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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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Every week of this season some player has gone completely off the hook we we’ve honored with the Player of the Week award. We’ve awarded players with the FBU Player of the Week for doing things like rushing for 400-yards in a game, scoring 7-touchdowns in a game or making an impact on offense, defense and special teams in a game. However, every once in a while, there are a group of players that all seem to be possessed on the field. That was the case for this week.

Heading into the Week 9 game of Boonton vs. Butler, you knew someone was going to step it up in a monster way. But you probably didn’t think it the Bomber’s defensive line would end up being the X-factor in helping Boonton defeat Butler 21-14 and lead them to a conference championship. But they did!

After virtually shutting down Butler’s high powered running game to less than 50-yards, hurrying their passing game, forcing two fumbles, nabbing an interception and making scores of tackles, in a spirited win to give the Bombers the conference crown, we felt it fitting that this group be the FBU Player of the Week Powered by Athletic Republic of Randolph for Week 9.

We caught up with the group of seven defensive linemen that consists of Joe Russo, Joe Chermak, Charles Zarzecki, Janok Bilgec, Chris Corporan, Jacob Kondroski and Malik Ahmedi to talk about this big game, what was the funniest thing said in the huddle this year and what it would mean to them to win a state championship.

Morris Sussex Sports: Why was this win so important for you?

Joe Russo: Because Butler and Boonton are big rivals and it was for the conference.
Joe Chermak: This win was so important to me because it shows all the hard work we put in to it and we got the result we wanted.
Charles Zarzecki: This win was important to use because it was our chance at getting a conference championship and that we didn’t have to share with any other team.
Janok Bilgec: There were a lot of people who didn’t believe we could make something out of this season. People were even saying how we were going to lose to Butler. Proving all those people wrong is what was especially most rewarding for this win.
Chris Corporan: It was a big because we where playing against our rival Butler and it made even more bigger because it was for the conference championship.
Jacob Kondroski: This was a conference win that allowed us to be conference champions.
Malik Ahmedi: This win was important for me because my brothers and I won the conference championship title together.

Morris Sussex Sports: In the preseason, did you anticipate you would only have one loss and be on a 7-game win streak heading into the playoffs?

Joe Russo: In all honesty, no. I did not expect to be on a seven game winning streak entering the playoffs.
Joe Chermak: In the preseason I knew that we would be good but I didn’t anticipate a seven game win streak.
Charles Zarzecki: During the preseason I always believed in our team. I never doubted our possibility of winning seven games.
Janok Bilgec: During the preseason, I didn’t put much thought into records and the playoff or any of that. However, I knew to get there I needed to start working for it then and it started off slow. But we grew as individual players and as a team. It just goes to show that you can do anything if you work for it.
Chris Corporan: No we didn’t. We wanted to start out with a win. But the loss was probably the biggest game of the year because we learned so much from it.
Jacob Kondroski: No. I thought it would be a tougher road and I anticipated that we would have two losses
Malik Ahmedi: I truly thought we were going to carry on undefeated from our JV season.

Morris Sussex Sports: How much pride do you d-linemen take in shutting down opposing offenses?

Joe Russo: It’s a real great feeling when a team has almost as many yards as rushing attempts
Joe Chermak: We take a lot of pride in shutting down opposing teams offenses, specifically shutting down there run game.
Charles Zarzecki: Us d-linemen take a lot of pride when we shut down the opposing teams offense because that tells us that we are a hard group to move and get past.
Janok Bilgec: There is no better feeling than the feeling you get while winning a football game. It only adds to that great feeling when you and the guy across for you knows that you’re shutting their offense down. So it’s something that you can take a lot of pride in it.
Chris Corporan: A lot of pride because we focus on it so much during practice and Coach Gallagher, Coach Laneza and all the coaches stress doing everything we do on defense exactly right.
Malik Ahmedi: We take much pride in what we do. Getting the call and getting off the ball quicker than the man wearing the jersey in front of us.

Morris Sussex Sports: Which one of d-linemen is the flat out best athlete?

Joe Russo: Joe Chermack, hes big fast and can lay the wood.
Charles Zarzecki: Joe Chermak.
Janok Bilgec: There is no way to say any of us is the flat out best athlete. We are all each practicing everyday to get better and to be the best we can. We each are better at specific things.
Chris Corporan: Joe Chermack because he is so big and fast and he can play multiple positions on the field.
Jacob Kondroski: Joe Chermak.
Malik Ahmedi: I believe Janok is the flat out best athlete on the line.

Morris Sussex Sports: Who is the strongest?

Joe Russo: Charles. Look at the kid, c’mon!
Joe Chermak: The strongest on the d-line would have to be Charles.
Charles Zarzecki: Me.
Janok Bilgec: I don’t think that there is much competition, Charles is defiantly the strongest one out of all of us.
Chris Corporan: No doubt Charles Zarzecki.
Jacob Kondroski: Charles Zarzecki.
Malik Ahmedi: Big Chuck.

Morris Sussex Sports: Who is finishing 1-2-3 in the forty?

Joe Russo: Chris, Janok and Joe Chermack.
Joe Chermak: The top three finishing in the forty would be Chris, Janok and me.
Charles Zarzecki: Chris Corporan, Janok Bilgec and Malik Ahmedi.
Janok Bilgec: First, would be Chris most likely, second would probably be me and third is a close one between Chermak and Malik.
Chris Corporan: For the defense lineman probably me at first, Joe Chermack in second and Janok Bilgec in third.
Jacob Kondroski: Janok, me and Chris.
Malik Ahmedi: Steve, Janok and then me.

Morris Sussex Sports: Who is finishing last?

