Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Season Wrap Up

Scanning the High School Football scene with Ed Sarluca: 2010 wrap up.

Final Football Top Ten-2010

1-Lacey(12-0)-Matawan's upset loss to Rumson, clearly left no doubt as to who is #1. Lacey finishes as the only undefeated team in the shore and won their 4th title on Saturday, with a 56-7 thrashing of Delsea. Offense, defense, special teams were the reasons why Lacey had no trouble with Delsea, and turnovers certainly helped make this one a blow-out. RB Jake Dabal scored 3 times and QB Craig Ciccardo twice, to lead the Lions. Jared Molzon(2 TDs) had his usual all-around game on both sides of the ball and the Lacey defense led by Dave Vieira, Matt Uvegas, Dyan Joslin and Zack Torrell, to mention a few, completely shut down Delsea offense, holding the Cruasders to 1 TD. Defensively the Lions caused 8 turnovers(5 fumbles and 3 picks) and scored one TD on defense, a Torrell fumble return of 8 yards. Congratulations to Lou Vircillo and the 2010 Lacey Lions.

2-Freehold Boro(10-2)-Make it championship #2 for the Colonials as they beat Middletown South 14-12, in the days best game. Freehold concludes a strange season. A season which saw them lose their first 2 games and then win 10 straight, on their way to the title. Coach Mark Ciccotelli squad led 7- 6 at the half and had to hold on as the Eagles had a chance to tie it on a 2-point conversion attempt at the 2:57 mark of the 4th quarter. That conversion was no good and Freehold had it's 2nd championship. Jaxmar Clax scored from 39 yards out late in the 3rd quarter, to make it 14-6, after a weird play, which saw 6'5", 270 lb. DT Ryan Wytanis return a short punt by Scott Meeker, which set up the Clax run. Meeker fielded a bad snap and did a great job just getting the punt off, but it didn't go very far and Wytanis picked it off in the air and returned it 12 yards to mid-field. Steve Antonucci, Mid South's head coach, said it best--"they play football with an attitude". I think that best describes the Colonials. Way to go Freehold.

3-RBC(8-2)-Although they did not play this past weekend, the Caseys move up to the 3rd spot on the strength of their 40-14 victory over CJ Group 2 champs Rumson. They also lost a overtime game to Freehold(26-25). The Caseys lost to finalist Bergen Catholic, who played #1 in the state, Don Bosco, pretty tough before falling in the Non-Public Group 4 finals. This was a season of what could have been, and you cannot hold it against them because they play in the toughest division in the States. If they matched up against anyone in top ten, it would be a ballgame.

4-Rumson(9-3)- The shocker around the state was the upset win by the Bulldogs over previously unbeaten and defending champ, Matawan. The win not only gave Rumson their first ever State Championship, but it will go down as one of the most memorable upsets in the annals of the New Jersey State football championships. QB Mike Villapiano and Conner Riley each ran for plus 100 yards and the Bulldogs controlled the football game, from beginning to end. The win was so one-sided that the Huskies potent offense was held to 2 first downs all day and only 62 yards of total offense! If you told me that, I would have said, you were lying to me. No one at Rutgers(where we were working) could believe what was happening at Kean University, as we kept getting updates in the last few minutes of the game. Then Jared Allison breaks a punt return for 93 yards and a TD, to make it 13-7 with 2:12 left, and everyone held their breathe. Mike Huttner recovered the onside kick by Matawan and Rumson had their championship. Lets give some credit to assistant coach and defensive coordinator Jerry Shultie who devised the game plan that will be watched by many over the winter, to see how they contained the explosive Matawan weapons. One of the great defensive efforts by a team.

5-Matawan(11-1)-The Huskies could not get it done as they fell to Rumson 13-7 in the major upset on championship Saturday. Holding this Matawan team to 2 first downs is nothing short of a miracle, and that's what Rumson did. The Huskies now must begin a new streak next year and they certainly have players coming back to do it. Cassius Williams is the top RB returning in the shore, and QB Kashawn Barnes is going to be a good one. The Huskies will reload in 2011 and will be one of the toughest team around. The big wins this year included Manasquan, Freehold Boro, Rumson(first time around) and Raritan. That's a list of 2 champions and a playoff semi-finalist. Although this loss will sting for awhile, there are no problems in Huskie land.

6-Middletown South(9-3)- The loss to Freehold Boro was the 3rd loss in a row by the Eagles in the finals. Of course they have won it 9 times, so we should not concentrate on those losses, as we all know how hard it is just get to the finals. The Eagles made it close in the last quarter when Rob Dickerson returned a fumble 36 yards for a TD, but missed the 2-point conversion, which would have tied it. That TD game with 2:57 left, but Freehold's DB Rameer Wright, knocked down the 2-point try to send Mid South to defeat. The Eagles complete a season, where they had victories over Howell and Brick Memorial, on their way to the finals.

7-Brick Memorial(9-3)-The Stangs were cut down in their bid for a 3rd championship by a better team-Sayreville(11-1). The final score of 14-0 was not an good indication of how one-sided this one really was. The exceptional play of the Mustang defense kept the Stangs around well into the 4th quarter, as they fumbled away a chance at the 3 yard line late in the game which would have made it 14-7 and a chance. Sure they gave up yardage (239), and offensively, only had 112, but the consistently bad field position, kept the Stang offense in constant trouble. The Bombers were bigger, stronger and faster on this given night and Memorial played well, just to hang around all night. The Stangs will learn from this loss and take away the knowledge of what it will take to get back to the finals. This is a program which has been one of the best in the shore in the last 8 years(5 finals-2 championships), and they won the A-South championship this year. They are here to stay.

8-Manalapan(8-3)-The Braves were beaten by Sayreville in the semi-finals which concluded their season. They won the A-North title and beat Mid South and Howell twice. Coach Tom Gallahue now steps down to go into administration and Eddie Gurrierri takes over full rein, even though he was the head coach this year. The Braves graduate POY RB Josh Firsker and Rutgers bound QB Mike Bimonte.

9-Shore(11-1)-The Blue Devils won the CJ Group 1 title with a very convincing 30-6 win over Dunellen. Evan Ruane and company ran up and down the field on Saturday to the tune of 209 yards. Defensively the Blue Devils were under-rated all year and they held Dunellen, who came in averaging 42 points a game, to 1 TD. The only negative that came out of this one was Mark Coleman, who separated his left shoulder early in 4th quarter. Mark had played great until that point on both sides of the ball, running for 116 yards in the 3 quarters he played, and playing great on "D". RB Pat Maggio ran for 74 more and Shane Carroll caught a TD pass from Ruane, and kicked a 27 yard field goal. All and all, a complete win for the Devils and championship # 5.

10Manasquan(9-2)- The Warriors won the C-Central title to put another championship in the trophy case. They lost to Matawan in the semi's, but their effort was not wasted on this reporter. i thought they played as good as they could have against the high powered Huskies and came up a little short. Their 11 State championships still lead the shore. Their marque wins this year included Wall(7-4) on Turkey Day and Shore Reg(their only loss).

Just missed:

Wall(7-4)-Lost to Freehold Boro in semi-s. Solid year and return top QB next year in Steve Cluley.

TR North(7-3)-A season of what could have been for the Mariners as they missed playoffs(by a point) because of fluke ruling on Mainland, which had to forfeit games they had won. Demetri Davis completes his tremendous career for the Mariners.

