedules this season, and they say it has made them tournament tough. They've allowed an average of 16.6 points per game, which is rather impressive considering the level of competition.

Highlights include allowing only three points in a win over Archbishop Rummel of Louisiana and shutting out North 1, Group 5 semifinalist Passaic Tech. The Ironmen allowed 30 points to national power Bishop Gorman - ranked No. 1 nationally by USA Today, but the Gorman coach said afterward that Bosco was the best team it faced all season.

The Ironmen also put the clamps on Bergen Catholic in a 24-19 victory on Halloween, doing a good job putting pressure on sophomore quarterback Johnny Langan. …

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