Paramus Catholic Paladins

Chris Partridge was tired of watching his alma mater put up mediocre numbers. He knew Paramus Catholic could compete and be a champion again like it had been when he played for the Paladins.

So, when the former head football coach left after last season — the team had five different coaches in the last 10 years — Partridge, who has college coaching experience, felt he was the right man for the job.

“The 5-5 seasons were hard to swallow. And it wasn’t so much the records as it was the inconsistency that bothered me,” Partridge said. “It was frustrating for me and for the other alumni who care about the school’s tradition of excellence and competitiveness.”

The 29-year-old Partridge was a member of the Paladins’ 1998 state championship team and enjoyed a successful career at Lafayette as both a player and defensive backs coach. He was also the defensive line coach at The Citadel, but his heart has always been with Paramus Catholic.

Coming back home was a no-brainer.

“I’m not looking at this [coaching position] as a stepping stone,” Partridge said. “This is the place I want to be. And I want to be here for a long time.”

At first, Partridge admitted, he thought taking over a team that finished the last few seasons in the middle of the pack would be a project — until he saw the films and met the players.

“There’s real talent here, and I believe we have a very good team,” he said.

Partridge and his coaching staff, which contains seven Paramus Catholic alumni, have their “sleeves rolled up” and are ready to roll.

Partridge named a few seniors who he expects will make an impact.

Two-way player Matt Giachinta is impressive, Partridge said, and a team leader.

“He’ll be one of my captains,” Partridge said.

Senior defensive tackle Marquise Wright was highly regarded by college scouts as a junior and has already committed to playing at the University of Pittsburgh.

“Marquise is glad he’s got the college thing behind him,” Partridge said. “He wants to concentrate on having a winning senior year.”

Other seniors of note are quarterback Bryant Klein who Partridge said likes to run the ball, safety Joe Zito, and Brandon Walsh, who plays both offensive and defensive tackle.

Partridge also noted that junior Leo Krizanovic is a player worth watching.

“Leo was a big kid and the coaches and I worked on cutting down his size because we knew he could be a stronger player,” Partridge said. “He was an incredible force in our [Aug. 24] scrimmage. He’s going to be a force to be reckoned with this season.”

Due to league realignments, Paramus Catholic now plays against powerhouse non-public schools, including: Bergen Catholic, St. Joseph Regional, and Don Bosco Prep. But Partridge’s excitement for the upcoming season, aside from returning to his roots, is fueled by the team’s daunting schedule.

“Why not play a schedule like this? I don’t think I’d be as excited about the job if I didn’t have this schedule,” Partridge said. “And you know what? The players aren’t about to back down, either. They know what they’re up against and they’re ready. We’re all ready.”



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