Tag: Basilone Bowl

Basilone Bowl taking year off to regroup, reorganize, stay true to initial purpose

When the very first John Basilone Bowl was played in 2013, with the major involvement of the Marine Corps, the goal was to raise money to donate to wounded soldiers. It was perhaps the noblest of causes.

But financial times have become more difficult. Even before COVID, but especially since.

Two years removed from the pandemic, Montgomery football coach Zoran Milich – who took the lead on organizing the game last year for the first time – says the Basilone Bowl didn’t turn a profit last year and couldn’t make a donation.

On Wednesday, Milich announced on Twitter that the Basilone Bowl – which features top graduating seniors from Somerset County, and a handful from Hunterdon – would not be played in 2023, but hopes to return to the summer all-star game landscape in 2024.

Milich says last year’s game finished $1,000 in the red, despite all participants selling their allotment of tickets, great weather for the game, and solid walk-up ticket sales at the game’s namesake Basilone Memorial Stadium at Bridgewater-Raritan High School.

Photo Gallery: Images from the 9th annual Basilone Bowl – June, 2022

Typically, the Marines make a large donation to the game, which then goes to charitable organizations like those that support wounded soldiers. But Milich says after taking the game over last year, he learned the event has not been able to make a donation in the past five seasons.

Click below to hear Zoran Milich talk with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko about this year’s hiatus for the Basilone Bowl, as well as the game’s future:

Photo Gallery: Images from the 9th annual Basilone Bowl

In the 2022 edition of the Basilone Bowl in Bridgewater, the Devil Dogs got touchdown runs from Nasan Colson of Franklin and Tyler Michinard from Hillsborough, after the Raiders’ Jay Mazuera hooked up with Hunterdon Central’s Owen Bill for a 65-yard TD pass on the second play from scrimmage in the game, en route to a 21-0 win over the Leathernecks.

Click below for a photo gallery of images from before, during and after the game:

INSTANT REPLAY-Basilone Bowl: Devil Dogs 21, Leathernecks 7

The Devil Dogs got touchdown runs from Franklin’s Nasan Colson and Hillsborough’s Tyler Michinard after the Raiders’ Jay Mazuera hooked up with Hunterdon Central’s Owen Bill for the first score of the game just two plays in, as the Devil Dogs beat the Leathernecks 21-7 in the 9th annual Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone Bowl in Bridgewater.

Dave LePoidevin scored the lone touchdown for the Leathernecks on a two-yard quarterback keeper on the opening drive of the second half.

Click below to listen to Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino call all the play-by-play on June 14, 2022:

Audio highlights from the 2022 Basilone Bowl

Click below to listen to all four scoring plays from the 2022 Basilone Bowl, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio with Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino:


11:12/1st – Jay Mazuera 65 yd TD pass to Owen Bill (kick good)

2:00/2nd – Nasan Colson 10 yd TD run (kick good)

4:57/3rd – Patrick LePoidevin 2 yd TD run (kick good)

8:19/4th – Tyler Michinard 10 yd TD run (kick good)

Devil Dogs strike early, defeat Leathernecks in 2022 Basilone Bowl

After two plays, it looked like the ninth edition of the Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone Bowl might have a score in the 30s or 40s. Jay Mazuera of Hillsborough hit Owen Bill of Hunterdon Central for a 65-yard touchdown strike to put the Devil Dogs up 6-0, plus the PAT by South Hunterdon’s Trevor McLoughlan, and it looked like we might be off to the races.

Things settled down a bit though, with a good deal of the first half played between the 30-yard lines, and it wasn’t until two minutes left in the first half before the fans on hand would see another score. That came from Franklin’s Nasan Colson, who ran in a ten-yard score on his eighth carry of the game to make it 14-0 with the extra point.

And it turned out that was all the Devil Dogs needed to beat the Leathernecks, in a game played every year in honor of Raritan’s favorite son, John Basilone. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic efforts at the Battle of Guadalcanal, only to be killed in action after re-upping and joining the fight in the battle of Iwo Jima, at the age of 28.

Colson was named the Devil Dogs’ Offensive MVP, while Jacob Ventura of Pingry was named Defensive MVP and Bill was named the overall Basilone Bowl MVP.

In the second half, the Leathernecks cut it to a touchdown on a two-yard run by Bound Brook’s Patrick LePoidevin that capped an 80-yard drive, but that was as close as they would get. With 8:19 left in the fourth – a period that started with only ten minutes on the clock on humid night – Hillsborough’s Tyler Michinard took a handoff from Mazuera and ran ten yards for the score, and the final one of the night, making it 21-7.

In the losing cause, the Leathernecks were led by Offensive MVP Alex Benitez and Defensive MVP Andre Soumeillant, both from Montgomery.

Listen below to postgame reaction from the 2022 Basilone Bowl champion Devil Dogs:

Hunterdon Central’s Owen Bill. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)
Owen Bill
Franklin’s Nasan Colson. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)
Nasan Colson
Devil Dogs and Hillsborough head coach Kevin Carty, Jr. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Basilone may be a local hero, but his legend lives throughout the Marines

Sometimes it seems like you can’t go five feet in Raritan Boro without seeing a plaque, sign, monument, or running into someone where the name John Basilone is involved.

Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic efforts at the Battle of Guadalcanal, only to be killed in action after re-upping and joining the fight in the battle of Iwo Jima, at the age of 28.

But his legend isn’t just known to us locals. He is a national hero, with a story Captain Kevin Keyser says “every good Marine should know.”

And that’s why – for the ninth year – they’re playing the Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone Bowl, presented by the United States Marine Corps and the Somerset County Coaches Association over at Bridgewater-Raritan High School.

