Every week Morris Sussex Sports, along with co-sponsors Football University and Parisi Speed School of Morristown & Sparta, 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 Parisi Speed School.
Round 1 of the 2017 postseason was off-the-chain with incredible performances. Par Hills QB Nick Verducci was a man on a mission as he threw for over 400-yards and five touchdowns and added another 50+ yards and a touchdown on the ground in the Vikings victory over Cranford. Mount Olive runningback Anthony DiJoseph was gliding through the defense as he totaled nearly 200-yards and three touchdowns in the Marauders defeat over Morris Knolls. And Delbarton’s Anthony Siragusa was his amazing self after he blocked and returned a punt 60-yards for a TD and made a ton of tackles as the Green Wave advanced with a big defeat over Seton Hall Prep.
But the player who seemed to set the tone for his entire team with his legs and arm was Newton QB Luke Young as his Braves defeated Pequannock 21-19. The senior stud started the game by scrambling for an important 8-yard first down in which his dive turned into an acrobatic flip that ignited the entire home crowd. He went on to be near perfect with his arm, going 6-7 with 129-yards and a touchdown. Defensively, he was all over the field making a host of tackles and taking the momentum out of Pequannock with an interception.
It was this performance that earned Luke the FBU Player of the Week Powered by Parisi for Round 1. We caught up with him to talk about his first big first down flip play, who is role model is and who on his team does the best impression of Coach Parzero.
Morris Sussex Sports: How exciting was it to play in this game?
Luke Young: The game on Friday night was the most excited game I have ever played in. The stands were packed and both teams were fired up and played to the very last whistle. The atmosphere was absolutely crazy.
MSS: What was your team’s reaction when you dove and flipped over for the 1st down at the beginning of this game?
LY: When I went over to get the next play Coach Parzero told me that I had just set the tone for the rest of the game. I didn’t realize the impact of that play until after the game. All my teammates were giving me high-fives. We all knew it was just one of the many big plays we were going to have to make if we wanted to win the game.
MSS: It seemed your team and Pequannock anticipated that game all year and you both knew you’d
have to face each other on your way to MetLife. How did they take the loss after the game?
LY: They are all good guys and wished us the best of luck the rest of the way. I think we both have a lot of respect for one another after playing each other in the first round of states in back to back years.
MSS: How did Coach Parzero impact this team when he came in as the new head guy at the beginning
of last season?
LY: When Coach Parzero became our head coach he brought an intensity that we didn’t have before. Everyone comes out everyday for either practice or a game willing to work because of him. He does a great job of not letting anyone forget our goals. He motivates everyone to go out and give it our all not for ourselves but for each other. He turned us into a true team.
MSS: Why do you think he’s been so successful wherever he coaches?
LY: He is so successful because of his passion for the game and how he motivates his players to work hard for each other and win games. There isn’t a single player who doesn’t want to play for Coach Parzero.
MSS: What is it about this Newton team that is so special this year?
LY: We are full of athletes who have been playing together for over 10 years now. Everyone has put their personal goals to the side. We all only have one goal and that is to win a state championship.
MSS: Your offense has been ridiculous this season. How much do you think your defense has to do
LY: It’s easy for our offense to put up numbers when we are constantly getting good field position. Our defense causes many turnovers and huge stops that our offense just feeds off of. Our defense is the backbone of our team.
MSS: Who is your role model?
LY: My dad and my cousin.
MSS: What was your ”welcome to varsity football” moment?
LY: My sophomore year, my first varsity start in our first game against Hanover Park. I rolled out for a pass and threw it but right after I threw it a Hanover Park linebacker picked me up and planted me, totally knocking the wind out of me. Definitely knew it was varsity football after that.
MSS: Who is the best player you ever played against as a varsity player?
LY: This week, Dave Jachera.
MSS: Do you have any pregame rituals?
LY: Not really, a couple of us go to Tim Houlihan’s house before games but that’s about it.
MSS: Which current or past NFL player do you think you most resemble on the field?
LY: Matthew Stafford
MSS: Who on your team is the best pure athlete?
LY: Chase Cramer
MSS: Who would you least want to go head-to-head in a tackling drill?
LY: Wyatt McCarthy
MSS: Who on your team is a great player but flies under the radar of the news clippings?
LY: Jonny VanNess. Kid’s a stud.
MSS: Who is finishing 1-2-3 in the forty?
LY: Chase Cramer, Noah Sharpe, Dante Northe.
MSS: Who is finishing 1-2-3 in chin-ups?
LY: Jaiden Elliott, Wyatt McCarthy, Will Larsen.
MSS: Who on your team would win a taco eating contest?
LY: Chase Cramer, he eats 10 tacos like its nothing every time we go to Taco Bell.
MSS: Who is the biggest diva (and why)?
LY: Mike Freda, he is always sassy or complaining about something.
MSS: Who is the biggest nerd (and why)?
LY: Joey Deluca, he is in all AP classes.
MSS: Which of your offensive linemen secretly wishes he was a skill player (why)?
LY: Devin Mager because he doesn’t like that he never gets any fame.
MSS: Which of them would actually be successful as a skill player?
LY: Justen Samiljan or Justin Mayhood.
MSS: Who on your team would last the longest in a survival situation if he was lost in the forest (and why)?
LY: Wyatt McCarthy because he is absolutely crazy and will do whatever it takes to survive.
MSS: Who would last the shortest amount of time (and why)?
LY: Nico Sebastiano because he wouldn’t last without his phone.
MSS: Who does the best impression of Coach Parzero (what does he do)?
LY: Matt Somers does the best impersonations. He does one of when Coach Parzero gets mad at us at practice and it is hilarious.
MSS: What was the funniest thing that ever happened in practice or a game?
LY: Definitely Jimmy Harding’s celebrations after the defensive recovers a fumble.
MSS: Now that you are 10-0, how cool is it to see former Newton players and alumni show up to your playoff games?
LY: It’s awesome to see everyone come out and support us. The stands are always packed and we have people of all ages coming out for the games. It just gives us another thing to play for.
MSS: What will it mean to your team if you guys are walking through the tunnel of MetLife Stadium in the first week of December?
LY: I think it will just be a realization of how hard we all worked to be there. We always have talked about it but actually doing it is a whole different story. I think we will all be in complete shock at that moment.
MSS: Congrats Luke and go get us that ring pal!