Ryan Wydra @schoops1
It was a storybook ending for the Manalapan Braves football team in 2014. The Braves have been one of the hardest working programs over the past decade. After losing two tough games in the Central Jersey Group V Championship, the team was finally able to get over the hump and win a state championship. The Braves finished the season 11-1, defeating a very good South Brunswick team 21-7. For skill position players like quarterback Dan Anarella and running back Imanu Mayfield, it was the perfect way to close out their high school careers. Now Manalapan comes into their 2015 campaign returning the entire offensive line , but with a new group of skill position players. The team will count on the veteran experience of the line to lead as the younger players are gaining experience. The Braves will also have 8 new starters on the defensive side of the ball.
While the team will line up a lot of new starters, this is a program with a tremendous reputation. The Braves have won five consecutive Shore Conference Class A North Division Championships. They have also been to the Central Jersey Sectional Final four out of the last five years. Coach Gurreri does a fantastic job and the kids know exactly what is expected of them. Will the preparation and mindset change after winning a state championship compared to losing in the final, Coach Gurrieri said absolutely not! “I haven’t seen any difference, their attitude has been tremendous. The goal is to win a state championship every year, and we feel like that’s what we’ve built this program to. Nothing has changed, the hard work, the weight lifting, and running will give us a chance to be successful. Nobody thought anything would be given to them because they won a championship last year”. Braves fans should be excited to once again see one of the most dominant offensive and defensive lines at the Shore.
Head Coach: Eddie Gurrieri 9th Season (70-20)
2014 Record: 11-1 Central Jersey Group V Champions
Key Returns: Joe Sellmeyer (Sr OL/DL) Riley Radosevich (Sr OL/DL) Anthony Tardogno (Sr OL/DL) Jake Levine (OL/DL) Mitch Trabb (Sr OL/DL) Lee Maksimik (Sr LB) Anthony Bassani (Sr WR/DB)
Key Losses: Dan Anarella (QB) Imanu Mayfield (RB) Pete Williams (OL) Joe Mendez (LB) Ben Sieczkowski (DL) Dan Debner (RB/LB)
Key Newcomers Anthony Sciarappa (Sr QB) Marcus Salinas (Sr RB/LB) Naim Mayfield (So RB) Symir Blacknall (So WR)
The first step for the Braves offense will be to find their Quarterback for 2015. The team will have to replace graduated quarterback Dan Anarella who was a two year starter. Anarella threw for over 2,000 yards, 32 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions in both his junior and senior seasons. The Braves have four Quarterbacks that are all competing for the position in camp. Senior Anthony Sciarappa looks to be a strong candidate to win the job. Sciarappa saw limited action in relief last year. Sciarappa is 6’1″ and 190lbs. He has good arm strength, and a strong athletic ability. The Senior will have every opportunity to win the position. Junior Cory Wiener and Sophomore Luke Corcione are also in the mix. Both have played very well throughout camp. Coach Gurrieri will have a lot of options to lead his offense.
Manalapan will also look to find some new pieces to lead the rushing attack. The team just graduated one of the best running backs in school history. Imanu Mayfield rushed for 1827 yards and 31 touchdowns in 2014. Imanu was as phenomenal of a running back as you could get. While you cannot replace Imanu Mayfield as a player or a person, Senior Marcus Salinas will look to be a big part of the rotation this season. Salinas contributed to the offense last year, rushing for 206 yards, and averaging 7 yards per carry. Salinas can hit the hole fast, and take off in the open field. He is more than capable of having a huge year. Sophomore Naim Mayfield is also ready to become a big part of this team. Naim is the younger brother of Imanu Mayfield. Naim is a good all around block who can stretch for the tough yards, and break away from defenders down the line. Both these running backs will be tough for anyone to stop in the Class A North division.
The Braves also have a lot of exciting talent coming up at the Wide Receiver position. Anthony Bassani returns and will be a great target for whoever wins the Quarterback battle. Bassani is very athletic and will be tough for defensive backs to keep up with. Symir Blacknall will also be a big part of the passing game. Symir is the younger brother of Penn State Wide Receiver Saeed Blacknall. Saeed was also one of the best players in Manalapan history. Junior L’jeron Holder will look to be a big contributor. Holder is a very big and strong receiver at 6’4″. He can make all the tough catches across the middle, and will be deadly in the red zone. Holder will be a matchup problem for anyone in traffic. Expect Holder to really make an impact. Senior Patrick Swaney will also be in the mix. While the position brings some uncertainty, the athletes are in place. The passing game will improve over the course of the season.
When it comes to the emotional leadership in every situation, the offense will ride and die with its offensive line in 2015. The team brings back all five starters from the state championship team. All five of these players have outstanding ability and will help motivate the skill position players. These guys know how to win a war in the trenches. They have played in so many big games, and will set the tone from the first game of the season. Hard work, preparation, and dedication is natural to all five of these guys.
Joe Sellmeyer and Reily Radosevich will once again be huge for this team. Sellmeyer is a huge guard at 6’2″ and 275lbs. He is almost immovable on the interior part of the line. There are not very many defenders who will get through him. Radosevich is 6’4″ and 260lbs. Radosevich is not only very strong, but athletic at the same time. He can hold down his side of the line to keep defensive tackles and linebackers form getting through. Anthony Tardogno will make the calls at the Center position. Jake Levine is a big time presence at the tackle position. Levine is 6’4″ and 270lbs. Mitch Trabb is the other starter on the line. This group has played together for a long time and established great chemistry. They will easily blow open holes for the new running backs to run through. Expect the Braves to continue to pile up the yards offensively. This group may be the best offensive line at the Shore.
We had a chance to catch up with Joe Sellmeyer and Reily Radosevich
Manalapan will also have the task of replacing 8 starters on the defensive side of the ball. While that is easier said than done, the team does return Senior Captain Lee Maksimik. Maksimik is coming off an outstanding 2014 season, finishing with 60 tackles. Maksimik made a lot of plays in the Braves’ victory over South Brunswick in the final. Maksimik is an instinctive linebacker who can make plays against the run or pass. The team will really count on his leadership to point this core in the right direction. There are many other spots up for grabs. L’jeron Holder is very athletic and will be a force against opposing ball carriers. He can really bring a lot of intensity to this defense. Senior Matt Strauss and Junior Steven Byrne will look to find their way into the rotation. Juniors Sal Casazza and Antonio Scala, along with Senior Mark FIgueroa are also performing well in camp.
The defensive line will be a disruptive force for the team. Reily Radosevich will look to come off the edge and pressure opposing quarterbacks. Radosevich is just as much of a force on the defensive side of the ball. He will be tough for anyone to block. Jake Levine and Joe Sellmeyer will also be deadly at the defensive tackle positions. Both players can use their technique very well and are hard to stop. It will not be easy for any team to run the ball on either one of these guys. They can also hold their men down to help the linebackers make plays. This unit will rely on the experienced defensive line to make lots of plays down the stretch. This group can become even more deadly in the fourth quarter.
Anthony Bassani returns at the cornerback position after having a fantastic season in 2014. Bassani is very instinctive on the back end. He can provide support against the run, and stop receivers in their tracks. He has good vision and can anticipate where the opposing team will try to make a play. Bassani will be surrounded by a group of up and coming players in the secondary. While a lot of new players will have to step up, the Braves have all the athletes that are needed. There are once again a lot of jobs that are open. Sophomore Symir Blacknall will look to win a job on the outside. Blacknall is very quick and can keep up with lots of receivers around the league. Patrick Swaney, Logan Mazzola, and Michael Taylor will all compete to get on the field. Seniors Marcus Salinas, Chris Carnesi, and Anthony Sciarappa are all fighting for the safety positions. All three of these players can make a huge impact on the field. They are all great tacklers and not afraid to make the big plays. Coach Gurrieri will have plenty of defensive backs to choose from with this group. Braves fans should be very excited about the athleticism.
