Middlesex County will be on defensive during Snapple Bowl

Defense, according the coaches for the Middlesex County all-star team, may be the deciding factor against Union County when Snapple Bowl XXIV is played July 20.

The Snapple Bowl is an annual July all-star football game between Middlesex County and Union County and will be played at Kean University in Union. The game, which attracts the top recently graduated high school players from both counties, will start at 7 p.m.

In keeping with Snapple Bowl tradition, two organizations will benefit in receiving proceeds raised from the game: Children’s Specialized Hospital of Mountainside and the Lakeview School for Cerebral Palsy in Edison. The Lakeview School is a program of the New Jersey Institute for Disabilities.

Union County will donate its proceeds to the Children’s Specialized Hospital, while Middlesex County will give its proceeds to the Lakeview School.

The defensive assistant coach for Middlesex County, Ryan Don Diego, was excited at the prospects that his defense features. The Colonia High School assistant coach will call on his defenders to help Middlesex improve on its 14-9 all-time record in this all-star game series.

“It all starts up front with the defensive line,” Don Diego said. “We got some guys up there that can really cause some trouble for the opponent. We’re going to lean heavily on them, for sure, along with the rest of the front seven.”

Don Diego pointed out that nose guard T.J. Townsend from Old Bridge High School will be an anchor for the front line. Middlesex County hopes that the 6-foot, 277-pound Townsend will fortify the trenches.

“Townsend, for sure, is going to be a guy we lean on a lot,” Don Diego said. “The guy is huge and gets after it, so we really like what we can do with him.”

Another defensive stalwart for Middlesex County is Bryce Priester of North Brunswick Township High School. The 190-pound defensive end, who stands 6 feet 1 inch tall, is confident entering the game.

“I expect for us to win,” Priester said. “All week we worked hard, and we’re extremely competitive. I know we’re going to play hard, so we should come out with the win.

“It’s amazing to be here. Just to be around guys with this caliber of skill is an honor, and I’m just glad I was able to make it, and I’m glad I was recognized for working hard.”

Priester will attend Middlesex County College next year and plans to transfer in the future to continue his football career.

Don Diego also praised Roderic Carson from Saint Joseph High School of Metuchen as another defender who can make an impact. The 235-pound defensive end, who stands 6 feet 2 inches tall, is also optimistic.

“I just expect to win,” Carson said. “Of course, we all are going to go out and have fun, but with guys like this on your team, you have to expect to win.”

Carson also took the time the treasure the moment.

“It’s a real honor to be recognized for this,” Carson said. “It truly is an honor. I’m blessed to playing with such great talent. It’s a great experience.”

Carson will attend Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania, in September.

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