Stacie Mastroianni of Rossi’s Bar and Grill presents Reidgee Dimanche with his gift card. Photo by Michael A. Sabo
By Rich Fisher
Entering the high school football season, everyone knew Reidgee Dimanche was going to be one of the top linebackers in the West Jersey Football League.
What people did not suspect, is that the Hamilton West senior would also become an offensive threat.
He has done both, and in a huge way in the Hornets 16-6 victory over Northern Burlington on Saturday, Oct. 15.
All Dimanche did that day was catch a 45-yard touchdown pass from Hezekiah Patterson and score on a 57-yard touchdown run; catch five passes for 101 yards, and rush four times for 72 yards.
And that was just on one side of the ball.
At linebacker, Dimanche had 11 tackles, six solo, three for loss, 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble and two pass break-ups.
In stuffing a career into one afternoon, Reggie Dimanche is the Fish4scores/Rossi’s Athlete of the Week for the week running from Oct. 9-15.
“He worked hard in the off-season to prepare himself,” coach Tom Hoglen said. “His brother (former NFL linebacker Jayson) pushed him in the weight room and all that stuff, and he’s just taken it to another level. He’s gotten faster, bigger, stronger. And he’s a young senior with where his birthday falls, so he’s only gonna better.”
In the whole design things, Dimanche put the team ahead of his own effort as the win was Hamilton’s second straight after a disappointing loss to West Windsor-Plainsboro South.
“Those two wins were extremely important not only for our won-loss record, but they were also instrumental in keeping our team morale at an all-time high,” Dimanche said. “Winning two straight after losing in a close game to West Windsor South, we all knew after that loss we needed to switch up how we were practicing overall. We did, and it showed throughout Hightstown and NBC.”
The winning streak stretched to three against Ewing last weekend in a game most considered an upset.
“Beating Ewing definitely sent a message to everyone who doubted the Hornets’ ability,” Dimanche said. “At West we have been taught to never quit despite the odds and it showed against Ewing. Our hard work will continue throughout the rest of the season.”
Going back to the game he was honored for, Dimanche said his touchdown catch came as a bit of a surprise, and his touchdown run was the culmination of a well made play call and good teamwork.
“On the receiving touchdown I honestly wasn’t expecting the ball,” he said. “But when I saw how the defender was playing me I faded back a little and Hezekiah put it in the perfect spot. I got one
tackler off me and I was free down the sideline with a smile on my face.
“On the rushing touchdown we called a timeout right before, and my coach told me to get the ball and run on a jet sweep play. I used my speed and thanks to the amazing blocking by my team I was able to get down the sideline past everyone with ease.”
Dimanche played tight end last year but was not really a major part of the offense. This season, when Mark Bethea went down in Hamilton’s last scrimmage, Hoglen was scrambling to find someone else to make plays. He found one in Reidgee.
“We’ve been able to put him in multiple positions and get him the ball,” the coach said. “The good thing is Mark will be coming back soon toward end of season. Hopefully he can give us another added dimension to our team.”
But don’t get the wrong impression. Dimanche loves being a two-way player and isn’t in a rush to give it up. He feels that competing in winter and spring track last year helped get him in better shape, along with working out in the gym with Jayson over the summer.
It certainly makes it easier to bounce back after a busy day on the field.
“Running around tackling, shaking off defenders, and taking hits takes a toll on me after every game,” Dimanche admitted. “But a nice cold shower, some good food, and a few hours of sleep helps with the recovery.”
Along with the memory of a job well done.
“Playing offense is so much fun, blocking for people and running the ball bring lots of excitement to me and my teammates,” he said. “It feels great anytime I’m in a position to help my team win, especially when I’m running down the sideline with everyone yelling with excitement. The school spirit here is returning.”
And Reidgee Dimanche is helping lead the way, on both sides of the ball.