In August, North Warren Patriot’s senior runningback Jon Davalos knew his team bit of a wild card because they were entering a new division with unknown opponents. North Warren was realigned to the NJAC after last season. So Davalos and his teammates told themselves they would work hard to be known as a top team in the division. And they delivered by buzz sawing through the division with a 7-2 record.
Capping their regular season success was a 42-20 victory over Morris Catholic in which Davalos rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns on offense and made seven tackles, forced a fumble and recovered another one on defense. A performance that earned Davalos Morris Sussex Football’s Week 9 Player of the Week.
Morris Sussex Football caught up with the North Warren senior to talk about this weekend’s performance, the makeup of this team and what his postseason hopes are.
Morris Sussex Football: After a game where you carry the ball 10 times for 134 yards and two TDs, make seven tackles on defense, force a fumble and recover another one, do your teammates get resentful that you might be a ball hog?
Jonathan Davalos: Offensively, our philosophy for the backfield at North Warren since Coach Parzero arrived has been to block for one another and carry out our fakes. This has lead to a set of unselfish players dedicated to winning. One game may go my way statistically, but the next may be Nolan Robertson’s turn.
MSF: Now that you’re in the playoffs, have things gotten a little more serious in the locker room?
JD: The seniors understand what’s at stake. We’ve been through the hardships of trying to build this program up from what it was just four years ago. Focus and seriousness is evident amongst us.
MSF: Who is the most intense player on your team?
JD: John Compton. He loves hitting and whenever there’s an opportunity to bring someone down, he takes full advantage of it.
MSF: Who are the unsung heroes of your team?
JD: Lucas Kiernan is a valuable unsung hero to our team on both sides of the ball. Because he’s on the line he may not get his name in the newspaper too often, but he’s one of the main reasons for many of our big runs this year.
MSF: Which player is the best flat out best athlete?
JD: I don’t believe we have one best athlete. Our success is carried by our unity, eleven as one.
MSF: Out of the teams you played against this year, who was the best player you have faced?
JD: Uzoma Egbuchulam of Mountain Lakes. His speed, power, and agility combined with his vision made him a very dangerous player to stop.
MSF: What was your best high school football moment to date?
JD: My first varsity game as a sophomore against Warren Hills was my best football moment. Not only did I have the privilege of playing with my older brother Nick, I also went in as QB after Tim Lurz got hurt. It was fourth and goal and I ran it in for a touchdown.
MSF: Who on your team lightens the mood with humor?
JD: Greg Galante, our guard and defensive tackle, always has ridiculous things coming out of his mouth.
MSF: Who is your role model?
JD: My role model is my brother Nick. We played together when he was a senior. That year Nick and the seniors led us to a playoff birth and began a new mentality for North Warren football.
MSF: What famous person would play Coach Parzero in a movie?
JD: Ben Stiller when he plays White Goodman in the movie Dodgeball. He can be humorous at times but in the end, is devoted to leading us to greatness.
MSF: What current or past NFL player does your style of play most resemble?
JD: If there was any player’s style I’ve always wanted to resemble it would have to be Barry Sanders. He’s easily one of the most elusive backs of all time.
MSF: What conditioning drill do you hate the most?
JD: Hate? I love them all.
MSF: What song gets you the most fired up before games?
JD: Kashmir by Led Zeppelin
MSF: What will it mean to you if your team is playing at MetLife in a few weeks?
JD: It means everything. A goal that many may have not thought could be reached four years ago is coming closer and closer as the year winds down. We want to be remembered as one of the greatest North Warren football teams there has ever been.