July 3, 2018

PHS Lineman McBride Ends on a High Note As West Squad Wins Sunshine Football Game

MAC ATTACK: Marqui McBride helps lead the offensive charge for the West all-star squad in the 22nd Annual Sunshine Football Classic last Friday at The College of New Jersey. Recently graduated Princeton High star lineman McBride enjoyed a big game as the West prevailed 28-20. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Marqui McBride wasn’t surprised when the West all-star squad started the 22nd Annual Sunshine Football Classic last Friday by grinding out a 14-play, 74-yard scoring march to jump ahead 7-0 over the East team.

“We established that lineman connection on the first day of practice,” said recently graduated Princeton High star offensive lineman McBride. “Everyone coming up with calls for ourselves and all that stuff.”

The West team kept the offense coming, building a 21-6 lead by halftime on the way to a 28-20 triumph in the contest played under the lights at The College of New Jersey.

“It all started with execution and everyone knowing their roles, where to go, and who to block,” added the 6’0, 235-pound McBride. “We got the good momentum in the first couple of quarters in the game. We had a nice push from all of the offensive linemen.”

For McBride, bonding with his West teammates in the week of practice leading up to the game turned out to be a nice experience.

“This whole week was different for me, practicing with people I played against and meeting new people I have never seen before,” said McBride, who is headed to Kean University where he will be playing for the school’s Division III football program.

“It has only been a week, but it feels like we have been playing together for years. It is something I would want to do again but this is the only time I can.”

Playing again for PHS head coach Charlie Gallagher, who served as the offensive coordinator for the West, was something special for McBride.

“I have been with him for four years; it is nice to stick with the same coach running the same plays,” said McBride. “I knew everything already going into this.”

Gallagher, for his part, enjoyed putting in the plays for the West even though things were a little rushed with such little time to prepare for the contest.

“It was a lot of fun to coach and we have got a great sideline; we got great input from all of the coaches,” said Gallagher.

“I was just fortunate enough to be made offensive coordinator. It is tough to put it together in a week, but it is fun tough. You pare things downs; you can see that it is kind of simple.”

While the West running attack, led by game MVP Elijah-Blu Wilmott of Hopewell Valley and Davon Hemingway of Lawrence, set the tone, the team also connected in the passing game.

“We were able to pass the ball; we wanted to air the ball out a little bit because  throwing the ball is fun, that is why people come to watch the game,” said Gallagher. “It is the running game that wins in the end. The player of the game was a running back; we had two really stellar guys there.”

In Gallagher’s view, McBride has been a stellar performer from the day he started at PHS.

“Marqui has been good since his freshman year,” said Gallagher. “We were really blessed to have him as a ballplayer at Princeton. He is going to go off and do really good things.”

After enduring a 0-10 campaign last fall in his final season with PHS, McBride savored the Sunshine win.

“I am going to remember everyone that I played with and played against and getting first win of the season,” said a grinning McBride. “It was a nice way to go out.”