Howell(6-4)-Ryan Davies broke passing records in his first varsity season for dad Cory. Only a junior, he will be back to drive defensive coordinators crazy.

Keyport(8-3)-Mike didn't get another championship(he's won 6), however he did have the opportunity to cheer on brother Mark, as Freehold won one. Add in brother Steve(head coach at Scotch Plains/Fanwood) and you have a pretty good coaching family.

Barnegat(6-5)-The Bengals won their first ever playoff game and establish themselves as a program to watch in the future. The 5 year program has done nothing but improve under Rob Davis and his assistants. QB Nick SanGiacomo set school records which will stand for quite awhile. He takes his tools to Tulane University next year. Senior receiver Mike DeTroia led shore in catches on "O" and interceptions on "D".

Manchester(6-4)-A playoff berth this year for the Hawks. RB Joe Johnson returns to lead the Hawks in 2011.

Raritan(6-4)-Nice year for the Rockets as Anthony Petruzzi completes his first year as head coach.

Neptune(6-4)-Don Soficanick completes his first year at Neptune with winning record. Injuries hurt the Fliers all year.

Monday, November 29, 2010

11/24 - 11/28

Scanning the High School Football scene with Ed Sarluca:

With the Thanksgiving games now complete we can focus on the 7 teams that have one more game to play. Those games, of course, are for State championships. Matawan(CJ-2), Middletown South(CJ-3), Freehold Boro(CJ-3), Brick Memorial(CJ-4), Rumson(CJ-2), Lacey(SJ-3) and Shore(CJ-1) are this years participants in the finals. Each will have a chance, at what each team strives for, when they start those summer practices way back in June and July. Some of these players on these teams have a chance to add another championship to their legacy. Matawan is looking for back to back championships, having won last year against Manasquan, and get championship #6. Lacey looks to complete an undefeated season and put title #4 in the trophy case. It won't be easy for the Lions, as they face Delsea, who have won 8 titles in their history. Brick Memorial is on a streak which has put them in their 3rd straight finals and 5th in the last 7 years. They have 2 titles to show for their previous 4 finals. Middletown South has not won a title since 2006, and are playing in their, unbelievable, 17th finals. They have won 9 times. Shore looks for state title #5, against a good Dunnellen team, while Freehold Boro looks for #2. Rumson is the only team in finals looking for their first championship.

No need to get on the "why do we play games in between playoff games" bandwagon as I have in the past. But until this archaic New Jersey playoff system is changed, we must deal with Thanksgiving Day games. Here is a closer look at some of the contests played this past week:

Brick Memorial and Lacey started the trend that I think more schools will go to in the future; that is play 9 straight games(no Thanksgiving game) and then go into the playoffs. Of course, if they did not make the playoffs, their season would have been over on November 12th. The athletes who play winter sports would have had 2 weeks to rest their bodies and prepare for basketball, wrestling, winter track and any other activity they play. A no-brainer right? Well that's not the way New Jersey looks at it. Change the system once and for all. Instead we play 2 rounds of playoffs and then most of the time, meaningless games, before we resume the playoffs and play a final round. Sure, there are games which are important(Manasquan-Wall, Marlboro-Manalapan), which there were championships to be won. But those games could have been played during the season and perhaps Wall, Manasquan and Manalapan, which all lost in the semi-finals, could have had "full" concentration on the playoffs. Now I'm not saying that was the reason why they lost in the States, but you never know.

Everyone else playing this weekend, with the exception of Rumson, got by with their traditional games. Neptune(6-4) took care of Asbury Park(5-5) in a game which saw the Bishops previous coach(Don Sofilkanich), play against them as Neptunes coach, for the first time. The game ended 31-20 with Junior RB David Gutzmore rushing for 162 yards and 2 TDs. Neptune was plagued with injuries throughout the year or perhaps they would have been playing this week.

Lakewood(3-7) won 3 of it's last 4 to finish Warren Wolf's first year on an up-note. Now the question arises again, whether Warren has coached his last game. He stated in the paper, "he would like to come back for another year". We shall see. The game with Toms River South(0-10) concluded a year which the Indians would like to forget as soon as possible. It was 1963 when the Indians were last win less(before split it was Toms River HS). That's 47 years of mostly winning seasons for South. Ron Signorino Sr came to TR in 1964(1-8) and then went on to have a legendary coaching career there, in 2 terms at the school.

Middletown South(9-2) took care of cross-town rival Middletown North(2-8), by a 20-7 score, while Manalapan wrapped up sole possesion of A-North title with a 47-20 beating of Marlboro. In that contest, Josh Firkser scored 5 more TDs to add to his record breaking offensive year. You can take it to the bank--"Player of the Year" awards will follow. Rumson(8-3) played all their starters against RBC(8-2), but it wasn't enough, as they went down 40-14. The Casey's conclude an outstanding year, even though they were knocked out of State play in round 1.

How about RB Matt McClain of Pinelands. In their 30-28 loss to Barnegat on Turkey Day, Matt ran for 330 yards and 4 TDs. Matt's numbers were all the chart this year, as Pinelands finished 5-5 for the year. Barnegat completes a 6-5 year and their first winning record in the 5 years the school has been open. It also concludes the career of QB Nick SanGiacomo and his outstanding receiver Mike DeTroia. Nick is on his way to Tulane University to continue his football career.

Matawan(11-0) jumped all over SJ Vianney and cruised to a 42-7 score. That was the 1/2 score and despite the somewhat "heat" Joe Martucci and the Huskies took after the Manasquan game, the starters were out of this one early, and the Huskies played the entire second half with back-ups. Classy move Joe, as you get the Huskies ready for Rumson in CJ-2 finals at Rutgers.

Took in the Jackson Memorial-Jackson Liberty game on Wednesday night. In this one, won by Memorial 20-13, I saw what could have been the best hit I have seen all year. It was Memorial's junior cornerback Jimmy Celidonio who hit receiver Jon Morgan, from Liberty, in the backfield creating a fumble, which was picked up by Mike Lopez who fell into the endzone for the game deciding TD. Memorial finishes 6-4, while Liberty was 4-6 this year.

Red Bank(4-6) concludes a nice year for the Nick Giglio led Bucs. Last year the Bucs won 2 games, this year 4, so the improvement in the program is clearly evident. Congratulations to RB Jahmer Bunch who ran for 187 yards and 2 TDs to help give the Bucs their first win over Long Branch(4-6) since 2003. Long Branch, who played the second half without QB Miles Schuler(thigh injury), now must replace one of the best players in the shore in Schuler.

TR North(7-3) beat TR East 24-6 on Turkey Day and ends the career of QB Demetri Davis of North. Davis had himself a great 2010, as he scored twice and threw for one in the easy win. Davis rushed for 100 yards or more in every game this year and his play in the secondary may just get him a spot on the all-shore team. The Mariners were obviously disappointed in not making the playoffs, but the development of the 2010 Mariners was a good coaching job by Chip LaBarca Jr and the rest of his staff.

In a game which we did live on the Shore Sports Network, Manasquan defeated Wall 21-16, to win the C-Central title. The Warriors trailed in this one 10-0 at the half. That's when things got a little wacky. Manasquan took the opening kickoff of the second half and scored in a few plays on a 17 yard run by game MVP Tariq Turner. Then things really got crazy, as 300 lb Jack Cuttrell picked up a loose fumble and ran 51 yards, with sprinters speed into the endzone, and Manasquan had a 14-10 lead, they would never relinquish. Squan's 3rd TD was a 21 yard HB option pass thrown by Tariq Turner which Manasquan's Bryan Abadrabro took away from Wall's Richie Bomenblit. That one iced the game for Manasquan. We have been a part of this game for many years, and it's so refreshing to see two coaching staffs who actually like and respect each other and truely convey that feeling both before and after the game. Great job by both programs, and a special thank you to Head Coaches Chris Barnes and Pete Cahill, for showing everyone how programs should be run. There are many great coaches in the State, none are any better than these two.

