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Morris Sussex Sports and Football University are teaming up this season to honor our weekly Player of the Week award. Football University is the leading player development organization in the country that teaches players techniques to perform at a highest level possible on the field.

At the beginning of every week all of the writers at Morris Sussex Sports sit around the conference table and try to figure out who deserved the FBU Player of the Week based on the past weekend’s games. This week was especially difficult because we had a ton of exemplary performances from around Morris Sussex. Butler’s Dominic Gentile and Dan Castiglia were spectacular connecting for three touchdowns against Hopatcong. In fact, Castiglia added two INTs and a host of tackles. Boonton’s TJ Green had an amazing three INTs in the Bombers win against Whippany Park. And Newton’s Chase Cramer and Dover’s Dwayne Brown both ran well into the 200’s and secured four touchdowns apiece to help both their teams to victory.

But the player who we ultimately felt had the most all around best performance was Mountain Lakes’ senior Jake Spagnola. Spagnola was electric all game in the Herd’s 35-7 win over Kittatinny, rushing for 107-yards and two TDs, receiving for 91-yards and another two TDs, racking up 7 tackles and adding an INT.

Jake Spagnola posing with FBU's Vice President of Player Development Joe Bouffard as he receives the FBU Player of the Week Award for Week 6.

Jake Spagnola posing with FBU’s Vice President of Player Development Joe Bouffard as he receives the FBU Player of the Week Award for Week 6.

I caught up with Spagnola to find out who is role model is, the makeup of this team and what the ultimate goal is for this squad.

George Muha: What’s different about this team compared to Herd teams of the past?
Jake Spagnola: Due to our slow start, this year’s team has more of an uphill battle and we go to practice knowing that we have to keep improving each day, playing each game like its our last. We are just about where we want to be and we look forward to the rest of the season.

GM: Who is the flat out best athlete on the team?
JS: The Herd.

GM: Who on your team would finish 1,2,3 in the forty?
JS: Bubba Brennan, me, then Baker.

GM: Who could bench press 225 lbs the most times?
JS: Mike Aiello.

GM: Who is the most intense player on your team?
JS: Guard Sam Loeffler, A.K.A. “Sammy the Bull”. Sam has gotta be the most intense player on the team, mostly due to his random temper on offense at practice.

GM: Who is surprisingly athletic?
JS: Rory Daniels. Rory is definitely surprisingly athletic. Rumor has it he went to a football camp and was a complete beast, making the other kids look silly.

GM: Who is the quirkiest?
JS: Jack Wyciskala. He always wears his pea coat whenever he gets the chance.

GM: Who on your team can make you laugh the most?
JS: Jimmy Schicke. You never really know what Jimmy’s going to say next, always makes you laugh.

GM: What was the funniest moment in practice or a game this season?
JS: Probably when four of our biggest guys, including Aiello and Patierno, went on a water slide at action park and almost tipped the ride.

GM: What upsets Coach Fusco more than anything else?
JS: Not getting the W.

GM: What time is your alarm set for?
JS: 8:00. I have first period off so I go to school a little later.

GM: What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
JS: Cookies n’ Cream

GM: What was your childhood nickname?
JS: Spags

GM: If you weren’t an athlete, what would you want to do?
JS: Play the guitar or play for the USA ping pong team.

GM: Do you have any pre-game superstitions?
JS: No

GM: Who is the best football player you have faced in your varsity career so far?
JS: My brother on scout offense

GM: Who is the greatest athlete of all time?
JS: Mike Mauti of the New Orleans Saints.

GM: Why do you wear the number that you do?
JS: I always liked watching Ladanian Tomlinson play when I was little and 21 was his number.

GM: What is the last non-food item that you purchased?
JS: Football gloves

GM: Who is your role model?
JS: Both my brothers and my dad.

GM: What will it mean for this Herd team to get another title?
JS: It will mean that we have reached our goal for this team that was put in place back in February. All the hours put in would be rewarded and the 2015 Herd would keep the title where it belongs.

GM: Congrats again and best of luck the rest of the way!
JS; I appreciate the award and I look forward to keep following Morris Sussex Sports for the rest of the year.

George Muha has been covering high school sports since 2006. He feels high school scholar-athletes are the most important part of the community and highlighting their achievements on the field, in the classroom and within the community is his personal mission.

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