BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Nine Bridgewater-Raritan High School seniors are taking part in the 2016 Basilone Bowl, playing for the win as part of the Devil Dogs, against the Leather Necks.
The annual game will be held June 30 at 7 p.m. at Brooks Field at Somerville High School. The players in the game, from all over the county, were introduced April 25.
“This is an honor to be selected for the game,” said Bridgewater-Raritan High School football coach Scott Bray, who will be coaching the Devil Dogs. “Coaches are putting up players that they think have the character of the Marines.”
The game is played in honor of late Marine John Basilone, of Raritan. Senior football players from every school in the county, and Delaware Valley and South Hunterdon, are chosen to play as part of either the Devil Dogs or the Leather Necks in a final football game after the end of school.
“This game represents not only our school, but what Somerset County is all about,” Bray said.
Bray said this is also a way to honor Basilone, the most decorated Marine in history who was the only enlisted Marine to receive both the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross in World War II.
Sgt. Robert Gonzalez, of the Marines, said honor, courage and commitment is what the Marines live by, and that should be the mindframe of the players on the football field.
“Thank you,” he said to the players. “You were chosen not just for what you do on the field, but also off the field.”
Gonzalez said the game means a lot to him personally, as a Marine.
“We are honoring Basilone and what his career encompassed,” he said. “And to be a part of something with these fine men, it means a lot to be part of something with Basilone’s name.”
Proceeds from the game will go to the Basilone Memorial Foundation, which donates to the Steeplechase Cancer Center and the Fisher House Foundation.
“These are two strong charities, and we respect everyone that helps our charity,” said Don Tozzi, co-founder of the Basilone Memorial Foundation.
Several football players said they are excited to be chosen to play.
“It’s definitely a privilege to end my high school career with such an important game,” Bridgewater-Raritan High School player Ethan Rodgers said.
BRHS player Mike Celli agreed.
“It is an amazing honor to be chosen,” he said. “It’s such a good cause.”
Playing for the Devil Dogs are:
- Michael Carr, of Pingry
- Kevin Chow, of Pingry
- Arthur Gilmore, of North Plainfield
- Ceisean Tucker, of North Plainfield
- Siraaj Price, of North Plainfield
- Stephen Barna, of North Plainfield
- Karon Mack, of North Plainfield
- Alex Hofman, of Immaculata
- Derek Walker, of Immaculata
- Mike Bifano, of Immaculata
- Nico McCormick, of Immaculata
- Mac Petrie, of Bernards
- Justin Guimares, of Bernards
- Connor Usserry, of Bernards
- Eric Nickel, of Bridgewater-Raritan
- Matt Miliotis, of Bridgewater-Raritan
- Jon Kaye, of Bridgewater-Raritan
- Andrew DeMaio, of Bridgewater-Raritan
- Cole Harper, of Bridgewater-Raritan
- Mike Celli, of Bridgewater-Raritan
- Tyler Sibiga, of Bridgewater-Raritan
- Ethan Rodgers, of Bridgewater-Raritan
- Trevor Smith, of Bridgewater-Raritan
- Mark Ball, of Watchung Hills
- Nick Kohler, of Watchung Hills
- Eric Plesco, of Watchung Hills
- Alec Pezuti, of Watchung Hills
- Tyler Helbing, of Watchung Hills
- Jack Stefurak, of Watchung Hills
- Jacob Slass, of Watchung Hills
- Ben Sibilla, of Watchung Hills
- Joey Donnelly, of Delaware Valley
- Ethan Kendzulak, of Delaware Valley
- Jackson Fisher, of Delaware Valley
- Derek Kugelman, of Delaware Valley
Playing for the Leather Necks are:
- Daniel Papa, of Montgomery
- Brandon Szigeti, of Montgomery
- Wyatt Colangelo, of Montgomery
- Anthony Lopresti, of Montgomery
- Dan Mayo, of Montgomery
- Colin Motherway, of Montgomery
- Mike Simonson, of Montgomery
- Pat Warren, of Montgomery
- Deandre Thomas, of Montgomery
- Hayden Panagos, of Hillsborough
- Dillon Zimmerman, of Hillsborough
- Matt Doring, of Hillsborough
- Ben Pasternack, of Hillsborough
- Ryan Melillo, of Hillsborough
- Jeremiah Lynch, of Somerville
- Mike Tarver, of Somerville
- Connor Emerson, of Somerville
- Adokiye Oruobu, of Somerville
- David Anderson, of Franklin
- Darius Gibson, of Franklin
- Nate Curry, of Franklin
- Kewon Orders, of Franklin
- Affiz Din-Gabisi, of Franklin
- Joshua Mack, of Franklin
- Darius Brown, of Bound Brook
- Drake Roach, of Bound Brook
- James Arias, of Bound Brook
- Jeremy Nurnberger, of Manville
- Sandy Lawson, of Manville
- Bobby Demeter, of Manville
- Ben Rengulbai, of Ridge
- Chris Lynn, of Ridge
- Kermit Hoffman, of Ridge
- James Napoliatano, of Ridge
- Thomas Mccloughan, of South Hunterdon
- Tristan Semenza, of South Hunterdon