CLARK, N.J.- Arthur L. Johnson High School seniors Jon Duffy, Nick Fischetti and Brett Roessle will play one more football game together before starting college next year. The three will represent Arthur L. Johnson High School in the Snapple Bowl this summer.
The Snapple Bowl, a charity game to benefit the Lakeview Children's School for Developmental Disabilities in Edison and the Children's Specialized Hospital in Union County, will be played on Thursday, July 20, 2017 at Kean University at 7:00 p.m. Last year's Snapple Bowl raised a single-game record of $50,000 for the two organizations.
The games pits Union County All-Star football players against the Middlesex County All-Stars.
The three seniors helped to lead the Johnson varsity football team to a 5-5 record and a trip to the NJSIAA Central, Group 2 playoffs in the 2016 season.
Duffy, one of the four captains of the team last year, ran the ball 85 times for 724 rushing yards, being one of the three to achieve the milestone of 1,000 career varsity rushing yards, on Saturday, November 5 at Governor Livingston HS in a 35-20 Johnson victory.
“It's a real pleasure knowing I get to play the game I love one more time especially with two ride-or-die friends through it all,” Duffy said.
Fischetti was another major force within the Crusaders’ rushing game. He ran the ball 92 times for 954 yards. He averaged 95.4 yards per game, showing a major turnaround from his previous two seasons on the varsity football team.
He also joined Duffy and teammate Joe Turek as those who achieved the milestone of 1,000 career varsity rushing yards on October 28, in the Crusaders’ 28-14 victory on Senior Night.
“It’s great to be able to get out there again and not actually do the business-type [winning], but actually have fun with Jon and Brett out there in the Snapple Bowl,” Fischetti said.
Roessle was a major anchor of the Crusaders’ defense, where he got one sack and made 18 tackles. He is looking forward to suiting up for one last game with his longtime friends and teammates.
“I’m just excited to get back out there,” Roessle said. “It’s going to be real fun, just pairing up with the best in Union County and going against Middlesex and bringing it to them and having a good time.”
Head coach Anthony DelConte, who coached all three throughout their careers, couldn’t have been prouder.
“It’s really been awesome to be able to coach those three guys for their entire high school career,” DelConte said. “To see them take that stride they’ve taken, not only on the football field, but their lives in general, they really, this past football season, stepped into a big leadership role and it was huge.”
“That’s probably the biggest thing and the biggest satisfaction you get out of coaching, is watching these little kids turn into men and that’s huge,” DelConte said. “Brett being a freshman starter, we always knew he had what it took to be a dominant player and actually seeing him become that dominant player was awesome.
"Jon has his own story in itself. In his sophomore year, we saw a little something in him and probably be something special and see him become that someone special was awesome.
“Nick is the same guy, he struggled a little his sophomore year and he started to come into the zone junior year and then became that dominant guy his senior year. It’s a tribute to them and how hard they work, how hard they’ve dedicated themselves to the program, they believed in us and now it’s all paying off. The culmination of their career is being able to play in that Snapple Bowl and it’s a great honor. I’m really proud of them. I’m going to miss coaching them,” DelConte added.
As the school year is in its final months, the three hope to carry the pride of Johnson football into their last game as teammates, when they not only represent Union County in the Snapple Bowl, but represent Arthur L. Johnson High School.
“Jon, Nick and Brett have been a huge part of Johnson football for the last four years,” Clark Athletic Director Gus Kalikas said. “They’re part of the reason why we’ve had so much success over the last few years and to see them culminate such great careers in the Snapple Bowl is not only an honor for them, but it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch.”
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