2017 Shore Conference Football Preview And Predictions By Mike Ready




  1. Saint John Vianney
  2. Manalapan
  3. Mater Dei Prep
  4. Red Bank Catholic
  5. Howell
  6. Rumson-Fair Haven
  7. Long Branch
  8. Toms River North
  9. Manasquan
  10. Brick

Teams on the bubble: Freehold, Brick Memorial, Central, Southern, Pt. Boro, Lakewood and Lacey





MANALAPAN:  *Please see the Braves preview article inside paper for full analysis of this year’s team*

HOWELL: *Please see the Rebels preview article inside paper for full analysis of this year’s team*

FREEHOLD: 2016 record (6-5, 2-4), fourth in Class A North, lost to Brick, 24-23, in CJG IV semifinals – The Colonials return six on defense and six on offense led by All-State quarterback Ashante Worthy, who returns after a record-breaking season which saw him rush for 2,066 yards and 30 TDs on 249 attempts while completing 50-of-98 passes for 838 yards and nine TDs through the air. In Freehold’s 69-56 win over Pennsauken in a NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV first-round game, Worthy set Shore Conference records for touchdowns (10) and rushing yardage (43-465) in a single game. In the semifinal, Worthy brought the Colonials back from a 10-point deficit late in the fourth quarter only to lose on a blocked extra point. Junior WR/DB Matt Krauss is back after a solid sophomore campaign which saw him catch 20 balls for 356 yards and one TD and lead the team with 94 tackles along with two interceptions at strong safety.   Look for senior Jahvonte Hair to have an expanded role this season at wideout and continue his solid play in the defensive backfield. The offensive line returns juniors Zac Wiles (6-3, 260) at center and Alex Verardi (5-7, 240 pounds) at tackle and seniors Dalton Burge (6-6, 300) at tackle and Tyler Bennett at guard. All four will do double duty on the defensive line as well. Senior DE Qua’jon Everett will again be handful to contain after recording nine sacks as a junior. Junior DB/LB/WR Quincy Davis, seniors CB/SB Lucas Staples and OLB Yahson Calhoun, junior OLB/RB Knox Stokes and senior CB/QB Matthew Dasilva return and will be key contributors for the Colonials. Look for the Colonials to have another big year with one of the state’s top players leading the way.

MARLBORO: 2016 record (3-7, 0-6), last in Class A North – The Mustangs took huge steps towards respectability last season and look to build off of last season’s gains. However, they must replace All-Shore running back Carmen Catena but do bring back 1000-yard rusher, senior Jonny Helff (167-1059, 13 TDs), who carried the load when Catena missed time with an injury. Senior quarterback Kyle Moore is back after splitting time behind center a year ago and is a rising star behind center. Moore was 39-of-62 for 527 yards and four TDs and with a year of experience under his belt you can expect a big year out of him. All-Division wide receiver Justin Marcus (52-726, 6 TDs) is back as his main target with Helff being a reliable option out of the backfield for Moore as well. The offensive line returns relatively intact from a year ago with seniors Chris Manginelli (6-5, 250) and Anthony Damato (6-0, 260) and junior Bradley Stanton anchoring the line. All three will play both ways this season to help bolster a defense that was depleted by graduation. Helff (OLB/SS) and Marcus (DB) are returning defensive starters and bring experience and toughness. Marcus was third on the team in tackles with 43 along with one interception. The area of biggest concern for the Mustangs is its defense which gave up 35.1 points per game a year ago. For them to move into the next level that area must be addressed. Eugene Graves (Jr. RB/LB), Josh Larys (Jr. RB/DB) and Allen Volant (So. OL/DL 6-0, 265) are rising underclassmen who the Mustangs feel can step in on defense and help immediately.

FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP: 2016 record (7-3, 4-2), third in Class A North, lost 23-21 to South Brunswick in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group V first round – The Patriots have a ton of holes to fill due to graduation including record-breaking quarterback Charlie Sabbagh, who passed for 2176 yards and 20 TDs and All-Division two-way standouts Adrian Rybaltowski, Anthony Lotti and Max Nowak along with All-Division middle linebacker and leading tackler Mike Ferdinandi. The Patriots will field a better than average defense this fall but will need to rebuild its vaunted “Air Raid” offense. Nick Reardon will take over for Sabbagh under center and a lot of the Patriots’ success this season hinges on just how quickly the junior signal caller can transition into a starting role. Senior WR/DB Kevin Doherty will be counted on heavily this season on both sides of the ball. He’ll head up the secondary at cornerback after leading the team with four interceptions and 39 tackles and should be Reardon’s main target this season. Senior Patrick Laricy returns at cornerback opposite Doherty after picking off three passes and making 39 tackles including 27 solo and he’ll line up at wideout as well after seeing limited time there last season. Seniors Eric Quartey (57 T, 5 TFL, 3 SKS) and Damian Rybaltowski (60 T, 14 TFL, 4 SKS) are sliding off the defensive line into linebacker spots and will anchor the defense and junior Zach Barilka will see an expanded role after a solid sophomore season along with senior Mike Cenname at outside linebacker and at running back. Senior center Jake White (6-0, 280) and junior guard Max Pirozzi  will anchor the offensive line with Pirozzi moving to tackle when the Patriots are on D. Junior Nick Reardon appears to have won the starting quarterback job.

COLTS NECK: 2016 record (4-6, 2-4), fifth in Class A North – The Cougars must find a way to replace last season’s leading rusher, Carmen Catena, who rushed for 1,060 yards and 14 TDs on 188 carries, and its next three top rushers plus find a starting quarterback. But Colts Neck closed out last season with three straight wins to finish 4-6, doubling its win total from 2015, and feel they’re on the road back to respectability.  Seven-year NFL veteran Darian Barnes returns for his third year as head coach and brings  a wealth of experience that his players feed off of. Senior Joey Lombardo, who started the final two games of the season as a junior, will be the starting quarterback in Colts Neck pro-style attack with Mater Dei transfer Alajah Dawson emerging as Lombardo’s top target. Joey Mauriello and Sabur Quddus are competing for Catena’s job at running back with both expected to carry the ball.  Seniors John Prus (52 T, 5 SKS) and Derek Victor (87 T) are back at linebacker for a unit that looks to be the strength of the defense with Quddus and Mauriello heading up the secondary. Senior Scott Wetzel will anchor the offensive and defensive lines with Justin Fruscione at defensive end and senior Chris Harrigan lining up at the opposite end/linebacker spot.

NEPTUNE: 2016 record (3-7, 2-4), sixth in Class A North – Former Trenton and Randolph coach Tarig Holman takes over for Rodney Taylor, who resigned after three seasons to take the athletic director position at Manalapan. Holman was a star defensive back at the University of Iowa and was in the training camp of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Holman inherits senior dual-threat quarterback Chase Fairbanks, who returns to build on a solid junior campaign that saw him throw for 964 yards and 11 TDs with seven interceptions completing 69-for-162 passes with an additional 229 yards and two TDs on 56 carries on the ground. Fairbanks and senior tackle Billy Flood, who will start at defensive end and offensive tackle while anchoring both lines, are the only two returnees who were starters last season.

Running backs Thomas Best, a senior and Isaiah Leeks, a freshman, will be counted on to carry the load at running back while receiver Kevin Mabry looks to be Fairbanks’s top target in the passing game. Holman has assembled a top-notch coaching staff around him to help expedite the rebuilding process. Former Brick and Rutgers offensive tackle Brian Duffy will be Holman’s offensive coordinator and he brought along D. J. Catalano from his Randolph staff to be his defensive coordinator. Holman knows how to turn around a program and although it won’t be this season, it won’t be long before the winning tradition returns to Neptune under his tenure. 



