At the annual Wayne Hills football Mother-Son brunch last fall, Joseph Mongelli was one of the seniors who took time to honor his mother, Michelle, with a video tribute from the Elvis Presley hit, ‘The Wonder of You.’
Mongelli’s passion on the football field made him a big part of two state championship teams at Hills. His devotion to family and friends will be a part of his life for many years to come.
Mongelli announced that he will attend Caldwell University this fall, where he’ll play for the Cougars’ sprint football team. Sprint football has gained a lot of popularity over the years, and Caldwell, an NCAA, Division 2 school, is in its early stages of playing the game against some of the top schools in the country. The Cougars are coached by Nutley, NJ native, Jim Kelly.
Mongelli is very pleased with his college choice.
“Caldwell seems to be a great fit, allowing me to attend a Catholic university and play college football close to home,” said Mongelli. “Having my family be able to come to games was very important to me. The league Caldwell plays will allow me the play at great places, like West Point, Annapolis and Cornell.
JoJo and his mother, Michelle, shared a nice moment at the Wayne Hills football Mother-Son last fall. JoJo created a video testimony to his mother’s greatness, using the song ‘The Wonder of You’, by Elvis Presley in the background. (Click on photo for larger image)
“Coach Kelly told me he was following my football career since eighth grade, and his enthusiasm, confidence and concern for me and his players made it an easy decision.”
Kelly, a long-time high school coach and educator, was excited that Mongelli, a speedy tailback, chose Caldwell.
“JoJo is going to fit in really well at Caldwell” said Kelly. “He knows the hard work that is needed to succeed, having played at Wayne Hills, which is one of the best public school programs in North Jersey. JoJo comes from a wonderful family, as well. His parents (Michelle and Joseph) were wonderful through the recruiting process.”
Mongelli battled back from a serious knee injury to have a solid senior year at Wayne Hills, as the Patriots won a tenth state championship, and added an NJSIAA Bowl Game title, as well, to an 11-2 season. One of five team captains, Mongelli rushed for 366 yards and averaged nearly 7 yards per carry while scoring five touchdowns this year.
On defense, he had 29 tackles, including four for losses, one sack and recovered two fumbles.
All five team captains at Hills in 2018 have committed to playing college football. Bence Polgar will play at the University of Buffalo, Joe Rondi is headed to Syracuse University, Jaaron Hayek will play at Villanova and Anthony Puntolillo is going to play at Delaware Valley University.
Mongelli (second from right) was named a team captain for the 2018 football season at Wayne Hills, along with, left to right, Joe Rondi, Anthony Puntolillo, Bence Polgar and Jaaron Hayek. Coach Wayne Demikoff is third from right in the photo. (Click on photo for larger image)
Wayne Hills head coach Wayne Demikoff feels Mongelli will do well at Caldwell.
“Joe battled through a serious knee injury to return at full strength his senior year,” said Demikoff “His lateral cutting ability and quickness seems to keep improving month after month since the surgery. He is dynamic and a threat both as a runner and a receiver out of the backfield.”
Mongelli is happy his decision is finalized.
“I had several opportunities at some great D-3 schools, but the Collegiate Spring Football League will let me compete immediately,” said Mongelli. “I hope other players at Hills consider the schools in the CSFL in the future. ”
Mongelli plans to double major in Criminal Justice and Psychology at Caldwell.