Gary Phillips

Gary Phillips is the Managing Editor of USA Today Sports' Jets Wire, a contributor at Sporting News and a columnist at FanRag Sports. Phillips has experience with The Athletic, The Bergen Record, CNBC, NBC News, Bleacher Report,, The Journal Inquirer and The Journal News. A journalism graduate of Seton Hall, Class of 2017, he was Editor-in-Chief of The Setonian, the university's award-winning student newspaper. He can be reached at or 845-825-7030.

H.S. senior spotlight: Joshua Fedd-Jackson of St. Joseph - Sports

The transfer from Queen of Peace had enough of the gassers. He had enough of running hills. The guard was not accustomed to such taxing conditioning and did not know any of his teammates or coaches. “We did 27 hills on my first day. It was just unbelievable. I actually thought about not coming back at first,” he said with a laugh. “It was different. We ran [at Queen of Peace], but the coaches didn’t really know as much as the coaches here know. “We would run like three sprints and call it a d

NFL stars Devin and Jason McCourty to Tackle Sickle Cell with 5K - High School Sports

The twins starred at St. Joseph together. Then Rutgers. And now they’re both defensive backs in the NFL – Devin is a safety for the New England Patriots and Jason a cornerback for the Tennessee Titans. The brothers from Rockland County, N.Y. even share a Twitter account. And once again, they have teamed up for their Tackle Sickle Cell campaign, which they have run since 2013. The partnership between the twins and the Embrace Kids Foundation raises money and awareness to fight sickle-cell disea

Senior Spotlight: Don Bosco wrestler Eric Chakonis

A rising senior at Don Bosco, Eric is one of the state’s top wrestlers after going 27-4 and winning the 285-pound final at the 2016 State Wrestling Championships in Atlantic City. He was able to outmaneuver River Dell’s Joe Longobardi on March 6, winning the decision, 6-4. It was an impressive win, but one the Chakonis family had seen before. Zack, two years older, had won the title as a senior the year prior. He was proud to see his younger brother bring home the family’s second straight title.

Senior Spotlight: Bogota volleyball player Samantha Gioiosa - Girls Volleyball

A rising senior and captain for Bogota volleyball, she is quick to deflect questions about her own accomplishments in favor of praise for her teammates. Bring up Gioiosa’s selection to The Record All-North Jersey team and she will tell you about the Buccaneers’ State Group 1 title instead. Mention her improvement as a junior – she recorded 420 kills, 134 digs and 100 service points – and she will single out others who upped their game.

H.S. Senior Spotlight: Glen Rock's Matt Schlett - Football

That is where the 5-foot-11, 180-pound quarterback led Glen Rock last season. Schlett was dominant, throwing for 1,525 yards and 17 touchdowns while rushing for another 762 yards and 20 scores. The Panthers shocked the opposition time after time before reaching the North 1, Group 2 final in East Rutherford. Schlett said playing there was an incredible experience. "Going to MetLife – that was everybody's dream," the rising senior said. The dream, however, was not picture perfect. The Panthers'

H.S. Senior Spotlight: Julie Rodriguez of NV/Old Tappan

By then, the NV/Old Tappan softball star already had verbally committed to UCLA, a good 2,797 miles from her home in Norwood. Rodriguez has been “anxious” for college ever since. “I was about 6 years old when they won the national championship,” Rodriguez said of UCLA. “I just fell in love. I went to a camp when I was about 8 or 9. That was my first time visiting campus, and I knew literally when I was 10 that there was no school that was going to be better for me.