SAINT JOHN VIANNEY:  *Please see the Lancers preview article inside paper for full analysis of this year’s team*

RUMSON-FAIR HAVEN: *Please see the Bulldogs preview article inside paper for full analysis of this year’s team *

MATAWAN: 2016 record (2-8, 1-5), tied for fifth in Class A Central – The Huskies look to be a much improved team in 2017 returning five starters on offense and eight on defense.  Despite losing 1000-yard rusher Derrick Wiley to graduation, the Huskies are confident seniors Devonte Spann (36-203), Abdul Simon (20-62), Jaleel Gopaul (12-45) and junior Devin Williams (7-51) can fill the void at running back with Spann being the front runner for the starting position. Sophomore quarterback Russel Director (68-of-12 for 678 yards, 2 TDs) returns after a year of baptism under fire and should make significant strides this season with a year under his belt and he’ll be asked to do a lot more this season. Both Director and the running game will benefit from the Huskies depth across the offensive line. Seniors Michael Karycinski, Royce Tucker, John Kemp and Alex Caro, juniors Alex Kawka and Bruno Ciaglia and sophomore Amir Coleman Isreal Ruiz will all be in the rotation with most going two ways. Junior 6-3 Noah Colleton and 6-2 David Ogungbenro give the wide receiving corps some size with 6-0 senior Antonio Starniero in the mix as well. Yubir Rojas is penciled in at tight end and goes 6-2. Colleton is at strong safety and Rodriguez at outside linebacker. Williams moves over to middle linebacker on defense where he recorded 37 tackles a year ago and Span slides over to outside linebacker/free safety on defense where he was in on 29 tackles last season and Gopaul doubles at cornerback. Ogungbenro will be at free safety after a solid junior season there and Staniero will be in the linebacker mix after posting 17 tackles a year ago.  

RED BANK REGIONAL: 2016 record (4-6, 3-3), fourth in Class A Central – The Bucs have some holes to fill but return enough talent to be competitive within the division. Senior starting quarterback Stephen Navitsky is back behind center after a solid junior season which saw him gain confidence as the season wore on. Running back Makai Mickens had a breakout freshman campaign and should take off this season. He also returns punts and kicks and doubles as a defensive back. Senior Kevin Weisman had a solid junior season recording 57 tackles from his middle linebacker spot and should double that number this season with junior Colin Chatto also returning at linebacker and promising sophomore Tyquann Crawford steps in giving the Bucs a solid trio at that position grouping. Senior Noah Mcikens – one of the top defensive backs in the Shore at 6-1 – returns and will be joined by his younger brother Makai and  senior Jalen Willis in the defensive backfield. Bruising junior running back Kashaun Turner (6-1, 225) will help in the running game as well as returning to his defensive tackle spot where he excelled last season. Seniors Quran Malloy and Nick Arnone give the Bucs two experienced bookend defensive ends with senior A.J. Annaruma back at defensive tackle and tight end.

RARITAN: 2016 record (6-4, 4-2), third in Class A Central, lost to Lincoln, 38-22, in CJGII first round – The Rockets lost a ton of talent through graduation including All-Division players running back and leading rusher Vito Aleo, starting quarterback Marc Carnivale, leading wide receiver and defensive back Rory Sullivan, OL/DL Matt Thompson, OL Paul Bavaro and second-team All-Shore linebacker Ryan Dickens –now at Lafayette University. However, they do bring back a nucleus of returning players who should help in the transition led by seniors Sean Graves (Sr. 6-4, 270) and Ryan Graves (Sr. OL/DL 6-2, 220) to anchor both lines of scrimmage. Junior RB/WR P.J. Buccine, a power back, slides into Aleo’s starting spot at running back where he’s also a pass catching threat out of the backfield and senior WR/FS Vinnie DiCarlo also returns. Senior Dan VanMeerbeke is looking as the front runner at quarterback after having his moments last season as a backup.


