ROSELLE – It has been 10 long years since the Roselle Rams made the playoffs in the Central Jersey, Group 2 division. But with a win this Saturday against 2-5 Manville, the 5-2 Rams will be playing in the post season. The game begins at 2 p.m. in Roselle at Arminio Field on Chestnut Street, between 8th and 9th avenues.
Many in Roselle attribute this year’s success to the new head football coach, Louis Grasso, Jr. of Rahway, who took over the team at the beginning of the season. His mentor is his father, Louis Grasso, Sr. The elder Grasso, who still is involved with the team on a day-to-day basis, coached the Rams for 26 years.
“We have great group of kids this year in Roselle,” said Grasso, 35, who has worked as a physical education teacher in Roselle for 12 years, while getting experience as an assistant football coach in New Brunswick and Union Township. “Roselle has a strong Pop Warner program, supportive parents and athletic kids who really want to win.”
Grasso, who played football at Colonia High School and Rutgers University, said some of his players have been getting the attention of college recruiters. He expects a couple of his players to be on college football fields next fall.
Grasso said his 50-man roster comprises many dedicated athletes and is particularly impressed with his senior class. Darius Mayers, his senior running back, carried 34 times for 258 yards and four touchdowns last week in a 41-14 victory over Johnson. The victory snapped Johnson’s five-year winning streak in the series and gave Roselle its first three-game winning streak since 2008.
“The Johnson game was one of the most satisfying moments of the season and in my career as a coach,” Grasso said. “The game showed the true grit of this football team and underscored how this program has really turned the corner.”
Satiir Stevenson, the senior quarterback, said there has been great leadership in the 2010 Rams. “The seniors are carrying the team and really want to win,” said Stevenson, who has passed for 730 yards, threw eight touchdowns and ran for two more this season. “The young guys are buying into the system. There’s been a lot of adversity. At least one key player has been out injured for each of our games. But we build off that and do what we can to win.”
Mayers, who has run for 943 yards so far this season, agreed there is new energy on the Rams, noting there is great leadership on the field, at practice and in the weight room. “We keep working hard and keep working hard. That’s all there is to it.” Grasso is urging his team to stay focused on Manville. Last week, Manville soundly defeated Sussex Tech by a score of 41-0. “All eyes are on Saturday,” he said.
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