By TOM WILLIAMS
If you paid attention during the high school football season you know what an impressive player Ocean City’s Jake Inserra was.
Now everybody knows.
Inserra was selected by the prestigious Maxwell Football Club of Philadelphia as one of the winners of the Mini Max Awards for the State of New Jersey, which honors the state’s best high school players. Six others from the Cape-Atlantic League were also selected – Absegami’s Jordan Marcucci, Atlantic City’s Ja’Heem Frederick, Jaiden Abrams of Hammonton, Patrick Smith of Holy Spirit, Millville’s Michael Palmer and Chase Lomax of St. Joseph. The group also selected Wildwood’s Greg Mitchell.
Inserra, a 5-10, 192 pound senior, led Ocean City in tackles for the second straight year with 52 tackles, 3.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. On offense, he produced 4.2 yards per carry and seven TDs.
“There have been a lot of high profile players that have won the award,” Inserra said, “and its awesome to be included in that category. Really grateful to be put in this situation by my coaches and peers.”
Next week, the Maxwell Club will select one player each from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware as the state’s top player. And then, on Feb. 1, one of those three players will be selected as the winner of the Jim Henry Award, given to the best high school player in the tri-state area. The club also recognizes the best in college football – Alabama’s Devonta Smith is this year’s Maxwell Award winner as the nation’s best player and Tulsa’s Zaven Collins has been awarded the Chuck Bednarik Award as the country’s top defensive player.
Inserra has also decided to attend the University of Pennsylvania where he will play Sprint Football, which is a weight-limit league (currently 178 pounds) involving 10 colleges. Other Sprint colleges Penn will play include the U.S. Military Academy, Naval Academy and Cornell.
So, with a lacrosse season coming in the spring and a celebration of his mother’s birthday today, Jake Inserra has been recognized for his great work on the football field and is on his way to one of the nation’s best college educations.
Another great Ocean City High School linebacker had an exciting time last weekend. Doug Colman, an assistant coach with the Cleveland Browns, saw his team take defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City down to the wire in an AFC semi-final game. Colman, who gained 1,272 rushing yards at OCHS and was named South Jersey Defensive Player of the Year, went on to play at the University of Nebraska on two undefeated national champions. He was drafted by the Giants and also played in Tennessee and Cleveland. He started his coaching career in the CAL and produced the most successful run in Absegami history, winning three CAL championships and the school’s only South Jersey title in his five seasons as head coach. Before joining the Browns, Colman was an NFL assistant with the Texans and Cowboys.
Colman played in Super Bowl XXXIV with the Titans and, because of that, OCHS was awarded a gold Super Bowl football. The next time you are allowed inside the high school, check out the trophy case that lines the long hallway on Sixth Street and look for it.
The Ocean City sports community lost a dedicated person recently with the death of Al Genz at 59. Whenever there were sports teams, he was ready to help out. The Ocean City Hawks, OCYAA, numerous basketball teams – Big Al loved to coach. His son, Al, set passing records at OCHS and loved to fire the three-pointer in basketball, which he did effectively. Big Al’s granddaughter – Ayanna Morton – is a sophomore on the Ocean City girls basketball team this season. His son has created a scholarship fund in his memory and you can contribute HERE.
Another prominent person from the Cape May County sports community also died recently. Al Corchiani, who was a key player on three South Jersey championship teams at Wildwood Catholic in the 1960s, died at 73.
Two former star athletes at Ocean City High School are having different experiences this winter. The photos below are from state basketball champion Barry Banks and Hall of Famer Joe Myers.
Basketball is scheduled to start for OCHS teams on Tuesday. A preview is coming here in the next few days.