For Autoland’s Michael Maffucci Jr., thoughts of Snapple Bowl XXII, which will be held at Kean University on July 16 at 7 p.m., brought back fond memories and fostered a sense of pride.
In the 2002 Snapple Bowl, Maffucci Jr. was the starting quarterback for the Middlesex County squad. He threw a touchdown pass and helped to lead his team to a 28-14 victory. Today he is a sales manager for Autoland, one of NJ’s largest car dealerships, on Route 22 in Springfield which will sponsor the event this year.
Maffucci reflected on what it was like to play in the mid-summer all-star game and to know that his employer will be a major part of its success.
“It’s a great thing actually playing the game and then going to the hospital to see the kids and to have my company support that cause and be a part of it is just great,” he said.
All proceeds from the Snapple Bowl, which pits the top graduating seniors from Middlesex County against counterparts from Union County, benefit Children’s Specialized Hospital and the Lakeview School, a program of the New Jersey Institute for Disabilities.
The bowl was born as a notion that former East Brunswick football coach, Marcus Borden, had to create an all-star game that would not only showcase some of the best Central Jersey high school athletes, but also benefit charity.
That initial notion has grown into a successful annual event which pulls the community together to enjoy great football while supporting worthy causes.
Since its inception in 1994, the game has raised more than $485,000.
Maffucci Jr. participated in the Snapple Bowl that capped off a successful football career with J.P. Stevens which included an undefeated season and a Central Group IV championship in 2001.
He appreciated the opportunity to represent his school and his county and acknowledged the contribution that Borden has made.
“I actually think it’s great because I played for J.P. Stevens and then represented Middlesex County and knowing what coach Borden is all about and what the game really reflects as far as how it helps the kids at the Specialized Hospital and (Lakeview) school is great,” Maffucci said. “Here at Autoland we basically represent the same thing that coach Borden stands for which is giving back to those charities and helping the kids.”
A visit to Autoland’s website shows that giving back starts at the top with President Mark Montenero, who sits on the board of trustees for the Children’s Specialized Hospital foundation, as he says in his message on the site:
“…on the outside you see Autoland as a car dealership, but it’s what you may not see that makes all the difference in the world…”
Phil Salerno, the president of Children’s Specialized Hospital, acknowledged the Snapple Bowl’s contribution to the hospital’s success and expressed his opinion that Autoland’s sponsorship will help the bowl to prosper.
“What Marcus has created in founding the Snapple Bowl is incredible,” Salerno said. “To have done that much and raised that much money for Lakeview School and for us, and I think that this just elevates the partnerships, it’ll be an opportunity for other businesses to look and say ‘hey, Autoland is in, we want in also'”
Michael Maffucci Sr., Vice President of Autoland Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, recognized the importance of his company’s participation.
“It’s for a great cause, what is a better charity than to help children. It kind of touched us back then when we were involved in high school football when my son played in the game,” Maffucci Sr. said. “When Mark approached me and we sat down, it was a no-brainer because what is more important than helping the future and helping the children.”
Maffucci Jr. summed it up best when he said:
“I would definitely say that Mark Montenero and Coach Borden are a lot alike; they give back a lot and they are very sincere and caring in giving back to their community and those charities,” he said. “It’s a great thing.”
As part of the Autoland team, Maffucci Jr. has come full circle in his involvement in the Snapple Bowl. First he played in it, now he works for the company that will support it as a major corporate sponsor.
What: MyCentralJersey.com Snapple Bowl XXII, New Jersey’s most successful charity all-star football game
Where: Kean University’s Alumni Stadium, Union
When: 7 p.m. Thursday, July 16
Participants: Recently graduated high school senior players and cheerleaders from Middlesex and Union counties.
About the event
Beneficiaries: All proceeds from the game, which has raised more than $485,000 since its inception, benefit Children’s Specialized Hospital and the Lakeview School, a program of the New Jersey Institute for Disabilities.
Practice venues: Colonia High School (Middlesex County All-Stars) and Union High School (Union County All-Stars).
Key dates: Middlesex County All-Stars visit the Lakeview School in Edison and Union County All-Stars visit Children’s Specialized Hospital in Mountainside on July 13; Snapple Bowl banquet at Pines Manor restaurant in Edison July 15.
Tickets: Can be purchased at the gate for $10.
Previewing the game: Leading up to Snapple Bowl XXII, the Home News Tribune, Courier News and MyCentralJersey.com will feature at least one story daily, as well as videos.
Game coverage: Look for a game story, a notebook, a Middlesex County sidebar, a Union County sidebar, an A1 story, a photo gallery and video highlights from Snapple Bowl XXII in the Home News Tribune, Courier News and at MyCentralJersey.com.
Social media: Follow us via Twitter @MyCJ_Sports and @SnappleBowl for updates and to interact with reporters and Snapple Bowl XXII game director Marcus Borden.
MyCentralJersey.com Snapple Bowl XXII official web site: Can be found at https://worknotes.com/NJ/SouthRiver/SnappleBowl/