NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - The 2016 4th Annual Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone Bowl kicks off at Brooks Field at Somerville High School on June 30 at 7p.m., and five North Plainfield High School Canucks were chosen to participate.
The rosters for the Devil Dogs and Leather Necks were unveiled on April 25 which features class of 2016 graduates from all over Somerset County and two schools in Hunterdon County.
North Plainfield tight end Arthur Gilmore Jr., wide receiver Stephen Barna, running back Ceisean Tucker, linebacker Siraaj Price, and receiver Karon Mack were selected for the Devil Dogs who are coached by Bridgewater-Raritan High’s Scott Bray (full rosters below).
According to an article on mycentraljersey.com a year ago, “Each school nominates five players and then additional players are added based on positional needs. Also, some schools’ football programs may not have as many seniors as others, so each school has different amounts of players.”
The fab five for the Canucks are all privileged and flattered to be playing in the football game at the end of June as it not only recognizes the student-athletes, but Basilone as well.
“It’s an honor to play in the Basilone Bowl because since I was a freshman I wanted to play in this game,” said Gilmore Jr., who heads to Central Connecticut State University on a football scholarship this summer. “I get to play with and against the best players in Somerset County.”
RELATED: Arthur Gilmore Jr. signs with CCSU.
In 2015, Gilmore caught 20 passes for 296 yards and four touchdowns, and on defense at defensive end, where Gilmore hopes to play “some” in the game, racked up 91 tackles.
Tucker accumulated 741 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground last fall to go along with two kick returns for scores, and can’t wait to play with new teammates and understands what the special game is about.
“It is really an honor to playing in this game,” Tucker said. “It has so much meaning behind it I wouldn’t pick any other bowl game to be playing in. I’m looking forward to experiencing playing with new people, some teammates, some rivals, and just other players from other teams. It’s always fun to play with other talent from other schools.”
Gilmore and Tucker’s battery mates on offense out wide in Mack and Barna will help provide a spark and are ecstatic to playing one more high school game.
“I feel absolutely honored. The fact that I was one of the select few that were chosen allows me to see the all my hard work, dedication, and effort every day has paid off,” said Mack, who hopes to play in the slot and had 322 rushing yards with a touchdown and three catches for 52 yards in 2015. “It means a lot that they chose me to play in this game because it’s a privilege to play more game before the end of my high school career.”
Added Barna who had 11 catches for 135 yards and three scores: “It’s a great honor to playing in the Basilone Bowl. Since my freshman year I knew it was something I would like to do. The history and meaning behind the game makes it really cool and I’m glad I have this opportunity.”
At the second level of the defense a year ago, Price totaled a team-high 108 tackles at linebacker, and said that “It feels great to know that I was selected by the coaches to play in the Basilone Bowl.”
Former North Plainfield head coach Robert Lake offered his thoughts on his players representing the town in the game.
The bowl game is in honor of United States Marine Gunnery Sergeant John A. Basilone (Nov. 4, 1916 – Feb. 19, 1945), a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient for his heroism during the battle of Guadalcanal in World War II. According to basiloneparade.com, Basilone helped his small group of 16 men fend off thousands of Japanese soldiers. Basilone manned two machine guns, fixed two more, crawled into hostile territory with bullets flying over his head and grenades exploding around him to get ammunition, and lastly finished off the Japs with his pistol.
The sixth of 10 children to parents Salvatore Basilone and Dora Bencivenga, Basilone was born in Buffalo, N.Y. but the family returned to Raritan in 1918 where his five older siblings were born.
Basilone was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of Iwo Jima in Japan, but was awarded the Navy Cross. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia near Washington D.C.
In addition, the fallen and most decorated Marine has an annual parade held in his honor in the town of Raritan, with the 2016 edition set for Sept. 18 at 1p.m.
Proceeds from the game will go to the Basilone Memorial Foundation, which donates to the Fisher House Foundation and the Steeplechase Cancer Center.
You can reach and follow Chris Nalwasky on Twitter @ChrisWasky.
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