MONMOUTH REGIONAL: 2016 record (2-8, 1-5), tied for fifth in Class A Central –  The Falcons have the potential to make a leap this fall if a few things fall into place with the first being the emergence of senior quarterback Ian Fitzgerald in their multiple offense. He’s looked good in pre-season camp and if he can establish himself as a leader, the Falcons have a chance for their first winning season since 2006. Key returnees include: senior OT/DT Bill Schumacher, junior C/DT Tyler Collins, senior T/C Bradley Pietz, junior WR/DB Eli Rife, senior WR/DB Isaiah Brown, senior WR/DB Devon Johnson, senior OLB/RB Jeremiah Clark, senior MLB/FB Anthony Guarino, senior DT Marcus Hill, senior DE/TE Vicky Voss and junior OLB J.T. Plastoras.  


HOLMDEL: 2016 record (2-8, 1-5), tied for fifth in Class A Central – The Hornets played a lot of underclassmen last season and should see dividends pay off this season. Quarterback Jeff Decicco returns under center and should be more confident in his play after starting as a sophomore. Junior Dean Gallo returns at running back and junior Mack Byrne at wide receiver giving Decicco some familiar faces to work with. Senior Johnny O’Beirne will also lineup in the backfield as well and anchor the defense from his middle linebacker spot. The offensive line returns pretty much intact with senior center John Mackey, junior guard Brandon Saghafi, junior tackle Jack Tedeschi  and junior T/G Austin Fischer all back giving the Hornets a very formidable offensive line. Saghafi at linebacker,  Tedeschi at defensive tackle and Fischer at tackle will play on both sides of the ball. Senior Scott Dupont returns at strong safety and Byrne will be at free safety when the Hornets are on defense.



TOMS RIVER NORTH: 2016 record (11-1, 7-0), Class A South champions, lost in the CJG IV final – The burning question here is how do you replace All-State quarterback Mike Husni? Answer, you don’t. Husni (1977 yards passing with 25 TDs, 1545 rushing yards with 18 TDs) was a once-in-a-generation player. The Mariners also graduated four other first-team All-Shore players and four All-Division selections. Key losses: WR/DB Darrion Carrington, WR/DB Bryce Watts, OL Will Sagarese, LB Pete LaQuaglia, RB Parker Day, OL Matt Malamed, DL Joe Nardoza and DL Cole LaBatch. Key returnees: first-team All-Shore Mickey Maldonado (Sr. QB/SS 5-10, 190), All-Division selection Daryn Blackwell (Sr. RB/LB), Jordan Johnson (Jr. LB 6-1, 235), Bishop Curry (Sr. DB 5-9,185), Brian Schlesinger (Sr. OL 5-11, 265), Ian Briggs (Sr. OLB 5-10, 190), Billy Dowd (Sr. OL 6-4, 285),Tommy Monica (Jr. DL 5-11, 270), Jr. OL Stevon Drew (6-3, 270), Andrew Daniluk (FS/WR 6-1, 175) and Eric Kelly (Sr. FB/DE 6-2, 235). Aside from losing Husni the Mariners’ most glaring needs include replacing most of their skill players and reconstruct their entire offensive line. The quarterback competition is between Maldonado, a stud safety on defense who will also line up at wide receiver, and sophomore Matt Spalletta, who quarterbacked North’s undefeated freshman team last fall and there’s a chance you may see both behind center this fall. Only right guard Bryan Schlesinger (5-11,265) has seen significant varsity time on the offensive line but left tackle Dan Crow (6-2,255), left guards Chris Renda (6-1, 255) and Alex Pedre (5-11, 255), center Billy Dowd (6-4, 290), right tackle Stavon Drew (6-2, 275) and tight end Najae Hallenbeck (6-6, 282) are all big and strong and have the size the Mariners covet on front. It may take some time for them to jell as a unit but they have the potential to be a very solid unit up front.  At 6-2, 240, Blackwell is a beast at running back and hard to bring down. He looks to be the featured back with sophomore Nasir Calhoun getting plenty of reps behind Blackwell. With Maldonado (101 T, 8 TFL) and Briggs (49 T, 2 SKS) leading the way and with Monica and newcomers Najae Hallenbeck (6-6, 283) and C.J. Niedzielki  (5-10, 230) on the defensive line, Toms River North returns enough (six starters) on defense to field a solid –  if not dominant – unit. They may have to rely on that unit until the offense forms its own identity with a host of newcomers but don’t expect that to take too long. Toms River North doesn’t rebuild, it reloads, so look for them to be in the hunt for the wide open Class A South title.

