Hun Football Seniors Are on a Mission As Program Seeks First MAPL Crown
By Bill Alden
While the Hun School football team has assembled another crew of stellar post-graduate players, it is the program's senior class that is on a mission.
"Our group of seniors started rolling as sophomores and they really came together last year," said Raider head coach Dave Dudeck, who is in his fifth season at Hun and led the program to a 6-3 mark last year.
"They worked very hard in the offseason. They return a lot of experience, they've been through the program and they know our system. They have some goals they want to accomplish. They are the strength of our team."
Hun's senior class features tight end/linebacker Craig McGovern, a 6'5 230-pound bruiser who has verbally committed to play next year at Michigan State, powerful Edward "Quartie" Durell, a 6'1 231-pound linebacker, and speedy Emir Davis, a 5'10, 169-pound running back/defensive back.
Other key seniors include lineman Brian Severance, center Tommy Monfiletto, defensive end Chris Giordano, defensive end Chris Kuchar, safety Akeem Onitiri, tackle Bernie Silverstein, and kicker Todd Demler.
In addition to the returning seniors, Hun boasts some veteran underclassmen who should contribute including junior lineman Patrick Gallagher, junior linebacker/fullback Wellington Talkpa, sophomore lineman Michael Arduini, and sophomore safety Charlie Martin.
Hun's returners will surely be fuelled by the memory of being halted by Peddie last October at the goal line on the last play of their decisive clash, a 23-22 setback which kept the Raiders from taking their first-ever Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) championship.
In order to help the program take the next step, Dudeck has brought in another strong group of post-graduates. Hun's line should be buttressed by the addition of 6'4, 280-pound Peter Caroppolo from Hunterdon Central and 6'4, 267-pound South Carolinian Dan Hudacko.
Dudeck has also imported some talent at the skill positions including fullback/linebacker Taylor Dodd from California, flanker Dan Sica, who starred at J.P. Stevens High last year, and running back Junior Jabbie, a former star at Sayreville High.
"For what each can give us, each is going to be a big help," said Dudeck as he assessed his post-grads, who will have a hard time matching the heroics of last year's PG stars, quarterback Chris Malleo, receiver Billy May, and lineman Jeff Zuttah.
The team's most influential newcomer, however, could turn out to be junior quarterback Domick Natale, a transfer from Delbarton.
"Dom is going to be a very good quarterback, he has the best footwork I've ever seen in a high school quarterback," asserted Dudeck, who is also expecting a contribution from senior newcomer Jack Martin at wide receiver and defensive back. "The great thing is that we're going to have him for two years."
Although Dudeck is certainly happy to have a rich mix of talent at his disposal, he admits that molding the disparate components into a unit is a challenge.
"The hardest thing is to make them into a team in just three weeks," said Dudeck, who has had the team play in four outside scrimmages this preseason.
"We aren't where we need to be offensively. We've done well in the scrimmages but we're not blowing anyone out. We have some great skills players, if we can get the ball in their hands in the open field we should do well."
In order to develop that cohesion, Dudeck is emphasizing a basic approach. "Our main message is telling them that we need to learn to play as a team, with emotion and execution," added Dudeck, whose team kicks off the season by playing at the Hill School on September 13.
While Hun's senior class has certainly incorporated that message, if the rest of the team gets on the same page, it could be a memorable fall for the Raiders.