Cornerback Anthony Bassani stopped by to share his thoughts on the defense.
This is a Manalapan team that is full of potential. Coach Gurrieri has always done a great job after losing players to graduation. This comes from his experience and ability to develop young players. In his nine years with the program, many stars have come through Manalapan High School. The offensive and defensive lines will lead the way. The younger skill position players will get better throughout the season. Expect both Marcus Salinas, and Naim Mayfield to make a huge impact in the running game. Anthony Bassani, L’jeron Holder, and Symir Blacknall will be standout at the receiver positions. Lee Maksimik will set the tone for the defense. This will give Manalapan an excellent chance to repeat as Central Jersey Group V Champions!
We had a chance to talk with Head Coach Eddie Gurrieri about the upcoming season.
9/11 vs Marlboro – 7PM
9/18 vs Freehold Twp. – 7PM
9/25 at Sayreville – 7PM
10/2 at Middletown North – 7PM
10/9 vs Lacey Twp. – 7PM
10/16 at Middletown South – 7PM
10/23 vs Red Bank Catholic – 7PM
10/30 vs Freehold Boro. – 7PM
11/6 at Howell – 630PM
11/13 State Tournament/Consolation – TBD
As the summer concludes and we begin the 2015-2016 School year; many of the states top basketball recruits will choose their future schools. Yesterday, Pat Andree of Christian Brothers Academy made it known that he would continue his basketball career at Lehigh University. Andree, a 6′ 8″ Forward will be heading into his senior year where he looks to build upon a successful Junior season. As one of the big men for the Colts during the 2014-2015 season, he helped lead his team to their second straight Shore Conference Finals appearance. In addition, he was a huge piece throughout a CBA playoff run that ended in a Non Public- A South title.
After catching up with Pat, he explained how Lehigh was the best choice for him to continue his career. ” I fell in love with the campus the first day ” Andree said. ” I was able to not only develop a relationship with the coaches but the players as well”. This was something that was particularly appealing to Pat Andree during the entire recruitment process. He noted the relationships that he was able to form with the coaches and current players that allowed him to be confident in his decision. ” “The coaching staff here never wavered” , Andree addressed. He said that a large part in making his decision had come down to the confidence he had in the coaching staff. ” They told me the same things since day one”. ” They made what my role would be on the team very clear”, Andree said. After a year and a half of communication, Pat Andree knew that accepting the scholarship to the Patriot league school was the right decision.
Pat also acknowledged that education was a huge factor in deciding where he would be attending college. ” I was fortunate to have four outstanding academic schools Interested in recruiting me”, Andree added. “I knew that wherever I was to commit, that I would get a great education”
He noted that he wanted to attend a school that would be accessible for his parents to continue to attend his games. ” I am trilled that this school is close to home, Andree said. ” My family and friends will be able to make all my home games.”
Andree is one of the best basketball players in the history of CBA. As a three year starter, he has already reached the plateau of 1,000 points for his high school career. He comes into this season with aspirations to become CBA’s all time leading scorer. In fact, this past season was his best. Andree averaged over 19 PPG. With such great body strength, Andree can rattle the rim with some impressive dunks. In addition, he is a great shooter. Last season, in a game against St .Augustine, the Colts were able to take advantage of a perfect game behind the arc for Andree. Overall, this was one of the greatest games that Andree has played in a CBA uniform.
However, even with the success Pat Andree has had in high school; he is aware of the challenges of playing at the next level. ” I think i have to work on my physical game much more to really develop into a four that does not just shoot but can really establish in the post as well.” , Andree added. This is something that he has been working on the last four months since the end of last season to really prepare himself for the grind of the basketball season to come. He credits his trainer Val Barnaby for the changes in his game that he feels will be key to finishing his high school career as efficiently as possible.
Andree will be heading to a program that made some noise during the 2011 season defeating Duke in the NCAA tournament. They were able to sour above the .500 mark last year. With Andree as a part of their team, they will look to once again rise to the top of the patriot league as they did in 2011.
Ryan Wydra @schoops1
This was an offseason with some changes for the Lancers after the unexpected resignation of Mark Ciccotelli. Ciccotelli had led the team to their best season in school history with a 10-1 record, and a trip to the Non Public Group III Semifinals. Excitement was in the air as St John Vianney had one of their best offseasons in the weight room. The players were poised and ready to take this show to the next level. Now everyone wonders how the players will respond going into the new season. How will the team respond to start this 2015 campaign?
St John Vianney Athletic Director Rich Lamberson officially hired Derek Sininsky in late July to take over the program. Sininsky is a strong leader with a lot of coaching experience. The veteran coach had stops in Raritan, Monmouth Regional, and Marlboro before taking this job. He has also been a long time assistant in other programs. Sininsky is a defensive minded coach that will add a lot of focus and intensity on that side of the ball. The defensive line and linebacker positions will be a major priority. The new coach has already build a strong rapport with the players. “Coach Sininsky has done a great job making everyone comfortable, and keeping the team together. He really cares about the program”. added St John Vianney Wide Receiver Khalil Haskins. Offensive Coordinator Jim Reid, Defensive Coordinator Mike Tedeschi, and Special Teams Coach Eddie Hernandez will all remain from last years’ staff. This has helped make the transition process easier for all of the players. The main thing will be to keep everyone motivated. This is an offense with some of the best skill position players in the State. If the players remain focused and dedicated to the craft, they will really do some great things in the Shore this year.
ST JOHN VIANNEY PREVIEW
Head Coach: Derek Sininsky ( 10th season overall 30-60)
2014 Record: 10-1
Key Returns: Anthony Brown Jr (Sr QB/DB) Khalil Haskins (Sr WR/DB) Calvin Beatty (Sr FB/LB) Jamaal Beatty (Sr OL/DL) Micah Clark (Jr OL/DL) Michael Stapert (Sr WR/DB) Mike McGimpsey (Sr DE) Tyler Tedeschi (Jr LB) Jeff Sheard ( Sr WR/LB)
Key Losses: Danny Calabro (WR/DB) Aaron Mora (RB/LB) PJ Braccia (WR/DB) Clay Kemp (OL/DL) Kyle Gibson (OL/DL)Louis Iovine (OL/DL)
Key Newcomer: Chris Chukwuneke (Jr RB/LB) Marcque Ellington (Sr WR/DB)
The Lancers return Quarterback Anthony Brown who led the Shore Conference in passing for 2014. Brown passed for 2,198 yards and 25 touchdown passes. The senior is also a threat with his legs, running for 811 yards and 9 touchdowns. This has been a very busy offseason for Brown. The dual-threat quarterback found a home with Head Coach Steve Addazio and Boston College. “I felt like home, and that I could be there for the next four to five years. That is what really went into my decision”. refected Brown on the decision making process. Brown will once again look to take the Shore Conference by storm. As a player, he is visibly bigger and stronger. He has great vision down the field, and displays tremendous accuracy. He has great arm strength, and can easily hit running backs in the flat. After observing training camp, Brown has excellent timing with all of his receivers. He is surrounded by targets who are a threat to score at anytime. SJV had one of the State’s deadliest offenses in 2014, averaging 43 points per game. Expect Brown to build on these numbers and turn in another phenomenal performance in 2015. The signal caller is in a great position.
We had a chance to catch up with QB Anthony Brown.
