WAYNE, NJ – The Wayne Town Council and Mayor spent the beginning of this week’s Town Council meeting recognizing the Northern Bergen Junior Football League division champions, the Wayne PAL Junior Wolfpack who defeated Ramsey to earn the title for the second year in a row.
To reach the championship game, the fifth and six graders of the Junior Wolfpack had to defeat Oakland in the playoff game after just barely losing to them just the week before. Their win was a decisive 39-25 victory.
“I’m extremely proud of these kids,” said Head Coach Jack Yuppa before the council meeting. “They played hard, came a long way, and they are a great group of kids. To see them play and excel is why I do this.”
Mark Cummings is the Commissioner of the Wayne PAL football program. “As a father and a coach and commissioner, I couldn’t be prouder,” he said. “It’s such a good group of kids. We’ve been together for a few years and we have a good time practicing and playing. With the dads that volunteer to coach, it’s a team effort and I’m very proud,” said Cummings.
Before the business of the Town Council began, Mayor Vergano came to the podium and turning to the gathered team in the council chamber said: “To our Junior NBJFL Patriot Division Champions: Congratulations young men. Great Job,”
“Tonight, we get to honor our friends at the Wayne PAL, which is an organization that has been in Wayne longer than all of us put together,” said Vergano indicating all of the council members. “They do many things for the youth of our community. They run many programs; all different sports. There’s a lot of volunteers that spend a lot of time to instill greatness into the youth of our community.”
Vergano invited Head Coach Yupp and Commissioner Cummings to the podium to speak.
“First of all, I’d like to thank the town for recognizing these great kids and their great families,” said Cummings. “We have a bunch of great kids, but the group we have here are probably one of the best I’ve had in a long time. Football is one of those sports where you practice more than you play. So, it’s tough to get people to come back over and over again, especially young kids who are more interested in playing video games more than anything else. But, these kids, they came every day, ready to work which is a testament to them and their parents who brought them every day. I’m extremely proud of them. I’m extremely proud of what we’re doing here.”
Yuppa spoke next: “It was a long season and these guys worked hard and were coachable and it has been great seeing them become the great young men that they are. They’re committed and dedicated and have a great future ahead of them.”
Council President, congratulated the team and coaches and invited Councilman David Varano to speak: “Most of you were here last year, so I see some familiar faces,” said Varano, naming a few of the players in attendance before speaking on behalf of his son: “I have strict instructions from my son, Peter to congratulate all of you, but he wanted me to remind you all that he still thinks he’s the fastest kid at your school.” This brought a laugh from the group of football players.
“You repeated back-to-back championships,” continued Varano. “Which is an amazing accomplishment. I know you worked really hard. Keep up the hard work, and we want to see you back here for the third time next year.” Varano finished by congratulated the players parents, staff and coaches: “Well done, guys.”
During council comments Councilman Al Sadowski said: “Boys, congratulations. Two years in a row; very good. You’re keeping up with the boys club on the other side of town. They keep winning too.”
Sadowski spoke of his youth playing soccer for the PAL before passing on this advice: “All the things you learn on the field about teamwork, and integrity and helping each other that’s the stuff that’s going to get you through life.”
After congratulating the team, Councilman Jon Ettman said: “You ought to congratulate your parents too, because without them, you probably wouldn’t be here celebrating your championship. When you get home, make sure you thank your parents.”
“I’m looking forward to seeing some of you guys in leadership positions in the future,” said Councilwoman Jill Sasso with a smile. “It looks like you have great role models both from your coaches and your parents. Think of all the contributions that these folks have made for you and your life and look for opportunities to give back in the future. Congratulations on your phenomenal accomplishment and I hope we do get to see you back next year.”
“Thank your parents, thank your teammates, thank your coaches and don’t forget to thank your cheerleaders!” said Councilman Rich Jasterzbski, whose daughter was a cheerleader in Wayne.
The Mayor brought each player up individually, congratulating them and handing them a commendation. The smiles from each of the players belied the pride they all felt at not only their championship but the special recognition they received.