Ryan Wydra @schoops1
The 2015 Football season is approaching fast. We are now almost 24 hours away from the opening kickoff in the Shore Conference. Two games are on the schedule for tomorrow night. Defending Class B South Champion Central will head down the parkway to face an always tough Southern team, and Donovan Catholic will take on Pinelands. Wildcats Head Coach Brian Wilkinson will look to take the next step in Year 3. Both games will be interesting matchups. NJSR will be right there to bring you all of the action!
For the past month, teams have been slugging it out in training camp. Players have spent the year getting bigger, stronger, and faster. Many returning Seniors are back with something to prove. The Shore features a lot of strong teams with tons of talent.
When it comes to ranking, the first week can always be the toughest. While some teams are returning a lot of starters, there are also a lot of new up and coming players ready to make an impact. Teams will always get better throughout the season. Programs will continue to move up and down the power rankings. This will be a fun process as we begin the season.
SHORE CONFERENCE TOP 10 FOR OPENING WEEK
Until someone knocks off the Central Jersey Group IV Champions, they will hold on to this spot. To be the best, you have to beat the champs. Jackson Memorial returns both 1,000 yard rushers in Mike Gawlik and Vinny Lee. Junior Dan Barker steps into the Quarterback position and has looked really sharp in camp. Defensively, Middle Linebacker Adante Davis and Cornerback Kyle Johnson are playmakers that fly around the ball. While new starters will have to step up on the offensive and defensive lines, this is a really solid group. They will be tough to beat every week. NEXT GAME – 9/11 vs Jackson Liberty
2 – RED BANK CATHOLIC – Last Week: Unranked
With Quarterback Eddie Hahn set to miss time with a torn miniscus, Colin Shaughnessy is all set to make his first start against Long Branch. Shaughnessy is in a good spot with offensive lineman like Liam Smith and Ryan Oneidas to protect him. Dylan Murphy and Mike Wilen will also be two players to watch for RBC on both sides of the ball. This team is loaded with playmakers which will be great for Shaughnessy. The Caseys will start the 2015 campaign looking to regain that No 1 ranking in the Shore. The team will also have another division title in mind. NEXT GAME – 9/11 at Long Branch
For the past 5 years, the Braves have set the tone in Class A North. Coach Gurrieri has always run a hard nosed program with really tough kids. This year, Gurrieri returns one of the best offensive lines in the State. While Manalapan has a lot of younger players at the skill positions, this line will stabilize everything and make the team very competitive. Look for Reily Radosevich and Joe Sellmeyer to make an impact on both sides of the ball. Senior Running Back Marcus Salinas is also in for a big year. Watch out for both Naim Mayfield and Symir Blacknall. Both of these youngsters have a lot of potential. Manalapan will push for another A North Title. NEXT GAME – 9/11 vs Marlboro
You could just feel the excitement in the air at Eagles Camp this year! The Eagles have several starters returning on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Matt Mosquera and Running Back Cole Rogers are both coming off great seasons. Linebacker Dylan Rogers had one of the most dominating defensive performances in the State Final. He is one of the best defensive players in the State. This is a group of kids that have worked hard the entire offseason and are extremely focused. Middletown South will be a real challenge for Manalapan to repeat as A North Champions. The Eagles may climb even further in the rankings as the season goes on. NEXT GAME – 9/11 At South Brunswick
5 – TOMS RIVER NORTH – Last Week: Unranked
For the past two years, Head Coach Dave Oiserwitz has been working with many of these kids. The majority of this team all got their first taste of varsity action as Freshman and Sophomores. Now the kids have grown up! Quarterback Mike Husni has become one of the best signal callers in the Shore. Asante Moorer, Bryce Watts, and Darian Carrington give Husni a lot of options at the skill positions. Senior Captains Luke Butera and Tim Petersen bring a lot of toughness and experience to the offensive and defensive lines. The Mariners have looked impressive all Summer. They are coming off a great showing in the scrimmage against St John Vianney. Look for the Mariners to be a real threat in Class A South. This team is very talented. NEXT GAME – 9/12 At Lacey
6 – ST JOHN VIANNEY – Last Week: Unranked
This has been an eventful Summer for the Lancers, but the team has been coming together in a great way. Quarterback Anthony Brown has been on fire. Brown is coming off a season with over 2,000 yards passing is ready for another huge year! The receiving core of Michael Stapert, Marque Ellington, Khalil Haskins, and Jeff Sheard will provide plenty of weapons for the Lancers offense. Calvin Beaty and Tyler Tedeschi are athletic linebackers who will lead the defense. Both Beaty and Tedeschi are strong against the run and in coverage. The pieces are in place for a successful year. SJV will be in for a challenge on opening day as they face defending Central Jersey Group III Champion Matawan. NEXT GAME – 9/12 vs Matawan
Head Coach Bryan Batchler has to be excited about all the talent on this roster. Offensively they lose the best running back in school history after graduating Charlie Volker, but Matt Vecchiarelli has been very impressive in camp. The team also features dual threat Junior Quarterback Michael O’Connor who is coming off an outstanding 2014 season. Linebackers Max Pfrang and Mike Ruane will lead the defense. Both linebackers are instinctive and phenomenal tacklers. The Bulldogs will be looking to win their third straight sectional title. They will also look to give St John Vianney a serious challenge in the Class A Central division. Next Game 9/18 vs Matawan
8 – MATAWAN – Last Week: Unranked
Matawan is loaded and ready for a tremendous season. The Huskies will look to defend their Central Jersey Group III Title . Sophomore Quarterback George “LC” Pearson is one of the most exciting players at the Shore. Pearson stepped in as a freshman and threw for nearly 2,000 yards. Pearson will have some great targets with Aliem Shaw and Shawn Ramcheran. However, the team will have to replace leading receiver Dejohn Rogers who transferred to Paramus Catholic. Matawan will begin the season with two pivotal games. The Huskies will open up with SJV, and then take on RFH the following week. The team will have every opportunity to climb up the power rankings.
9 – BRICK MEMORIAL – Last Week: Unranked
The Mustangs are on pace to have a big year. Quarterback Tim Santiago now has a year of experience in this system. He has looked tremendous throwing the ball in camp. Santiago also brings that dual threat to run. Matt Cuppari and Mike Kraft will be excellent targets on the outside. Cuppari is a multi threat athlete who is also the teams’ place kicker. The Mustangs also have a lot of experience on their offensive and defensive lines. Mike and Anthony Nobile will provide leadership there. The team will look for a different result when facing Brick Twp in the opener. You can always expect a huge crowd for the Brick Bowl. Next Game 9/12 at Brick Twp
New Head Coach Len Zdanowicz will make his debut on the sideline as the Dragons take on their cross town rival in Brick Memorial. For many people who thought Brick was rebuilding, that is clearly not the case. Senior Captains Alex Trapasso and Tyler Collono will lead the offensive line and be the primary blockers for Quarterback Tom Zbranak. Zbranak has plenty of weapons with Jay Obenauer and Joe Sclafani in the backfield. Jasir’ Taylor and Javion Harris will make up one of the best receiving cores in the league. Defensively, Cory Wilson and Dan Finelli will be a huge force. Both players are coming off tremendous seasons in 2014. Look for the Dragons to make a serious run in Class A South. NEXT GAME – 9/12 vs Brick Memorial.
Looking To Break Into The Top 10: (Central Regional, Barnegat, Southern Regional, Freehold Boro, Ocean Twp, Lakewood).