Joe Russo: Me
Joe Chermak: The person finishing last is either Charles or Joe Russo.
Charles Zarzecki: Me
Janok Bilgec: Charles may be the strongest and biggest but speed isn’t his strong suit. So he would probably be last.
Chris Corporan: Definitely Joe Russo.
Jacob Kondroski: Joseph Russo.
Malik Ahmedi: Joe Russo.

Morris Sussex Sports: Who would win a pie eating contest?

Joe Russo: Charles.
Joe Chermak: The person that would win the pie eating contest would be Joe Russo.
Charles Zarzecki: Joe Chermak.
Chris Corporan: Joe Russo or Charles Zarecki.
Jacob Kondroski: Joseph Russo.
Malik Ahmedi: Definitely Joe Russo.

Morris Sussex Sports: Which one of you secretly wants to be a skill position player (and what does he do to make you think that)?

Joe Russo: Me. I’ve got the best hands on the team.
Joe Chermak: The person that secretly wants to be a skill position would be Joe Russo because he always states he has the best hands on the team.
Charles Zarzecki: I’d say Joe Chermak because since his freshman year he’s played about every position there is on offense.
Janok Bilgec: Charles definitely secretly wants to be a skill position player, especially after Friday’s game and his interception. He thinks he’s like Odell now.
Chris Corporan: Joe Russo.
Jacob Kondroski: Charles Zarzecki because he intercepted a pass and started running over people.
Malik Ahmedi: I would love to play fullback and run the ball.

Morris Sussex Sports: What do you see each of your fellow linemen doing as an occupation?

Joe Russo: Honestly I have no idea but there could be a lot of possibilities.
Joe Chermak: I couldn’t see a job that we wouldn’t all be able to accomplish.
Janok Bilgec: I see Charles doing something in business with a suit and tie. Chris seems like he’d be a teacher, but he would be a fun laid back teacher though. Joe looks like he’d be a lawyer, I don’t know why but that’s what comes to my mine when I think of his future job. And Malik would be some sort of restaurant owner, because he whenever we are talking about the food we wish we were eating he always has some different type of food he talks about.
Chris Corporan: Joe Russo a professional golfer and all the other lineman having good jobs.
Jacob Kondroski: Charles a lumberjack, Janok an athletic trainer Chris, Malik, and Jacob will be teachers, Joe Russo as a professional eater and Joe Chermak a personal trainer.
Malik Ahmedi: Not sure exactly what occupations but I know after school my brothers and I will be successful out in the real world.

Morris Sussex Sports: What is the funniest thing that happened in the huddle this season?

Joe Russo: I can’t just think of one thing but once we get relaxed in the game we have a lot of fun
Joe Chermak: The funniest thing that happened in the huddle was when (quarterback) Joe Bob couldn’t get the play out of his mouth.
Charles Zarzecki: When we played Dover and our linebacker/guard had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the game.
Janok Bilgec: During the Parsipanny game, I dropped my mouth piece. It was so weird because I have the one that attach to your face mask. But when I was looking for it I looked around for it before we lined up for the next play then out of nowhere one of opposing linemen hands me my mouth piece. I don’t know how he got it but we thought it was pretty funny how he had my mouth piece.
Chris Corporan: When we were playing Dover and our starting guard Steve Delaporte left the field to go to the bathroom.
Malik Ahmedi: Can’t even tell you the amount of jokes that go on in there!

Morris Sussex Sports: What makes Coach Gallagher the angriest?

Joe Russo: When we don’t use our technique.
Joe Chermak: Coach Gallagher is at his angriest when we can’t get through the play because the quarterback-center exchange.
Charles Zarzecki: What usually makes him the angriest is when we fumble the ball.
Janok Bilgec: Not giving your best effort or going half-speed is defiantly something that gets on coaches nerves and makes him angry really quickly.
Chris Corporan: When we mess up call or fumble a snap.
Jacob Kondroski: Not knowing assignments.
Malik Ahmedi: Not getting the right call on defense and turning the ball over on offense.

Morris Sussex Sports: What makes him the happiest?

Joe Russo: When we use our technique correctly and make a big play.
Joe Chermak: He is the happiest after a good day of practice.
Charles Zarzecki: Usually what makes him the happiest is when someone does something the exact way they were supposed to.
Janok Bilgec: When you’re clearly trying and going full-speed and making plays all while doing the right things we are coached to do are things that make coach happy.
Chris Corporan: When you closed down hard when tackle goes inside.
Jacob Kondroski: Seeing his players succeed.
Malik Ahmedi: Giving it your all no matter the situation on and off the field.

Morris Sussex Sports: What will it mean to the town of Boonton if you guys find yourselves hoisting the NJSIAA trophy in the middle of the field in MetLife Stadium in December?

Joe Russo: It would mean a lot. But were focused on Creskill right now.
Joe Chermak: It will mean a lot to the town of Boonton, but this week is about beating Cresskill.
Charles Zarzecki: It will mean a lot to everyone. Since we are such a small town and school we basically know everyone around.
Janok Bilgec: It would be great, it’d be like a dream come true. This is something that every team starts working early during the off season to accomplish and actually being there doing that in December is an actual dream come true. It would be an unforgettable experience.
Chris Corporan: It would mean so much because it’s been a while since we have won it and we owe it to all the coaches because they put so much time in preparing us to win and the town is always supporting us to win.
Jacob Kondroski: It would mean a lot for the town of Boonton hoisting the NJSIAA trophy in the middle of the field at MetLife in December. It proves that the size of the man doesn’t matter, it is the heart
Malik Ahmedi: It would mean the world to me if my brothers and I we’re hoisting up that trophy to the world, showing them that we are NOT a “rebuilding” team, that we ARE the real deal at Boonton.

Congrats boys and best of luck the rest of the way!

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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