PISCATAWAY, NJ -- Two Piscataway High School student athletes have been selected to play in the prestigious 39th annual Phil Simms North-South All-Star Football Classic this summer.
Running back Elijah Barnwell and defensive lineman Abdel Mohamed will play for the South team in the contest which will take place on June 26 at 7:00 p.m. at Kean University. The rosters were recently released on NJ.com.
The North-South Classic pits recently graduated high school seniors (in this case the class of 2017) from high schools all across New Jersey against one another. The North team won last year 7-0, but the South leads the all-time series 18-7-2. Dating back to 1979, the game is the Garden State’s longest running event of its kind.
“I’m extremely excited and proud to have our guys represent the program on such a huge platform,” said Piscataway head coach Dan Higgins, who doubles as a police officer in town. “They follow in the footsteps of some great Chiefs players that have played in the game, and I’m sure they will do their part to make plays and continue the proud tradition of Piscataway football players in the biggest and most prestigious all-star game in New Jersey.”
With the help of Higgins, coach Thompson, and former head coach Joe Kuronyi, former Chiefs who have played in the North-South game include Higgins himself, Mark Meseroll, Packy Turner, Myles Savage, Dejon Welcome, Vincent Wilson, Reco Owens, Prince Asamoah, John Kmety, and recently Devraun Thompson, Malcolm Jenkins, Kyle Wilson, Anthony Davis, and Terrence Fox.
On Feb. 1, Barnwell signed to play just five minutes down the road at hometown Rutgers University, just days after committing to Buffalo. Piscataway’s all-time leading rusher, Barnwell amassed 5,728 yards on the ground with 75 rushing touchdowns as a Chief. In 2016, the 5-foot-11, 188-pounder ran for 1,838 yards with 29 touchdowns (30 total), helping Piscataway earn the Central Jersey, Group 5 sectional championship.
“It means a lot to me that I got nominated for this game and I get to represent Piscataway,” Barnwell told TAPinto Piscataway. “It’s a well respected game that I’m proud to be a part of.”
In the middle of prepping to play for head coach Chris Ash and the Scarlet Knights starting this summer, Barnwell is hoping to get a glimpse of what it will be like in college playing against solid competition.
“In the (week of) practice I’m just hoping to get a hint of what the next level is like and in the game I hope to do well and score if I can but mostly help the team,” the underrated tailback said.
“I hope to get a fun and competitive experience from it.”
Mohamed, who will also play in the 2017 Snapple Bowl which is also at Kean in July, anchored the dominant offensive and defensive lines for the Chiefs. The 6-foot-2, 290-pounder racked up 39 tackles, including 19 for loss, with 8.5 sacks and one fumble recovery this last season. Mohamed will play for Lackawana College.
A former first round NFL Draft pick in 1979 and 15-year veteran, Simms spent his entire career with the New York Giants at quarterback. Simms is a two-time Super Bowl Champion (was MVP of Super Bowl XXI), a two-time Pro Bowler, and is a member of the New York Giants Ring of Honor. His No. 11 is also retired by the team.
Simms added his name to the North-South Classic four years ago.
"Coming from Kentucky, it's hard to believe that I would have a high school all-star game named after me in the state of New Jersey," Simms told NJ.com. "It's pretty cool. It's a great honor, and I take it with responsibility and a lot of pride.
"It's truly a great all-star game. (My message to the kids) is to enjoy it and root for all the other kids,” he said. “Root for the guys you're competing against. Realize that this is just a great experience."
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