BELLEVILLE, NJ — The Belleville High School football team enjoyed an impressive season.
The Bucs, under head coach Jermain Johnson, finished with a 6-4 record. They particularly showed their resolve after starting off with a 1-2 record, including losing a heartbreaking 29-28 decision in week 2 on Sept. 10 to rival Nutley in their home opener, when they unveiled their new turf field at Doc Ellis Field at Municipal Stadium.
The Bucs reeled off five wins in six games to improve to a 6-3 record, with the lone loss in that stretch to a strong West Essex team. Though they lost at traditional power Wayne Hills, 28-0, in the season finale, Belleville had reason to feel good about its season.
The Bucs featured several strong contributors:
• Senior running back James Cook Jr. rushed for 650 yards and eight touchdowns, both team highs, while averaging a whopping 8.44 yards per carry.
• Junior quarterback Brent Rojas showed his versatility. He completed 43 of 78 attempts — 55.13 percent — for 821 yards with 10 touchdowns and just four interceptions, while rushing for 270 yards, second on the team, with three touchdowns, averaging 4.58 yards per carry.
• Senior receiver Al Horne was Rojas’ main receiving target, with 15 catches for 401 yards and five touchdowns on the season. On defense, he had 20 tackles and two interceptions.
• Senior tight end Terence Folkes rushed for 156 yards and four touchdowns on the season.
Folkes especially wreaked havoc on defense as a defensive end/linebacker, with 67 tackles, including 10 tackles for loss and four sacks, along with two forced fumbles.
• Jacob Santo Domingo posted a team-high 70 tackles, with two sacks and two fumble recoveries.
• Senior free safety Chris Vitale had 67 tackles and a staggering eight interceptions.
• Senior free safety Brian Dessources had 53 tackles and two interceptions, sophomore Ezekiel Pina collected 31 tackles, and senior Najee Harris had 29 tackles.
• Sept. 4: win, at Barringer, 44-6
• Sept. 10: loss, vs. Nutley, 29-28
• Sept. 18: loss, vs. Millburn, 24-22
• Sept. 24: win, at East Side, 51-8
• Oct. 1: win, vs. Orange, 21-6
• Oct. 9: loss, at West Essex, 35-0
• Oct. 15: win, at Passaic, 42-14
• Oct. 22: win, at Kearny, 41-0
• Oct. 29: win, vs. North Bergen, 27-7
• Nov. 4: loss, at Wayne Hills, 28-8
Photos Courtesy of Maximiliano G. Garrido