The Lancers will once again have an extreme running attack. The team returns powerhouse Fullback Calvin Beaty. Beaty is a big powerful back at 6’0″ and 225 lbs. He is a one cut, downhill runner that has mastered his technique. He brings a north and south running ability that will constantly keep the chains moving. The Lancers will easily get 5 yards or more every time Beatty is powering forward. SJV will also add Junior transfer Chris Chukwuneke from JP Stevens. Chukwuneke comes over after rushing for 1,069 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Junior also led the team in receiving with 21 receptions and 2 touchdowns. Chukwuneke is 5’11”, 180lbs, and has tremendous speed, running a 4.4 in the 40 yard dash. Beaty and Chukwuneke will be the perfect thunder and lightning combination to really make this running attack go. Johnny Buchanan will also be in the rotation. Buchanan is a good all around back that can pick up the tough yards and catch the ball when needed.
If you’re looking for a passing game that is going to excite you in 2015, look no further than this St John Vianney Lancers team. This may very well be the greatest show on turf for the upcoming season! Senior Khalil Haskins leads the way and is prepared to have an outstanding season. Haskins caught 25 passes for 398 yards and 2 touchdowns in his junior season. He was also a threat out of the backfield, rushing for 566 yards. Haskins is a speedy receiver at 5’10”, who will line up inside and cause all kinds of problems in the slot. Haskins simply loves playing football! After scoring a touchdown in practice, you can hear the excitement in his voice when he said “put the student section over here, it’s showtime”. The Lancers also have two huge targets on the outside as Marcque Ellington and Michael Stapert both stand at 6’6″. Ellington comes over from Neptune and will be a matchup nightmare for defensive backs around the league. Ellington can easily use his power to make the tough catches in the red zone. Stapert will be another problem on the other side. Stapert is very athletic and will be consistent down the stretch. Anthony Brown will have a number of options in the passing game. This receiving core will be nearly impossible to defend.
Khalil Haskins stopped by to chat with us about the season.
The Lancers offensive line are strong and really balanced going into the season. Juniors Jamaal Beaty and Micah Clark return and will provide the leadership to really anchor this group. They bring a lot of experience after being a big part of the line last year. Jamaal is 6’4″ and 245 lbs. He will use his strength to keep defenders from getting to Brown and company. There are also a lot of spots up for grabs. Juniors Matt Jones and Anthony Deflippo are in the mix competing for time. The team has several players that are still fighting for starting positions. “We need to develop an attitude on this line. With Micah and Jamaal up front, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t dominate defensive fronts. We need to have a chip on our shoulder. That toughness factor has to come in”. added Head Coach Derek Sininsky stressing the importance of SJV winning every battle at the line of scrimmage. The team will look to set the tone from the start.
Defensively, the Lancers will be a major force in this league. This was a unit that dominated last season, and will look to make their mark on the Shore again. Senior Linebacker Calvin Beaty returns and will be a huge part of this group. Beatty is coming off a fantastic season. Beatty can do anything that the coaching staff asks of him. He is a very strong downhill linebacker. He can easily shoot through the gap and make an impact in the backfield. The team will really count on his leadership to set the example. Junior Tyler Tedeschi also comes back and will be a big part of the team. Tedeschi is very athletic and can make plays anywhere on the field. Tedeschi can help in run support and pass coverage. Matt Bordfield is also a tough linebacker who will make his presence known on the field. Bordfield is instinctive and can anticipate what opposing offense’s are doing. Look for Johnny Buchanan to also contribute in a big way. He is another linebacker that is always around the ball. All four of these linebackers will make things happen throughout the season.
St John Vianney also brings back a very disruptive defensive line. Both Micah Clark and Jamaal Beaty are just as strong on the defensive side of the ball. Beatty and Clark can easily overpower offensive lineman around the league. They are also athletic and can get into the backfield. The younger players will rely on their leadership to be successful. Senior Mike McGimpsey will also be very tough coming off the edge. He can get to the quarterback as a pass rusher, and stop the run around the side. The Lancers will need McGimpsey to show that toughness. The team also has some younger players that are battling for spots on this line.
This secondary looks to be one of the biggest strengths of the St John Vianney defense. Senior Khalil Haskins returns at the cornerback position. Haskins was one of the best defensive backs in the Shore. He picked off six passes in 2014. The senior is very instinctive and knows how to be in the right place at the right time. He can excel in press coverage, and bump and run as well. Opposing Wide Receivers will have a very tough time dealing with his speed. Junior Chris Chukwuneke will also be a great addition at the safety position. Chukwuneke is coming off a great sophomore season at JP Stevens. Chukwueneke can provide run support in the box, and help in coverage. The team will really benefit from his athleticism. Jeff Sheard also has a lot of experience and will be critical in huge games. The Lancers are in a great position with several athletes in this area. Class A Central is a division with a lot of good passing teams. This unit will have to be on top of their game, and limit the big plays.
The coaching staff is very excited about this team going forward. Coach Sininsky is looking to establish a level of mental toughness and physicality to an already talented group of players. While expectations are very high for this group of kids, Sininsky wants his players to understand that in order to win in this league, you must focus on every opponent one week at at a time. “I’m very humble. I don’t look toward the end of the season. Don’t worry about the teams down the road. Let’s take everything one game at a time, and focus on Matawan. Matawan is our biggest challenge right now.” The Lancers will open their season against the defending Central Jersey Group III champion Matawan Huskies. The Huskies are always a huge challenge with Head Coach John Kaye running the show. The Lancers offensive and defensive lines will have to be very dominant in order to get a victory in that game.
The sky is the limit for this Lancers team. Anthony Brown is one of the best prospects at the quarterback position. He can make all the throws, and make you miss with his legs. The Lancers receiving core is extremely talented and can run four to five deep. The defense is full of athletes that can simply fly around. They can run players over and make huge plays. St John Vianney has all the talent to make a tremendous run throughout the season. It will be up to Coach Sininsky to keep everyone focused and put the pieces together. Look out for the Lancers in 2015!!
We had a chance to talk with Head Coach Derek Sininsky about the upcoming season.
ST JOHN VIANNEY SCHEDULE
9/12 at Matawan – 2PM
9/18 vs Holmdel – 2PM
9/25 at Central Regional – 7PM
10/2 vs Rumson Fair Haven – 7PM
10/9 At Manchester – 7PM
10/16 vs Raritan – 7PM
10/23 at Donovan Catholic – 7PM
10/31 At Monmouth Regional – 12PM
11/6 vs Manasquan – 7PM
11/13 State Tournament/Consolation – TBD
Ryan Wydra @schoops1
For the past 18 years, Southern Regional has been one of the toughest teams at the Shore. Whenever a visiting opponent comes into Ron Emmert Field, they can always count on a war. Head Coach Chuck Donohue Sr has always stressed the fundamentals and mental toughness of a team. Players learn to block, tackle, run the ball, and are required to know all of their assignments to see the field. To be a part of this program, a player must be 100% committed. The offseason program is one of the best in the State. Strength and conditioning has always been the number one priority. Players understand that they will be held to a higher standard. This is the discipline and dedication that helped lead this program to Sectional Finals in 2008 and 2012. Southern simply does not make many mistakes and that has always led to a lot of success.
Southern will go into the season with some players that will hit the Varsity level for the first time. The team has six starters returning on the defensive side of the ball. The offense will have more inexperience with only three starters back, but they have some athletes with a lot of potential to step into key positions. While many of these players have had success as Freshman and Junior Varsity players, that does not always get the job done at this level. The coaching staff made it a point to challenge the newcomers from the start. “It does not matter that you were 9-1 at the JV level, no one in the Shore cares about that. If you think the effort that it takes on the JV level is going to be the same in order for you to have a successful senior season, it just doesn’t work that way.” added Southern Regional Head Coach Chuck Donohue Sr. The young players will look to take the next step this year in a very tough Class A South division. The competition is as serious as it can get. The team will have to bring their A Game each and every week.
