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Three Hornets Display Talent in Annual All-Star Games

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Valley Echo Staff
22 July 2019


Three senior Hornet athletes participated in local All-Star Games this spring. Antwan Rodgers played starting Running Back in the Paul Robeson Classic All-Star Football Game at Robeson Stadium in East Orange, NJ. Matthew Jaeger played starting Defensive End in the Phil Simms North/South All-Star Football Game at Kean University. Representing the PV Baseball Team, Steven Nitch served as starting Catcher in the New Jersey Scholastic Baseball Coaches Association Senior All-Star Game at Diamond Nation. Each Hornet contributed significantly to their respective teams and represented the prestige of Passaic Valley Sports.

Athletic Director Joseph Benvenuti explained the significance of the Hornets' inclusion on both a personal and community level. "Being selected to play in an all-star game is very prestigious. The recognition is a true reflection of the work these student athletes have put in. It is great that their tremendous efforts have been recognized," he said. "As for Passaic Valley, we are always so proud of our student athletes receiving accolades and honors, such as all-star game selections. I have said for a long time, it can happen at PV. This is proof you can come to PV and still get noticed at a high level. There is nothing like winning and succeeding at home and that is exactly what these fine young men have done while at PV."Antwan Rodgers during Robeson Classic; photo property of NJ.com

The Paul Robeson Classic All-Star Football Game features standout players from high school teams across North New Jersey. Selected players are split into two teams, East and West. This year, the latter team came out on top 14-7, extending their winning streak in the annual game to three. As starting Running Back for the West Team, Rodgers impressed, finishing with the most yards from scrimmage. He carried the ball nine times for a total of 52 yards. In addition, he added another 11 yards receiving for a total of 63 yards from scrimmage. Rodgers' performance was featured in a recent article from NJ.com.

Matthew Jaeger executing a stiff-arm; photo credit: Yearbook Staff Whereas the Robeson Classic was a low scoring, defensive battle, the 41st Phil Simms North/South All-Star Football Game was a wild affair featuring plenty of scoring plays. Jaeger's North Team eked past the South with a score of 24-23. Jaeger, who started at Defensive End, recorded mutliple tackles and sacks throughout the game.

Head Football Coach Chester Parlavecchio reflected upon his all-star athletes fondly, grateful for their contributions during their high school careers and expressing confidence in their collegiate futures. "They both provided tremendous senior leadership and should go on to have outstanding college careers," he said.

Steven Nitch practicing pick-off moves before a game; photo credit: Yearbook Staff Steven Nitch started at Catcher for the Northeast Team in the 42nd New Jersey Scholastic Baseball Coaches Association Senior All-Star Game. The NJSBCA divides e top 100 senior baseball players into four teams: Northeast, Northwest, Central, and South. Nitch's team fell to South by a score of 7-3. Yet, Nitch was able to reach base on both of his plate appearances. Nitch is the 12th Hornet to be selected to the NJSBCA All-Star Game and will be playing for State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota next year. In his high school career, he was a two-time First Team All State selection and is regarded as one of the best defensive catchers in the state. Nitch has hopes of being drafted to play professionally within the next few years.

Head Baseball Coach John Mazzo reflect upon Nitch's accomplishments and importance as a Hornet. "He is one of the most dedicated, hard-working baseball players that I have coached in my career, spanning over three decades," Mazzo said. "He has progressed both as a students and a player during his tenure at PV. We all wish Steven and his family the best of luck in his promising future. He will also never forget his roots."

Though these three outstanding athletes will be leaving the Hornet locker room, their work ethic and talent will continue to serve as inspiration for current and future PV athletes. "As they move on to the collegiate level, we wish them luck. They will be missed greatly and impossible to replace," said Benvenuti. "However, the legacies they have left behind will forever raise the bar here for student athletes."