During his third and final season, Prince Emili’s football crash course had finally ended. No longer did he feel the need to worry about hand placement or head placement or how to best maximize leverage.
The Clarkstown North lineman understands how to play football now, and he spent his senior year proving it. Nothing more.
“I could pretty much play without any fear or any thoughts about what I wanted to do,” said Emili, the son of Nigerian immigrants, after just his third year playing football. “I had those two years under my belt, so I was confident about what I had to do. I could finally just let loose and play ball.”
And what a scary proposition that was for his opponents. The coveted 6-foot-1, 298-pound lineman swallowed up blockers two or three at a time and opened room for his teammates to roam free. The Rams’ defense surrendered just 62 points in nine games, largely because of the large man in the middle, The Journal News’ Rockland County player of the year.
“There were some times he was getting triple-teamed,” said Clarsktown North coach Joe Trongone, whose team finished 7-2 and reached the Class AA semifinals. “Our linebackers were just sitting there to make tackles. That was a key to our defense.”
For the second straight year, Emili was a two-way starter. He remained in his familiar position at defensive tackle, but also shifted from center to tackle on offense. He remained persistent in training his body and mind. Since he took up the game as a sophomore, Emili has been a weight room and film room warrior. He understood how to draw attention and what it meant for the team.
“He was a very humble player,” Trongone said. “It wasn’t about his statistics. He was a team player and he knew his role. As a high school kid, you want to get the sacks (and Emili had five), but he knew what he had to do to make the hole bigger. He knew what that meant for the team.”
Emili also continued to maintain a high academic standard, one that helped him produce offers to Yale, Harvard, Columbia and Penn, the four schools still in pursuit.
During the season, he participated in the New Visions Health Careers Explorations Program at Rockland BOCES. Emili, who hopes to become a doctor like his father, has spent time shadowing doctors at Helen Hayes Hospital in Haverstraw and at Nyack Hospital.
“I’ve been in the operating room,” said Emili, who intends to study pre-med while playing football at one of the four Ivys. “I thought it was really interesting. I’ve really liked getting to see it.”
Most players would hold less regard for those triple teams Emili faced, although he learned to welcome them. His philosophy: If they need three people to block you, you probably don’t stink.
“I can only fight as hard as I can, but I know if I’m getting triple-teamed, I know 100 percent that our linebackers are good enough to make the tackle,” Emili said. “So, I take that as a compliment.”
Coach of the year: Joe Trongone, Clarkstown North — With a deep and talented senior class, the Rams entered the season with high expectations. They certainly met them, finishing 7-2 and reaching the Class AA semifinals. Clarkstown North’s only two losses came in close games to finalists New Rochelle and John Jay. The defense was the team’s strength all season, allowing just 62 points and posting four shutouts.
The rest of The Journal News first-team all-county:
QB — Ori Jean-Charles, Jr., Spring Valley
RB — Shatir Henry, Sr., Ramapo
RB — Michael Porco, Sr., Clarkstown North
WR — John Daly, Sr., Tappan Zee
WR — Dajon Russell, Sr., Spring Valley
TE— Jordan Correa, Sr., Nyack
OL — Luke Lodini, Sr., North Rockland
OL — Vince Maraia, Sr., Clarkstown South
OL — Joe Saraiva, Sr., Albertus Magnus
OL — Jake Spreckman, Sr., Clarkstown South
OL — Brian Syracuse, Sr., Nanuet
Athlete — Liam Donohue, Sr., Tappan Zee
Athlete — John Gragnani, Sr., Suffern
DL — Henry Chau, Sr., Suffern
DL — Jordan Landsman, Sr., Nanuet
LB — Connor Breit, Jr., Nanuet
LB — Nate Burt, Sr., Suffern
LB — Cameron Conrad, Sr., Clarkstown North
LB — Joe Duffy, Sr., Pearl River
LB — Brian McGreevy, Sr., Nanuet
DB — Malyk Michel, Sr., Nyack
DB — Kyle Murphy, Sr., Pearl River
DB — Jack O’Shea, Sr., Clarkstown South
Athlete — Jack Abrams, Sr., Clarkstown North
Athlete — Matt Levine, Sr., Nanuet
K — Rory O’Riordan, Sr., Tappan Zee
QB — Matt Jung, Jr., Clarkstown South
RB — Jonathon Farley, So., Pearl River
RB — Kyle O’Neill, Jr., Clarkstown North
WR — Brendan Conway, Sr., Pearl River
WR — Anthony Tutwiler, Sr., Clarkstown South
TE — Anthony Morisi, Sr., Suffern
OL — Michael Fiore, Sr., Clarkstown South
OL — Trevon Gordon, Sr., Ramapo
OL — T.J. Groesbeck, Sr., Suffern
OL — Stephen Hastings, Sr., Pearl River
OL — Michael Zecchin, Sr., North Rockland
Athlete — Stephen Lauro, Sr., Suffern
Athlete — L.J. Nortfleet, Sr., Nyack
DL — Devan Lawson, Jr., Spring Valley
DL — Kenechi Oti, Sr., Clarkstown North
DL — Vincent Pagliaroli, Sr., Tappan Zee
DL — Matt Sullivan, Sr., Albertus Magnus
LB — Matt Asheim, Sr., Clarkstown North
LB — Jhavon Innocent, Jr., Ramapo
LB — Danny Housman, Sr., North Rockland
LB — Leo Pamphile, Sr., Spring Valley
DB — Andrew Samori, Sr., Nanuet
DB — Kyle Samuels, Jr., Clarkstown South
DB — Kevin Sheridan, Sr., Clarkstown North
Athlete — Albie Argenio, Sr., Albertus Magnus
Athlete — Nick D’Allara, Sr., Nanuet
K — Michael LoPoma, Sr., Pearl River
Terry Abraham, Sr., Albertus Magnus; Edenis Augustin, Sr., Spring Valley; Jameel Bernadeau, Sr., Nyack; Riley Brown, Sr., Nyack; Estive Bustos-Cevallos, So., Spring Valley; Garrett Catalo, Sr., Nyack; Collin Crispino, Jr., Albertus Magnus; Ralph Cruz, Sr., Nyack; Kevin Dennehy, Jr., Tappan Zee; Rhys Farrell-Bryan, Sr., Clarkstown North; Roberto Galindo, Sr., Albertus Magnus; Brian Garchitorena, Sr., Clarkstown North; Mark Gargan, Sr., Pearl River; Jacob Goldstein, Jr., Suffern; Lorenzo Henderson, So., Ramapo; Ryan Holder, Jr., Tappan Zee; Darwin Jean-Charles, Sr., Spring Valley; Enoch Jones, Sr., Spring Valley; Andrew Kastner, Sr., Clarkstown South; Rob Klebetz, Sr., Nanuet; Rutchlor Louis, Jr., Ramapo; Matt McGivney, Jr., Tappan Zee; James McKiernan, Jr., Pearl River; Austin McNeill, Jr., Pearl River; Patrick Naughton, Jr., Clarkstown South; Dalton Newbury, Sr., Albertus Magnus; Brian Oliveros, Sr., Nanuet; Zac Pearlman, Sr., Suffern; Kevin Scrima, Jr., Pearl River; Tyler Senatore, Sr., North Rockland; Randy Singh, Sr., Clarkstown South; Tyriek Smith, Jr., Spring Valley; Lucas Sommers, So., Suffern; Stephen Storms, Sr., Albertus Magnus; Jonathan Sutherland, Sr., Spring Valley; Kyle Ten Eyck, So., Albertus Magnus; John Tobin, Sr., Albertus Magnus; Chris Van Schaick, Jr., Nanuet.