SOUTHERN REGIONAL PREVIEW
Head Coach: Chuck Donohue Sr (42nd year, 18th at Southern) 236-161-4
2014 Record: 5-5
Key Returns: Pat Walker (Sr RB/LB) Joe Miele (So LB) Doug VandeVelde (Sr OL/DL) Brandon Barnetti (Sr RB/LB/K) Anthony Gagliardi (Sr WR/DB) Nick Simonelli (Sr WR/DB) Joe Dolphin (Sr OL/LB) Quinn Smith (Sr OL/DL) Dane Walker (Jr RB/LB) Jesse Amirr (Jr TE/DE)
Key Losses: Clay Robinson (OL/DL) Pat Ferraro (OL/DL) Zac Halliday (WR/DB) Jon Bleichner (QB) Ryan Winkler (RB/LB) Dom VanDeBrook (WR/DB)
Key Newcomers: Jackson Donahower (Jr QB) Sam Cammarata (Jr QB) Vin Miele (So RB/LB) Zach Widenhoff (Sr OL/DL) Devin VandeVelde (So OL/DL)
Everyone will have their eye on the Rams offense. This unit has really shown a strong work ethic throughout the first two weeks of practice. Two Juniors will look to step into the leadership role competing for the Quarterback position. Jackson Donahower was one of the backups last season, and saw some limited action. Donahower is 6’3″ and comes with tremendous size and strength. Donahower has good zip on the long ball, and great vision down the field. He can read defenses and find his targets. He is definitely your classic pocket quarterback. Sam Cammarata will also look to win the job Cammarata comes up to the Varsity level after getting extended playing time on JV last year. Cammarata can use his mobility to hit receivers on the run, and take off when needed. Both signal callers may very well get reps this year. They both have different skill sets that can give the Rams an advantage offensively.
Traditionally, Southern has always had a strong running attack. This year will be no different. Senior Captain Pat Walker returns after rushing for 677 yards and 11 touchdowns during his Junior campaign. Walker is a strong downhill runner, who can hit the hole fast and use his power to get the tough yards. Walker was very consistent, averaging 5 yards per carry in 2014. The Senior also chipped in with 200 yards receiving. Walker is a great option in the flat and can contribute to the passing game. He’s got a great overall skill set as a back. Expect another huge year out of Walker. He will help lead this offense again.
The Rams will need someone else to step up as a complimentary back to Walker after graduating Ryan Winkler. Senior Brandon Barnetti is ready for that role. Barnetti has been having an outstanding camp. Brandon brings a lot of speed and athleticism to the table. He will get an opportunity to make an impact in the running game this year. Sophomores Joe and Vin Miele will also be a big part of the rotation. Both players bring a lot of size and power. They will be very big for the Rams offense, especially in the Red Zone. This is a position where the Rams have a lot of depth.
We had a chance to talk to RB Pat Walker about the season.
The wide receiver position will also feature a lot of new players. Southern graduated both Zac Halliday and Dom VanDeBrook. Halliday had been a big part of the receiving game for the past two years. VanDeBrook was the leading pass catcher in 2014. Senior Anthony Gagliardi has moved over from the quarterback position. Gagliardi has a lot of speed and will be a tough matchup for any defensive back. He will have the opportunity to make a lot of plays in this offense. Senior Nick Simonelli, and Junior Matt Bleichner will also be in the mix. Both receivers have showed a lot of toughness in camp. They are not afraid to go over the middle and make the more difficult catches. Senior Kyle McDonnell is also another weapon for the team. McDonnell missed a good bit of 2014 with an injury, but he is ready to be a contributor this year.
The offensive line must be ready to contribute in a huge way. Class A South is a division with a lot of good defensive lines. Toms River North will feature star defensive end Dashon Copes. Brick will also line up. Dan Finelli. Both those defensive ends had double digit sacks in 2014. It will be up to this Southern line to keep the quarterback protected each and every week. The team will have 3 new starters within this group.
The Rams will really count on Senior Doug VandeVelde to motivate and rally his teammates. VandeVelde is going into his third year as a starter. He brings a lot of experience that will help this group down the stretch. Seniors Quinn Smith, and Joe Dolphin will also need to help anchor this line. Zach Widenhoff will also have a big role. Widenhoff is a strong lineman at 6’2″ and 240lbs. He will be counted to do some big things. Coach Chuck Donohue Jr always does a fantastic job with the offensive line. He will put the right combination together to win the battle at the line of scrimmage.
The defensive side of the ball will be the biggest strength for this Southern team. The Rams return six starters on this side and have a lot of depth at different positions. Defensive Coordinator Matt Abbato will once again run his 5-2 front. This scheme is very beneficial for the defensive line and linebackers. For the 18 years that Coach Donohue Sr has been at Southern, he has always stressed the importance of being a defensive program. The Rams build their offense around how much the defense can limit the other team Many great Linebackers have come through this system. Glenn Carson, Anthony Stroffolino, Nick Munafo, and Mason Fazekas all thrived within this defense. Carson is now making tackles for the Arizona Cardinals. Historically, Southern has always gotten outstanding results from their linebackers.
This year’s linebacking core will be no different. Joe Miele returns after leading the team with 80 tackles in 2014. The young linebacker came up to the Varsity level as a freshman and really burst on to the scene. Miele is strong, instinctive, and simply a ball hawk. He can shoot through the gap and blow up the play in a flash. Miele also has a positive attitude and a great work ethic. The sophomore just wants to play football and master his craft. He may be the best Linebacker prospect the program has seen since Glenn Carson.
Joe Miele stopped by to discuss his role in the defense.
Senior Pat Walker comes back after making 64 tackles in 2014. Walker is a three year starter on the defensive side of the ball. The Senior Outside Linebacker has good size at 6’0″ and 202lbs. He is very strong against the run, and will be the primary pass rusher in the 5-2 front. It will be up to Walker to blitz and blow up running plays in the backfield. The team will also rely on his Senior leadership to keep everyone focused in every situation. Junior Dane Walker, and Sophomore Vin Miele will also be involved in the rotation. Both Dane and Vin are strong tacklers that know how to get the job done. Senior James Barnett will be the primary backup. He is capable of stepping in and making plays when needed.
Southern will look to get a lot of production out of there defensive line. Doug VandeVelde and Quinn Smith will be tough at the defensive tackle position. Both players can use their size and strength to make things happen. Junior Jesse Amirr will be tough coming off the edge. Amirr will make things very difficult for quarterback’s in Class A South. Look for Quinn Smith, Zach Widenhoff, and Sophomore Devin VandeVelde to also get some reps. There are a lot of defensive lineman in this group that are ready to make an impact. This will be a tough group for any team to run against.
Southern is a little inexperienced in the secondary, but they do have some real up and coming talent. The team will have the athletes on the back end to excel in a big way. Senior Anthony Gagliardi returns at the Safety position. Gagliardi got a lot of experience in his junior season. He is ready to take his game to the next level. Nick Simonelli and Matt Bleicher have also looked really good in camp. They made tremendous strides in seven on seven competition over the Summer. Matt Barnett and Deric Vincent are also competing for a spot. The Rams will really need the secondary to play well throughout the season. There are a lot of great wide receivers throughout this division. The secondary must limit the big plays to stay in every game.
While the Rams are featuring a lot of new starters, the team has been working extremely hard for the entire offseason. The coaching staff could not be happier with the results. However, The Class A South schedule will not be easy. With one of the best divisions in the State, every week is going to be a dogfight. Head Coach Chuck Donohue Sr. talked about what it takes to survive in this conference. “You have to stay as healthy as you can, and be ready to play a physical football game every week. If you come out flat in this league, you’re going to get flattened. It’s really that simple. Top to bottom, there is not a better conference in the state. You have to show up every week to play”. This division is always a huge challenge every year. Coach Donohue feels that overall health and physicality will keep the Rams in every game this season
For the Southern offense to be successful this year, they will need to run the ball consistently. Pat Walker will always do a great job with that. Brandon Barnetti, and the Miele brothers will have to step up and carry some of the load. The new quarterbacks must also have their timing down with the young receivers. They have shown tremendous improvement throughout camp. The offense will get better every week.
