Spartans say: Are you ready for some football
BELLEVILLE – If you love football the New Jersey Spartans might just be right up your alley.
For the second year in a row the Spartans will call Belleville Municipal Stadium their home away from home as they battle teams along the East Coast in the battle on the gridiron.
The Spartans have been a perennial top team in Major League Football since their inception in 2007 and have either been in the playoffs or just a game out, which happened last season.
New Jersey is ready to get back to the playoffs and drive for a title this season.
It all started Saturday, as they opened the 2011 season with their annual preseason game with Spartan Bowl III against the New York Spartans. In last season’s Spartan Bowl, New Jersey lost a lead in the fourth quarter to only fall to their New York counterparts.
“Even though it is a preseason game, it is like the Giants and the Jets,” said Kevin Moss, the head coach, one of the founders and the president of the team.
The Spartans moved from West Side Park in Newark to Belleville two years ago. “For me it was a natural move,” said Moss, a Belleville resident who was also was an offensive coordinator for Belleville High School. “We just thought it was a great opportunity to be in Belleville…It was definitely a good move for the team.”
Moss said that a big part of the Spartans goal is to work and help out the community. The club has worked with several area organizations, including Habitat for Humanity along with local sports organizations where they hold sports camps during the year.
“We’re looking to make a positive influence for the community,” said Moss. “We definitely want to win, but we’re in this to help the kids (area youth).”
The Spartans held football clinics in April and May while also have been working with several Belleville High School football players, including Trevor Torres, who ran from more than a thousand yards last season.
The New Jersey Spartans are comprised of former high school and current college football players. “[For] most of these guys, it’s about the love of the game,” said Moss.
The players are not paid and at the end of the season have the option to buy their equipment, t-shirts etc. Moss said that they have to follow the National Collegiate Athletic Association rules for the players. The team pays for the insurance, league fees and for the coaching.
New Jersey is part of the Major Football League that is part of the Big North East Football Federation that includes teams in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina along with New Jersey. The regular season is from July through September.
Along with Moss there are few players who live in Belleville and have Belleville roots, including Lorenzo Devone, offensive guard Edward Felciano, running back Eddie Feliciano Jr. and wide receiver Timothy Roberts.
Other Essex County players on the Spartans roster are cornerback Matthew Hewett, a Montclair High School graduate, cornerback John Martin of Bloomfield, Devone (Belleville High School graduate), defensive end Eric Gould of Bloomfield, linebacker David Blakely of Montclair, Ramon Aguirre of Bloomfield and Chris Turner of West Orange.
The Spartans have always had a trademark defense, one of the top in the Major Football League.
Moss and the Spartans have the return of strong safety James Wright of Newark, linebacker Jose Renderos of Edison, who was part of the Empire Conference All Stars first team. Also back is offensive tackle Corbin Williamson of Irvington, defensive end Pierre Joseph of Irvington, defensive end Walter McCloud of Union, and strong safety Gongar Konah of Newark, all of whom were named to the second team Empire second team all stars.
In addition the New Jersey Spartans added last year the Lady Spartans Cheerleading, Dance and Fitness program, who were polled as the number one dance team in the league.
For more information on the New Jersey Spartans and since and season ticket information check out the website, click here or call 973-SPARTAN (772-7826).
New Jersey Spartans football
June 18 New York Spartans (Spartan Bowl III) 6 p.m.
June 25 Hudson County Bounty Hunters, 6 p.m.
July 16 Jersey Wolves, 6 p.m.
July 23 Tri-State Bulldogs, 6 p.m.
July 30 at Brooklyn Mariners, 7 p.m.
August 6 New Jersey Broncos, 6 p.m.
August 13 at North East Pennsylvania Miners 7 p.m.
August 20 at Rockland Packers, 7 p.m.
August 27 New Jersey Lions, 6 p.m.
Sept. 3 Bye week
Sept. 10 at Jersey Wolves, 6 p.m.
Sept. 17 at Arbutus Big Red, 7 p.m.
Sept. 24 Philadelphia Phoenix, 6 p.m.
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