Chong & Ferreira both shine on the gridiron, are The Observer’s Co-Athletes of the Week

Whenever Adonis Chong or Gabe Ferreira is in need of a little motivation, all one has to do is look toward the other one, standing just a couple of feet away in the Kearny backfield.

“Daily in practice we both push each other,” said Chong. “Even though we’re at the same positions, we still push each other to get at least 1,000 yards each this season.”

“That’s my brother. I look at him as my brother from another mother basically,” Ferreira said. “When he’s down, I push him. When I’m down, he pushes me. And when we’re both good, we push each other because that’s what we do.”

On Thursday, Sept. 14, in Jersey City, Ferreira and Chong weren’t just good, they were flat out unstoppable.

Chong rushed for 204 yards and five touchdowns on 16 attempts and Ferreira ran the ball 17 times for 195 yards and two touchdowns as the Kardinals rolled to a 56-28 victory over Ferris. After their career nights, Chong and Ferreira have been named The Observer Co-Athletes of the Week. The seniors are the first two Athlete of the Week honorees of the 2022-23 school year.

Kearny’s 56 points are the most it has scored in a game since 2013. As a team, the Kardinals rushed for an eye-popping 498 yards on 44 carries behind the offensive line of Steven Barreira, Joseph Carbajal, Michael Charney, Jayden Martinez and Andrew Dos Santos as well as tight end Yasser Jalil.

Incredibly, the numbers could have been even higher, but with Kearny comfortably ahead, Chong and Ferreira were taken out late in the third quarter.

“They’re really good friends. I think the best thing I can say for them in terms of feeding off each other is that they block for each other,” head coach Stephen Andrews said. “A lot of the running that they did, especially this past week, one was lead blocking for the other.”

Both Ferreira and Chong admitted shock when they realized that day just how big their nights had been. The 195 yards were significantly more than Ferreira thought and Chong said he “realized in the third quarter what was happening when coach sat me out.”

On the field, Chong and Ferreira are perfect complements in the Kardinals’ triple-option offense. The 5-foot-9, 180-pound Chong has become a powerful inside runner, especially after adding 10 pounds of muscle during the offseason. Ferreira, who is 5-foot-8 and 145 pounds, thrives as an outside runner.

“When Gabe is spreading the field horizontally, then Adonis can get out vertically,” Andrews said. “The same holds true the opposite way. If Adonis is being tough, quick hitting the hole and getting us 8, 10 yards, then it opens the outside up for Gabe. They’re just such a great complement. Adonis is very strong and Gabe’s very fast and it just works for us.”

In addition to sharing the backfield, both Ferreira and Chong are a tandem on defense as starting linebackers.

According to Ferreira, the two first got to know each other playing on the same travel basketball team that was coached by current Kearny High coach Bill Mullins.

It wasn’t until high school they became really good friends and after four years playing together, the bond between the two is strong. When they set goals for their senior season, it wasn’t an individual goal as much as it was a dual-one.

No Kearny player has run for 1,000 yards in a season in more than a decade. It’s a goal both have set for each other and if the first two games are any indication, it’s an achievement both have a good chance of reaching.

“They’re like family,” Andrews said. “They just want to see the other one succeed along with each other so they block for each other which I think is a huge part of their success.”

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Jason Bernstein | Observer Sports Writer

Jason Bernstein joined The Observer as its sports writer in March 2022, following the retirement of Jim Hague. He has a wealth of sports-writing experience, including for NJ Advance Media (, The Jersey Journal, The Star-Ledger.)