Top Ten-Week 13:

1-Matawan(11-0)- The Huskies look to complete back to back CJ-2 championship seasons and their 6th overall. Sat at Kean University vs. Rumson at 3PM.

2-Lacey(11-0)- The Lions look for their 4th title and an undefeated season when they take on Delsea at home on Sat at 1PM.

3-Middletown South(9-2)- The Eagles have 9 titles and look for #10 on Sat at Rutgers vs. Freehold Boro at 1PM.

4-Brick Memorial(9-2)- The Stangs are playing in their 3 straight finals and look for championship #3 at Rutgers on Sat. at 7PM vs Sayrville.

5-Freehold Boro(9-2)- The Colonials are the Shore's "hottest" team, having won 9 straight. They play a tough program and team in Middletown South on Sat at Rutgers at 1PM.

6-RBC(8-2)- The Caseys concluded their outstanding year with a 40-14 win vs. Rumson. RB Andrew Casten is the leader of RBC and one of the top RB in the Shore.

7-Manalapan(8-3)- The Braves will not play for a title, but the 2010 season certainly will be remembered. RB Josh Firsker and QB Mike Bimonte finished their career with a A-North championship.

8-Manasquan(9-2)- Squan won the C-Central with a 20-13 win over Wall on Thanksgiving morning.

9-Shore(10-1)- Shore's only lost was to #8 Squan(7-6). The Blue Deils play at Rutgers at 10AM vs. a tough Dunellen squad.

10-Rumson(8-3)-Have a tough one against the #1 team in my top ten. Next up- Matawan at Kean University at 3PM Sat.

Just missed:

TR North(7-3)-Tough losses to Brick Mem., Manalapan and a bad loss to Howell hurt the Mariners this year.

Keyport(8-3)- Great year for the Red Raiders. Lost to Shore twice.

Wall(7-4)- Played Manasquan and Freehold Boro tough.

Enjoy Championship weekend--hope to see you at Rutgers. Shore Sports Network will broadcast the Brick Memorial vs. Sayreville gane at 7PM Saturday night.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Weekend of 11/19 + 11/20

Scanning the High School Football scene with Ed Sarluca:

It was a banner day for the shore conference which sets them up for multiple championships on the weekend of Dec 3rd and 4th,2010. Led by 2009 champ Matawan, who disposed of Manasquan on Sat. night by a 26-14 score, the shore will have 7 schools alive on that weekend. Lacey also took care of business in SJ 3, with a 34-14 pasting of Winslow Twp. Mid South had some anxious moments but held on to a 21-13 victory over Hamilton West, while Brick Memorial shut out their 4th opponent of the year in a 37-0 rout of previously 8-1 North Brunswick, in CJ Group 4 The Stangs will play in their 3rd finals in a row, and 5th in the last 7 years, on Sat night(7PM) at Rutgers. Rumson, a 36-0 winner over Carteret, has the task of taking on Matawan in the CJ 2 finals. That one will be played at Kean University on Sat afternoon(3PM). Freehold, won perhaps the best game of the weekend, by edging Wall 20-14. The Colonials will match up with Mid South in CJ 3. Shore Reg looks to be a big favorite in CJ 1coming off their 31-7 victory over the Red Raiders from Keyport. It was the second time the Blue Devils beat them this year. So with 2 all-shore match-ups(CJ 2 and 3) we are guaranteed to have at least 2 winners. We had 2 last year(Asbury Park and Matawan).

Here are the dates, times and places for the finals involving shore conference teams:

Sat-Dec 4th at Kean University: 3PM start Rumson at Matawan(CJ 2)

Sat-Dec 4th at Rutgers University: 10AM- Shore vs Dunellen(CJ 1)

1PM- Freehold Boro at Mid South(CJ 3)

7PM- Sayreville vs Brick Memorial(CJ 4)

Sat-Dec 4th at Lacey Twp.: 1PM- Delsea vs Lacey(SJ 3)

Here's a list of titles won by these participates followed by over-all all time State winners:

Mid South--9




Brick Memorial--2


Freehold Boro--1



Most State Titles:

1. St. Joseph of Hammonton (19)
2. Pope John (18)
3. Paulsboro (16)
4. St. Joseph of Montvale (14)
5. Bergen Catholic (13)
6. Manasquan (11)
7. Union (10)
8. (tie) Delsea (9)
8. (tie) Don Bosco Prep (9)
8. (tie) Middletown South (9)
8. (tie) South River (9)

Lets look at last weeks game:

Matawan(10-0) was a one man show on Sat. night. It was their main man, Jared Allison, who completely dominated a game which Manasquan(8-2) would have won, if not for Allison. It was a battle of stars, as Squan's Tariq Turner(181 yds/2 TDs), also put on a show for all to see. All Mr. Allison did was run a punt back 84 yards, run one in from 25 yards and finally to win it, he had a spectacular 92 yard TD run. Turner had 2 TDs of 58 and 15 yards to go with his 181 yards. I was on the fence whether to go to this one, as I attended the Freehold Boro, Wall game in the afternoon, but am I glad I did. Turner has me believing he is an all-shore RB, and Allison must be on that team in some capacity. Maybe not the QB, but there are other positions to slot him. Matawan now plays SJ Vianney(4-5) at 1PM on Sat. afternoon, while Squan will have another big one with Wall(7-3), on Thanksgiving morning, at home. These 2 will play for the C-Central title. Manasquan wins it outright with a "W", Wall ties with a win.

Lacey(11-0) used 247 running yards and another 46 through the air, to easily beat Winslow(6-4), 34-14. Craig Ciccardo Jr(96 yds./2TDs) and Jake Dabal(84 yds./1TD) led the Lions on the ground, as they now shoot for their 4th title in their history. In this one, the Lions faced University of Pitt QB recruit Bill Belton(31 for 45/281 yds./2TDs), and did a pretty nice job against him. Lacey will face Delsea at home on Dec 4th at 1PM.

Brick Memorial(9-2) again exerted a defense that has carried them all year. Their 4th shut-out of the year produced 5 turnovers(3 int. and 2 fumbles) over, what was the 20th in the State, 8-1, North Brunswick Raiders. The difference Friday night was the Mustang offense came to play also. QB Mike DiGuilmi(83 rushing yds./3TDs) ran the Stang option attack to perfection as the Stangs rolled up 304 yards rushing. Soph RB Anthony Miller(112 yds./1 TD) also had a big game for Brick Mem. They will face Sayreville (10-1) on Sat. Dec 4th, 7PM at Rutgers.

In other action, Mid South(8-2) struggled somewhat, but beat Hamilton West(7-3) 21-13. The Eagles used RBs Andrew Suarez and Kyle Bunge for 293 yards and 3 TDs, but fumbled twice and threw an int. to keep this one close. This will be 3 straight final appearances for the Eagles, as they look for their 10th title.

