Can you believe that we are already headed to Week 2? It feels like yesterday we were only starting training camps. Now we are right in the middle of the action. The Fall always brings a tremendous amount of excitement. There is nothing like football in the State of New Jersey. This is one of the main reasons why I would not want to live in any other State!
Many teams are still trying to establish themselves at this point. While the top 10 gives the Shore a very good idea about who the real horses are, teams still have plenty of time to get better. Nothing is written in stone. The postseason brackets will not be decided until Week 8.
After following Shore Conference football for the past 21 years, I have truly seen it all. Time after time again, we will have a team that rises from the ashes. I’ve seen teams start 0-2, then rip off 6 wins in a row. I’ve also seen teams with 3 wins get into the postseason by accumulating tons of power points. A few victories over a Group 4-5 powerhouse can do the trick!
There are plenty of storylines to be excited about in Week 2. The division races are wide open. Veterans are leading the way, while younger players are adjusting to the Varsity level. Let’s look at what is in store for Week 2.
Shore Conference fans are looking forward to the return of this phenomenal Quarterback. Eddie is always a lot of fun to watch on the field. He brings such a high energy level to the Red Bank Catholic huddle. His leadership skills are truly one of a kind.
After missing the first game and most of the preseason with a torn minuscus, you know Eddie is itching to get back on the field. This is a huge element of the Red Bank Catholic offense. With Eddie on the field, teams always have to account for where he is. Defenses cannot sell out on Murphy or Wilen running the ball. There is always that threat of Eddie keeping it, and going off down the sideline.
Add in the Quarterback’s passing ability, and he really brings the whole package to the Caseys offense. Head Coach Jim Portela knows how to utilize Hahn’s strengths to the best of the teams’ ability.
This will remain a gametime decision. Coach Portela will decide whether Hahn will be under Center. If not, Colin Shaughnessy will make his second start. Shaughnessy played very well against Long Branch in the first game.
The Caseys will head to St. Joseph’s Metuchen for a Non-Conference battle. This is the third of several SC-GMC crossover games in 2015. Expect Red Bank Catholic to make some big plays.
THE CLASS A CENTRAL WAR IS REALLY HEATING UP
We knew it was going to be a three team race in Class A Central. St John Vianney, Rumson Fair Haven, and Matawan were all the preseason favorites to make noise in that division. St John Vianney took the first game against Matawan. Anthony Brown was electric as usual, passing for 265 yards.
We also saw the birth of a possible Shore Conference star in the making. Jake Burlew proved that he can be a serious asset to this Matawan team. Burlew rushed for two touchdowns in place of Starting Quarterback George Pearson. With Pearson out until further notice, Burlew will get the ball. The Matawan Huskies will ride and die with him under Center.
This leads up to an outstanding Class A Central matchup on Friday Night. Jake Burlew and the Matawan Huskies will travel to Rumson Fair Haven. You know the Bulldogs are anxious to get on the field. No one ever wants to get the bye in the first week. Bryan Batchler’s team were watching from the sideline during Week 1.
Rumson Fair Haven will begin their quest for a third straight Central Jersey Group II Championship. Quarterback Michael O’Connor is coming off a spectacular season. Running Back Matt Vecchiarelli will start in place of graduated superstar Charlie Volker. Defensively, Max Pfrang and Mike Ruane will lead a solid group of linebackers. Both LB’s are big time tacklers who can blow up opposing plays in a flash!
This will be a solid football game. Both teams have dual threat quarterbacks that can really make things happen. You know defensively, Bryan Batchler is going to throw a lot of different looks at Burlew. The Rumson defense will really challenge Burlew’s decision making. Last year, this was a unit that shutdown plenty of opponents.
We will also see how Matawan will account for Michael O’Connor and all of his weapons. Six foot six Wide Receiver Elijah McCallister is a matchup nightmare. McCallister will cause lots of problems for Matawan.
If you want to see a hard nosed, smash mouth football game, Rumson Fair Haven is the place to be. The Bulldogs are looking to start the season on a positive note. The Huskies are looking to respond after a tough loss to St John Vianney.
