Locals shine at Robeson Classic All-Star grid game

Photo by Jim Hague/ The area was well represented at the 19th Annual Robeson Classic All-Star football game. From left are Daniel Giangrande of Belleville, Dorsey Williams of Bloomfield, Dorion Williams of Bloomfield and James Hull of Bloomfield. In the back center is Bloomfield head coach Mike Carter, who was one of the assistant coaches for the East squad.


By Jim Hague


The Williams brothers, namely Dorion and Dorsey, have been together since birth. That’s a good thing, considering they are twins.

They also played football together at Bloomfield High School.

Last Monday, the Williams twins got one last chance to play high school football together – and it was only fitting that it was side by side.

Both Williams brothers were selected to play for the East squad in the 19th Annual Robeson Classic All-Star game, pitting some of the best players from Essex and Passaic Counties against a team comprised of Morris and Sussex County players.

And in the game, Dorsey Williams played offensive guard, while Dorion played offensive tackle. One last high school game, but together like they’ve always been.

“It was very exciting,” Dorsey Williams said. “It meant a lot for me to be on the field with my brother again. It was a lot of fun and it was good competition. But to be next to each other on the field at the same time? Well, that’s a great memory.”

“I heard a little bit about the game, but I didn’t know too much,” Dorion Williams said. “It was my last chance to play in high school. It was a great experience and a big thrill.” The Williams twins joined Bloomfield teammate James Hull and Belleville’s Daniel Giangrande on the East squad, a team that demoralized the West by a final score of 47-0.

“We definitely had a very talented team,” Dorion Williams said. “We practiced hard to get ready for the game. We knew we could do well. It was amazing to have all that talent.”

“I was real surprised when I saw the players we had out there,” Dorsey Williams said.

One of the best-known players on the East squad was Khalif Herbin, the All-State running back from Montclair who is headed to Temple in the fall.

“It was real good blocking for him instead of chasing him,” said Dorsey Williams, who had to face Montclair in the regular season. “We really had a lot of talented players. I knew we were going to win, but I thought the game would be much closer than it was.”

Hull was the East’s placekicker. He was kept busy because the East kept scoring touchdown after touchdown.

“It was a great feeling to put that Bloomfield helmet on one last time,” Hull said. “From the first day of practice, I knew our team was outstanding. We had players from Montclair, East Orange and seeing everyone come together as a team with all that talent was amazing. It was crazy to watch. The coaches all said it was going to be a close, hard-fought game, but that didn’t happen at all. We scored early and took the life right out of their sails. We scored so much that I was out there to kick quite often. It was incredible, something I’ll always remember.”

Hull, who is headed to Hobart College in Geneva, N.Y. in the fall and will play football there, liked the way the East team became friends after spending most of the regular season as rivals.

“That was pretty cool,” Hull said. “It was great to meet so many kids that I had heard about or played against. I got to become friends with the kicker on the other team (Jake Feury of Delbarton). Kickers have to stick together.”

Hull converted on five of his six PAT attempts.

“It was great to share it with the Williams brothers,” Hull said. “We’re all pretty good friends. We played well at the end of the season and followed it up with this win. You really can’t ask for anything more.”

Giangrande was one of the more versatile performers for the East squad. He played guard and center on offense, while making two tackles on kickoff returns and special teams.

“I just remember looking out at the field and realizing how great a team we had,” said Giangrande, who is headed to Montclair State in the fall. “I was shocked with the amount of talent we had. Even Coach (Ken) Trimmer (of Caldwell) said that it was one of the best teams they ever had. It was crazy. I was real excited, because I knew that not a lot of Belleville kids get picked to play in the game.”

Giangrande, also a fine wrestler at Belleville, said that he struggled somewhat to get back into a football mode after being away for seven months.

“It was real tough,” Giangrande said. “I had been working out through the spring, but to get back into football shape and put the pads on again was difficult. But I got back into the swing of things pretty quickly.”

Giangrande called his experience “awesome.”

“It really felt like a college game already,” Giangrande said.

The Williams twins will now carry their talents over to college football. They will head to Kean University in unison. It’s hard to break up twins when they’ve been together for so long, like last Monday night.

“It’s a good feeling to know my brother will be with me in college,” Dorion Williams said.

Just like twins should be.

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