Rumson(8-2) of all the teams still left, has the toughest of assignments on Turkey Day weekend, as they face a angry RBC(7-2) team. They must focus on this one before they worry about Matawan on championship weekend. They cruised to a 36-0 victory, as QB Mike Villapiano ran for 119 yds and threw 2 TD passes , to lead the Bulldogs. This one was so dominate that Rumson ran 40 plays in the first half to Carteret's 14. Villapiano was also 16 for 21/161 yds. and 2 TDs, passing.

Shore Reg(9-1) must focus on Point Beach in a Thanksgiving Day game and then look to Dunellen HS in the finals at Rutgers University. A 31-7 win over Keyport(8-3) got the Blue Devils into the finals. It was the second time this season they have defeated the Red Raiders.

Freehold( 8-2) won their 8th straight game with their 20-13 win over Wall. It was the Colonial defense who won this one, as they held Wall running game to 28 yards, and Wall's outstanding passing game to 88 yards. When you put up numbers like that you usually win football games, but that was not the case Sat. Wall hung with Freehold, despite the 259 yds. rushing Freehold had and the 70 yds. passing, but 3 interceptions kept it close, until Freeholds Sterry Codrington ran one in from 61 yds. for the winning score. Codrington ran for 150 yards on the afternoon. Short turn-around for the Colonials, as they play Wed night at Freehold Twp., before the Mid South final.

Manalapan's lost to Sayreville surprised most shore observers, but the Bombers used a 99 yd. interception return against Mike Bimonte, to turn the complextion of their semi-final contest and win it 32-20. Manalapan(7-3) was going in for a 14-2 lead, when the pick occurred and the Braves never recovered. Manalapan now plays Marlboro for the outright A-North title. A loss will tie them with Mid South assuming they beat Mid North on Turkey Day.
Josh Fiskser was held to 70 yards, the first time under a hundred all year. Bimonte did throw for 293 yds. in the losing effort.

Barnegat(5-5) got bombed early and often down in West Deptford. It was ugly in the 56-7 loss. Barnegat needs a victory over Pinelands for winning record in 2010. It also concludes outstanding careers of Nick San Giacomo and Mike DeTroia. SanGiacomo was picked 5 times(2 returned for TDs) on Friday down in Deptford. None the less, he has had a record setting career for the Bengals.

Week 12 top Ten:

1-Matawan(10-0) The huskies won a tough one vs. Manasquan and find themselves in the CJ 2 final for the second year in a row. Next up- SJ Vianney on Sat at Matawan 1PM

2-Lacey(11-0)-Would have been a popular choice down south to move Lacey to #1, but I'll wait and see what happens in the finals. Next up-Delsea in SJ 3 final.

3-Middletown South(8-2)-The Eagles looking for title #10 in CJ 3. Next up Mid North on Turkey Day at the Lions home field.

4-Brick Memorial(9-2)-The Mustangs stingy defense could be the best in the shore! Next up Sayreville at Rutgers in CJ 4 final.

5-Freehold Boro(8-2)-Beat Wall to get the CJ 3 final. Must come back on a short turn around against rival freehold Twp. on Wed night on the road.

6-RBC(7-2)-The Caseys will have a chance against a playoff finalist in Rumson on Thanksgiving Day at Rumson.

7-Manalapn(7-3)-The Braves season will end on Turkey Day against Marlboro. It's not the ending they were looking for.

8-Manasquan(8-2)-Will not get a chance to win title #12 this year. They gave Matawan all they could handle on Sat night. Next up Wall on Turkey Day at home. WOBM radio broadcast at 10:45am.

9-Rumson(8-2) Impressive win vs. Carteret gets them the #9 spot. RBC travels to Rumson on Thanksgiving Day.

10-Shore(9-1) Another impressive win vs. Keyport to get them to Rutgers for a shot at the CJ 1 title. Next up Point Beach at Beach Thanksgiving morning.

Just outside looking in:

Wall(7-3)-A big chance at redemption vs. Manasquan and a piece of C-Central title.
TR North(6-3)-A season of what could have been. Demetri Davis concludes an outstanding senior year.
Keyport(8-3)-An 8 win season for the Mike Ciccotelli led Red Raiders.
Howell(5-4)-Junior QB Ryan Davies has set numerous records this year for the Rebels.

Some of the more interesting games over Thanksgiving weekend:

TR South(0-9) vs Lakewood(2-7)- Piners looking for 3rd win for Warren Wolf, after winning 0 last year.

RBC(7-2) at Rumson(8-2)-Interesting in the fact that Rumson has another to play. remember a few years back when Rumson was in same position??

Asbury Park(5-4) at Neptune(5-4)-Don Sofilkanich faces his old team.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Weekend of 11/12 + 11/13

Scanning the H.S. Football Scene with Ed Sarluca:

The first round of the 2010 football State tournament is now history and the shore community can be proud of the 12-6 record the winners put up in round 1. The fact that 3 games involved all-shore match-ups, makes the 12-6 record look even stronger. Led by 2009 Group 2 winner Matawan, the shore will be well represented in the semi-final round. Central 4 has Manalapan and Brick Memorial in opposite brackets, so there is a chance one will make it to the finals. Central 3, has perennial participate and winner, in Middletown South still remaining. The bottom of the Central 3 bracket will be an all-shore match, between 2 teams that have both won 7 straight games--Wall and Freehold Boro. Something has to break here. Central 2, besides Matawan, has Rumson in the opposite side, also contending for a title. Matawan, will now take on Manasquan, who held on, in a wild 33-32 victory over Roselle. The health of Manasquan's outstanding RB Tariq Turner(injured in win), has allot to do with who wins that contest. Central 1 has a rematch which matches Shore and Keyport. Shore easily beat Keyport(40-14), in week 2. South Jersey Group 3 has Lacey, as a solid favorite to go the distance and win it all. South 2 took the biggest hit this past weekend, losing Point Boro and Manchester, but upstart Barnegat hung on for a 29-28 victory to advance. It was the first playoff win ever for the 5 year old program. With round 1 played in perfect weather, who knows what lies ahead for the remaining 12 looking for a State title. Get out to a game this coming weekend, you won't be disappointed.

Here's a list you want to be on:

Championships won and finals played in: 2010 participants.

Manasquan 11 championships 16 finals

Middletown South 9 championships 16 finals

Keyport 6 championships 11 finals

Shore Reg. 4 championships 7 finals

Matawan 4 championships 6 finals

Wall 3 championships 4 finals

Lacey 3 championships 7 finals

Brick Memorial 2 championships 4 finals

Freehold Boro 1 championship 2 finals

Rumson 0 championships 3 finals

Manalapan 0 championships 1 finals

Barnegat 0 championships 0 finals

Lets take a closer look at round 1 games:

Matawan(9-0), in a game I personally saw, used the many weapons they have, and easily beat Monmouth 34-6. QB Jared Allison, RBs Cassius Williams, Keith Beaty, and McArthur Underwood, WR Terry Rodriquez and Austin Davis are just some of the names that come up big each and every week. Yes, Matawan has much offensive fire power, to hurt you any where on the field. Offense sells the tickets, but its the defense that will win a championship for the Huskies. Inside linebacker Andre Hodge is the leader of the Huskie "D", which also has John Faccas and Joe Urciuoli, as well as many of the offensive stars doubling up on defense. Lets give some credit to Monmouth, who was making it's second trip to the playoffs, for playing the Huskies tough and moving the ball at times. Scott Satcher, AJ Visconti and Ty Hester(46 yd. TD run) provided the Falcons with some chances, but not enough to beat the Huskies. Matawan vs Manasquan(full staff in attendance), next week on Saturday night-6PM.