BRICK TOWNSHIP: 2016 record (8-4, 5-2), third in Class A South, lost to Allentown in CJG IV final – The Dragons graduated a strong group of seniors but they never fall too far with their ability to reload and in the end should still be in the mix for a wide open division title and a top 10 finish. Key losses: All-Division picks WR/FS John Prato (second-team All-Shore), DT/T Jack Finelli (third-team All-Shore), LB Dean Helsstowski, RB/DB Ja’Sir Taylor (second-team All-Shore), along with dual-threat QB Anthony Costanza, RB/DB Rahson McCall and OL Liam Poland. Key returnees: third-team All-Shore pick Jimmy Leblo (Jr. WR/QB/SS), Cole Groschel (Jr. CB/WR), Joey Carchio (Jr. RB/LB), Christian Malta (Jr. DE/OG), Cory Englehardt (Jr. DE/TE 6-3, 215), Richie Tallmadge (Jr. RB/LB), Rahim Halk (Sr. OL/DL), Zach Piscope (Jr. OL/DT 5-10, 235), Pat Giesler (Sr. OL/DL 5-10, 260), Josh Garrett (Sr. DE) and Rahmi Halk (Sr. OL/DL 6-4, 285). Leblo and sophomore Anthony Prato are competing for the starting quarterback position. Leblo is the bigger of two at 6-1, 185, and has a ton of game experience including leading the team in tackles with 94. However, the competition looks to go down to the wire and whoever loses out will be a big part of the team somewhere else on the field. Carchio looks to be the featured back with Groschel the top receiving threat after supplying 500 yards of total offense a year ago. The offensive line is massive with three players over 285 pounds. Eight players return on defense led by Leblo, whose four interceptions a year ago were a team high. Englehardt will acnchor the defensive line after recording 56 tackles last season while Groschel, who recorded 60 tackles with three interceptions, joins Leblo back in the secondary. After posting 54 tackles a year ago, Tallmadge returns to head up the linebacker unit. The Green Dragons defense is the strength of the team and could be dominant. They’ll ride that defense until its offense can catch up and make a statement themselves. Look for another big year out of the Green Dragons.

BRICK MEMORIAL: 2016 record (2-8, 1-6), seventh in Class A South – The Mustangs had a down year last season after an eight-year run of qualifying for the NJSIAA playoffs including four appearances in CJG IV championship game. Treating last season as an aberration, the Mustangs look to be much improved this season with a strong nucleus of starters returning and they could be a dark horse for the title it they can get solid play out of their starting quarterback. Key losses: third-team All-Shore OL/DL Justin Szuba, FS Joe Manso, CB Anthony Garcia, OL/DL Tyler Beck, OLB Derek Roberson and OLB Tay’von Ford. Key returnees: All-Division RB/OLB Tony Thorpe, Blaine Netterman (So. FS/HB) , Grant Mckelvey (Sr. WR/LB),  Michael Sullivan (Jr. DE/WR),  Keidon Roettger (Sr. OL/DL),  Joe Castellano (Sr. OL/DL), Willie Garner (Sr. OL/DL), Max Campiofiori (Sr. DL), Justin Hans (Sr. QB/LB), Tyler Gonzalez (Sr. DL), Kyle McBride (Jr. OL/LB) and Jimmy Wrightington (Sr. CB/WR). Thorpe rushed for 2,307 yards and 29 TDs his sophomore and junior seasons and is a workhorse. He’s a lockdown cornerback as well and will be a leader on both sides of the ball. Hans and junior Tyler Sindel have been competing for the starting quarterback job in the Mustangs flexbone offense. Hans, whose 2016 season was cut short by an injury, is a standout linebacker and played some quarterback last season. Sindel has a solid understanding of the offense and is probably a little quicker than Hans. Netterman is only going to get better after a solid junior year that saw him make 76 tackles on defense as well as being a contributor on offense in the running game. Roetiger, Garner and Castellano return as two-way linemen with plenty of experience on both sides of the ball.

