July 21, 2014 at 8:47 AM
NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - New Providence football standouts Jeff Doran, Mimmo Coppola and CJ Kleisch put on the pads one last time in their pre-college careers when they participated in the Snapple Bowl, a matchup between the star football players from Union County and Middlesex County who just graduated high school last month.
“The Snapple Bowl is one of the most prestigious All Star games in the state with only the best players in the county being selected to play,” said New Providence head coach Joe Carollo. “To have three players selected, it says a great deal about our program, and more importantly the playing ability of CJ, Mimmo, and Jeff.
For star wide receiver and defensive back Doran, the last game of his football career couldn’t have went much better. Despite the team's 34-20 loss to Middlesex, Doran stood out on defense, intercepting a pass in the second half to help his teams effort, but more importantly, enjoying the experience.
“I had a great time playing, the kids on the Union County team were great and I played a great game,” said Doran. “Overall I had a lot of fun and it was a nice end to my football career.”
Teammates Coppola and Kleisch, who were versatile and all-around threats, are just as grateful as Doran, and they were thankful that they were able to relish one last football game in their high school careers.
“Getting to play one last game was great,” said Coppola. “I’m thankful for the opportunity that I was given and it was a great experience.”
“I’m glad I got to participate and wear my green and gold helmet one last time.”
“It was very satisfying. I got to give my all again and have no regrets,” said Kleisch. “What I got out of the experience was that it gave me a sense of pride that was given to me by my coaches and former teammates that cheered me on which helped a tremendous amount on the field.”
The departing seniors are leaving a big void in the New Providence football team for this upcoming season, not only regarding skill, but the trios’ influence to younger players off the field, which will truly be missed.
“CJ, Jeff, and Mimmo truly embody what New Providence football is all about,” said Carollo. “They were great players on the field, but more importantly they were great leaders and people off the field and in the classroom.”
“They served as a model for our younger players both as players and people and coaching them over the past two years has been a joy.”
The three New Providence high school graduates will move onto bigger things in just over a month. Doran will head to American University, while Coppola will attend Fairfield University this upcoming fall, and Kleisch will pursue work opportunities.