H.S. baseball: Third time’s the charm for Joey Parsons in Waldwick state title win - Varsity Aces

Joey Parsons redeemed himself, smacking a single to center and driving in two runs Friday in the North 1, Group 1 title game. WALDWICK – It was simply a matter of respect for Waldwick’s Joey Parsons. The designated hitter was looking to blow the game open with his team leading, 3-2, over Wood-Ridge on Friday in the North 1, Group 1 baseball title game. He already had grounded into an inning-ending double play in the first with the bases loaded and made an unproductive out -- a pop out -- in the

Christina McHale pushes No. 1 Serena Williams to limit in defeat - Sports

Christina McHale of Englewood Cliffs returning to Serena Williams during their second-round match at Wimbledon. Williams won in three sets. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis) “I know mentally no one can break me,” Williams said after the 2½-hour match. “I know that it takes a lot to break me mentally. And I knew [being down] a break in the third that I was going to have to put my mind in it — and that’s what I did.” McHale, the 65th ranked player, got off to a quick start against Williams, but the two Amer

H.S. senior spotlight: Waldwick baseball player John Apgar - Boys Baseball

Waldwick pitcher/outfielder John Apgar has excelled since he grasped the mental aspect of the game. An incoming senior at Waldwick, he was forced to deal with a frustrating sophomore campaign. A concussion sidelined Apgar for two weeks that year. Nagging ankle and arm injuries kept flaring up. When he returned, he lost his job as the team’s designated hitter and backup third baseman. His coach, Frank Clark, didn’t want to rush him back. "Coach didn’t want me to go in the lineup right after I

H.S. softball: Immaculate Conception’s Caylee English delivers bunt that propels team to title - Sports

Immaculate Conception freshman Caylee English, right, celebrating with Allison Moran after scoring in the fifth inning. Immaculate Conception was locked in a scoreless tie Friday with Benedictine in the fifth inning of the Non-Public B state softball championship when the Blue Wolves put runners on first and second with one out. Then Caylee English stepped to the plate. English dropped down a well-placed sacrifice bunt that ignited Immaculate Conception’s 3-0 victory at Kean University for it

H.S. softball: Years of work pay off for NV/Demarest’s Makenzie McGrath - Sports

Sophomore Makenzie McGrath gets the start today when NV/Demarest faces Johnson in the Group 2 state championship game. Tired of chasing wild pitches, he abruptly ended his 8-year-old daughter Makenzie’s throwing lesson only a few minutes after it began. He did not care about the 20 or so spectators occupying the batting cages. McGrath got up from his catcher’s crouch, scolded his pitcher-in-training for “fooling around,” handed her private coach, Jen Barnes, a check and walked out with young M

H.S. football: Don Bosco’s Tommy DeVito special at Elite 11 camp - Sports

Don Bosco senior quarterback Tommy DeVito is earning accolades after one season as a varsity starter. The Elite 11 camp – which is held annually and run by former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer – started with 24 senior signal-callers before half were cut after a weekend of drills and evaluations. “It’s a huge honor,” Don Bosco offensive coordinator Mike Teel said. “I think there’s one camp that kind of separates itself from everyone else, and it’s the Elite 11.” With the honor, DeVito solidifie

Apkarian delivers homer, 3 RBI as Butler reaches Group 1 softball final - Varsity Aces

CALDWELL — Aleksandra Apkarian had a reason to stand there and watch the ball come off her bat for once. No one was going to poke fun at the Butler shortstop for admiring the solo home run she hit Tuesday to straight-away center field in the sixth inning, a shot that all but ended Roselle Park’s chance at a comeback in the Bulldogs’ 4-0 softball victory in the the Group 1 state semifinal. “My coach always makes fun of me because every time I hit the ball, I’m looking at it,” Apkarian said. “Sh

"Camp Pantale:" Practice, pasta, poison ivy and laughs, prepare cousins for Meet of Champs - Varsity Aces

The Wayne house belonging to Olivia’s parents, Bill and Patty, features a large, white net stretched across the backyard. The barrier keeps shot puts, discuses and javelins from sailing into the poison ivy-littered woods behind the home on Sundays when the two families get together over pasta and to practice their craft. “It’s kind of a joke I started,” said Donald Pantale, Veronica’s father and Bill’s brother, of the Camp Pantale moniker. “You know those big nets you drive golf balls in? [Bill