EAST ORANGE – Despite a very rainy and unseasonable cold day on Sunday, May 1, spring football action was seen at East Orange’s Paul Robeson Stadium, hosted by Third Ward Councilman and City of East Orange Council Chairman, Ted Green and the East Orange Football All Stars comprising of members from area youth football teams: East Orange Rams, East Orange Junior Jaguars, East Orange Panthers and Orange Bengals.
The day got off to a start with the two early games between the Union Vipers from Roselle and the Central Jersey Sports Group from Metuchen.
The main event of the weekend turned out to be the Spring Battle of East Orange between The All Stars and new upstart East Orange Hurricanes. The All Stars are currently undefeated at the 12U and 14U levels while the 15U suffered its first lost to Hurricanes due to a technicality in the Atlantic Coast Spring Youth Football League rules for a tie. They ruled the game in favor of the Hurricanes for an undisclosed infraction against the All Stars.
The All Stars 12U squad wasted no time in the opening minutes of the game driving almost the length of the field and scoring the first touchdown to go up 6-0 early in the first quarter. The All Stars led by their backfield by committee RB Ja’quan Hayes, RB Al Shadee Salaam, and QB Dante Wilson all found their way to the endzone. Hayes busted in from 10 yards out to go up 12-0 to end the first half. The second half saw Salaam just cruise his way through the middle of the Hurricane’s defense before turning on the jets for a 55 yards scorching touchdown to bring the score 19-0. By the fourth quarter, the Hurricanes were looking to put together a drive and test the passing defense of the All Stars but DB Trushan Parrish had put a stop to that by snagging one of four combined interceptions the All Stars came away with. He returned the ball 32 yards to the Hurricanes’ 20-yard line before being tackled from behind and force out of bound as he was attempting to score. QB Dante Wilson saw to it to finish the job two plays later. He kept the ball and swept to his right after missing the hand off from the Hurricane’s 18 yard line. Wilson was cornered and was about be tackled but Wilson broke free hitting a devastating reversing spin move to his left busting though a wall of Hurricanes defenders to only dive in to pay dirt with two defenders holding for the ride giving the All Stars a 27-0 shutout over the Hurricanes 12U squad.
The All Stars weren’t done with Hurricanes as they brought out the 14U squads. The All Stars 14U squad led by standout OL/DL Keyshawn Munford, RB Bryant Manuel, WR Mahjid Terrell, WR/DB Ian Brown, QB Nasir Montgomery, and MLB Brandon Brown Shaw dominated the Hurricanes pitching a shutout of 32-0. “We are extremely proud of what we came to do,” said Head Coach Keith Munford, “that was to dominate from start to finish.” RB Bryant Manual scored the first touchdown scooting in from 8 yards out, capping a methodical 50 yard, seven-play drive to give the All Stars a 7-0 edge over the Hurricanes early in the first quarter. The Hurricanes were stopped cold after a force fumble by All Star MLB Nasir Montgomery putting his offense in striking distance of the end zone. RB Bryant Manuel found pay dirt again this time from 16 yards out in the second quarter. The All Stars would close the first half with a 20-0 after WR Mahjid Terrell rushed into the house with a 17 yard reverse. The All Stars defense stifled the Hurricane’s vaunted passing attack and forcing mayhem in the backfield. Brown-Shaw and Munford combined for 4 tackles all for loss of yardage and 2.5 sacks. The All Stars found the end zone twice in the fourth quarter. RB Bryant Manuel scrambled 20 yards on a reverse beating out the Hurricanes’ defense to the endzone stretching the lead to 26-0. The Hurricanes tried to respond but they were stopped quickly deep in their own territory giving the All Stars another fumble recovery. That’s when All Star QB Nasir Montgomery found Ian Brown running a deep slant across the middle and connected with him on a 26 yard strike for the final walk off 32-0 score.
The All Stars 15U squad played Saturday afternoon against the Vailsburg Gators and went on to defeat them, 38-0. The 15U division allows High School Freshman to play if they meet the age cut off requirements of March 1st and have only played freshman level football or Pop Warner Unlimited throughout their local areas. It is also a chance for early recruiters to get a look at the student athlete for the next levels.
The All Stars will be on the road for the remainder of the Spring football season as they look forward to repeating as league champs in June.
The All Stars have already seen success with several of their players starting as freshman for some of the area’s top public and non public football teams including some of the state’s elite programs who are competing nationally for the coveted Prep National Championships. “Our team is a family and we treat each and every one of the players as if they were our own sons’ and extended brothers to our son Keyshawn” said Keith and Monique Redding-Munford, who were beaming with pride. The team actively participates in youth football camps and coaches clinics throughout the year, as well as having seen a few players play in quite a few National Youth1, FBU (Football University), Army All American, and Brett Cooper Elite All- American games.
“We are extremely proud of what our players have been doing in the classroom and on the football field,” said Coach Munford.