UNION — Unlike many of the other players in the Phil Simms North-South All-Star Classic, Union’s Michel Lucien didn’t have to travel very far.
As many of the best football seniors from all corners of New Jersey flocked to Kean University for the prestigious game Monday night, Lucien got to represent Union right in town. The standout graduated senior Farmer running back and linebacker was a starter and one of 44 players to represent North Jersey in the annual game.
Lucien saw time on all sides of the ball in helping the North claim a nail-bitting 24-23 victory over the South. Defensively, Lucien played almost the entire game at linebacker, adding a tackle and broken up pass. He also started on special teams and saw some time in the offensive backfield.
The North team, coached by former New York Giant David Diehl, rallied from a six-point deficit in the final minutes to win the game. The South had an opportunity to win with seconds remaining, but a field goal attempt clanked off the right goal post to preserve the North’s lead.
Grasso was on the sidelines for the North throughout the game, noting that every year, the event is always a great time for all involved.
“It’s always fun when we get together,” Grasso said. “Great players, great coaches. It’s kind of a football reunion with all those guys you know. It’s fun every year.”
Another Union standout, Isaiah Stewart, was nomited to the roster, but was unable to play in the game. Stewart, a wide receiver and defensive back, will be playing at Division I Pittsburgh this upcoming fall. In addition to Lucien and Stewart, the other players to represent Union County were: Jesiah West (Elizabeth), BJ George (Linden), Lamar Moore (Roselle), Shadon Willis (Hillside), Zion Pendleton (Rahway), Max Jackson (Summit), Randy Lopez (Plainfield), and Dawan White (Roselle).
Lucien being a part of the North roster is no surprise. The Union graduate had a stellar senior season last fall, and was instrumental in leading the Farmers to a Mid-State 38 Watchung Division Championship. Offensively, Lucien was one of three Farmers to score 42 total points, while leading the team in rushing yards (704) and shared the lead in all-purpose touchdowns (7) with Ahmirr Robinson. On defense, Lucien led the Farmers in tackles (113) and had three interceptions.
Though Monday marked the last time Lucien will wear “The U” on his helmet, Union has already begun the groundwork for next season. Team activity has started, with first practice set for August 14, per NJSIAA guidelines.