Lacey(10-0) won despite not having a great offensive day. Timber Creek(5-4) gave the Lions a scare in the first half, as they limited Lacey to little yardage, and only 1 first down until the final 30 seconds, when Lacey scored to take a 10-6 lead into the locker-room. The Lions drove nearly 70 yards to score on a Craig Ciccardo to Cameron Blackwell 14-yard TD pass. That clearly deflated Timber Creek as they headed to the locker-room half time break. They were not the same team in half #2, as Lacey shut down their offense and used fumbles and defensive opportunities to seize control and win it 27-6. The Lacey offense must play better this week if they are to advance to the finals. The good news is, Lacey has home games, as long as they play and could win it in their own backyard. Next up is Winslow Twp., another dangerous team of skill players.

In Central 4, Manalapan(7-2) had a "Firsker Family Party" in their 49-14 romp of Howell. Brothers Josh(215 yds. rushing/4 TDs) and Anthony(threw a 23 yd.TD pass/caught a 46 yd.TD pass) had a night that the family will long remember. Remember back just a few weeks ago, Manalapn put up 54 points against Howell in a regular A-North game, and now 49 more(103 total) and you have some remarkable numbers. The 103 total points, in 2 weeks, are more points than Middletown North, Freehold Twp., Toms River South, Mater Dei, and Keansburg have scored in "all" their games this year! That's how impressive the offense has been. Josh Firsker(1769 yds./22 TDs) has become the front-runner for "Offensive Player of the Year" Meanwhile the defense held Ryan Davies to just 2 TD passes(32 on year), as he continues his outstanding junior year. Manalapn now get top seeded Sayreville in the semi's. Expect the Firsker family to show up.

As good a year as Firsker has had offensively, Brick Memorial's NT, Will Wowkanyn, has been just as dominate on the defensive side. Keeping in mind that Wowkanyn is a nose tackle, his numbers are also off the chart. 13 sacks, 60 total tackles, 30 behind the line of scrimmage, numerous forced fumbles, and so many pressures on the QB, that the Stang stats lost count. He is the leader of a Mustang defense that has limited opponents to 64 points(6 1/2 per game) and has the Stangs in the semi-finals for the 3rd consecutive year and 5th time in the last 7 years. Just enough offense provided Brick Mem. to stay in the game, until the defense took over in the 4th quarter. Mike Acquaviva made 2 big catches,(one for a 27 yd. TD) and also picked off one of two interceptions by the Stangs, to take home our player of the game award. Logan Smith picked off the second pass and returned it for a 55 yd. TD to ice it for the Mustangs. Next up is #3 seed North Brunswick, a 36-33 winner over Pennsauken, at home on Friday night. The Shore Sports Network will broadcast that game on 105.7 the "Hawk" at 6:45pm Friday.

Shore Reg(8-1) took care of Highland Park 35-6, for the second time this year(42-25 earlier this year). Mark Coleman(229 yds./2TDs) led a punishing ground attack(417 yds.) and the Blue Devils easily advance to the semi's and will take on another team they have already beaten--Keyport. Shore beat Keyport 40-14 in week 2 of regular season. Standing with Keyport head coach Mike Ciccotelli, on the sidelines of the Freehold Neptune game on Sat afternoon, he told me this rematch will be a different football game. Mike was there supporting his little brother Mark, as he led his Colonial team to a victory over Neptune. Meanwhile back to Shore, can anyone stop this Delaware wing-T offense, that Shore runs so well? Keyport will be the next test

Middletown South(7-2) got their starting QB Scott Meeker back full time just in time for the playoffs. While Meeker was hurt, Howie Brey filled in nicely, until he was hurt in the Lacey game last week. It's hard to believe that Mid South has not won a championship since 2006, and Meeker did his part Friday night at the "swamp" to change that. He threw 2 TD passes on a 8 for 11/143 yd. night, as the Eagles built a 35-0 lead going to locker-room at halftime. Andrew Suarez, Kyle Bunge and Tim McArdle shared the RB carries and it looks like the Eagles are in good position to win another title. With Wall playing Freehold in the other side, we are guaranteed to have at least 1 participant in Central 3. I'm betting it will be an all-shore final with the Eagles.

Congrats to Danny George(Long Branch), who won his 100th game as a head coach. Most of the(84) have come as the head man at LB.

How about the "young" head coach at Lakewwod(2-7), Warren Wolf, who helped the Piners win 2 of the last 3. With winless TR South(0-9) on Turkey Day, 3 wins look like a real possibility for the Piners. Every time Coach Wolf takes the sidelines in the last game of any season, you think about the possibility of it being the last time he coaches a high school football team. We all have been blessed to watch a legend tend to his players year in and year out. Coach, if you decide to hang the whistle up after 2010, we all would understand the decision. It has been a career that every coach, that has coached a game, at any level, envies. After Thanksgiving morning Coach will sit back, have some diner with family, watch some football, talk to his wife and friends, and make a decision on 2011.

Rumson(7-2) got a break after their hard fought 42-13 win on Friday night, when they learned that North Plainfield had been upset and that meant Rumson would be home for their semi-final game vs. Carteret. It's rare when a team has to travel in round 1 and then gets a home game in round 2. QB Mike Villapiano has been the spark to the offense this year and again he was the main man Friday against Ewing(8-2). He ran for 89 yds., which included TDs of 77 yds. and 8 yds., and threw for 77 yds. The offense has jelled in the last few weeks, just in time for a run here at the title. I liked head coach Shane Fallon's comments after the game about playing bigger schools during the regular season, getting them ready for the playoffs. How true that statement is.

Congrats to Central Reg(1-8) for getting their first win of 2010. A 22-20 victory over Highland Reg was the result of Kalyph Hardy running for 301 yards. Hardy has now run for 1545 yards on the year.

Top Ten-week11:

1-Matawan(9-0)- The Huskies deserve the top spot this week, coming off their 34-6 win over Monmouth Reg. in first round of CJ 2 playoffs. Jared Allison moves slowly back to the huddle after each snap, but when it's snapped, it's 100 MPH for Allison and the rest of the Huskies. Squan comes calling Sat night at 6pm.

2-Lacey(10-0)- The Lions got a little scare in the first half vs. Timber Creek, but straighted things out in the locker room at halftime, and cruised to a 27-6 win. Next up Winslow in semi-finals on Sat. afternoon.

3-Middletown South(7-2)- The Eagles playing at the "swamp" is always a tough task! Steinert found that out early as they fell behind 35-0 at the half. Scott Meeker's older brother won 4 championships while he played at South, Scott looks to put one more in the Meeker household in 2010. Next up is Hamilton West on Friday night at the "swamp".

4-Brick Memorial(8-2)- The Stangs used their veracious "D" to turn around a close game and revenge the loss to East Brunswick in last years finals in CJ 4. The Stangs face a tough opponent in North Brunswick, if they are to play in their 3rd consecutive State Final. They get them at home on Friday night. The "Hawk"(105.7) and the Shore Sports Network will broadcast this one at 6:45PM.

5-Manalapan(7-2)- What more could you say about Josh Firsker. He has owned 2010 in the shore conference, and now he takes his game to top seeded Sayreville. Manalapan is looking to win their first State Championship.

