Ryan Wydra @schoops1
The Jackson Memorial Jaguars had one of the most special seasons in 2014. What began as a season with tremendous optimism, could not have ended any better for this program. There are so many different ways to highlight the season for Jackson Memorial. The team started out on fire, rolling to a 4-0 start. The winning streak was finally broken after losing a 30-24 heartbreaker to division rival Brick in overtime. From this point on, the Jaguars could have gone two different ways. Would the team rally together and fight, or would the difficult loss set them back? Well this team not only decided to respond, but they did it in a huge way! The Jaguars would fight and rally around one another. The chemistry of this team was like no other. Jackson Memorial went on to get one of the biggest wins in school history. The team defeated the Red Bank Catholic Caseys, officially ending their 40 game winning streak against Shore Conference competition. “Being able to come out there and defeat a program like Red Bank Catholic really helped give us the momentum that we needed to make our run in the State Tournament” added Jackson Memorial Head Coach Walt Krystopik. The Jaguars would roll through the state playoffs, avenging their only loss to Brick with a 44-0 slashing. “We came out ready to fight and knew what we had to do to get the victory”. added Krystopik again. The Jaguars ultimately cruised to an 11-1 record and defeated Middletown South 21-18 to win the Central Jersey Group IV Championship. This was the fourth state title in school history. Walt Krystopik was named the Shore Conference Coach Of the Year. The rest is history! Now the question is, how will the Jaguars respond in 2015 with their title defense?
JACKSON MEMORIAL SEASON PREVIEW
Head Coach: Walt Krystopik (fifth year) 30-13
2014 Record: 11-1 CJ Group IV Champions
Key Returns: Mike Gawlik (JR RB/DB) Vinny Lee ( SR RB/DB) Dan Barker ( JR QB) Kyle Johnson (SR WR/DB) Kyle Lona (SR WR/DB) Adante Davis ( SR TE/LB) Tyler Towns (SR TE/DE) Jared Calhoun (OLB) Chris Mondello ( SR C/DT) Austin Ostrander (SR OL/DL) Dylan Smith (SR OL/DL)
Key Losses: Joe DeMaio (QB/DB) Matt Castronuova (WR/DB) Tyler Rauch (OL/DL) Glenn Kiplia (OL/DL) Aaron Curet ( WR/DB) Zach Tetro (LB) Brad Greenway (LB) Brody Graham (TE/DE) Cole Collins (T/MLB) Nick Shimonovich (DT)
Junior Quarterback Dan Barker will get the ball to lead this Jackson Memorial offense in 2015. Barker is the man set to replace three year starter Joe DeMaio. DeMaio threw for 1079 yards, and had 13 total touchdowns in 2014. The young quarterback has great size at 6’1″ and 200lbs. He has a rocket of an arm, and good pocket awareness on the field.
Dan Barker is already off to a great start in training camp. He is doing a great job reading the defense, and hitting receivers in stride. The QB was putting on a passing clinic yesterday, finding Wide Receiver Kyle Lona for a 40 yard touchdown in the back of the end zone. He is getting more and more comfortable with each and every practice. Barker did miss the majority of the 2014 season with an injury, but he is fully recovered and ready to take charge in 2015.
Sophomore AJ Tolmachewich will be the backup to Barker. Tolmachewich came off the bench and threw a touchdown pass in limited action last year. Tolmachewich is a good leader in the huddle, and can provide good insurance for this Jaguars team.
The amount of weapons within this Jackson Memorial offense would be any quarterback’s dream. This is a team with some of the best backs and receivers in the state. These are players who will not drop many passes. This wlll allow the Jaguars to put a lot of points on the board. Dan Barker will have every opportunity to get off to a great start. The Jackson Memorial passing game will not miss a beat in 2015.
Every Jackson Memorial fan has to be excited about the backfield that is coming back. In 2014, the Jackson Memorial offense had a rushing attack that featured two one thousand yard rushers. What’s crazy about this situation is that the position was a question mark going into 2014 after the graduation of Khani Glover and Ken Bradley. There has always been a lot of depth within the Jackson Memorial program. Coach Krystopik knows how to get the most out of his running backs and it showed throughout the season.
