Hudson Catholic Hawks
Hudson_Catholic_CardBy Jeff Moeller

In early May, there was a buzz surrounding football at Hudson Catholic. This time, though, it was a positive one.

A few months earlier, former head coach Chris Demarest and the school’s administration amicably parted ways after he spent only one season on the job. Under Demarest, a former Rutgers assistant, the Falcons went from competing for a Non-Public Group 2 state title to sinking to a 2-8 record, including a five-game losing streak to end the 2009 campaign in which they were outscored 147-46.

However, any remaining fears or frustration have been temporarily relieved with the emergence of new head coach and ex-Giants defensive lineman Leonard Marshall, who has already restored a sense of faith and revitalization to the program.

Marshall was a three-time NFL Pro Bowl selection, recorded 83.5 sacks in his 12-year career, and helped the Giants win two Super Bowls. Ironically, Marshall is venturing into unchartered waters only eight miles away from the Meadowlands as he has embraced his first high school coaching job.

Since he was took over the reins, Marshall has similarly directed the Falcons’ camp as a carbon copy to those back to his days with the Giants as each player has received a 145-page playbook, and there has been sense of structure through each practice. He plans to install a 3-4 defensive scheme resembling one of the Giants’ alignments under defensive coordinator Bill Belechik.

“It has been a lot of work,” admitted Marshall, who lived near Hudson Catholic during his first few years with the Giants. “But I want guys here who are willing to work and trust each other. Establishing trust will be important. To me, this is an honor to be able to give back to the community.

“I hope that the players will see what we are trying to accomplish here. It will take time.”

Luckily for Marshall, time will apparently be on his side. The Falcons lost their leading passer, rusher, and most of their lineman from last year’s team. Of the approximately 40 players at camp, the majority of them are underclassmen.

Senior Matt McMonagle, who saw time at tight end and on the defensive line last season, has likely emerged as the starter at quarterback. Fellow senior Oscar Torres and sophomore Champ Smith, who both saw limited time in the backfield last year, should handle the bulk of the ball-carrying duties. Both also will return to the secondary. Senior Dealan Walsh and Junior Bryon King will also both see action in the backfield and at linebacker.

Juniors Aquail Ingram and Brandon McWayne are back as receivers and will both man linebacker spots. Sage Williams is the lone senior among the lineman, which will feature a number of juniors who saw spot duty last season.

Marshall is optimistic about this season.

“This team was 2-8 last season, and I don’t want them to revisit that area,” Marshall said. “The kids are working hard and we’ll see how they respond. They have to realize that this is a journey.”



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