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As game director Ken Trimmer (right) listens in, former Giants QB and CBS NFL analyst Phil Simms addresses audience on hand for the annual Simms New Jersey North-South All-Star Classic Media Day held recently at Piscataway High School where players for the respective squads in the 38th annual game on June 27 at Kean were introduced and became acquainted with various coaches in game. (Photo by Bill Allen-www.NJSportAction.NET)
'Big' Jim Williams of Roselle, the general manager for the North all-stars, introduces his team's players while Montclair's John Fiore listens in.
Players listen intently as introductions are done at North-South Media Day
Ex-Giants QB Phil Simms thoroughly enjoys his involvement with game
Two key members of the North All-Stars offense, Indian Hills QB Tim O'Brien (left) and offensive coordinator John Fiore of Montclair get together during the recent Simms N.J. North-South Classic Media Day.
Calvin Thompson, GM for the South, introduces his team to the audience
Union County residents on the North All-Star squad for this year's game include, from left, Steven Harper of Roselle (Hudson Catholic), Jack Curry of Westfield, Samad Starling of Linden, Rashaad Pendleton of Roselle, Edriece Patterson of Rahway, Evan Collier of Brearley, Kevin Doran of Cranford and Charles James of Union. Game is set for June 27 at Kean .
The Essex County players on the North squad include, from left, Frank Hunter of West Essex, Justin Jackson of Caldwell, Keneek Tomlinson of East Orange Campus, Alex Motley of Orange (Morristown-Beard School), Victor Solarin of Barringer, Ali Abbas of Irvington, Lowell Kelly-Gamble of Bloomfield, Rashaad Pendleton of Newark (Roselle), Elijah J. Robinson of Montclair (in back of Pendleton), Mustafa Lawrence of Weequahic, Craig Merkle of Nutley, Darnell Grant Jr. of Shabazz, Kevhan Bent of Columbia, Zach Keller of Seton Hall Prep and Sam Cunnings of Verona. Missing from the photo was Amir Copher of Orange. Game will be June 27th at Kean.
Phil Simms ‘All-In’ With Game
PISCATAWAY- Ken Trimmer still remembers well the moment three years ago when he approached former Giants great and CBS NFL analyst Phil Simms about being involved with the New Jersey North-South All-Star Football Classic.
“Phil said he was ‘All in,’ and those were not only great words to hear, but he has been there for everything we do, whether it’s practices, team photos or whatever we need,” said the longtime Caldwell coach who is director for what we now know as the Phil Simms New Jersey North-South All-Star Classic. “He’s definitely not just a name and someone who just shows up on ‘Game Day.’
“He’s been just tremendous for us out front and behind the scenes and were very fortunate to have him involved every year now!”
The Simms North-South All-Star Classic held its annual ‘meet and greet’ Media Day and introductions for players, their parents and coaches along with members of the media at Piscataway High School on May 15; and despite the fact President Obama was just down the street at Rutgers University for his commencement speech and the resulting more challenging traffic patterns made it more difficult to get to anywhere in the area, the turnout for the annual North-South Game media event was impressive indeed.
The 2016 Simms North-South All-Star Classic is set for 7 p.m., Monday, June 27, at Kean University’s Alumni Field, which has become the perfect site and facility for the annual game and the weekend of practices leading up to the annual primetime early summer event to send off soon-to-be college freshmen in a final first-rate, high school-type atmosphere.
“The interest remains great in New Jersey high school football and the enthusiasm of everyone here at Piscataway High School is impressive,” said Simms, who was on hand for the recent Media Day gathering along with former Giants teammate Scott Brunner, the former Delaware and NFL QB who played two years of high school football at Lawrence High School in Mercer County. “I’m excited to be part of the New Jersey North-South Classic and this is a great game to highlight some of the terrific players from a state where high school football is simply tremendous!”
Brunner will be the honorary head coach for the South and former Madison High School, University of Maryland and Pittsburgh Steeler QB Neil O’Donnell will serve in the same role for the North all-stars.
“I’m thrilled to be coaching in this year’s game,” said Brunner. “The North-South Classic is fortunate to have Phil, for sure, but also the fact that Ken Trimmer, who has more than 50 years of coaching experience, is once again directing this game is another big reason why it is so successful each year.”
‘Big’ Jim Williams, the head coach at Roselle, is general manager for the North all-stars while Calving Thompson coordinates the South all-stars in the same role.
“We have put together a terrific coaching staff for this year’s game and we’re looking to beat the South this time,” said Williams, whose multi-talented star receiver Rashaad Pendleton (Bridgeton Academy) is on the North squad.
The South edged the North, 23-21, in the 2015 North-South Classic at Kean and leads the series 18-16-2.
Among the coaches for the North squad this year are Montclair’s John Fiore, who will be the offensive coordinator.
“Having coach Fiore working with the quarterbacks and seeing the game plan he puts in is going to be a lot of fun,” said Seton Hall Prep’s Princeton University-bound QB Zach Keller, who will share North signal calling duties in this year’s all-star game with Indian Hills’ Tim O’Brien. “There are so many talented players on the North squad and plenty of quick wide receivers to throw to.”
A veteran area coach also on the North staff is the popular Gerry Gallagher, who is a former head coach at William Paterson University and Montville High School, and is now on Brian Bowers’ staff at Delbarton.