Junior Mike Gawlik, and Senior Vinny Lee will be returning for the 2015 season. Gawlik and Lee were a tremendous part of this teams’ run to the State Championship. They were the best 1-2 punch in the Shore last year. Gawlik led the Jaguars in rushing, averaging 7.3 yards per carry, and finishing with 1165 yards and 21 touchdowns. Lee also put up some of the best numbers in the league. In his Junior Season, he finished with 1065 yards and 15 touchdowns. This was the perfect thunder and lighting combination that the Jaguars needed to control the clock, and get big plays. Jackson Memorial will lean on both of these runners during the season. Expect Gawlik and Lee to be even more effective in 2015.
Fullback Dan Ruddy Jr will be the lead blocker for the running backs. Ruddy will use his power to pave the way for Gawlik and Lee. Ruddy can also be effective in short yardage situations. Sophomore Matt Perillo will look to get into the mix as a backup to Gawlik and Lee. Perillo is another back who can use his speed to his advantage. The Jaguars are in a great situation at the running back position.
You can listen to RB Mike Gawlik as he shares his thoughts on the potential of this team.
Vinny Lee discusses the potential of the team in 2015
The Wide Receivers will be led by Senior Kyle Johnson. Johnson is going into his second year as a full time starter. The Jaguars will count on him to lead this group after graduating superstars Matt Castronuova and Aaron Curet. Johnson finished with 364 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2014. Johnson is a unique talent that can be used in different ways. The Jaguars also ran plays with Johnson throwing the ball on an option pass. Seniors Kyle Lona, and Trevor Louro will also be counted on to step up in a big way. Lona and Louro both saw somel action last year. Lona has really been impressive in camp, catching everything that has been thrown his way. Louro has also been stepping up his game. Both Lona and Louro can use their speed to beat defensive backs down the line. These receivers are also not afraid to go over the middle to make the tough catches. They will need to be full time contributors to keep this group rolling. Junior Joe Miller along with sophomores Zach and Chris Demetro will be counted on to provide depth at this position.
NJSR had a chance to talk to WR Kyle Johnson
The Jaguars also have a lot of talent at the tight end position. Nick Johnson stands at 6’5″ and Tyler Towns is 6’2″. Both will be required to block a lot of the time. When you have running backs like Gawlik and Lee, the tight end will need to help out with the blocking. At the same time, Tyler Towns can also be a threat in the passing game. He is another target that Barker can go to on the field. This definitely adds another element to the Jackson Memorial passing game. The Jaguars know how to put a lot of pressure on opposing defenses. They can create so many mismatches.
The offensive line will look to remain strong after graduating Senior Captain Glenn Kiplia and Tyler Rauch. The Jaguars have always been known for being dominant in the trenches. The big guys were very instrumental in creating therushing attack, paving the way for the running backs throughout the season. Chris Mondello will step up and make the calls for the Jaguars this season. Mondello is very strong and athletic for his size. Mondello is also a very good all around blocker. It is hard for defenders to get past him. Mondello is currently sidelinded by an injury, but will be ready for the start of the season.
Dylan Smith and Austin Ostrander will also be a big part of this group in 2015. Smith is a huge tackle at 6’3″ 290, and will be a matchup nightmare for any player. Joe Hurle, Brandon Guliano, and Chris McEwan will all be in the mix for a starting position. While Jackson Memorial lost a lot to graduation, they still have tremendous depth at these position. This is a great group of offensive lineman that will win the war at the line of scrimmage.
NJSR had a chance to talk to Center Chris Mondello
The defense will once again be a big part of this Jackson Memorial team. Last year, the Jaguars racked up 29 sacks, and 8 interceptions. Losing Zach Tetro to graduation will be challenging for this team. Tetro led the defense with 9 sacks. Senior Captain Adante Davis will man the middle of this defense. The leadership of Davis will be huge for this unit. Davis is coming off a big year with 78 tackles. Davis is a linebacker that is very instinctive. He is very good at anticipating what the opposing offense is going to do. Davis will use his strength to shed blocks and get to the ball carrier. The team will rely on Davis to motivate and rally this squad down the stretch. Adante is all set to have a fantastic year in 2015.