6- Freehold Boro(7-2)- 2 wins(regular season and 1st round of States), against always tough Neptune, has given the Colonials a shot at Wall on Sat afternoon in their house. Both teams are coming in with 7 straight wins after 2 losses to open the season. It's amazing how these two teams have mirrored each other. Something has to break on Sat.

7-RBC(7-2)-How much can we penalize RBC in the rankings for a loss to a team that may just beat some bad college teams. Bergen Catholic's 65-34 victory was a classic shootout with the Crusaders scoring 30 points in the 4th quarter to win it going away. The Caseys are a top ten team and will stay in the bottom 5, only because their quest for a title is history. RBC closes out season against semi-finalist Rumson, scheduled for Wednesday night Nov 24th, at 7PM. If Rumson makes the finals in CJ 2, that game may get moved to later in week.

8-Manasquan(8-1)- The Warriors are playing well at the right time, but they needed a little luck on Sat against Roselle to advance to the semi-finals in CJ 2. Roselle(6-3) had missed 2 extra points earlier in the game, and after they scored what could have been the tying TD, to send it into OT, with 0.5 seconds left, they decided to go for the win and a 2-point conversion. Well the Squan defense rose to the occasion and stopped them to preserve the win. Perhaps the Warriors most pressing question will be the health of star RB Tariq Turner, who was injured in the 3rd quarter, and was seen on crutches at the end of the game. I feel, if Manasquan has a chance against Matawan, it's with Turner in the backfield and a ball control offense. It's not brain surgery, you must keep the ball away from the Huskie's explosive weapons, and Manasquans excellent running game can do that. If Turner can't go, it falls on RBs Christian Morgan, and Kodie McNamara, as well as QB Tyle Saito.

9-Wall(7-2)- When do we stop asking the question-who has Wall beaten? Well I heard more than one media personnel whisper that question, and I am not one of them. Wall is rolling like no other team, at the right time. Junior QB Steve Cluley has gotten better each week and the Knights have a good shot at Freehold on Sat. They will have to do it on the road, as it's a 7 vs 3 match-up. Look for the Knights to come out flying on Sat. The defense is also getting better after their 0-2 start. The is also a classic coaching match-up with Chris Barnes and Mark Ciccotelli. Might be the best game of weekend.

10-Shore(8-1)- The Blue Devils are the Group 1 small school that gets little respect. All I know is that they have an offense that has scored 344 points(38/game) and given up only 79(8 1/2/game). Those are big numbers for any size school. Here's the problem for Shore. They are in a bracket with teams that they have beaten already. Highland Park was one, and now Keyport is another. You know what they say--it's always tough to beat a team twice in the same season. Standing with Keyport Head Coach Mike Ciccotelli on the Freehold sideline on Sat. watching the Neptune, Freehold Boro game, he guaranteed me it would be a different game this time around. Now, he didn't say the Red Raiders would win, only that things will be different.

Just outside looking in:

Rumson(7-2) Good enough to be in top ten--not enough spots. Win one more your in.

TR North(6-3) Best team not in playoffs. The Mariners, I feel, are better than at least 5 teams in the SJ 4 playoffs.

Keyport(7-2)They have their second shot at Shore this week in semi's.They lost to Shore 40-14 in week 2.

Barnegat(6-3) They got a break on Sat. when Lower Cape May missed a short field goal(23 yds.) to win it in the waning minutes of their 29-28 victory. It was the first playoff win in Barnegat history. Congrats to Rob Davis who is in his 5th year as the Bengal coach. They take another ride to #1 seed West Deptford on Friday night.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Weekend 11/6 + 11/7/10

Scanning the High School Football scene with Ed Sarluca:

This is what you play for, a chance to win a State Championship. It's unofficial, until Monday morning when the NJSIAA will make it official, but it looks like 18 teams from the shore conference will play in this years State Tournament. The group is led by defending champ Matawan in CJ Group 2, and they are heavy favorites to do it again. Manasquan stands in the way of the Huskies and another title. The two could meet in the semi-finals. Rumson, also has a nice chance to make some noise in the bottom bracket of that group. Mid South, in CJ Group 3, is another top seed and will look for another trophy to put in their case. Brick Memorial, in CJ Group 4, will look for their 3rd title and try to make their 3rd straight final. A couple of teams, Point Boro and Barnegat, lost this weekend and still managed to get into the SJ Group 2 race. Boro as a #8 seed and Barnegat as a #5 seed. CJ Group 3 has Freehold Boro, Wall and Neptune to go with Mid South, so that group has a good chance to have a shore champ. Shore Reg. is the top seed in CJ Group 1, and have already beaten 2 of the teams in the bracket. Lacey, in SJ Group 3, looks to be a heavy favorite, especially after the very convincing 27-7 victory over Middletown South this past weekend.

Howell got into the CJ Group 4 playoffs with a 14-7 win over Brick Memorial. The bad news is that their #5 seed gets them a rematch with #4 seed Manalapan in week 1. Manalapan defeated Howell 54-27 earlier this year. The winner of that one will probably get #1 seed Sayreville on the road, if Sayreville defeats Rancocus Vally in round 1. Monmouth(CJ Group 3), Keyport(CJ Group 1), and RBC(Non-Public-4), round out the 18 schools who have made it. In the heartbreak category, TR North(1 point) and TR East(2 points) each missed the SJ Group 4 picture. North's fate was decided by a heartbreaking loss to Manalapan in the wanning seconds of their game, as RB Josh Firsker caught a 80 yard TD pass from QB Mike Bimonte to win it 28-24. East lost to RBC 28-0 on Saturday. To further complicate matters in SJ Group 4, Mainland had to forfeit all their wins this year, due to an ineligible player. This helped the #8 seed Absagami gain a berth. Without that decision, North is in.

You want winners: How about finals? Winners will come in a few weeks. These groups involve shore teams. Finals in all, except South Jersey, will be played at Meadowlands, or Rutgers.

CJ Group 1---Shore vs New Egypt

CJ Group 2---Matawan vs Rumson

CJ Group 3---Middletown South vs Wall

CJ Group 4---Brick Memorial vs Manalapan

SJ Group 3---Lacey vs Delsea

SJ Group 2---West Deptford vs Willingboro

Non-Public Group 4---Don Bosco vs Bergen Catholic

Lets look at last weeks key games:

Lacey(9-0) had a statement game as they easily defeated Mid South(6-2), 27-7. The Lions dominated this one,while knocking out a few Eagles along the way. Howie Brey(Eagle QB) went down early(2nd play) in the 2nd half. Scott Meeker had to finish up, Scott is returning from a previous injury, and still is not quite 100%. Lacey used a balanced attack with Jake Dabal, Jarod Molzon and Craig Ciccardo each playing very well. The Lacey defense held the Eagle offense to 55 yards rushing and forced 3 turnovers. Lacey led 27-0 at the end of 3 quarters. Lacey has made a serious case for #1 in the shore, but I'm going to keep Matawan there for at least another week.

Howells(5-3) 14-7 victory over Brick Memorial(7-2) got them into the playoffs. It's always tough for a team that's fate has already been decided, to play a big game. That was the case with Brick Mem., who was playing their 9th game of the season(only 8 count towards playoffs). Howell needed the win, and played better on this day, and held off a 4th quarter rally by the Mustangs. These two have played some memorable games in the last few years and Sat afternoon was no exception. QB Ryan Davies, of Howell, withstood the pressure of Will Wowkanyn and the Mustang "D" to get the victory. Howell now gets a chance to avenge a 54-27 loss to Manalapan earlier in the year, in round 1 of the playoffs.

