Lyndhurst’s Carranza, Frangipane complete comeback at Bergen County Football All-Star Game

For Lyndhurst seniors Tony Frangipane and Kevin Carranza, the Bergen County Football All-Star Game meant more than just being able to play one more game. It gave them a chance at closure and one last opportunity to enjoy what had been taken away from them.

Both Carranza and Frangipane suffered torn ACL’s last summer, forcing them to miss their entire senior seasons. But on June 17 at Westwood High School, the two Golden Bears got the chance to once again put on the helmet and pads and play the game they love.

“They got their high school season taken away from them and it broke them up,” Head coach Rich Tuero said. “Having the opportunity to play one more high school football game, it was paramount. It was a big deal for these guys. They at least got some closure and at least they got to leave the field on their terms.”

“It makes me so confident and happy I got to do it my way,” Frangipane said. “Getting taken out (by injury), not knowing if I was going to play again and then playing here and going out strong, is how I wanted to go out.”

Frangipane, who was set to start at receiver and corner, saw his season come to an end in mid-July during a 7-on-7 tournament at Becton. Initially, he didn’t think the knee injury was a serious one when gingerly walked off the field. It wasn’t until after the examination a few days later that he realized the extent of what had happened.

“On the field it didn’t hurt that bad. I walked a little bit and I thought I would be back in two weeks, three weeks,” said Frangipane. “But after getting x-rays and my MRI and my doctor playing that I couldn’t play football again that really tore me apart on a completely different level. I never experienced that feeling and so much pain.”

Soon thereafter, Frangipane got a newfound source of motivation when Tuero mentioned the possibility of being able to play in the Bergen County Football All-Star Game.

“Coach Tuero came up to me and said he was going to get me into this game,” Frangipane said. “Right away, he told me he was going to get me in this game. I believed him and here I am. This was amazing.”

“Every single day he went to rehab and pushed himself as hard as he could,” said his twin brother Greg Frangipane, who also played in the game last week. “I knew he wanted to get back as quickly as he could.”

Tony Frangipane was cleared to return to action in March and was able to play on the baseball team this spring. He was admittedly still limited due to a big brace on his right knee, but was at least able to share one more season with Greg as teammates .

“I was happy to see him play because we’ve been playing our whole lives together, every single sport,” Greg Frangipane said. “I didn’t want to go out without him, I wanted him here like he’s supposed to. Playing on the same field one last time.”

While Frangipane knew for a couple of months that he would be healthy enough to play one more football game, Carranza’s status was more uncertain.

Carranza’s injury occurred nearly six weeks later than Frangipane’s, as he went down during the Golden Bears’ scrimmage at North Arlington in August.

“I really didn’t think I was going to be able to make it back at first,” said Carranza, who was set to start on the offensive and defensive lines. “There was a chance that I wasn’t going to be ready or that my knee wasn’t going to be fully healed in time to play. It was and I’m glad it was.”

The injury cost Carranza his senior seasons for wrestling and track, but by early May, he was cleared to return to action.

“Kevin was a little tighter and we weren’t sure,” said Tuero. “But we had the same kind of conversation and he got the clearance and did what he had to do to get there so I was happy for him.”

According to Tuero the fact that Carranza and Tony Frangipane made it back was a testament to the way they both attacked their rehab post-surgery. The surgeries were performed by Dr. Casey Pierce, an orthopedic surgeon out of Wayne, who also serves as the Lyndhurst team doctor.

“They definitely took it seriously knowing that it would probably be their last football game,” Tuero said. “We have the best doctor in the state, Dr. Casey Pierce. He did their surgeries and was in charge of getting them set up with rehab. The way he takes care of these kids and develops a relationship with these kids, I’m really not surprised by the result.”

In total, Lyndhurst had five players on the South team. Joining Carranza and the Frangipane twins were Dwayne Tucker and Jake Renzi.

While the South team lost 22-14 to the North, the result of the game itself paled in importance to actually getting to play one more time. Something that might have seemed impossible nine months ago.

“I felt amazing,” said Carranza. “Having to end my season so early, before it even started, was tragic for me because I was so excited to have a good senior season. The fact that I got one last game without getting injured was a great feeling.”

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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.)