Former rivals DelMauro, Ramos now teammates in All-Star contest

Nutley standout back, Belleville lineman selected to 34th annual clash

Photo by Jim Hague/ From left, Belleville’s Armando Ramos and Nutley’s Matt DelMauro were selected to play for the North squad in the 34th Annual NJSFCA North-South All-Star Classic June 25 at Kean University.

By Jim Hague

Armando Ramos had to admit that there was something different being a Belleville football player on the same team with a member of the dreaded rival Nutley.

“Yeah, it is a little weird,” Ramos said.

Matt DelMauro, the standout running back from Nutley, admitted the same thing.

“I think we’ll be able to get along,” DelMauro said.

Whatever the case, the Belleville lineman and the Nutley running back share a common goal now. They have both been selected to participate in the 34th Annual New Jersey Scholastic Football Coaches Association’s North-South All- Star Classic.

This year’s game will take place at Kean University in Union on Monday, June 25. The game will come after both players take part in a grueling three-day training session, complete with dormitory living on the Kean campus, with several practice sessions scheduled.

For DelMauro, the All-Star game will represent a chance to get accustomed to college life before he heads off to Bucknell University in the fall.

“To play at that level, I have to get ready,” DelMauro said. “It’s a little bittersweet, because this will be the last time I play representing Nutley. I have so many good memories. But when I heard about this game, I jumped at the opportunity to do it one more time for Nutley. I want to be able to go out with a bang.”

DelMauro ended his career as the all-time leading rusher and scorer in Nutley football history. Considering all the great backs that have worn the Maroon Raider uniform, it’s a great achievement. DelMauro, also an excellent student, also weighed offers from Columbia University. He will study business at Bucknell.

“I want to be well-rounded,” DelMauro said. “I didn’t want athletics to dictate me. I worked hard on my grades. I just thought Bucknell was a better fit for me. The coaching staff was great and the campus is beautiful. I just think it was the right choice for me.”

DelMauro went to the NJSFCA press conference announcing the All-Star rosters at Piscataway High School Sunday. He got to meet his teammates on the North squad, including Ramos, and the coaching staff.

“It’s definitely a great thrill to be picked for this team,” DelMauro said. “Only the best of the best are here. I want to perform to the best of my ability to show people that I am one of the best.”

Ramos, who has not decided where he will attend school, is weighing offers from places like Albright and Franklin & Marshall, was also elated to be part of the festivities.

“It’s a great honor,” Ramos said. “It’s something that I can add to my resume. I was very surprised that I was selected. Not many from Belleville get a chance to play in a game like this. When I found out, I was real excited.”

Ramos will more than likely play offensive tackle in the game, like he will in college.

“There’s definitely a sense of pride being here, representing Belleville and the football program,” Ramos said. “I knew I still wanted to play football in college. It’s such a big passion in my life.”

Ramos said that he still has a tough time getting over the loss to Nutley last Thanksgiving Day.

“It’s still a little upsetting, but I’ll get over it,” Ramos said.

And as for being a teammate of DelMauro?

“I think we’ll work things out,” Ramos said.

“We’re together now. I know we definitely want to win this game. It’s going to be a real good experience.”

DelMauro is also looking forward to the game, something he never could have dreamed would become a reality when he first started playing football as a youngster.

“It goes to show you that if you always set your goals, you work hard, pour sweat and when it happens, it’s amazing,” DelMauro said. And it’s amazing that two local rivals will bond for one huge cause come summertime.

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