CENTRAL REGIONAL: 2016 record (7-2, 6-1), second Class A South – After moving into the Class A South, Central lost only one game in the division (Toms River North) and would’ve qualified for the state playoffs had not three players been thrown out of its 42-0 win over Toms River East leading to their  disqualification. Graduated first-team All-Shore running back Mike Bickford (211-1737-17) was the catalyst behind the Golden Eagles’ resurgence last season and in addition to having to replace Bickford, other key losses include: All-Division selections: TE/DE Denis Corbin, DE Jonathan Matuska, DE Jared Giamo and WR/DB Anthony Holloway. However, Central does return 13 starters and looks capable of competing for the divisional title this season with the Class A South wide open  and the title up for grabs. Key returnees include: Joe Fowler (Jr. QB 6-1, 215), All-Division pick Brandon Voss (Sr. DT/G 6-2, 290), Kavon Chambers (So. RB 5-11, 185) Sr. MLB/FB Ryan Emmets (Sr. MLB/FB), Neil Harrington (Sr. WR/FS), WR Darius Martorano, Jonathan Banks (Sr. DB/WR), Blake Horgan (Sr. TE/OLB 6-2, 230), Troy Warren (Jr. DL), Vance Pelino (Sr. DE), Lino Delgiudice (Sr. MLB 5-8, 180), All-Division pick Jonathan Gonzalez (Sr. SS/RB/WR 5-8,175), Neil Harrington (Sr. FS/WR), Eli Allen (Sr. QB/TE 6-3, 205), Justin Ciaccio (Sr. DT) and Royal Parks (Sr. T/DE). Central’s biggest concern will be replacing Bickford’s 1737 yard rushing and 17 TDs but there are high expectations for Chambers (34-208-1) as he slides into Bickford’s spot in the backfield. Delgiudice and Landon Richardson are expected to carry the rock out of the backfield as well. After a solid sophomore year as starting QB, Fowler (46-of-91 for 722 yards and seven TDs) appears poised for a breakout junior campaign. An athletic defense that gave up only 165 points (No. 1 in Class A South) a year ago returns six starters giving Central a formidable nucleus to build on and should again be a team strength this year. Gonzalez, who led the team in tackles last fall, is the leader of the secondary that returns three of four starters from a year ago. Voss and senior Imre Homoki (6-6, 255) will anchor the defensive line with Horgan and Delgiudice heading up the linebackers. The Golden Eagles return enough talent on both sides of the ball to be a player for the division title and get back to the playoffs after last year’s disappointment.

SOUTHERN REGIONAL:   2016 record (5-5, 4-3), fourth in Class A South, lost in SJG V first round – The Rams rebounded from an 0-3 start and won five of its next six games to qualify for the post season before losing in the opening round. Starting quarterback Sam Cammarato graduated but whoever emerges as the starter this season will be asked to be more of a game manager than a numbers compiler with a trio of running backs returning that combined for 1,560 yards and 17 touchdowns a year ago. Seniors Matt Barnett (607 yards, 8 TDs), Joe Miele (351 yards rush, 6 TDs, 6-102 receiving) and John Dolphin (83-602-3) will provide the Rams with a three-pronged attack that should once again pay dividends. Key losses: Cammarata, DB/WR Deric Vincent, TE/DE Shane Drayton, WR/SS Chris Citarella, LB Dane Walker and FS/WR Matt Bleichner. Key returnees: Miele, Barnett, Dolphin, Vin Miele (Sr. RB/LB/DB), Derek Wilson (LB/TE 5-11, 200), Terrick Grace (Sr. G/DT 6-3, 280), Sean Macgillivray (Jr. C/NG 6-2, 290), Noah Rogers (Sr. OL/DL), Zach Otte (Sr. LB/OL 6-0, 200), Nate Farina (Sr. DL/OL), Zach Hem (Jr. WR/DB 6-2,175), Bill Rolenc (Sr. OL/DL 5-11, 200) and Allen Pcolar (Sr. 6-0, 222).  The Rams could surprise this season and work their way into the mix for the A South title which looks to be wide open. They plan on running the ball down your throat with an experienced offensive line that features Otte, Rolenc, Mike Levine (6-0, 245), David Lowman (6-3, 210), Grace and Pcolar in the rotation with Nate Farina (6-3, 225) and J. T. Cornelius (6-0, 180) at tight end. The defense returns eight starters that allowed 26.1 points per game a year ago but with 6-1, 215 pound Meile back at middle linebacker they expect to be a much improved unit. Meile recorded 56 tackles and a sack last season and will be the quarterback of the defense. His twin brother, Vin, is interchangeable as a linebacker and defensive back and Barnett and Dolphin will head up the secondary. The defensive line is stacked with most of the O-line playing both ways. Hem (25 tackles), Otte (29 tackles) and Wilson (22 tackles, two sacks) join Meile in the linebacker rotation.

