Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Pompton Lakes Running Back Negrini Is Carving Up Defenses

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Pompton Lakes Running Back Negrini Is Carving Up Defenses

Article excerpt

"I told them, 'You give me the ball, I'll give you the yards.'"

Frank Negrini

Pompton Lakes junior running back

POMPTON LAKES — Frank Negrini knew this would be his opportunity.

Pompton Lakes has long been known for its running backs and its formidable rushing attack. And after spending last season as a fullback, this was Negrini's year to become the featured back and a focal point of the Cardinals' offense.

The junior has given Pompton Lakes everything it could've hoped for.

"He's been a running back his whole life so he's got that natural ability," coach Scott Mahoney said. "He's just another one of our great running backs throughout the great history of this school."

Negrini has delivered one standout performance after the next. Through nine games, he has rushed for 1,434 yards with 22 touchdowns. Negrini is averaging 159.3 yards per game and 8.8 yards per carry. He has helped lead Pompton Lakes to a 7-2 season and the North 1, Group 1 semifinals, where the sixth-seeded Cardinals will play No. 2 Wallington on Friday night.

"I did not expect this much this year, but our coaches always had faith in me," said Negrini, whose older brothers Sal and Nico also played for the Cardinals. "I told them, 'You give me the ball, I'll give you the yards.'"

Negrini has rushed for at least 200 yards in two games this season, including his 295-yard, four-touchdown performance against Emerson in the first round of the playoffs. He spent last season as a fullback helping to open up holes for running backs Chris Grecco and Cole Harriet. He learned from both of them. Now he's a combination of what made them such good running backs. Grecco was more of a slasher who could make a cut and blow past defenders. Because he's a bigger running back, Negrini said he still doesn't cut as well as Grecco did. But just picking up some of that technique has helped.

"I used to just put my head down and run," said Negrini, a two-way player who has 53 tackles as a linebacker. …

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