Post 19 – HS Football – Preview: Union City

July 31, 2018

2017 in Review:  The Soaring Eagles were 8-4, losing to Montclair in the North Jersey Section 1 Group 5 finals after beating Bloomfield and North Bergen.  They scored 354 points for a 29.5 average, while allowing 169 for a 14.08 average, including five shutouts.  Wins included West Orange, Bayonne, and North Bergen, while their other losses were to St. Peter’s Prep, Montclair, and Passaic Tech.

Graduation Losses:  OL/DL Jose Taveras – Army, DE/TE Lawrence Santana – Marist, DB Mohamet Thiam – Delaware State, RB/LB Izayah Reyes – Kean, OL Heraldo Nolasco – Utica

Offense:  Union City runs a multiple Wing-T/Spread, returning five starters and a couple of others who played.  Senior Alain Diaz (6-1, 170) returns at quarterback, while senior Jean Alvarez (5-11, 220) returns in the backfield, playing fullback this year.  The halfbacks will be junior Devin Gonzalez (5-7, 180), senior Tyheem Black (5-8, 192), senior Joel Jimenez (5-10, 165), and sophomore Glaser Arias (5-11, 185).

The wide receivers will be junior Yerandi Berroa (6-2, 170), senior Jeremy Colon (5-9, 165), junior Jarred Montoya (5-6, 150), and possibly Jimenez.  Senior Jaime Rodriguez (6-1, 235) returns at tight end and he will be joined by seniors Neo Ortiz (6-0, 203) and William Ruiz (5-10, 225), with Ortiz starting on defense and seeing time at running back last year.

Three starters return to the line in senior center Zavien Guitian (6-1, 260), senior left guard Eddy Coronado (6-0, 260), and junior left tackle Jalen Genao (6-1, 268), with Guitian moving from right guard.  The right side will consist of senior Ariel Higuera (6-1, 255) at guard and junior Eneurys Rosario (6-1, 265) at tackle.  Pushing for time will be senior Justin Rodriguez (6-2, 275), sophomore Joseph Alfonso (6-2, 324), and Antonio Palacios (6-5, 280).

Defense:  The Soaring Eagles employ a 4-3, return six starters and another who started two years ago and missed last season.  Coronado and Genao return at the tackles where they will be joined in a rotation by Guitian, Rosario, and Alfonso.  Senior Charles Gaston (6-0, 220) missed last season with injury, but started two years ago and he will be one of the ends, along with a rotation of Jaime Rodriguez, Ruiz, and sophomore Luis Avalos (6-1, 205).

Linebacker will be very experienced, with Ortiz returning in the middle, Alvarez on the strong side, and senior Camilo Giraldo (5-8, 180) starting four games last year.  Backups will be Devin Gonzalez, junior Abdiel Ramos (5-7, 190), and junior Gerardo Rovelo (5-7, 180).

In the secondary, Jimenez returns, moving from cornerback to free safety and senior Elijah Sparkman (5-11, 170) is back at one corner.  Senior John McCray (5-9, 175) will be the strong safety after starting a few games and he is being pushed by Black.  The other corner will be junior Henry Vilomar (5-7, 160).  Backing up the corners will be Colon and Montoya, while Arias backs up at free safety.

Special Teams:  Giraldo returns as the kicker and punter, while the return men will be Colon, Sparkman, and Berroa.


Saturday, 8/31, Passaic at home, 7 PM
Friday, 9/7, at Irvington, 7 PM
Thursday, 9/13, at Memorial, 7 PM
Friday, 9/21, St. Peter’s Prep at home, 7 PM
Saturday, 9/29, Bayonne at home, 7 PM
10/5-10/6, Bye Week
Friday, 10/12, at Shawnee, 7 PM
Friday, 10/19, North Bergen at home, 7 PM
Friday, 10/26, at Dickinson, 7 PM

Recruits:  Guitian has Patriot and Ivy interest and the other seniors should be able to play at least on the D3 level.

Among juniors, Berroa has the speed, body control, and hands to play 1-A if he puts it together.  Genao and Gonzalez are probably 1-AA prospects.

Concerns:  Being ready to play every week.

Comments:  “We feel good about the nucleus coming back; we have good kids returning and filling in.  There is also an ambitious schedule ahead of us.” – Head Coach Wil Valdez

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