Colonia Football Back in Contention

Patriots Have Already Exceeded Last Year’s Win Total and Ranked 5th in BCG Middlesex Top 10

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ—A lot has been talked about concerning Woodbridge Township football over the past several years.  Led by former Colonia hoops and gridiron standout, Joe LaSala, who was on the coaching staff at his alma mater before taking the Barrons head coaching job in 2018, Woodbridge is again atop the Middlesex County Top 10, and one of the top teams in the Big Central Conference this season.

However, a story is developing in another part of the township with Colonia football.  After finishing 2-6 in 2020 including three straight losses to finish the season, the Patriots have roared back into contention in both Middlesex County and the Big Central by winning 3 of its first 4 games in 2021 including a 38-7 rout of then No. 4 Edison in Week 2 while only losing to its top ranked crosstown rival, 21-14 in Week 1.

In its first four games, Colonia has outscored its opponents by a margin of 112 to 47, or an average of about 28 to 12.  The Patriots held Edison to its lowest point total since opening day last season.  CHS held Woodbridge to its second lowest point total of the season to date and to half as many points as Sayreville gave up to the Barrons, and the Bombers have recently scored wins over North Brunswick and Edison.

The Patriots started 2020 with a 2-3 record including a 31-20 loss against a very good Clifton team that went 4-3 a year ago after going 8-4 in 2019, and have begun this year at 4-0.  The Pats also only lost to a solid Cranford team 17-7 at home last season while defeating Linden (20-16) and Newark Collegiate (20-0).

Colonia then lost a heartbreaker to J.F. Kennedy in overtime (27-26) on a blocked extra point attempt by the Mustangs at Lou Bartha Stadium on November 13th, and then lost again to an Aquinas program emerging from its rebuilding phase (16-14) on November 20th in Colonia before losing to Scotch Plains-Fanwood (35-7) in its finale on Thanksgiving Eve.

Senior QB Josh Oluremi, who didn’t play in last year’s loss at JFK, has received a D-1 offer from Long Island University.  Two years ago, Oluremi was a contributor off the bench to a Colonia boys basketball team that overachieved its way to giving top seeded St. Thomas Aquinas all it could handle in the 2020 GMCT Quarterfinals, and upset Carteret and West Morris en route to a finals per in North Jersey Section 2 Group 3.

Oluremi, who is 6’3” and 183 pounds with a 6’7” wingspan, and runs a 4.58 in the 40 yard dash, has completed 36 of 54 pass attempts this season for 472 yards and 2 TDs.  He has also rushed 46 times for 467 yards, and 8 TDs.  Oluremi is averaging 9.3 yards per play on offense while accounting for 10 TDs.  He has accounted for 66 percent of Colonia’s total offense and 67 percent of the Pats scoring.

Last year, Oluremi rushed 40 times for 386 yards and 4 TDs while completing 38 of 83 passes for 520 yards and 3TDs.  As a sophomore, Oluremi completed 22 of 43 pass attempts for 298 yards and 2 TDs while rushing 18 times for 86 yards.  Oluremi also excels in the classroom with 3.85 GPA.  One of his favorite targets is fellow senior Jake Ciencin.  The two hooked up for Colonia’s only TD in its loss at Scotch Plains-Fanwood in the season finale.

Ciencin, who also wrestles at CHS, has also received a D-1 offer from Valparaiso University in Indiana.  Coming in at 6’1” and 187 pounds, Ciencin has caught 6 passes for 60 yards and TD while leading the Patriots with 7 sacks on the season to date.  Junior Patrick Miller, who filled in at QB in Oluremi’s absence versus Kennedy, has excelled at wideout this year with 9 catches for a team leading 181 yards and a TD.  Miller also has 6 solo tackles and made his only FG attempt of 32 yards along with 10 of 11 extra points.

Another senior, Josh Prophete has excelled on both sides of the football this season for Colonia.  So far this season, Prophete has rushed 44 times for 297 yards, or 6.8 yards per carry along with 4 TDs while catching 6 passes for another 47 yards.  Prophete also leads the team in total tackles with 15 including five for loss and a sack.  Sophomore Jaeden Jones, who also has impressed on the basketball court during the summer, is another weapon.

Jones, who rushed 32 times for 208 yards and 4 TDs in the OT loss at Kennedy last season to earn Big Central Gridiron’s Player of the Week honors, has rushed 18 times for 103 yards and a TD while catching 13 passes for another 105 yards and another score, is averaging 6.7 yards per touch this season.  He also has 11 total tackles along with an interception returned for a touchdown while also returning 3 kickoffs for 55 yards and 2 punts for 58 yards.

Junior Matt Salcedo helps anchor the defense with 3 tackles for loss while senior Mike Testa has contributed on both offense and defense with 7 carries for 54 yards rushing, one reception for 13 yards, and 4 total tackles on defense.  Senior Ivan Quiles has 5 solo tackles including one for a loss and a sack along with a fumble recovery.

Colonia is averaging 234 yards rushing and 120 yards passing per game for a total of 354 yards per game.  The Patriots have scored 41 points in the 2nd quarter, 35 points in the 3rd, 21 in the 4th, and 17 in the first.  The Patriots are scheduled to take on Linden tonight at Tiger Stadium in Linden starting at 7:00 PM.  Both teams are playing well with Linden at 3-0 in a tough BCC Division 4, which boasts of the most teams of any division in the Big Central with 8.

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