By Jerry Del Priore
Most head football coaches and their staffs need a good measure of time to put together a winning product on the gridiron.
But Tilden High School head coach Nga Warren took over the reins of the team on July 8th, not much time at all in the high school football world.
No sweat, as the Blue Devils are off to a 3-0 start (second in powerpoints with 282) in the PSAL’s Bowl Conference, with a squad full of talent upperclassman who are committed to success, per Warren.
“We had a good camp,” the Long Island, Valley Stream, resident said. “We did six months of work in six weeks when I took over on July 8th. It’s been all hands on deck ever since.”
Tilden football players aren’t the only ones who’ve been dedicated to winning.
“I haven’t taken a day off since July 8th,” Warren chuckled. “It’s been all about football.”
As busy as Warren has been, so has his coach staff – who, he said, has been there since day one – made up of Eric Eisenberg, Tyquan Ward, Rasheen Nicholson, Warren Hazel, Nelson Fournier, and Parent Club President Chester Joseph.
Warren said it’s been worth it, as he believes his team will make the postseason. He said how deep the Blue Devils go, however, rides on the collective shoulders of his boys.
Tilden made it all the way to Bowl Conference’s semifinals versus Madison, which it lost, 26-12, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of returning players.
“I can tell with 100 percent certainty that we’ll make the playoffs,” he said. “How far we go is up to these kids. But they’re hungry. They feel they have a lot to prove.”
Last year, Warren spent time with Grand Street Campus as an assistant. Before that, he was the freshman head coach at Norcross High School in Norcross, Georgia.
But Warren jumped at the opportunity to be at the helm of a New York City high school football ship again.
“I had the inch to get back into the saddle again,” the former nine-year head coach at Franklin K. Lane explained. “I want to keep NYC football alive.”
While the Blue Devils sport numerous gifted athletes, there just as prolific in the classroom, and are admirable people, too, according to their coach.
First, there’s senior quarterback Isaiah Larrier, a three-sport athlete who has the entire playbook committed to memory, and scored 1100 on the SAT, with field general abilities to boot. It doesn’t hurt that Larrier has completed an extremely efficient 32 of 45 passes with seven touchdowns while running for one.
“He’s a great athlete, but his biggest asset is his brain,” Warren said of the standout signal-caller. “He’s a senior, and he’s a quiet leader; he leads by example.”
Next is Armani Scott, a senior free safety who has three interceptions, 16 tackles, and a defensive touchdown, plus one TD reception. Warren said he holds an 85 average and scored 1185 on the SAT.
Other solid players include seniors Ishmael Mullins, who has four scores — two on the ground, one receiving, and one on special teams. Plus, Do Morri West, who has rushed for 206 yards with two touchdowns.
“I’m getting a lot of positive feedback from their teachers,” Warren said. “I’m honored to be at the school. I’m definitely happy. I tell my coaches how happy I am to be here. These kids are buying into the system.”
But Tilden will have two tough opponents coming up, Warren noted, as it will test its physical and mental fortitude.
Tilden hosts Thomas Jefferson (2-1) Friday night at 7:00 p.m. at Coach Bernie Mars Field. Then, it will travel to New Utrecht Friday October 4th at 6:00 p.m.
“The first few games were good to see what we have,” he said. “The next few weeks will be a good measuring stick for us.”