Defensively, Southern will have to do what they do best, and that is play a physical game. If the defensive line can consistently hold down opposing players, Pat Walker and Joe Miele will easily make a lot of plays. The younger Dane Walker will also be a big force. The defense will have to play at a high level, especially against teams like Jackson Memorial, Toms River North, and Brick Memorial. Look for the Rams to be a tough opponent for anyone in Class A South. This young team has all the pieces to have a good season, and compete for a playoff spot in South Jersey Group V.
We had a chance to talk with Head Coach Chuck Donohue Sr to get his thoughts on the upcoming season.
SOUTHERN REGIONAL SCHEDULE
9/4 vs Central – 7PM
9/11 vs Toms River East – 7PM
9/18 at Brick – 7PM
9/25 vs Jackson Memorial – 7PM
10/2 at Howell – 630PM
10/17 vs Toms River South – 2PM
10/23 at Toms River North – 7PM
10/31 at Lacey – 1PM
11/6 at Brick Memorial – 7PM
11/13 State Tournament/Consolation – TBD
Ryan Wydra @schoops1
The Manasquan Warriors came into the 2014 season with a lot of inexperience. Many times a young group will always come with their fair share of growing pains. The team got off to a 3-1 start, only to drop the final six games of the season. At the same time, two of the losses were against eventual sectional champions Rumson Fair Haven, and Matawan. The team also lost another game to Class A Central Champion St John Vianney. While those games were definitely tough, the young Warriors did show a lot of heart and managed to battle right down to the end. Now the team will enter this season with bigger goals and expectations. This is a new season and a great opportunity for this Manasquan team.
Manasquan made some changes in the offseason, implementing new routines within the weight room. Strength and Conditioning will play a big factor on how much more physical this team can be. It’s no coincidence that the players were already working out as soon as the 2014 season concluded. There has always been a great tradition around the Manasquan football program. They have won multiple championships and have rarely had a losing season. The kids knew that the offseason program had to be a major priority. “Last year we went into the season with 80 kids, this year we will take the field with 55, so we are seeing a big difference in who was willing to put in the time and hard work”. added Manasquan Head Coach Jay Price on the offseason program. The 2015 team is bigger, stronger, and faster. Manasquan will be a tough opponent for anyone at the Shore.
Head Coach: Jay Price (fifth season) 25-17
2014 Record: 3-7
Key Returns: Liam Grieb (Sr QB) Paul Krueger (Sr RB/LB) Damaso Jamie (Jr WR/DB) Shane Flanagan (Sr WR/DB) Kyle Leblanc(Sr WR/DB) Connor Morgan (Jr RB/LB) Matt McGrady (Sr OL/DL) Dan Mopsick (Sr OL/DL) Rob Hart (Sr OL/DL)Tommy Antonucci (So QB/DB)
Key Losses: James McAlary (RB/CB) Tanner Cowley (TE/LB) Matt Paturzo (WR/LB) Max Hawkins (WR) Craig Miller (DE) John Morris (FB/MLB)
Key Newcomer: Parker Day (Jr RB/LB)
Manasquan returns an outstanding group at the Quarterback position. Senior Captain Liam Grieb will look to improve upon his 2014 numbers. Grieb thew for 1100 yards and 6 touchdowns this past season. Grieb is a strong Quarterback at 6’2″ with great arm strength and accuracy. Grieb really knows how to zip it down the field and hit his receivers in stride. The team will need Grieb to really step up as a leader within this offense. The Warriors also return Sophomore Tommy Antonucci. Antonucci is the son of Middletown South Head Coach Steve Antonucci. Tommy is a young Quarterback with a lot of mobility. He can beat the defense with his legs, and hit receivers on the run. Jerry Maher is also in the mix battling for the backup spot. Maher is another solid Quarterback with a decent level of experience. Coach Price has a lot to work with at this position. Manasquan fans should feel really confident about the direction of this offense.
Quarterback Liam Grieb stop by to talk about the potential of this Warriors team.
One of the biggest strengths of this Warriors team will be their depth at the running back position. Manasquan will use the three headed monster attack of Senior Paul Krueger, Junior transfer Parker Day, and Junior Connor Morgan. Krueger returns to the lineup after missing his junior year with an injury. Krueger is a big strong back that can power his way for the tough yards. Parker Day adds another element to this Manasquan offense. Day comes over from a very good Toms River North program. Day chipped in with 381 yards and 5 touchdowns in that offense last year. Day is a quick back that can easily break away around the side. Connor Morgan will also be a big part of this rotation. Morgan stepped in for the injured Krueger in 2014. The young running back was a big contributor for the offense throughout the season. The Warriors will always have a fresh back in the game. This will make the running game very consistent.
Manasquan will also have great targets in the passing game. Kyle Leblanc and Damaso Jamie are both strong receivers who can go up and make the big catches. Leblanc is 6’3″ and can be a nightmare for any defensive coordinator to scheme against. Jamie is a consistent receiver that can be effective down the lane, and in crossing routes. Both these players are tough matchups for defensive backs around the league. Shane Flanagan will also get into the rotation and make an impact on the field. Flanagan also brings good size at 6’0″ and has looked very strong in camp. Liam Grieb will rely on all these receivers to make big plays. This will be essential for Manasquan to put a lot of points on the board.
The Warriors return three starters on the Offensive line. Center Dan Mopsick will once again make the calls for the team. Mopsick is an athletic center at 6’2″ and 225lbs. He can move around nicely and keep defensive tackles from getting to the quarterback. The Warriors will rely on his leadership to hold everything down in the trenches. Senior Captain Matt McGrady also returns at the guard position. McGrady is a big force at 6’2″ and 280lbs. McGrady is one of the best returning lineman in Class A Central and will be huge in big games this year. Rob Hart will start at the tackle position. Hart is a hard worker and will find a way to win lots of battles at the line of scrimmage. Junior Dylan Pacetti will step in at the other tackle position. Pacetti is new to the starting lineup, but brings a great combination of strength and athleticism to the table. Sophomores Evan Hilla and Sean Anderson are battling for the other guard position. Both players have looked good in camp. They will have to really pour it on in the remaining scrimmages.
We had a chance to talk with Matt McGrady about the offensive line.
Manasquan will run a 4-3 defense. The coaching staff feels the team has the best chance with four down lineman on the field. This will put a lot of pressure on the opposing quarterback. The scheme will also be efficient in stopping runners before they can get into the defensive backfield.
There is a lot of competition at the linebacker spots within this unit. Paul Krueger is now 100% healthy and ready to make an impact on the defensive side of the ball. Krueger is a quick linebacker at 5’8″, but also brings a lot of power to the defense. The team will rely on him to make big plays. Junior Jack Mallet has looked very sharp at the position in training camp. Mallet just seems to always be in the right place at the right time. He knows how to be around the ball and make the play. Junior transfer Parker Day will also be in the mix. Day is very instinctive and can fill the gaps to stop opposing runners. Sophomore Evan Hilla is also getting reps and will have every opportunity to be a part of the rotation. Hilla is working really hard and ready to make a statement. The coaching staff will have some tough decisions to make with this group.
The defensive line will be a huge part of this unit. In a division where Manasquan will face quarterbacks like Anthony Brown and Michael O’Connor, the front four will have to take control from the start. The Warriors will have to generate pressure and make the other team feel uncomfortable.
Seniors Matt McGrady and Rob Hart will occupy the defensive tackle positions. Both players have tremendous size and strength. They have the power to get into the backfield and stop plays in a flash. They also bring a lot of leadership with experience on the defensive side. Everyone in the rotation will look to them for guidance.