“I still love to coach and Delbarton has been a great place to continue doing that,” said Gallagher. “The North-South game is one of the best around and a credit to the coaches who keep a close association with the game as it continues to grow in popularity.”
For Simms, who works along with Jim Nance on the primetime telecasts of NFL games on CBS, the chance to rekindle memories of New Jersey high school that he enjoyed being part of with his sons Chris (Ramapo High School) and Matt (Don Bosco Prep) is something he greatly values now.
“Working with Ken on the game has been such a joy and all the people behind the scenes really make this a special event,” said the Franklin Lakes resident. “Plus, to meet all the seniors on both teams is a thrill for me and a reminder of just how special the high school football experience in this state really is.
“I’m really looking forward to June 27 th and everything that leads up to it because I know that the fans who come out to Kean that night are going to enjoy seeing some great talent on display one more time before heading their separate ways in that next stage in their lives.’
2016 Simms N.J. Classic North All-Star Team:
1 Austin Triglia DB St. Joe’s (Mont)
2 Jason Harrison DB Lincoln
3 Mustafa Lawrence DB Weequahic
4 Yasir Thomas DB Passaic Tech
5 Nazier Wright LB Paterson Kennedy
7 Samad Starling DB Linden
8 Ali Abbas DB Irvington
9 Elijah Carlos DB Ridgefield Park
10 Zach Keller QB Seton Hall Prep
11 Tim O’Brien QB Indian Hills
13 Elijah J. Robinson WR Montclair
14 Kermit Hoffman WR Ridge
15 Evan Collier WR Brearley
16 Jake Catalioto K/P Lakeland
17 Rashaad Pendleton WR Roselle
18 Mike Pimpinella WR Pascack Valley
19 Frank Rica WR Watchung Hills
20 Marquise Roberts RB Hoboken
22 Craig Merkle RB Nutley
25 Jack Curry RB Westfield
26 Ahmad Thomas RB Paramus Catholic
42 Jaysen Thompson LB Hackensack
44 Steven Harper LB Hudson Catholic
45 Zack Shupe LB Madison
46 Jared Salgado LB Parsippany Hills
48 Joe Kenny LB Wayne Hills
50 Charles James OL Union
55 Kevhan Bent OL Columbia
56 Frank Hunter OL West Essex
60 John Piccinich DL Old Tappan
63 Lowell Kelly-Gamble DL Bloomfield
64 Victor Solarin DL Barringer
65 Amir Copher DL Orange
66 Keneek Tomlinson DL East Orange Campus
70 Justin Jackson OL Caldwell
72 Sam Cummings OL Verona
74 Alex Motley OL Morristown-Beard
75 Kevin Doran OL Cranford
76 Sam Kowal OL North Hunterdon
90 Frankie Feaster DL Bergen Catholic
92 Darnell Grant, Jr. DL Shabazz
94 Edriece Patterson DL Rahway
96 L.B. Mack III DL Don Bosco Prep
SOUTH LEADS SERIES: 18-16-2
2015: South 23 North 21 - at Kean University
2014: South 20, North 14 - at Piscataway High School
2013: North 54, South 8 - at Kean University
2012: North 14, South 7 - at Kean University
2011: South 21, North 14 - at Kean University
2010: North 17, South 3 - at Kean University
2009: South 7, North 0 - at Kean University
2008: North 31, South 25 - at Rutgers Stadium
2007: South 14, North 7 - at Rutgers Stadium
2006: North 31, South 16 - at Rutgers Stadium
2005: North 9, South 7 - at Rutgers Stadium
2004: North 26, South 21 - at Rutgers Stadium
2003: South 3, North 0 - at Rutgers Stadium
2002: No game was played at Rutgers
because of inclement weather before kickoff.
2001: North 24, South 0 - at Rutgers Stadium
2000: South 20, North 5 - at Rutgers Stadium
1999: South 22, North 19 - at Rutgers Stadium
1998: North 33, South 31 - at Rutgers Stadium
1997: South 28, North 24 - at The College of New Jersey
1996: South 32, North 23 - at Rutgers Stadium
1995: North 37, South 15 - at Rutgers Stadium
1994: South 21, North 16 - at Trenton State College
1993: South 9, North 8 - at Giants Stadium
1992: North 7, South 7 (tie) - at Giants Stadium
1991: North 26, South 12 - at Giants Stadium
1990: North 14, South 10 - at Rutgers Stadium
1989: South 24, North 0 - at Rutgers Stadium
1988: South 12, North 9 - at Rutgers Stadium
1987: North 21, South 10 - at Rutgers Stadium
1986: North 20, South 17 - at Rutgers Stadium
1985: North 10, South 10 (tie) - at Rutgers Stadium
1984: North 7, South 0 - at Rutgers Stadium
1983: South 41, North 7 - at Rutgers Stadium
1982: South 16, North 7 - at Rutgers Stadium
1981: South 32, North 0 - at Rutgers Stadium
1980: North 13, South 6 - at Rutgers Stadium
1979: South 34, North 13 - at Rutgers Stadium
Follow Steve Tober on Twitter @Chattermeister
Former Lawrence High, Delaware and NFL QB Scott Brunner speaks to the audience during North-South Classic Media Day. The longtime Jersey resident will coach the South squad in June 27 game at Kean.
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