An end and a beginning

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By Dylan Butler

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — For Mike Fladell, the sixth annual Governor’s Bowl Saturday provided more of a glimpse into his future than a celebration of his past.

That’s because the end of his high school football career was at Rutgers Stadium, the same field where he will embark on his Division I college career next month.

“I was thinking about what it’s going to be like the next four or five years,” said the Howard Beach native. “That’s what got me pumped. I love the fact that I’m going to be running out of that tunnel for the next four or five years.”

Fladell, a 6-foot-8, 360-pound offensive linesman who is the first Division I football player to come out of John Adams, was chosen as one of the top 50 players in New York state to take on the best 50 players in New Jersey.

Earlier this month, Fladell also played in the Outback Steakhouse Empire Challenge, as New York City was edged out by Long Island, 7-6, at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.

Despite being on the losing side again — New Jersey won the game 16-14 — Fladell said he enjoyed the experience of playing in the two all-star games.

“I’m very honored to play,” the 17-year-old said. “Top 50 in the city, top 50 in the state — it’s a great experience, a really good time.”

Fladell, a TimesLedger All-Queens first team selection who played both sides of the line and was the long snapper at John Adams, will play right tackle at Rutgers but is unsure if he will redshirt his freshman year.

“We’ll know that in training camp,” he said. “We’ll see how well I do.”

In the Governor’s Bowl, Fladell got a chance to play against some of his future teammates as Rutgers-bound Rashawn Ricks, Orlando Kane, Sam Johnson, Pedro Sosa and Joe Porter all were on the New Jersey lineup.

But pleasantries were only exchanged after the game, Fladell said.

“There was a lot of trash-talking during the game,” he said. “It was fun.”

Fladell started the game and lined up against Dimitri Vallis (Maine), as well as Craig Parcells (Vanderbilt), Brandon Harris (Penn State) and North Bergen’s Bobby Lane throughout the game.

New Jersey jumped ahead 7-0 in the second quarter on a 5-yard touchdown run by Issac Redman after Harris recovered a fumbled snap.

After Ricky Krautman put New Jersey in front, 10-0 on a 20-yard field goal, New York answered back on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Alex Conlon to Aaron Brown with 2:05 left in the third quarter.

But New Jersey put the game away on its next play from scrimmage, an 80-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to James Townsend to put New Jersey up 16-7.

Trevor Rodney added a late 10-yard touchdown run for New York, but it wasn’t enough as New Jersey won for the fifth time in the six-game series.

Now that Fladell’s high school career — which included leading John Adams back to the PSAL playoffs for the first time in nine years — is over, Fladell said he can’t wait to play for Rutgers coach Greg Schiano.

“He’s a great guy; he’s really committed to building this place up, and he’s doing a great job so far,” Fladell said of Schiano, who is entering his third year with the Scarlet Knights. “I really want to be part of a team that’s going to be building up in the next few years and make some bowl games and make something happen over here.”

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by email at or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

Updated 7:18 pm, October 10, 2011
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