Neptune(5-3) beat Colts Neck(1-7) 15-14 in 2 overtime sessions, to make it into the playoffs

Monmouth Reg.(4-4) broke a 4 game losing streak with their 26-14 win over Red Bank(3-5). This win gets Monmouth into the playoffs.

Manchester's(5-3) 14-13 win over Point Boro(4-4) got them into the playoffs, while Boro also made it as the #8 seed, despite the loss

Wall(6-2) now has won 6 in a row, and is one of the hot teams in the shore. They get a #7 seed in CJ 3, but the Knights are better than that. Keep and eye on them.

Brick(3-6) won their 3rd game of the season with a 19-7 victory over JFK Iselin. The Dragons have kept it together in Pat Dowlings second year.

Congrats to Mike Smith and the Jackson Jags(4-4) who have evened up their record after a 46-6 victory over Freehold Twp.

Rumson(6-2) knocked Asbury Park(5-3) out of a chance to make a run at 4 State titles in a row, with their 35-7 pasting of the Bishops. There are many teams in CJ 1 happy to see the Bishops outside looking in, as they can beat anyone in that bracket, on any given day.

Week 10 Top Ten:

1-Matawan(8-0)- They sit atop the shore and have a chance to repeat in CJ 2.

2-Lacey(9-0)- The Lions could be 1"B", its that close. Any slip up by Huskies, in playoffs, can vault them to top spot.

3-RBC(7-1)- Only loss was to Freehold Boro 26-25 in OT earlier in year.

4-Middletown South(6-2)- The Eagles have losses to Manalapan(35-25) and Lacey(27-7). I'll keep them ahead of the Braves, because of the 15-8 loss to Jackson(4-4).

5-Brick Memorial(7-2)- The Stangs try to make their 3 finals in a row in CJ4, and 5th in last 7 years. They have 2 titles. Wins against Manalapan and TR North were big. Losses to Mid South(13-3) and Howell(14-7).

6-Manalapn(6-2)-The Braves hold victories over Mid South and Howell and TR North, but lost to Jackson(4-4). You can exchange any of the 4-5-6 teams and get no argument from anyone.

7-Freehold Boro(6-2)-Have won 6 in a row and are a hot team entering plyoffs in CJ 3. Loses are to Matawan(22-2) and Monmouth(27-19).

8-Manasquan(7-1)-The Warriors have cruised along after a 24-18 loss to Raritan(4-4) in week 2.

9-Wall(6-2)-6 wins in a row since losing their first 2 of season. They will play Manasquan on Turkey Day for C-Central title

10- Howell(5-3)-You have to put the Rebels in the top ten, because they have wins vs. Brick Memorial(7-2) and TR North(5-3)

Just outside top ten:

Shore(7-1) The Blue Devils could very well be a top ten team by the end of year.

Rumson(6-2) The Bulldogs may make Matawan sweat in CJ 2.

Manchester(5-3) The Hawks made theri second playoffs in school history.

Keyport(6-2) The Red Raiders are a different team that lost to Shore in week 1.

TR North(5-3) You have to feel for the Mariners, who missed playoffs by a fluke ruling in SJ 4.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Weekend of 10/29-10/30

Scanning the High School Football scene with Ed Sarluca-Week 9:

The Top Ten:

1-Matawan(7-0)- Off a bye week the Huskies remain up top despite a big win from #2 Lacey(8-0) over Neptune(4-3). Matawan comes back with a winless New Brunswick team, so they should make it 8-0 and get a top seed in CJ Group 2 and defend their State title they won last year.

2-Lacey(8-0)- Lacey won easily at Neptune(38-0), which really opened allot of eyes around the shore. They now have a monster game at home vs. 6-1 Mid South. having already played 8 games(max allowed before State cutoff) they have already secured the top spot in SJ Group 3. Mid South could get huge power points with a win, not to mention, a move up the poll to the #2 spot, assuming Matawan wins.

3-Middletown South(6-1)-The Eagles demolished Brick,41-6, to move up a spot, as Manalapan(#3 last week), lost to Brick Memorial. The Eagles could really make a statement with a win vs Lacey this week, but it won't be easy. They would like to wrap up a top seed and get at least 2 home games in CJ Group 3, with the finals played at a neutral site(more than likely Rutgers University).

4-Brick Memorial(7-1)-Huge win for the Mustangs over Manalapan by a 21-7 score. Manalapan's all-shore RB, Josh Firsker, was held in check defensively, and the Stangs used a ground control offense with a timely 46 yard TD pass to Jordan Lodice from QB Mike DiGuilmi to win it and secure a #1 or 2 seed in CJ Group 4. the Stangs have completed their schedule as far as the playoffs are concerned. They will play at Howell(4-3) on Friday night, in a game that means so much to the Rebels, as they look for a spot in the same bracket. Will Wowkanyn continues to be a monster on defense for Brick Memorial and he again played outstanding against the Braves. The Mustangs have played in 2 straight finals in that group, winning in 2008 and losing last year in the snow-storm at the College of New Jersey to East Brunswick.

5-RBC(6-1)-The Caseys are rolling at a good time of the year! They easily beat Ocean Twp 33-0 and now focus on TR East(4-3) from the A-South. East needs the game badly to qualify for SJ Group 4 playoffs, while RBC is looking for a good seed in Non-Public group 4.

6-Freehold Boro(5-2)-Not an easy victory for the Colonials when they have to go into OT to beat a 1-6 Colts Neck team, but that's what happen. Freehold has Mon Don(2-5) this week as they go for 6 in a row, after starting out 0-2.

7-Manalapan(5-2)-Could the season be in jeopardy for the Braves after the 21-7 loss to Brick Memorial. They now face a very good TR North team who are coming off a bye and have had 2 weeks to prepare for them.

8-Manasquan(6-1)-The Warriors took care of Holmdel 20-7 and now focus on Colts Neck, who despite being 1-6, have played everyone very tough.

9-TR North(5-2)-Tough one for Mariners, as they face an angry Manalapan team. Both teams need the win to qualify for States; somebody's going home a loser, and very disappointed.

10-Wall(5-2)- The Knights make their way into the top ten for the first time, on the heels of their 49-0 shutout of TR South. That's 5 in a row for Wall, who play a 4-3 Colonia team this week, as they look for a better seed in CJ Group 3.

Just outside looking in:

Shore Reg.(6-1)-looks like #1 seed for the Blue Devils.

Asbury Park(5-2)- Looking for a rematch with Shore in CJ Group 1. Play a 1-7 Metuchen team this week.

Manchester(4-3)-Fighting for a playoff berth, as is Point Boro(4-3) this week. The 2 face each other. Winner has a shot, loser goes home.

Rumson(5-2)-Have won 3 in a row, to fight back into playoff picture. It won't be an easy one this week as they face the Bishops of Asbury Park.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Weekend of 10/22 & 10/23

Scanning the High School Football scene with Ed Sarluca:

The Shore Conference has 7 divisions and you play for a championship in each. This year the powers that be went back to the traditional A, B, C, divisions that had been changed a few years back after 9/11.

We have played 7 weeks of football and we now have begun to crown champions. This week, Brick Memorial(A-South) and Lacey(B-South), won out-right championships. Matawan(A-Central) and Manalapan(A-North) have clinched at least a tie, and just need to win their remaining game to win their divisions out-right. Manalapan need to beat a 2-4 Marlboro, and Matawan needs to defeat 3-3 St John Vianney. Both of those games will take place after 2 rounds of the State championship have been played. That's a story for another day, so don't get me started on that archaic scenario. Lets take a closer look at the 2 teams that have claimed their championships.

