NJIC Bowl Series: Wood-Ridge at St. Mary

Shawan Gresham (5) was kept in check Week 1 in Hasbrouck Heights. Wood-Ridge will need to do the same Saturday to beat St. Mary. Credits: Faith Armonaitis
Gang tackling will be needed to stop the Gaels on Saturday. Credits: Faith Armonaitis

RUTHERFORD, NJ - It will be a clash of styles when Wood-Ridge meets St. Mary (Rutherford) on Saturday afternoon at Tamblyn Field in the North Jersey Interscholastic Conference Bowl Series, Week 2.   Game time is 2 pm.

Wood-Ridge  (4-3) is coming off a 14-10 victory over Cresskill that propelled them into seventh place in the NJSIAA Power Point rankings in North 1, Group 1.  St. Mary (4-4) is in eighth place in Non Public North Group 2 rankings. Since they have already played eight games, this game will have no bearing on their state playoff hopes.

Who to Watch:  Wood-Ridge

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Offensively - The show revolves around Blue Devils quarterback Michael Giancaspro, a three-year starter who is trying desperately to lead his team to the NJSIAA playoffs after narrowly missing last year.  The Blue Devils are currently 7th in the standings, but after last year’s disappointment, they won’t be taking chances.

The Blue Devils move the ball down the field with a short passing game, using four receivers, and the legs of Giancaspro on various quarterback runs.   Johnol Martin and Jake Colon are Giancaspro’s favorite targets.  

Defensively - This could be an underrated strength of Wood-Ridge, who was placed third in the NJIC Bowl Series by winning a tie-breaker that was based on points scored. They are undersized, but fast, and have been at their best when they force turnovers.  The secondary, led by senior Giancaspro, but joined by three-year starters in juniors Martin and Evan West, is the strength of the squad.

Colon covers the field on defense from his linebacker spot, and workhorse linemen Stephen Drotus and Drew Tomat anchor the middle of the defense along with middle linebacker Eric Drotus.

Who to Watch:  St. Mary (Rutherford)  

Running back Shawan Gresham is the man in the Gaels offense. With 19 touchdowns scored on the season, he has outscored teams single handedly. Averaging nine yards a carry behind a huge offensive line led by standout lineman Giovani Potente.  At 6-4, 285, Potente is hard to miss on the field.  Potente is joined by tight end Joshua Marren (6-3, 235) to form a huge wall for Gresham to run behind.

Gresham accounts for 60 percent of the Gaels offense each game, and Charles Schementi is the rare QB who wears a number in the 30s (34) and plays linebacker on defense.  Sophomore David Tarallo has been shouldering a bigger load the last few weeks, and had 41 yards on 10 carries against Emerson a week ago.

Defense:  St. Mary's size can wear down an offensive line late in the game.  Schementi is the leading tackler, by a large margin, with 62 tackles.  Second is lineman Christopher Bucta (6-4, 210), who has 27. Khan Hussain leads the way with three of the Gaels 8 interceptions.  


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