The St. Joseph Regional High School football team has finished No. 29 nationally for the 2012 season. The announcement was made by MaxPreps, a California-based company that ranks more than 16,000 high school varsity football teams.
St. Joseph (10-2) drubbed Delbarton Prep, 37-9, on Dec. 8 to claim the New Jersey Non-Public Division III championship. It was the school's 14th state championship over the last 18 seasons and the Green Knights' 16th overall. St. Joseph is one of 50 schools being honored on the eighth annual MaxPreps Tour of Champions presented by the Army National Guard.
The Green Knights played some quality opponents all season. Their two losses came at the hands of No. 38 Paramus (N.J.) Catholic and No. 43 Our Lady of Good Counsel of Olney, Md. and defeated fellow Garden Staters No. 58 Don Bosco Prep of Ramsey and No. 63 Bergen Catholic of Oradell.
"For nearly a decade, MaxPreps and the Army National Guard have honored America's finest high school football teams with the prestigious Army National Guard national ranking trophy," said MaxPreps President and Founder Andy Beal. "Coach Karcich and the St. Joseph Regional Green Knights have proven on the field that they are among the nation's truly elite high school football teams."
"It's an honor. It recognizes the efforts and achievements of our team. We started practice on July 23 and seven months later it's nice to be recognized on a national level," said St. Joseph Regional head football coach Tony Karcich, who completed his 28th season.
Senior Ricky June, who had a sensational three-year varsity career, made 36 pass receptions for 882 yards and 10 touchdowns. The lanky 6-foot-3, 190-pound receiver, who's headed to Georgia Tech in Atlanta, had 109 catches for 2,227 yards and 28 TDs for his career. He's one of seven players who were named All-Bergen County.
The other offensive standouts were senior center Shawn Flaherty, guard Joel Campo (headed for Amherst), junior tackle Kevin Wilkens and senior tight end Matthew Buckman who was primarily used as a blocker. He did, however, make 11 catches for 246 yards and scored one touchdown.
Other all-county performers from the defensive side of the ball include junior lineman Troy Kay, who had 70 tackles and nine quarterback sacks. He also returned an interception for a touchdown. Junior linebacker Mark Fossati was in on 152 tackles, forced four fumbles and recovered two for touchdowns.
New Jersey Army National Guard Staff Sergeant Michael Biggins presented Coach Karcich and the team with the Army National Guard national ranking trophy during halftiome of the boys' varsity basketball game. The team also received a banner for their accomplishment.
"For eight years the Army National Guard has recognized nationally ranked football teams with the Army National Guard national ranking trophy," said LTC Christian J. Johnson of the Army National Guard. "We take great pride in doing so because it symbolizes the indomitable spirit common to high school athletes and the U.S. Soldier. It is our honor to share this symbol with the team, coaches, parents, and school. It is an award for the entire community and is much deserved."
MaxPreps uses a sophisticated computer program, known as the Freeman Rankings, to determine team rank for the Tour of Champions. The system utilizes the huge number of game results stored in the MaxPreps database. Generally, the more a team wins the higher the ranking, but the system takes into account quality wins (against other highly ranked opponents), margin of victory, and strength of schedule. Playoff games are weighted 2.1 times a regular season game.
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About Army National Guard
With 375 years of service, the Army National Guard is the largest reserve component, as well as the oldest branch of the U.S. military. In the National Guard, you get the training from us, serve in your own community, and enhance your marketability for the higher paying jobs. We provide our members with money for college and offer attractive benefits on top of paid career training in one of 200 fields. The National Guard has career opportunities in every State and U.S. Territory, more than 3,600 training locations, and more than 350,000 members. Visit the National Guard Web site at www.NATIONALGUARD.com.