Lacey(7-0) and currently #2 in Shore) easily defeated winless Central 42-6. Playing without one of their key play-makers in Jarrod Malzon, who is nursing an ankle injury, the Lions used a blocked punt by Dave Vieira, which he himself returned for a 46 yd. TD, to take a 14-6 lead and they never looked back. Ironically, Molzon just last week, blocked a TR East field goal and returned it for a TD, in hard fought victory over the Raiders. QB Craig Cicardo leads the Lions offense along with RB Jake Dabal and Malzon, when he's healthy, and they were at the top of their game Friday night as Lacey took the title home. Cicardo threw for 3 TDs and Dabal ran for 2 scores to put the game away. Lacey leads this intense rivalry 22-7. Lacey now begins a 2 game regular season stretch which will test the Lions and their #2 ranking. They get Neptune and Middletown South before they start their South Jersey Group 3 title run. Only the first 8 games count toward playoff calculations, so the Mid South game will have no bearing on Lacey's playoff numbers.

The other big game was Brick Memorial's(6-1) exciting win over TR North(5-2) by a 14-10 final score. The Mustangs used a 5 yard TD run by QB Mike DiGuilmi with 4:19 left in regulation time, to take the 14-10 lead, and then hung on as the Mariners would not die. Demetri Davis, who was great all night, led North down the field and they had a chance to win it, but the Stang defense held on a 4th down pass attempt, to clinch the victory. The Memorial defense, co-ordinated by Pete Brennan, has been great all year; and Friday night, against a very good North offense, they played another great game. Led by nose guard Will Wowkanyn, who is a very real defensive player of the year candidate, DTs Russ Clayton and Rich Kuhn, a LB crew of Jarred Eccles, Vincenco Diodato, Matt Hoffman, and Logan Smith, secondary players like Shane Panuska, Ray Contrucci and Tom Tressito, and Mike Acquaviva, this is a defense which is one of the best at the shore. They are in the middle of a 4 game stretch that includes upcoming games against Manalapan and Howell. Last week they lost to Middletown South, 13-3. The Stangs are looking to get to their 3rd Central Jersey Group 4 Championship game final in a row. They have 2 CJ Group 4 championships, the last one in 2008.

Congrats to Coach Steve Sciarappa and his Mater Dei Prep team, who won their first game of the year, a 7-6 victory over Point Beach. It was their first win over a shore conference team in almost 4 years! An apparent tipped block of a Beach field goal attempt with 10 seconds left, preserved the win for the Seraphs.

Pinelands and Manchester were involved in a 2 overtime shootout on Friday night. Pinelands prevailed 41-40, as Manchester's Joe Johnson, was stopped on a 2-point attempt, on the 1 yard line in OT #2. This game featured two of the premier backs in the shore this year: Matt McLain of Pinelands and Joe Johnson of the Hawks. McLain, in the victory, ran for 236 yards and 2 TDs, while Johnson ran for 357 yards and 3 TDs. The two backs combined for 66 carries on the night. Pinelands WR Jacob Hartman caught 2 TD passes from QB Mike Keller, to help on offense. McLain now has a school single season record of 1533 yards, with at least 4 games still to play. Johnson, a junior, has 1091 yards on the year, as the Hawks and Pinelands both look to make a run in the playoffs.

Manalapan used RB Josh Firkser early and often in their 54-27 pasting of Howell. Firkser ran for 317 yards and 7 TDs(both school records), as the Braves clinched, at least a tie, for the A-North title. The Braves only have to defeat Marlboro on Turkey week to win it outright. The Braves rolled up 430 yards on offense, while holding Howell to (-36) yards rushing and limiting star QB Ryan Davies to 3 TD passes. Davies, now has 29 TD passes on the year as he looks to shatter all the passing records in the shore conference, for a single season. The Braves get a shot at the top team in A-South, as they travel to Brick Memorial on Friday night.

Wall(4-2), made it 4 in a row as they shut down Mon Don 33-6. Wall was efficient on the ground, with 276 yards, and controlled this one from start to finish. The Knights are on a collision course, with Manasquan, on Turkey Day,for the C-Central title.

Speaking of Manasquan, RB Tariq Turner, returned from an ankle injury, and ran for 290 yards and scored TDs on runs of 72, 65, and 83 yds. That gives Turner 1035 yards on the year to go with his 12 TDs. Manasquan(5-1) plays at Holmdel and home against winless Lakewood, before the playoff cutoff date. Looks like another run at a title for the Big Blue Warriors.

Rumson(5-2) is playing very well now, and won 21-20 vs. Raritan this past weekend. The Bulldogs had to rally with 2 second half TDs to win this one, and make it 3 wins in a row. QB Mike Villapiano, who had 3 turnovers in the first half, played much better in half number 2 and led them to the victory. RB Conner Riley had the game winner(26 yds.), at the 3:41 mark of the 4th quarter, and kicker Ben Albainy's extra point gave them the win. Bye week for the Bulldogs, and then a big non-conference match-up with Asbury Park, on playoff cutoff week.

Bad loss for Keyport(5-2) against Carteret--31-28. The Red Raiders were in good shape in CJ Group 1, now with the loss, they must sweat it out. They have a bye week and then face a 3-4 Highland Park team that Shore Reg. beat, 42-25, this past week. 6-2 will give them a shot in the playoffs.

With Mater Dei winning, the winless teams has shrunk to 4. Lakewood, Keansburg, Central and TR South have yet to taste victory in 2010. Central plays at Lakewood this week, so that number gets reduced by 1 this week.

Top Ten-week 8:

1-Matawan(7-0)- Clinched A-Central title with their 49-14 win over Holmdel.

2-Lacey(7-0)-Won B-South title with their 42-6 beating of Central.

3-Manalapan(5-1)-Clinched a tie in A-North, with their 54-27 victory over Howell. Play at Brick Memorial Friday night.

4-Middletown South(5-1)-Was idle this week, return with non-conference game against Brick, and then in 2 weeks, play Lacey, in a huge non-conference game.

5-Brick Memorial(6-1)-Won A-South title with a hard fought 14-10 victory over rival TR North. Homecoming night Friday night as they host Manalapan.

6- Freehold Boro(4-2)-A deserving bye week for Freehold as they come back with Colts Neck this week.

7-RBC(5-1)-A little more convincing win vs. Monmouth(48-6). Was this was the real Casey team?

8-Manasquan(5-1)- I am a believer of the Warriors and Tariq Turner. At Holmdel this week.

9-Neptune(4-2)-Nice win vs. Ocean by a 33-21 score. Charlie Davis continues to lead the Fliers.

10-TR North(5-2)- I know Howell beat North on opening night, but the Mariners get my #10 spot over the Rebels, because I think they are playing much better at this point of the season.

Just missed Top Ten:

Shore( 5-1) Continue, what could be, an outstanding season.

Howell(4-3) Still a dangerous team.

Wall(4-2) Have won 4 in a row, and are rolling.

Rumson(5-2) Have won 3 in a row.

Barnegat(4-2) Have righted the cage after facing Matawan and Lacey in back to back weeks.

Pinelands(4-2) Huge win vs. Manchester in double OT. RB Matt McLain is one of top stories of year.