Paramus Catholic (N.J.)
head coach Chris Partridge is very clear about the goals for his program. The third-year head coach wants to elevate Paramus Catholic to national relevance by having success against the best New Jersey teams.
Basically, he wants for Paramus Catholic what Don Bosco Prep has enjoyed for a decade.
The teams will clash on Friday night in Ramsey in one of the most heavily anticipated games of the season in the Garden State. If the anticipation in Bergen County is any indicator, it might be the biggest game in the history of Paramus Catholic football.
"The student body is really hyped up on this one. They've jumped on board behind us," Partridge said. "It's helped our school get a lot of pride and momentum. It's a fun thing to see."
Partridge recognizes the significance of facing Don Bosco Prep, which has not lost to a New Jersey team since 2005 and has won eight of the last 10 Non-Public Group IV titles.
"We wanted to play the best teams around to get where we want to be," he said. "We have no qualms about playing Don Bosco Prep twice a year."
So far this season, Paramus Catholic has played the role of an elite team. The team is 4-0, and since coming from behind to beat Delbarton in its opener, it has allowed only 10 points per game while scoring more than 35 in each contest.
leads the offensive attack. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound junior has thrown for 849 yards and nine touchdowns while only being intercepted twice.
He has a slew of weapons his disposal, including junior Tyrone Washington
and sophomore Najee Clayton
, both of whom have Division I offers. Running back Keyon Washington
, a transfer from Don Bosco Prep, has averaged more than 7 yards per carry.
It's another transfer from Don Bosco Prep, Jabrill Peppers
, who is Paramus Catholic's most impressive weapon.
Peppers, who transferred to Paramus Catholic in February, captured National Freshman of the Year
and National Sophomore of the Year
honors at Don Bosco Prep. His transfer was highly publicized and much-discussed during the offseason.
He has delivered on the field and off for Paramus Catholic. He's been responsible for nine touchdowns and 24 tackles; he's also help further legitimize a program that in previous years has operated within the shadows of the area's traditional powers: Don Bosco Prep, Bergen Catholic and St. Joseph Regional.
Peppers, who was made unavailable for interviews this week, is "the ultimate competitor" according to Partridge.
"He's working hard, he's excited, just like it's any other football game," Partridge said. "It's not like he's going to be any different this week."
Partridge believes that Peppers needs to be merely a part of the game plan on Friday night. He said that Shanley needs to utilize Clayton, Tyrone Washington, Keyon Washington and Dejon Harrison
if Paramus Catholic is going to have success against a Don Bosco Prep defense that has looked much better since its season-opening loss to Gilman.
"Shanley has to do a good job of managing the game," he said. "We need to spread the ball around offensively. We need to get our athletes touches."
On defense, Marquise Watson
leads the team in tackles. A senior who arrived at Paramus Catholic last spring by way of St. Peter's Prep, Watson has converted from defensive lineman to middle linebacker. He's made 42 total tackles in four games.
The unit will have to slow down an improved Don Bosco Prep offense that lacks the firepower it has enjoyed in previous seasons, but has several speedy running backs that need to be accounted for.
Fans will have to wait until Friday at 7 p.m. for the showdown, which will likely be a sellout. For Partridge and Paramus Catholic, the game can't come soon enough.
"I'm pumped. I've waited a long time for this," he said.
Paramus Catholic vs. Don Bosco Prep is also one of MaxPreps Top 10 Games of the Week.