Jefferson Football Star up for Heart of a Giant Award – Vote Now

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Paul Monaco Running Back at Jefferson Township High School needs your VOTE to win the Heart of a Giant Award. So, let’s help this local Super Star by VOTING NOW.

The 2018 USA Football Heart of a Giant Award presented by Hospital for Special Surgery and NY Giants announced their third set of ten outstanding Tri-State area high school football player nominees open for voting

These students have been nominated by their coaches for their commitment, teamwork, will, character and dedication.

Voting for these nominees will be open for 25 days with final vote tally determining who will be named the group’s finalist.  One grand prize winner will be selected based on video submissions stating why they have the Heart of a Giant and will be honored on the field during a New York Giants’ home game.  All six finalists will receive $1,500 for their high school’s football program, with the winner’s school getting an additional $3,500.


  • Paul Monaco; Jefferson Township High School

Paul MonacoNot only does he excel on the field in the classroom, but he is involved in many other activities and clubs. He's a member of the National Honor Society, Peer Development Program, Student Council, DECA, Athletic Advisory Council, and plays basketball as well.  Coach Jerry Venturino claims, “In 13 years of coaching, I have never coached a player as smart as Paul. Both in and out of the classroom, he impresses daily. For him to absorb all of the assignments and rules for all of these positions is impressive, but what separates him from the rest is his work ethic in the school building.”

  • Jeffrey Adeclat; Suffern High School (Suffern, NY)

“Alley Cat,” as head football coach Bill Delaney has affectionately nicknamed him “has been through a lot in such a short time of his adolescent life being abandoned by his parents.” Jeffrey has been fortunate enough to have befriended one of the three captains of this fall’s varsity team, AJ"Macho Camacho Junior" Camaano. These two, along w/AJ's older brother Ray, have taken AC under their wings, and have become AC's surrogate brothers; To the point where Mr. & Mrs. Camaano petitioned the courts, w/Jeffrey's moms approval, and last Spring became "Alley Cat’s" Official Legal Guardians. 

  • Fabriola Andre; Toms River High School (Toms Rivers, NJ)

Fabriola is a senior female athlete on our varsity football team. This is her second year competing in a game that has always been predominantly male. Fabriola lives with her mother, a single parent trying her best to provide for Fabriola and her younger sister Mya. When Fabriola was 12, her father abandoned his family and from that moment on Fabriola has always felt that she was not good enough. While playing football, Fabriola still works to support her family and continues to keep up with her studies the best she can. Fabriola inspires teachers, students, and young children to achieve their goals and dreams. Head football coach Kyle Sanberg proudly states, “Fabriola is a tremendous representation of our school and community and makes me proud to call her one of my players. Fabriola Andre has the Heart of a Giant.”

  • John Beveridge; Brick High School (Brick, NJ)

As right guard on the Brick Township High School’s varsity football team, 15-year-old John was used to pushing himself on the gridiron. But in October 2017, a frightening thing happened as he completed his warm up exercises: He lost consciousness. Within two hours they uncovered the cause of John’s stroke. He had a benign cardiac tumor, called a papillary fibroelastoma, on one of his heart valves. The next morning — just three days after he’d passed out at football practice — John was prepped for open heart surgery. Head football coach Len Zdanowicz claims, “If not for some luck and the amazing work by his Doctor's John might not be here today. John and his family owe everything to the Doctor's at CHOP for their amazing work in saving John's beating Heart of a Giant.”

  • Emilio Briones; Bogota High School (Bogota, NJ)

“Emilio is the definition of the following characteristics. Commitment, Teamwork, Will, Character, Dedication” head football coach Brian Appleton explains. Commitment- Emilio has not missed a practice since Coach Appleton started in May. Teamwork- Emilio has a Team first mentality. Does what is asked, and does not question it. Will- Emilio understands doing things on the field Is just as important as off the field. In the classroom and outside of football, he continues to do what is right. Character- Emilio is a captain, he also has a speech impediment where he has an extreme stutter. Even with that he is a vocal leader, he overcomes it and has pride in the message he is portraying. Dedication- With a lingering shoulder injury Emilio has been forced to play one side of the ball. No matter what happens he is always willing to do what’s best for the team.

  • Hunter Hughes; Newfield High School (Seldon, NY)

“His commitment to our program is one that all coaches would want from their players, his character is second to none, a true leader in every aspect of the word” explains head football coach Joe Piccininni. What's truly amazing is Hunters dedication to his sport, he had a fractured vertebrae in the spring and didn't know if he would be able to play this season.  That thought never entered his mind.  With rest and rehab he was able to start play a couple of weeks later. than the start of our camp.  In the first game he had 3 receptions for 63 yds, 4 tackles, and with 15 seconds left in the game He ran back the kickoff setting us up for the game winning 2 point conversion. 

  • Michael Lizotte; Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (Rumson, NJ)

Head football coach Jeremy Shulte says “Michael has been a leader for our team since day one of his freshman year.  He consistently puts forward an incredible work ethic and expects the same from everyone around him.  He rarely misses practice or the weight room and when he does, it is typically because he is either studying or volunteering in some capacity.”  As a junior, Michael was the starting linebacker until a torn meniscus took him out for the season.  On top of this, two weeks later, one of Michael's best friends took his own life which led him to form the LongLiveLax Foundation as way to raise awareness for mental health issues in teenagers.

  • Darnel Shillingford; Putnam Valley High School (Putnam Valley, NJ)

Darnel has been a two-sport varsity athlete as well as a multi-year two sport varsity captain, while also maintaining a GPA of 4.0. His strong work ethic allows him to continue to thrive on both the field and in the classroom. As if this was not difficult enough, he is someone who always gives back to the community within the school as well as the community outside of the campus walls. He is a peer mediator, student mentor, tutor, and someone that the administration looks to for advice within the school. Head football coach Ryan Elsasser claims, “His temperament and kindness is something that everyone around him admires.”

  • Andrew Terc; Bloomfield High School (Bloomfield, NJ)

“Andrew is the total package,” claims head football coach Mike Carter.  He is a 4.2 student, captain, good person who does of community service.  Andrew is a well-rounded young man with a bright future who is highly respected by his teachers, staff and peers alike.

  • Tom Zdroik; Hillsborough High School (Hillsborough,  NJ)

Tom has been an outstanding leader and player for four years.  He is an unbelievable unselfish player who has played nearly every snap of the game.  Off the field, Tommy is an outstanding student and wonderful example of community service.  He has over a 3.7 GPA, and volunteers at every opportunity to help the youth players in our program.  Head football coach Kevin Carty says “It has also been extremely impressive this year to witness Tom's irrepressible enthusiastic leadership while his father, and extremely devoted and helpful supporter for our program, has been undergoing chemotherapy and other treatment for aggressive cancer.”

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