As for the defensive end positions, players are still fighting it out in camp. Dylan Pacetti, and Adam Schreck are battling it out. Both these players are fast and can create problems in the backfield. Junior Daniel Fiske and Senior Dustin Piatti will provide plenty of competition for these spots. The coaching staff is looking to keep players fresh with a good rotation on the line. They feel that the unit can have an edge with players who are 100% all the time.
The defensive backs are looking to make their mark within this defense. The secondary will be very important for the team to have success. St John Vianney, Rumson Fair Haven, and Matawan all have deep receiving cores. Manasquan will have to limit the passing yards in all three of those games.
Junior Damaso Jamie, and Senior Shane Flanagan will give them a great chance to be successful at the cornerback positions. Both Jamie and Flanagan are strong in coverage and quick on their feet. They will give the coaching staff a chance to throw out some different coverage combinations.
Sophomore Tommy Antonucci and Junior Kyle Leblanc will occupy the safety positions. Antonucci brings a lot of speed and can provide help over the top. Leblanc can use his athleticism to force turnovers, and provide help in run support. Kyle Coyne and Devan Carroll are also looking to get in the rotation. Overall, this is a very strong group that will give this team a chance to win each and every week.
Manasquan will look to get all the pieces in place to have a successful run. This is a team that is looking to begin the season with a strong sense of urgency. Ending the season on a six game skid was certainly different from the programs’ history. The Warriors are a program with a lot of history and pride, winning 11 Sectional Titles in their history. Head Coach Jay Price will look to lead this team into war with a very tough Class A Central schedule coming up. Quarterback Liam Grieb will have all the weapons he needs on the offensive side of the ball. The defense will have a strong front seven, and a secondary with a lot of potential. Paul Krueger will make an impact at the linebacker position. Damaso Jamie and Shane Flanagan will look to lockdown some of the best receivers in the league. Look for the Warriors to be a major contender within Class A Central. They will also be fighting for a playoff spot in 2015!!
NJSR had a chance to talk with Head Coach Jay Price to discuss the upcoming season.
9/12 vs Raritan – 1PM
9/19 At Monmouth Regional – 1PM
9/26 vs Holmdel – 1PM
10/2 At Ocean Twp. – 7PM
10/10 vs Barnegat – 1PM
10/16 At Rumson Fair Haven – 7PM
10/31 vs Matawan – 1PM
11/6 At St. John Vianney – 7PM
11/13 State Tournament/Consolation – TBD
11/26 At Wall Twp. – 11AM
Ryan Wydra @schoops1
Here is the 2015 Shore Conference Football Schedule. Jackson Memorial will begin the season with the No 1 ranking and look to defend their Class A South title. Central Regional will look to prove their run to the 2014 Class B South Title was for real. Red Bank Catholic will play with a chip on their shoulder to reclaim their No 1 spot. Programs like Middletown South, Manalapan, and Toms River North will all look to become the best team in the Shore. There could also be some surprise teams looking to make a statement. Brick Memorial, Barnegat, Freehold Boro. and Southern Regional could all be in the mix. NJSR will release the Top 10 right before we get to Week 0.
2015 SHORE CONFERENCE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Fri Sept 4
Southern At Central
Donovan Catholic At Pinelands
Fri Sept 11
Toms River East At Southern – 630PM
Jackson Liberty At Jackson Memorial – 7PM
Monmouth At Holmdel – 7PM
Middletown South At South Brunswick – 7PM
Red Bank Catholic At Long Branch – 7PM
Pt Boro At Pinelands – 7PM
Keyport At Shore – 7PM
Lakewood At Central – 7PM
Barnegat At Manchester – 7PM
Asbury Park At Pt Beach – 7PM
Red Bank Regional At Wall – 7PM
Ocean At Neptune – 7PM
Marlboro At Manalapan – 7PM
Perth Amboy At Middletown North – 7PM
Donovan Catholic At Toms River South – 7PM
Howell At Colts Neck – 12PM
Raritan At Manasquan – 1PM
Toms River North At Lacey – 1PM
Mater Dei Prep At Keansburg – 1PM
Brick Memorial At Brick – 1PM
Freehold Twp At Freehold Boro – 1PM
St John Vianney At Matawan – 2PM
Pt Boro At Donovan Catholic – 630PM
Freehold Boro At Howell – 630PM
Holmdel At St John Vianney – 7PM
Manchester At Jackson Liberty – 7PM
Barnegat At Central – 7PM
Wall At Ocean – 7PM
Long Branch At Carteret – 7PM
Toms River South At Toms River East – 7PM
Southern At Brick – 7PM
Toms River North At Brick Memorial – 7PM
Lacey At Jackson Memorial – 7PM
Neptune At Middletown South – 7PM
Freehold Twp At Manalapan – 7PM
Middlesex At Pt Beach – 7PM
Keansburg At Highland Park – 7PM
Matawan At Rumson Fair Haven – 7PM
Colts Neck At Red Bank Regional – 7PM
South River At Keyport – 12PM
Manasquan At Monmouth – 12PM
Asbury Park At Metuchen – 1PM
Middletown North At Marlboro – 1PM
Red Bank Catholic At St Joseph’s Metuchen – 1PM
Shore At Spotswood – 1PM
Pinelands At Lakewood – 1PM
Newark Collegiate Academy Charter At Mater Dei Prep – 1PM
Mater Dei Prep At Asbury Park – 6PM
Jackson Memorial At Southern – 630PM
Freehold Twp At Howell – 630PM
Lakewood At Manchester – 7PM
Bishop Ahr At Pt Boro – 7PM
Manalapan At Sayreville – 7PM
Jackson Liberty At Barnegat – 7PM
Raritan At Matawan – 7PM
Marlboro At Middletown South – 7PM
St John Vianney At Central – 7PM
Toms River South At Toms River North – 7PM
Colts Neck At Woodbridge – 7PM
Red Bank Catholic At Neptune – 7PM
Long Branch At Wall – 7PM
Red Bank Regional At Ocean – 7PM
Pt Beach At Keyport – 12PM
Rumson Fair Haven At Monmouth – 12PM
Brick Memorial At Lacey – 1PM
Middletown North At Freehold Boro – 1PM
Holmdel At Manasquan – 1PM
Shore At Keansburg – 1PM
Brick At Toms River East – 7PM
Middlesex At Asbury Park – 6PM
Southern At Howell – 630 PM
Middletown South At Freehold Twp – 630PM
Wall At Red Bank Catholic – 7PM
Manasquan At Ocean – 7PM
Jackson Memorial At Brick – 7PM
Donovan Catholic At Barnegat – 7PM
Neptune At Red Bank Regional – 7PM
Rumson Fair Haven At St John Vianney – 7PM
Lakewood At Jackson Liberty – 7PM
Manchester At Pt Boro – 7PM
Monmouth At Matawan – 7PM
Colts Neck At Long Branch – 7PM
Dunellen At Shore – 7PM
Freehold Boro At Raritan – 7PM
Manalapan At Middletown North – 7PM
Pinelands At Central – 7PM
Keyport At Metuchen – 1PM
Pt Beach At Spotswood – 1PM
Keansburg At South River – 2PM
Peddie School At Mater Dei Prep – 3PM
Marlboro At Toms River North – 6PM
Lacey At Toms River South – 7PM
Toms River East At Freehold Twp – 630PM
Donovan Catholic At Jackson Liberty – 7PM
Lacey At Manalapan – 7PM
Howell At Middletown South – 7PM
Pt Boro At Central – 7PM
Ocean At Middletown North – 7PM
Brick At Wall – 7PM
Jackson Memorial At Toms River North – 7PM
Dunellen At Pt Beach – 7PM
Matawan At Colonia – 7PM
Long Branch At Rumson Fair Haven – 7PM
Red Bank Regional At Raritan – 7PM
Monmouth At Pinelands – 7PM
St John Vianney At Manchester – 7PM
Highland Park At Keyport – 12PM
Red Bank Catholic At Colts Neck – 12PM
Metuchen At Keansburg – 1PM
Holmdel At Spotswood – 1PM
Barnegat At Manasquan – 1PM
South River At Mater Dei Prep – 1PM
Freehold Boro At Marlboro – 230PM
Keyport At Asbury Park – 6PM
Middletown North At Howell – 630PM