Dan Ruddy Jr is another linebacker who can make things happen on the field. Ruddy knows when to shoot through the gap, and make the play. Ruddy will be very hard to run against this year. Senior Nick Papandrea will also look to be in the mix. Papandrea has been having an impressive camp. Nick will be a big part of the defense. Sophomores Brandon Hirsch and Matt Perillo are also competing for playing time.
Tyler Towns and Austin Ostrander will look to dominate the defensive line. Both defensive ends will be strong against the run and pass this year. Towns is not only strong, but very agile off the edge. He will make life miserable for a lot of quarterbacks this season. Ostrander also gives the Jaguars a weapon on the other side. This will make it tough for any team to run a sweep this year.
Chris Mondello and Dylan Smith will anchor the middle of this defensive line. Both defensive tackles are almost immovable. They will shut down anyone who tries to get through the middle. Good luck to anyone trying to block these two! If this Jaguars defensive line can keep up the high intensity level, teams will have a real hard time scoring. They are going to make things very tough on opposing quarterbacks in Class A South.
Jackson Memorial returns a very tough group of defensive backs. The back end of this defense will definitely limit the big plays this year. The Jaguars did not give up a lot of passing touchdowns in 2014. A strong secondary can lead to a lot of success in this league. Kyle Johnson and Mike Gawlik both return at the defensive back positions. Both were about as shutdown as you could get in the 2014 season. Gawlik was a monster at the strong safety position, finishing with 106 tackles.
Senior Kyle Lona and Junior Joe Miller will also compete for time. Lona is very good at breaking up plays. He knows how to go for the ball when the opportunity is there. Junior Trevor Louro will also have a great year at the cornerback position. Louro can play press coverage, and use his speed to keep opposing receivers from making plays. Louro also has strong vision and awareness. Sophomores Zach and Chris Demetro will also be looking to impress the coaching staff in camp.
Jackson Memorial is already ranked 15th in the State of New Jersey by MaxPreps. This is a loaded roster that is ready for war. The offense can hurt you in so many different ways. It will be tough for opponents to stop the Jackson Memorial passing game. Quarterback Dan Barker has so many weapons to work with. Mike Gawlik, Vinny Lee, and Kyle Johnson will put a lot of points on the board. Kyle Lona and Trevor Louro will also contribute in a major way. Gawlik and Lee are in a great position to duplicate their success from 2014. Johnson will provide a major threat in the passing game.
Defensively the Jaguars are as fundamentally sound as you can get. They can read plays very well, and are phenomenal tacklers. The Jaguars will once again be one of the top defenses at the Shore. If the Jackson Memorial defensive line can dominate the interior, and the linebackers can fill the gaps, this defense will not give up many yards.
Jackson Memorial will head into the season as the favorite. Every opponent will have Jackson week marked on their schedule They are going to see the best from every opponent. However, Coach Krystopik and his staff are no strangers to being in this position. The kids will be mentally and physically prepared to be very successful. Class A South is a very difficult division. It will be tough to win every week against programs like Toms River North, Southern Regional, Brick, and Brick Memorial, but this Jaguars team is more than ready to make a serious run. Look for Jackson Memorial to be a major contender in both Class A South and Central Jersey Group IV.
Ryan Wydra had a chance to talk with Jackson Memorial Head Coach Walt Krystopik about the upcoming season.
JACKSON MEMORIAL SCHEDULE
9/11 vs Jackson Liberty – 7PM
9/18 vs Lacey – 7PM
9/25 at Southern – 630PM
10/2 at Brick – 7PM
10/9 at Toms River North – 7PM
10/16 vs Brick Memorial – 7PM
10/23 vs Toms River South – 7PM
10/30 vs Toms River East – 7PM
11/6 at Red Bank Catholic – 7PM
11/13 State Tournament/Consolation – TBD