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Every week Morris Sussex Sports, along with co-sponsors Football University and Athletic Republic of Randolph, identify one player out of the 37 teams we cover as our Player of the Week. We look beyond just stats. Our goal is to honor the best individual performance and how that effort was able to lift his team beyond its perceived boundaries. If you play varsity football in Morris Sussex next week just could quite possibly be your turn to be the FBU Player of the Week Powered by Athletic Republic of Randolph.

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I don’t remember a season with such impressive individual performances week in and week out. Week 4 might have been the best week so far of the 2016 season. I actually thought that I witnessed the FBU Player of the Week in person as I watched Hanover Park junior Sean Conley make 8 tackles, block a punt and get a safety as the Hornets over took Dover. Then I went to the Morrisown-Beard game and watched as junior runningback Tahj Valentine busted out for 133-yards and 5 TDs in a win against Riverdale Prep (NY). Then I saw on Twitter that Sparta QB Matt Maute passed for 417-yards and 5 TDs in a monster win over Morris Hills and thought for sure we had our Player of the Week.

But there was another player who, amazingly, outperformed everyone. Parsippany Hill’s QB Nick Verducci was a man possessed this past week against Barringer, as he rushed for nearly 400-yards and 5 touchdowns. Then he was practically perfect through the air by going 6-7, 59-yards and 2 touchdowns as he guided the Vikings to a 49-28 win.

Verducci’s performance earned him the FBU Player of the Week Powered by Athletic Republic of Randolph for Week 4. We caught up with Verducci to talk about this big game, who his role model is and what it will mean to the Vikings if they make it to MetLife Stadium in the state finals this year.

Nick Verducci poses with Football University Vice President of Player Development as he is presented with the FBU Player of the Week Award Powered by Athletic Republic of Randolph for Week 4.

Nick Verducci poses with Football University’s Vice President of Player Development Joe Bouffard as he is presented with the FBU Player of the Week Award Powered by Athletic Republic of Randolph for Week 4.

Morris Sussex Sports: Did you and your team anticipate you’d put up such big offensive numbers coming into this game?
Nick Verducci: No, the team and I work hard every week to prepare.

MSS: What was the week coming into this game like after the tough loss to Roxbury?
NV: We pushed really hard all week because we didn’t want the same outcome to happen.

MSS: What do you think makes this team different from any other team in Morris Sussex?
NV: Just the community alone makes us unique. We have awesome fans, coaches, and teammates to support us.

MSS: What does the fact that you already have a championship ring do for your confidence?
NV: It definitely gives a boost and we know what it takes to get back there.

MSS: What is different about the way you play quarterback as a junior versus when played varsity as a freshman?
NV: I matured tremendously and the offense is just second nature to me now.

MSS: Who is the best player you every played against in high school?
NV: Lucas Faria from Sparta.

MSS: What opposing football stadium do you like to play in the most?
NV: Summit’s home stadium.

MSS: You’re line does an incredible job at making a lot of things happen for your offense. Which lineman is the flat out strongest?
NV: I think Billy Taylor beats out Justin Gurth by a little but they are both very strong.

MSS: Which lineman is the best all around athlete?
NV: Billy Taylor.

MSS: Which linemen are finishing 1-2-3 in the forty?
NV: Billy Taylor, Vinnie Bianchi, Al Huss.

MSS: Which lineman is winning a hot dog eating contest?
NV: Justin Gurth.

MSS: Which lineman secretly wishes he was a skill position player?
NV: Al Huss.

MSS: Who on your team is the flat out funniest?
NV: Justin Gurth, because he’s very goofy and loses every bet he makes with you.

MSS: What makes Coach Albano the angriest?
NV: When you say “It’s cold”.

MSS: What makes him the happiest?
NV: When you crack a joke with him here or there.

MSS: What is the funniest thing he ever said?
NV: “It’s not cold, its uncomfortable”.

MSS: Who was your role model growing up?
NV: My role model growing up was my older brother Carmine.

MSS: Do you have a nickname?
NV: Nick

MSS: What current or past NFL player do you think you most resemble on the field?
NV: I think I resemble Russell Wilson

MSS: If you weren’t an athlete what would you be doing?
NV: I’m not sure

MSS: What would it mean to you and your teammates if you find yourself walking through the tunnel at MetLife Stadium onto the field in front of all your screaming fans in early December?
NV: It would mean the world to us. The team and I work very hard everyday to get better and the goal is to be back at Metlife Stadium.

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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