On February 18th, the
MaxPreps Tour of Champions presented by the National Guard visited the Garden
State to honor the Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) High School football. Don Bosco Prep finished No. 1 in the nation
according to the MaxPreps Freeman poll. Making our fourth Tour of Champions
visit to this national power, the Tour was all set to honor the team at
halftime of their boys’ varsity basketball game. Don Bosco Prep is the only
team to be honored four times by the Tour of Champions.
Upon our arrival, we were
refreshed with the familiar scene of walking through the doors to the “Bosco”
Ironmen’s gymnasium. Head Coach Greg Toal and many other familiar faces were
eager to greet us and welcome us back to their school. We met up with Sergeant
Mike Biggins from the New Jersey National Guard, who has made this trip to Don
Bosco numerous times before. SGT Biggins had hats, t-shirts and other giveaways
for all of the Don Bosco supporters.
Additionally, as the spectators walked through the door, they saw the
National Guard National Ranking trophy displayed on the National Guard’s
table. New Jersey native, Steve Spiewak of MaxPreps, was on hand to recognize
Don Bosco Prep’s achievements on the field.
Shortly after, the Ironmen’s
players started rolling in and were elated to see the “Minuteman” trophy
sitting on the table waiting to be hoisted in the air by its new owners. They
hung around chatting for a while before grabbing a seat to watch the end of the
Jayvee boys’ basketball game. The Ironmen are graduating 27 student athletes
who will be going on to play collegiate football, 10 of whom will be playing
Division 1 football for teams such as Pitt, Vanderbilt, Boston College and
As the ceremony started, the large
crowd came alive. The only thing more exciting than their basketball team’s
senior night against local rival Teaneck was their football team’s Tour of
Champions trophy ceremony. The Don Bosco public address announcer introduced
Steve Spiewak of MaxPreps who spoke about the honor in receiving this No. 1
award, not only for the team, but also for the state of New Jersey. He spoke of
the numerous calls he received from teams in other states like Texas,
Florida and California
claiming that they were the best team in the nation. However, Steve reiterated
that there was no doubt in his mind that these Ironmen were in fact un-beatable
this season and unequivocally deserved this No. 1 ranking. With every mention
of their Ironmen, the crowd cheered with excitement. Steve had to take a second
each time to let the noise settle. Then, Steve introduced SGT Mike Biggins who
spoke of what an honor it is to present this National Guard National Ranking
trophy to Coach Toal and he also talked about all of the defining character
traits this football team displayed in order to earn the top billing. These
traits were compared to those that men and women of the National Guard.
When Coach Toal and his team took
the stage to receive the National Guard National Ranking trophy, the exuberant
crowd erupted again. Coach Toal talked about what an honor it was to coach this
team this year and the struggles they had to overcome throughout the season.
Afterwards, the team crowded around their coach and their new trophy to take
pictures for their supporters and the local press.
We wrapped up the ceremony with
Steve Spiewak interviewing a few of the players about what they went through
this season as a team and what they thought about being ranked No. 1 in the
nation. Congratulations to the Ironmen and best wishes in defending your
crown next year!