Harrison’s Desosa signs letter to play sprint football at Caldwell

As the 2019 high school football season drew to a close in November, Mateo Desosa was still remarkably looking for a college football team to call his own.
Desosa didn’t have to prove himself any further than he did over the last three years as the starting quarterback for the Harrison Blue Tide.

Desosa threw for 1,659 yards and 14 touchdowns, while rushing for 718 yards and eight TDs as a junior. He followed up that year with 2,003 yards and 16 touchdowns and another 825 yards rushing and seven TDs as a senior.

On Oct. 4, 2019, in a 46-35 win over Secaucus, Desosa enjoyed one of the greatest games in the history of Hudson County football, passing for 445 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 222 yards and three TDs.

But still, no colleges offered Desosa anything in the form of a scholarship. He was resigned to the fact of not even playing football in college.

“I was kind of frustrated,” Desosa said. “I thought I would get a little more attention. I was actually on the verge to go to New Jersey City University just to go to school.”

However, there was always one school that showed interest – Caldwell University. Albeit, Caldwell’s football program is of the sprint football variety, meaning players could weigh a maximum of 178 pounds.

The Caldwell University football program is coached by former Nutley and Queen of Peace head coach Jim Kelly and is assisted by the legendary Ken Trimmer, the long-time respected head football coach at Caldwell High School.

“They were always interested in me since the end of my sophomore year,” Desosa said. “That’s when (former Harrison head coach) Dan Hicks told me about it. They focus on faster players and the speed of the game is better. It took me a little while to get used to the idea, but when I thought about it, football is football.”

So last week, Desosa finally signed his national letter of intent to play college football at Caldwell and will enroll at the school in August.

Desosa will hopefully go to training camp in August with a chance to start as the quarterback right away.

Desosa said that Kelly told him that the weight limit for sprint football will be at 190 pounds this season.

“I was never really worried about it,” said Desosa, who stands 5-foot-10 and weighs about 185 pounds. “I’ve always been able to lose weight if I have to. I’m not worried about it at all to be honest.”

Desosa said that he went for a visit to the school before the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic closed everything down in March.

“I knew I liked the school as soon as I drove through the front gates,” Desosa said. “It really had a nice feeling.”

Desosa also said that he helped that former teammates like Ray Chico, Anthony Zamora, Daniel Ruela and Javian Olsen have also already signed on to play football at Caldwell. Chico played for the Cougars last fall.

“I’ve gone to school with those guys my whole life,” Desosa said. “I’ve been playing with Anthony as soon as I started playing football. We came up at the same time.”

Desosa said that he felt so relieved once he signed the letter.

“It took the weight of the world off my shoulders,” Desosa said. “I thought I was just going to go to school for my education. I really thought my football career was over. But now, I’m working out and getting ready for the season. It’s a great feeling.”

Desosa likes the fact that Caldwell’s sprint football team faces top-flight sprint football programs.

“They play really good competition like Navy, Cornell, Penn,” Desosa said. “The weight limit doesn’t matter. It’s good competition and I’m going to compete.”

Desosa also likes the relationship he has already developed with Kelly.

“He calls me almost every night,” Desosa said of Kelly. “He’s texting me. He’s showing me a lot of love.”

Desosa said that he was throwing last week with Ruela.

“We were talking about how much fun it’s going to be there together,” Desosa said. “It’s going to be exciting.”

Desosa plans on majoring in business administration at Caldwell.

He also has high hopes for the future.

“I want to make my own clothing line,” Desosa said. “I want to establish a clothing line for athletes.”

Needless to say, the hope and despair of November has now been alleviated.

“It all turned out pretty good for me,” Desosa said. “It would have been sad if I would have not been able to play.”

Now, Harrison’s loyalists have a place to go watch college football this fall.

Learn more about the writer ...

Jim Hague | Observer Sports Writer

Sports Writer Jim Hague was with The Observer for 20+ years — and his name is one of the most recognizable in all of sports journalism. The St. Peter’s Prep and Marquette alum kicked off his journalism career post Marquette at the Daily Record, where he remained until 1985. Following shorts stints at two other newspapers, in September 1986, he joined the now-closed Hudson Dispatch, where he remained until 1991, when its doors were finally shut.

It was during his tenure at The Dispatch that Hague’s name and reputation as one of country’s hardest-working sports reporters grew. He won several New Jersey Press Association and North Jersey Press Club Awards in that timeframe.

In 1991, he became a columnist for The Hudson Reporter chain of newspapers — and he remains with them to this day.

In addition to his work at The Observer and The Hudson Reporter, Hague is also an Associated Press stringer, where he covers Seton Hall University men’s basketball, New York Red Bulls soccer and occasionally, New Jersey Devils hockey.

He’s also doing work at The Morristown Daily Record, the very newspaper where his journalism career began.

During his career, he also worked for Dorf Feature Services, which provided material for the Star-Ledger. While there, he covered the New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets.

Hague is also known for his announcing work — and he’s done PA work for Rutgers Newark and NJIT.

Hague is the author of the book “Braddock: The Rise of the Cinderella Man.”