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