CAN THE BRICK MEMORIAL MUSTANGS BOUNCE BACK IN CLASS A SOUTH?
Last week was a tough one for Brick Memorial, losing 36-6 to arch rival Brick Twp. The Mustangs simply could not get anything going offensively. Quarterback Tim Santiago was held to 42 yards rushing. Brick Memorial did not hit the end zone until the 4th Quarter. The team also turned the ball over three times.
However, let me tell you this. Do not sleep on the Brick Memorial Mustangs. This is a solid program with a lot of history. Head Coach Walt Currie has been in this position before. He knows how to motivate the players to make something out of the season.
Remember that Brick Memorial started last season with a 42-0 loss. After that, they managed to rip off 6 straight wins. They also qualified for a South Jersey Group V playoff berth, losing to eventual champion Cherokee in the first round.
Brick Memorial will host a very good Toms River North team. Toms River North is a heavy favorite to push Jackson Memorial for the division crown. Quarterback Mike Husni is the real deal, and very tough to stop. He is protected by a very strong offensive line. The Mariners are also loaded at the skill positions with Asante Moorer, Bryce Watts, and Darian Carrington. This team can put a lot of points on the board.
I expect this to be a very physical game from the start. Brick Memorial will show up ready to defend their home turf. The Mustangs offensive and defensive lines will be ready to battle. Both Mike and Anthony Nobile are very strong in the trenches. You can also bet that Tim Santiago will have a good performance at Quarterback.
Last year this was an epic battle that came down to a Field Goal in overtime. Matt Cuppari booted a 47 yard field goal to give the Mustangs a 16-14 win. Defensively, it was a struggle the entire way. Could the kicking game be a factor on Friday? This will be an outstanding game.
Overall, we know Class A South is always a dogfight. This division is what I like to call, “The War At The Shore”. If you want to see some great football, follow all of these teams. Jackson Memorial is in the top spot for now, but you can bet that everyone wants a shot at them!
CLASS B SOUTH IS AN INTERESTING RACE
Last week, we saw Amir Tyler and the Lakewood Piners make a statement. The Piners held off a very good Central Regional team, winning 40-34. The Lakewood offense can really go. Tyler rushed 19 times for 119 yards and three scores. He also added a defensive touchdown with an interception return.
Quarterback Zyare Jones is also quite the weapon for the Piners. Jones is really living up to his potential, throwing for a touchdown in the air, and scoring on the ground. This was a huge victory to put Lakewood out in front in Class B South. They will set the tone for now.
Barnegat will go into a Week 2 War with Central Regional. Head Coach Rob Davis has built a stellar program, taking the Bengals to two Sectional Championship Games. The Bengals may have lost some key players to graduation, but they have reloaded at several positions.
Paul Wickwire had a fantastic performance in a 24-15 win over Manchester. Wickwire carried the ball 14 times for 132 yards and a touchdown. Wickwire really shows off that tremendous speed. Josh Bowen was a big force, chipping in with 54 yards and a score.
Central will look to attack the Bengals with the combination of Quarterback Mike Miserendino and Running Back Mike Bickford. Bickford is the workhorse that gains all the tough yards. Miserendino is a serious dual threat who can make a ton of plays. Both will be ready to keep the Eagles within striking distance of the B South crown.
The Pt Pleasant Boro Panthers are another team to keep your eye on. Quarterback Noah Husak is an outstanding player, and can lead this offense to great heights. Devin Connelly and Mike Waddleton are great weapons for Husak. The Panthers will look to play spoiler. They will challenge Lakewood, Central, and Barnegat.
Of course, NJSR will have all the Week 2 action for you. We will be on the field from Rumson as the Bulldogs host the Matawan Huskies. We will also have updates from other games around the league. Keep up with the scoreboard on our home page, and follow Ryan Wydra on twitter at @schoops1, and Jim Rosa at @jimrosa519 for all the information you need.