Central Jersey Sports Radio will be broadcasting the game – involving high school seniors from throughout Somerset and, this year, Hunterdon Counties – and all the pomp and circumstance that goes with it, including a halftime show featuring the Marine Corps Quantico southern Lousiana stlye brass band.

Dom Savino and Mike Pavlichko will call all the action, with pregame starting just after 6:30, with kickoff just after 7:00. Click here to listen live, for free.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko speak with Captain Kevin Keyser of the Marines’ Recruiting Station New Jersey about the Basilone Bowl and the Marines’ involvement in the game for the past decade:

For Soumeillant, Cruz, Basilone Bowl takes on a little extra meaning

For the 80 players on the two rosters for the 9th annual Basilone Bowl at Bridgewater-Raritan’s Basilone Stadium Tuesday night, the game is one last chance to take the field, and for a good cause – the Basilone Memorial Foundation – which helps support the Robert Wood Johnson Cancer Center and the Fisher House Foundation for military families.

For some of those 80, it’s not their last time on a football field; they’ll be playing in college.

But for defensive end Andre Soumeillant of Montgomery and wide receiver Marvin Cruz of North Plainfield, the game is something even more special. They will be serving in the military before too long.

Soumeillant is joining the Army ROTC down at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. Cruz will be joining the Marines.

These are not snap decisions. These are plans that have long been in the works for both of them. A lot of hard work, and a lot of discipline, and they’re 110-percent ready for it.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko speak with both seniors as they get ready to strap it up one last time before they embark on life in the military:

Montgomery’s Andre Soumeillant
North Plainfield’s Marvin Cruz

Central Jersey Sports Radio will carry the 9th Annual Basilone Bowl live Tuesday night, with kickoff from Basilone Field set for 7 pm. Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino will call all the action; click here to listen.

Prep underway for 2022 Basilone Bowl, as Leathernecks and Devil Dogs get set to battle Tuesday

Sure, baseball season is heading into its final week or so, with several area teams still alive in the state playoffs, but that doesn’t mean it’s not time for football.

The 2022 Basilone Bowl – featuring graduating seniors from Somerset and, this year, Hunterdon County – will take place at Bridgewater-Raritan’s Basilone Field on Tuesday, June 14th at 7 pm.

The U.S. Marine Corps sponsors the game, whose honoree hailed from Raritan. World War II hero John Basilone earned the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in the Battle of Guadalcanal in October 1942, after which he reinlisted and was killed at age 28 on Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945.

Central Jersey Sports Radio will broadcast this year’s Basilone Bowl for the first time ever, with complete live coverage of the game, and a number of activities around it. We’ll be featuring stories leading up to the game, so be sure to check back here.

Coaches wrap up the first practice for the 2022 Basilone Bowl on June 8, 2022. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Players will be broken up into two teams: the Leathernecks and the Devil Dogs.

A Leatherneck is is a military slang term for a member of the Marine Corps, widely generally believed to originate in the wearing of a “leather stock” that went around the neck. Marine Corps legend – and American media reports at the time – say the name “Devil Dogs” was used by German soldiers to describe U.S. Marines who fought in the Battle of Belleau Wood in 1918, that they fought with such ferocity that they were likened to “Dogs from Hell.”

For now, take a look below to see who will be representing their schools in the game:


  • Bound Brook: Patrick LePoidevin, Jayden Brimage, Sharrod Tedder, Bryce Cobb, Leo Azcona, Amsony Desir, David Alvarez, Aidan Mott, Jesus Sanchez
  • Delaware Valley: Tim Torrey, Logan Blake, Scott Pursell, Jaden Corbin, Matt Schneider
  • Mongtomery: Alex Benitez, David Walsh, Mark Jenkins, Liam McManus, Andre Soumeillant, Brandon Furey, Jalen McDaniel
  • North Hunterdon: Ryan Drwal, Nick Glucksman, Winston Hess, Tom Markovich, Schris Schenkel
  • North Plainfield: Keiahn Grenald, Giovanni Threatt, Marvin Cruz, Jason Agyemang, Michael Knight, Jordan Bird
  • Voorhees: Will Letters, Daylen Joyce, Josh Reid, Brody Shaner
  • Watchung Hills: Chris Huljack, Sean Krug, Brian Hayward, Andrew Scopel

Coaches: Zoran Milich, Sean Carty, Brian Santaniello, Mark Priebracha, Chris Sima, Dan Aguilar, Joe Riccardi from Montgomery; Rich Seubert of Watchung Hills; Michael Haughey of Delaware Valley


  • Bridgewater-Raritan: Dylan Corsi, Sammy El Hadidi, Brady Kurdyla, Ryan Driscoll, Joseph Carroll, Matthew Messing, Reilly Stevens
  • Franklin: John Nwachukwu, Moshood Babalola, Nasan Colson
  • Hillsborough: Jay Mazuera, Andrew Santa Barbara, Tyler Michinard, Sal Volpe, Marc Gulla, Will Dixon, Luke Moleski, Ethan McLaughlin, Leo Schiro
  • Hunterdon Central: Owen Bill, Frank Lentine, Nick Lewis
  • Immaculata: Brandon McNab, Anthony Ruscetta, Christian Martell, Shahkai Matthews, Stephen Dowe, Josh Farrell
  • Manville: Anthony Yakobchuk, Brandon Flores, Jason Gonzalez, Nico Ayala-Biondi
  • Pingry: Niles Luke, Zach Ventura, Jacob Ventura, Matt Caruso, Herb Toler
  • South Hunterdon: Trevor McLoughan, Nick Venettone

Coaches: Kevin Carty, Don Adams, PJ Jankowicz and Justin Balunsat from Hillsborough; Jon Simoneau of Bernards; Rick Mantz and Joe Cahill from Bridgewater-Raritan; Ian Pace of Somerville