Lakewood At Donovan Catholic – 630PM
Marlboro At Freehold Twp – 630PM
Manasquan At Rumson Fair Haven – 7PM
Manalapan At Middletown South – 7PM
Raritan At St John Vianney – 7PM
Brick Memorial At Jackson Memorial – 7PM
Holmdel At Matawan – 7PM
Toms River North At Toms River East – 7PM
Mater Dei Prep At Shore – 7PM
Red Bank Catholic At Red Bank Regional – 7PM
Long Branch At Ocean – 7PM
Jackson Liberty At Pinelands – 7PM
Manchester At Central – 7PM
Pt Boro At Barnegat – 7PM
Pt Beach At Keansburg – 1PM
Wall At Freehold Boro – 1PM
Brick At Lacey – 1PM
Colts Neck At Neptune – 1PM
Southern At Toms River North – 2PM
JFK Iselin At Monmouth – 230PM
St John Vianney At Donovan Catholic – 630PM
Asbury Park At Dunellen – 7PM
Pt Beach At Highland Park – 7PM
Red Bank Catholic At Manalapan – 7PM
Middletown South At Brick Memorial – 7PM
Wall At Neptune – 7PM
Lacey At Jackson Liberty – 7PM
Raritan At Pt Boro – 7PM
Howell At Monroe – 7PM
Freehold Twp At New Brunswick – 7PM
Marlboro At East Brunswick – 7PM
Matawan At Long Branch – 7PM
Pinelands At Holmdel – 7PM
Colts Neck At Brick – 7PM
Toms River South At Jackson Memorial – 7PM
Spotswood At Keyport – 12PM
Shore At South River – 1PM
Keansburg At Middlesex – 1PM
Metuchen At Mater Dei Prep – 1PM
Rumson Fair Haven At Lakewood – 1PM
Toms River East At Freehold Boro – 1PM
Keansburg At Asbury Park – 6PM
Edison At Freehold Twp – 630PM
Donovan Catholic At Central – 7PM
Toms River East At Jackson Memorial – 7PM
Ocean At Red Bank Catholic – 7PM
Shore At Pt Beach – 7PM
Freehold Boro At Manalapan – 7PM
North Brunswick At Middletown North – 7PM
Toms River North At Brick – 7PM
Holmdel At Red Bank Regional – 7PM
Pt Boro At Jackson Liberty – 7PM
Manchester At Pinelands – 7PM
Rumson Fair Haven At Raritan – 7PM
Brick Memorial At Toms River South – 7PM
Wall At Colts Neck – 12PM
St John Vianney At Monmouth – 12PM
Barnegat At Lakewood – 1PM
Howell At Marlboro – 1PM
Matawan At Manasquan – 1PM
Keyport At Mater Dei Prep – 1PM
Southern At Lacey – 1PM
Neptune At Long Branch – 1PM
Monmouth At Raritan – 7PM
Brick At Toms River South – 7PM
Manalapan At Howell – 7PM
Manasquan At St John Vianney – 7PM
Freehold Twp At Middletown North – 7PM
Jackson Liberty At Central – 7PM
Mater Dei Prep At Pt Beach – 7PM
Rumson Fair Haven At Holmdel – 7PM
Matawan At Barnegat – 7PM
Southern At Brick Memorial – 7PM
Red Bank Regional At Manchester – 7PM
Asbury Park At Shore – 7PM
Toms River North At Neptune – 7PM
Monmouth At Raritan – 7PM
Keansburg At Keyport – 12PM
Ocean At Colts Neck – 12PM
Lakewood At Pt Boro – 1PM
JP Stevens At Marlboro – 1PM
Middletown South At Freehold Boro – 2PM
Lacey At Toms River East – 7PM
Manchester At Donovan Catholic – 630PM
Pinelands At Barnegat – 630PM
Neptune At Asbury Park – 10AM
Raritan At Holmdel – 10AM
Long Branch At Red Bank Regional – 10AM
Ocean At Monmouth – 1030AM
Middletown North At Middletown South – 1030AM
Toms River South At Lakewood – 11AM
Manasquan At Wall – 11AM
Rumson Fair Haven At Shore – 11AM
NJSR will have coverage for many games throughout the season. Follow @schoops1, @shoresportsnj, and @jimrosa519 on twitter for the latest updates.
Ryan Wydra @schoops1
The Red Bank Catholic Caseys 2014 campaign was certainly memorable. After three consecutive undefeated regular seasons’, the team always seemed to hit a wall in the postseason. Even after the frustration and disappointment, the Caseys would always be right there working hard to get better. However, this past season would be a different story. In a season where the team had their 40 game winning streak against Shore Conference competition snapped, the Caseys took the opportunity to refocus and retool. Sometimes in life you have to take a step back in order to move forward. This is exactly what the Caseys were able to do. The team would rally around each other and come back stronger than ever. It was this momentum that began one of the greatest stories of the postseason.
The Red Bank Catholic Caseys would cruise to their first ever Non Public Group III State Championship. The Caseys ripped through Delbarton in the second round, defeating them 45-20. Red Bank Catholic would ultimately avenge two straight losses to St. Joseph’s Montvale by rolling to a 44-14 victory. St. Joseph’s Montvale were the three time defending Sectioinal Champions. This was a great day for all Red Bank Catholic players, coaches, and fans.
This year, the Caseys find themselves going into a different situation to start camp. In years past, players were always thinking about what they had to do to finally win that section. This year, RBC will no longer be the hunters in this bracket. They will come into the season as the defending Non Public Group III Champions.”It isn’t any different because we won,we know every season is a season in itself. You have a new group of kids, and you have to do the best you can with them. There’s an excitement level about the program. They have a great work ethic. They prepare hard and have had a great offseason. Right now, we’re just looking to get the pieces in place” added Red Bank Catholic Head Coach Jim Portela. Everyone is going to be watching what the Caseys can do. While it was great to think about the postseason, it is only August and RBC has a Shore Conference schedule to complete. The Caseys will be a lot of fun to watch all season long.
RED BANK CATHOLIC PREVIEW
Head Coach: Jim Portela (seventh year) 55-10
2014 Record: 11-1 Non Public Group III Champions
Key Returns: Eddie Hahn (Sr QB/DB) Liam Smith (Sr OL/DL) Ryan Oneidas (Sr OL/DL) Colin Shaughnessy (Sr WR/QB/DB) Dan Lukawski (Sr WR/DB) Mike Balzofiore (Sr WR/DB) Dylan Murphy (Sr RB/LB) Michael Wilen (Sr RB/LB) Christian Foley (Sr TE/DE) Charlie Gargiulo (Sr OL/DL) Liam McArdle (Sr WR/DB)
Key Losses:Jamie Gordinier (TE/LB) Nick Lagrippo (RB/LB) Tommy Spernal (RB/DB) Mike Cordova (RB/DB) Trevor Cowley (WR/DB) Nick Lubischer (WR/DB) Steve Dnistrian (TE/DL) Matt Donald (OL/DL) Dan Wilen (OL/DL) Ryan Kroeger (OL/DL) Ryan McCue (OL/DL)
The Caseys return one of the best offensive players in the State. This past Summer, Eddie Hahn decided to take his talents to the University of Connecticut after the season. UConn is getting a special player that can make big plays down the field. During the 2014 season, Hahn threw for 1,485 yards and 20 passing touchdowns. The signal caller also made defenders pay with his mobility, rushing for 531 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground. Eddie Hahn is a matchup nightmare playing out of the zone read formation. Hahn can read the defense and decide where he wants to go with the ball. The threat of Hahn also opens up the running game. Defenses cannot sell out on the running backs in the Caseys system. “Eddie has improved greatly in the offseason. His arm strength, and comfort level in the offense has gotten better. When you see him, he is visibly bigger and stronger as he’s up over 200lbs” added Portela on Eddie Hahn. It will be up to the Senior Quarterback to keep this offense rolling in every situation. Colin Shaughnessy will be the backup Quarterback. Shaughnessy has looked sharp running the offense in camp. Kyle Moore is also an up and coming sophomore at the position. Moore has a strong skill set and a lot of mobility. Shaughnessy and Moore give the Caseys great depth behind Hahn.
