Originally told by doctors he likely never would walk again, Taliaferro made a remarkable recovery. He is an attorney who works for a pharmaceutical firm.
"I miss playing football every day," Taliaferro said. "Every day, I wish I could play football. I would trade places with you guys and run around on that field in a minute."
Taliaferro recalled his senior season at Eastern, when the Vikings were undefeated and No. 1 in the rankings before a last-second field goal gave Atlantic City a 31-29 victory in the S.J. Group 4 final.
"I think about that game every day," Taliaferro told the players. "We were up 17-0, and we let it slip away.
"You guys don't want to do that this year. You don't want to let it slip away."
Williamstown senior fullback John Chamberlin said Taliaferro was "inspirational."
Holy Spirit scrimmage. In a matchup of defending state champions, Holy Spirit hosted St. Joseph of Montvale in a controlled scrimmage Tuesday.
St. Joseph, which has won the last two Non-Public 3 state titles, appeared to have the upper hand in the hard-hitting competition on a warm, sunny day at Holy Spirit's Ed Byrnes Stadium in Absecon, Atlantic County.
But Holy Spirit, which has won three straight state titles - the Non-Public 3 crown in 2010 and the last two Non-Public 2 championships - showed well at times against a deeper team that probably is a week or two ahead in terms of workouts and conditioning.
"I thought we showed we could play with them," Holy Spirit coach John Iannucci said.
The teams were pretty even through the initial 10-play battles between the first-team offenses and defenses.
"It was a good experience," said Holy Spirit senior linebacker Jeff Steeb, who has offers from Villanova and Delaware. "Those are different kids from North Jersey. We showed we can play with them."
Holy Spirit received good work from Steeb and senior defensive tackle Ray Ellis. On the other side of the football, senior quarterback T.J. Anderson directed an offense that generated some rushing yards.
Senior fullback Deandre Dennis and senior halfback Franco Rifici had some nice runs for Holy Spirit.
"They play a national schedule," Ellis said of St. Joseph. "This was a good experience for us. We've got some things to work on, but I feel like we were right there with them."
Brooklawn won the American Legion World Series behind star pitcher Mike Shawaryn. Story on B1.
Contact Phil Anastasia