PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Eastern cornerback Logan Ryan looked right at home in his new home.
Ryan, The Inquirer's South Jersey defensive player of the year, was one of many players who excelled for the Garden State in yesterday's New Jersey vs. Northeast all-star football game at Rutgers Stadium.
New Jersey won, 13-7, when Verona linebacker and Notre Dame recruit Carlo Calabrese intercepted a pass and lateraled it to Florida recruit Josh Evans of Irvington. Evans returned the lateral 74 yards for a touchdown as time expired.
Ryan was on the field at the time, shutting out his man on the play. For the game, he tied for the team lead with six tackles and also had one pass breakup. This came against a Northeast team that consisted of players from Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware, Eastern Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, Washington, and New Hampshire.
What made the game even more special for Ryan is that he is a Rutgers recruit.
"This is the first time playing here and it was a big day for me, seeing the stadium and the fans," Ryan said. "And I think I performed well."
He wasn't the only one.
The head coach of the New Jersey team was former NFL quarterback Phil Simms, who was impressed all week with Ryan during practice and in his performance during the game.
"He practiced great all week and I didn't have to do much with him," Simms said about Ryan. "He always told me, 'Coach, I got it,' and it was pretty neat."
Simms said that Ryan's passion for the game was clearly evident all week.
"The ones who had wonderful attitudes during the week and were happy to be there were the ones who played great, and Logan fit in that category," Simms said. "It was rewarding for me to see."
The teams had double-session workouts for three days, but that is not a lot of time to get on the same page. That's why it was not surprising when the offenses struggled.
Mainland quarterback Brent Caprio, who is headed to William and Mary, was glad to be a teammate of Ryan's, who he wanted little part of him in the team drills.
"When you would come out of huddle you'd look for No. 9 [Ryan] and throw opposite of him," said Caprio, who completed 3 of 7 passes for 20 yards yesterday.
Among other South Jersey players, Winslow Township linebacker and Rutgers recruit Ka'Lial Glaud recorded four tackles and forced a fumble.
Gloucester Catholic fullback Patrick Schuhl, who is headed to Shippensburg, rushed for 10 yards on two carries, and Rutgers recruit Aaron Hayward of Penns Grove had 9 yards on three carries.
Camden's Charles Watkins (Duke) and Palmyra's Quron Pratt (Rutgers) each had one reception for 7 yards. Glassboro's Ricky Tunstall (Delaware) returned two punts for 23 yards.
Pittsburgh recruit Ray Graham of Elizabeth scored New Jersey's other touchdown on an 8-yard run.
Northeast 0 7 0 0 - 7
New Jersey 0 0 7 6 - 13
NE: Long 24 pass from Wasilewski (McManus kick)
NJ: Graham 8 run (Evangelista kick)
NJ: Evans 74 yard interception return (time expired, no kick)