Red Bank Catholic will have to replace two stars at the running back position. Tommy Spernal and Mike Cordova were everything you could have asked for in a running back. The two backs simply got the job done every week. This season, the Caseys will use multiple backs to get the job done. Seniors Dylan Murphy and Mike Wilen will carry the load.Dylan Murphy is a strong back at 6’0″ and 205 pounds. He’ll make the transition from fullback to running back. Murphy will get the bulk of the carries and make a huge impact this season. Wilen will play the fullback position with a good combination of speed and power. Wilen at 6’1″ knows how to get the tough yards. Both these backs will make the Caseys running game very hard to stop. Anthony Purge and Joseph Hagan will also be a part of the rotation. They can add another element to an already strong running attack. “We’re fortunate because we feel like we have 4-5 tailbacks who can contribute this year. I do feel like running back is one of our deeper positions”. added Portela on his running back situation. The Caseys will once again thrive in the backfield.
The team will also need some new players to step up at the Wide Receiver position. The Caseys graduated leading receiver Trevor Cowley, along with Nick Lubischer, and John Portela. Colin Shaughnessy will be a big part of the passing game this year. Shaughnessy is quite the athlete and can play multiple positions on the field. Shaughnessy will be a big target in the red zone for this team. Senior Daniel Lukawski will also step in after getting minimal action last year. Lukawski is a quick receiver at 5’10” and 165lbs. Lukawski has a lot of speed and will beat defenders deep. Liam McCardell, Michael Balzofiore, and Brett Habich will also have the opportunity to contribute in the passing game. This is a group that has looked really solid in camp They have all developed good chemistry with Quarterback Eddie Hahn.
The Caseys are also stacked at the Tight End position. Christian Foley is a multi-talented player at 6’1″ and 190lbs. Foley can boost the running game by becoming an extra blocker on the outside. Foley is also a good receiver and not afraid to make those tough catches over the middle. Senior Anthony DeStefano and Junior Nasir Darnell will also be in the mix. Both players add an additional weapon to the offense. They can create a lot of mismatches for the linebackers through the crossing routes.
RBC will once again be strong on the offensive line with the return of Senior Captains Liam Smith and Ryan Oneidas. Smith is a huge powerhouse on the Offensive line at 6’5″ and 270lbs. Liam is one of the best offensive lineman in the state. Oneidas is another force at 6’3″ and 265lbs. However, the team will also have three new starters on the line. The Caseys will rely on the leadership of Smith and Oneidas to help the new starters make an easy transition. Charlie Gargiulo, and Thomas Clark will step in as the starters on this offensive line. Both players have spent a lot of time working hard in the offseason. They have gotten bigger, stronger, and have worked on their technique. The final position is still up for grabs as Brandon Dente, Alex Sargiss, Connor Moore, and Michael Griggs are all fighting for the spot. Clearly, the Caseys have a lot of depth and will have no problem winning the battle in the trenches this season.
We had a chance to talk with Senior Captain Liam Smith
The Red Bank Catholic defense will line up without All-American Linebacker Jamie Gordinier for the first time in three years. Gordinier is now playing for the Miami Hurricanes after an unbelievable senior season with 117 tackles. Nick Lagrippo also had over 100 tackles in 2014. The Caseys will have to replace the production from two of the best linebackers in school history, but retooling at a position has never been a problem for this program. Seniors Dylan Murphy and Michael Wilen are ready to step in and lead this defense in the middle. Both Murphy and Wilen are big and strong players that can shoot through the gap and blow up plays. They are also athletic and can thrive in pass coverage if needed. The team will also benefit from their strong leadership skills. These two will be exactly what RBC needs to maintain their dominance on the defensive side of the ball. Joseph Hagan and Justin Noah will also be in the rotation to make an impact at this position. Hagan and Noah are both instinctive players who know how to be around the ball. Look for this group to be one of the best linebacking cores in the Shore.
The RBC defensive line was among the best in 2014. Do not expect anything less this season. Nasir Darnell and Charlie Gargiulo are both defensive ends that are very quick off the edge. These ends can use their speed and athleticism to get around offensive tackles and punish opposing quarterbacks. They will disrput the flow of any offense this season. Senior Captain Liam Smith heads up a very good group of defensive tackles. Smith is just as much of a matchup nightmare on the defensive side of the ball. It will be very hard for any offensive lineman to keep him from getting through the line. Thomas Clark and Alex Sargiss are also very powerful at the postion. Clark is a tremendous force at 255lbs, and Sargiss is 270lbs. You will not see many teams running any dive plays against this line. Look for RBC to pile up the sacks this season!
This defense will also be just as intimidating in the defensive backfield. Teams will have to think twice before trying to throw against such an athletic group. The Caseys simply do not give up big plays. Seniors Dan Lukawski and Mike Balzofiore will occupy the corner positions. Lukawski and Balzofiore both have experience from playing last year. They each had an interception during the 2014 season.
Eddie Hahn and Colin Shaughnessy return at the safety postions. They are a huge asset to the defensive backfield with their ability to make plays. Hahn is coming off a big season defensively with 2 interceptions and 12 deflected passes. Both safeties can provide support over the top, and in the box against the run. They are very smart and instinctive on the field. Liam McArdle and Anthony Purge will also provide depth in the defensive backfield. The Caseys have so much talent at this position and can go with a lot of different combinations. Look for RBC to mix and match coverages to keep other teams on their toes.
Red Bank Catholic will look to get off to a fast start. After observing camp, the team is playing together really well, and the new starters are making an easy transition. The Caseys are one of those programs’ that always seem to reload at every position. Coach Portela and his staff do a fantastic job developing young players. The kids know their roles and are always prepared both mentally and physically.
This is a team that is loaded with talent at every single position. The offense will go as far as Eddie Hahn can take it. Hahn has so many weapons in the backfield, and on the outside. You can bet that the Caseys will once again put a lot of points on the board. The defense is also full of players that really bring an intimidating presence. Dylan Murphy and Michael Wilen are ready to lead the way and motivate their teammates. The defensive line is as tough as you can get and are ready to win every battle at the line of scrimmage.
For the first time in 5 years, RBC will not go into the season as the No 1 team in the Shore. You can bet that the team will go into Week 1 with a chip on their shoulder. The Caseys will look to take their 2015 campaign by storm and reclaim the No 1 spot in the Shore. The team is also in a great position to compete for a second consecutive state championship. If the Caseys play an A game each and every week, they are capable of beating anyone in the State. The sky is the limit for this Red Bank Catholic team!
NJSR had a chance to catch up with RBC Head Coach Jim Portela
RED BANK CATHOLIC SCHEDULE
9/11 At Long Branch – 7PM
9/19 At St. Joseph’s Metuchen – 1PM
9/25 At Neptune – 7PM
10/2 vs Wall – 7PM
10/10 At Colts Neck – 12PM
10/16 At Red Bank Regional – 7PM
10/23 At Manalapan – 7PM
10/30 vs Ocean Twp – 7PM
11/6 vs Jackson Memorial – 7PM
11/13 State Tournament – 7PM