Untitled Document
December 19, 2014


(Newark, NJ) – During its Thursday, December 18, 2014, meeting at the Hall of Records, the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders honored the Malcolm X Shabazz H. S. Football Team of Newark for winning the North Jersey Section 1, Group 1 State Championship.  The Board’s Commendation was presented by Freeholders Rufus Johnson, Blonnie Watson, Gerald Owens and Brendan Gill.  The Team was accompanied by its Head Coach, Darnell Grant, NJ.com’s Football “Coach of the Year”, and many of his assistant coaches.

The Malcolm X Shabazz H. S. Football Team was honored by the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders for winning the North Jersey Section 1, Group 1 State Championship during a presentation at the Hall of Records in Newark on Thursday, December 18th.  Pictured above with the team are Freeholder President Blonnie Watson of Newark (front row, center) standing next to Head Coach Darnell Grant (holding framed Commendation), as well as Freeholders Rufus Johnson (2nd row, far right) and Gerald Owens (2nd row, far left), both of Newark.  PHOTO BY GLEN FRIESON

The Malcolm X Shabazz High School Football Team won the school’s first-ever state championship when it defeated Dunellen High School, 14-6, on Saturday, December 6th, at Kean University in Union, New Jersey.  In state tournament play for which Shabazz was seeded 6th, the Team also defeated New Providence (39-10) and Belvidere (14-6) high schools before toppling #1-seeded Dunellen in the title game.  The Team completed its season with an outstanding 8-4 record while also winning the first state championship for a Newark high school football team since 2007.

In addition to the naming of Head Coach Darnell Grant as the New Jersey “Coach of the Year” by NJ.com, 16 individual players earned All-State, All-Group 1 or All-Super Essex Conference Colonial Division honors, led by Isiah McLean, who was named to the All-State 2nd Team Defense.
“Although I graduated from East Side High School, my older siblings and so many of my cousins all attended Shabazz”, said Freeholder Johnson, “so I want you to know how very, very proud I am for what you have accomplished.”  He also spoke about having known Head Coach Darnell Grant for many years, and of having watched the incredible job he has done, first at Irvington H. S., and now at Shabazz.  “I know he is the ‘Coach of the Year’, but in my book, he is the ‘Coach of the Decade’ for what he has accomplished at these two schools, and for all the players he’s coached who have gone on to college.” 

Johnson also encouraged the players to remember what they have accomplished and to strive to achieve even more, “because you have to want more in order to get more”.  “I look forward to seeing you play in college and in the pros, but even if you don’t, please come back here and make a difference like your coaches have, because we need you guys to be role models for the young people coming up behind you… each one, teach one.”  He went on to say, “As a Newark guy, I want you to know how proud and happy you have made me because you have brought so much pride to yourselves, your families, your school and the City of Newark.  This is a State Championship that we will all celebrate together.”

The Malcolm X Shabazz Football Team was comprised of the following members: Seniors - Tarik Haskins, Isiah McLean, Shallah Khealey, Jaquil Johnson, D’Cori Fluitt, Joshua Frederick, Zaire Fogle, Johnathan Smith, Rakeem Wright, Al-Rashid Coleman, Sammi Armstrong, Muta Jackson, Westley Ellis, Waniel Tejada, Tyree Humes, Marquel Tomas, Frank Latani and Tagee’ Lewis; Juniors - Juaquan Newkirk, Nasir Alexander-Scott, Wykeel Johnson, Shakur Burgess, Rayquan Miles, Daquaan Brown, Jahur Paige, DJ Grant, Davon Johnson, Michai Beal and Ismiil Jackson; Sophomores - Prince Olubakinde, Jihad Bembry, Roy Pugh, Leon Cummings, Nysir Smith, Shamont Mercer, Rashid Smith, Elijah Outen, Jahsim Gordon, Shakeim Tucker, Assan Moore, Kareem West and Tymeer Freeman; and Freshmen - Cyrus Harbin and Al-Dair Santos.  Head Coach Darnell Grant was assisted by Cyrus Harbin, William Keegan, Barris Grant, Damon Harrison, Thomas Weaver and Walter Howard, Sr.

Coach Grant thanked the freeholders for honoring his team, his assistant coaches for making the success possible, as well as the parents “for allowing us to be a part of your sons’ lives, and for all the breakfasts and dinners and everything else you have done for us throughout the season.”  He spoke about the need to stand on each other’s shoulders, to be role models for others and to be the best examples we can be, “so we can build up each other and our community.”


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For Additional Information:
Gary Kroessig, Public Information
Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders

Board of Chosen Freeholders, County of Essex
Hall of Records - Room 558, 465 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd., Newark, New Jersey 07102
Tel: (973) 621-4486 Fax: (973) 621-5695