CLARK, NJ – The Arthur L. Johnson Crusader Football Team held its annual post-season awards banquet on March 5. Head Football Coach Anthony DelConte presided over the event as all athletes were honored for their contributions to Crusader Football.
In addition, numerous scholarships were awarded to deserving student athletes throughout the evening. The night culminated with the showing of the 2016 Crusader Football Team’s highlights.
"It was a wonderful evening to celebrate both past and present Crusaders and continues to keep the tradition of Crusader Football alive and well," Athletic Director Gus Kalikas said.
Below is a recap of the scholarships awarded:
The Collegiate Athlete of the Year The Collegiate Athlete of the Year honors a former Crusader that has gone on to succeed both in the classroom and on the athletic fields. The 2016 recipient was Andrew Zub, who played collegiate football at King’s College.
The Henry A. Varriano Memorial Award
Henry R. Varriano presents this award to a senior player who displays determination and a "never give up attitude." The recipient of this award always puts team above self, sacrificed individuality for the team, pushed himself to achieve greater heights, overcame adversity, and displayed perseverance. The Varriano Award is for a scholarship and plaque. The 2016 Varriano Award winner was Ryan Koppel.
The Clark Pop-Warner Scholarship
Clark Pop-Warner annually gives a scholarship to a football player and cheerleader that have come through the program and continued their careers in their respective sports while attending ALJ. The Clark Pop-Warner Scholarship is for a scholarship and plaque. The 2016 recipients were Brett Roessle, Joseph West and Christie Bove.
Century 21 JRS Academic Achievement Award
George and Carene Sanguliano annually present the Century 21 JRS Academic Achievement Award to the senior football player with the highest grade point average. The award includes a scholarship and plaque. This year’s 2016 Academic Achievement Award winner is Joseph West.
The Dennis Carpini Memorial Scholarship
The Dennis Carpini Memorial Scholarship recipient receives a scholarship and plaque. It is presented to the senior football player who, like Dennis, overcame odds and had a true love of Crusader Football. The athlete must be a heart and soul competitor, a unifier, and a positive role model. The 2016 Dennis Carpini Memorial Scholarship went to Jonathan Duffy.
The Most Improved Player Scholarship
The Most Improved Player Scholarship recipient receives a scholarship and plaque. It is presented to the senior football player who through dedication, hard work, and perseverance has shown a tremendous improvement in the sport of football throughout their high school career. The 2016 Most Improved Player Scholarship went to Vincent Campbell.
The Don LaPenna Memorial Leadership Scholarship
The Don LaPenna Leadership Memorial Scholarship recipient receives a scholarship and plaque. It is presented to the senior football player who, like Don, overcame odds and had a true love of Crusader Football. The athlete must be a great role model who displays excellent leadership qualities and was dedicated to his team. The 2016 Don LaPenna Leadership Memorial Scholarship went to Michael Brennan.
The William Waterson Memorial Scholarship
Officer Waterson made the ultimate sacrifice; he gave his life in the line of duty. He was brave, honest, and devoted to the job. Tom Maye, owner of Station Cab, presents this award to be displayed in our main trophy case and a scholarship to the senior who most exemplifies the character traits of Officer Waterson. This award speaks to sacrifice and commitment. The recipient sets a new standard of leadership and character in the school and community. He has the innate ability to impact all students at ALJ. He is well liked, and respected, by his peers. The 2016 William Waterson Memorial Scholarship went to Vincent Crisafi.
The Thomas Santaguida “Saint of the Year” Award
The loss of Thomas Santaguida devastated the ALJ community. Santaguida was loved and admired. When he came to Johnson in 1993, he had to replace one of the most respected and loved men in ALJ history, Lou Paragallo. He won everyone over with his dignity, his professionalism, his confidence, and most of all, his sense of sportsmanship and fair play. He was a mentor and the program became stronger under his guidance. As a high school player at Plainfield, Santaguida played football and basketball. His coaches and teammates say his fiery style and zest for competition stood out even then. Those are the qualities that are celebrated in naming the 2016 Johnson Football “Saint of the Year.” The 2016 “Saint of the Year” is Nicholas Fischetti.
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