Gonzalez, Laster, McRae, Williams, Chrissafis 12th Man honorees during first

Hamilton junior placekicker Ishmael Gonzalez was this week’s 12th Man TD Club Special Teams Player of the Week after hitting a game-winning field goal as the clock ran out. See the attached video of the kick and ensuing celebration. Photo by Michael A. Sabo.

By Rich Fisher

Oct. 8: It’s time to catch up on the Hamilton Township football players who have been honored by the 12th Man TD Club during the season’s first five weeks, and what better place to start than with this week’s winner.

Hamilton West junior place kicker Ishmael Gonzalez was named the Special Teams Player of the Week for pretty much having a strong foot and ice water in his veins. With time running out, Gonzalez nailed a 39-yard field goal (see video) to give the Hornets a 17-14 win over Northern Burlington Saturday.

Ishmael Gonzalez nails a 39-yard field goal for the win. Submitted video.

Hamilton coach Mike “The Meatball Master” Papero left nothing to the imagination in discussing the importance of Gonzalez’s kick.

“That was a big one for us,” Papero said. “A program win.”

It was the third straight victory for Hamilton (3-1), which has a big test Friday night at undefeated Hopewell Valley.

In Week 3, the township had two players honored. 

The first was Steinert senior running back Will Laster, who was named Offensive Back of the Week. Laster rushed for 286 yards and three touchdowns and added 26 yards in receiving in Steinert’s 28-21 win over Allentown.

“Will was our entire offense in a game where we had over 400 yards of offense,” coach Dan Caruso said. “Our offensive line did a nice job but a ton of Will’s yards were after contact. Without Will we don’t come close to winning this game.”

The week’s other winner was Nottingham junior linebacker Chris McRae, who was named Defensive Lineman of the Week in the Northstars 24-0 victory over previously unbeaten Trenton. McRae made nine tackles and had two game-changing interceptions that he returned for a total of 54 yards.

Week 2 saw Notre Dame senior linebacker Coleon Williams earn Defensive Back of the Week in a 47-0 win over Lawrence. The Hamilton resident made nine tackles, including three solos and three tackles for loss as he led a defense that allowed less than 60 yards of total offense over the first 3-1/2 quarters.

On opening weekend, also known as Week 0, another Notre Dame player from the township was honored as George Chrissafis was Special Teams Player of the Week. Chrissafis was 7-for-8 on PATS, put seven kickoffs inside the five yard line, had one touchback and nailed two punts for a 47.0 average.  

About The Author

Rich Fisher has been around the Hamilton Township sports scene for so long that he actually got Rich Giallella’s autograph when Giallella was still a player! Proud product of Hamilton YMCA and Lou Gehrig baseball leagues and former teammate of Jim Maher on a very average Barton & Cooney rec basketball team, Fish graduated from Nottingham Junior High and Steinert High school and has covered township sports since 1980. His goal in life is to convince Maria Prato that Jersey tomatoes are at least 100 times better than California tomatoes.