JACKSON MEMORIAL: 2016 record (6-5, 3-4), fifth in Class A South, lost in the CJG IV semifinal – It’s a dawn of a new era at Jackson Memorial with the departure of All-State running back/strong safety Mike Gawlik, who re-wrote the Jackson record books rushing for over 4800-career yards with 62 rushing touchdowns. Last season he led the Shore Conference in rushing with 2129 yards and 24 touchdowns. Key losses: Gawlik, All-Division LB Zack Lubertazzi, QB Dan Barker, FS Danny Kellett and WR/CB Trever Louro. Key returnees: second-team All-Shore selection Joe Hurle (Sr. OL/DL 6-2, 275), All-Division pick Chance Benjaman (Jr. TE/LB 6-1, 205), Justin Martin-Culet (Sr. MLB/FB), Antonio Farias (So. OT/DT),  Brandon Hirch (Jr. TE/OLB), Austin Parikh (So.WR/CB/SS), Devin Martinez (Sr. OT/DT 5-11, 260) Leo Shimonovich (Jr. RB/DB  5-11, 175), Matt D’Amore  (Sr. WR/CB),  A.J. Tolmachewich (Sr. CB/QB/K) and Tom Pallone (Sr. FB/LB 5-7, 190). Someone must emerge at the running back and quarterback positions if the Jaguars are to make a run at the title. Tolmachewich logged some time at quarterback as a sophomore and he looks to be the leading candidate to replace Barker with junior John Ghigna and sophomore Lonnie Cevuiski also challenging for time under center.  Shimonovich may be the heir apparent to Gawlick and will get the first crack after impressing in a backup role last season with Pallone at fullback and Martin-Culet and Chris Richardson looking to get some carries as well. Look for D’Amore to have a breakout season after recording three catches for 104 yards, including a 58-yard bomb for a score in the Jaguars’ first-round win in the CJG V playoffs then grabbing a 15-yard scoring toss in their semifinal loss. The 6-2, 275 Hurle will anchor the defensive line with Benjaman heading the linebackers. Tolmachewich, Shimonovich and D’Amore give the secondary some quality experience.

TOMS RIVER SOUTH: 2016 record (2-8, 2-5), sixth in Class A South – The Indians lost their top three tacklers including OL/DL/LB Todd Stueber (132 tackles), MLB Nick Page (103 tackles) and DL Jake Iadevaia (73 tackles), along with OLB/SB Drew Lang, CB/SB Cooper Guzzi , CB/WR Tim Valasquez and RB/WR Zyhare Smith. After going 6-2 on the mound for the Indians, T.J. Scuderi, who was the starting QB as a sophomore, returns to guide the Indians for his senior season. Seniors Nick Florio (OL/DL), Izaiah Guthridge (DE/OT), Andre Knowles, junior Sam Conover (RB/QB/DB) and senior Eric Appignani (DE) will help in the transition, but the Indians could be facing another rebuilding year. Conover can fill multiple needs and will play wherever he’s needed.

TOMS RIVER EAST: 2016 record (0-9, 0-7), last in Class A South – Since 2009 when Toms River East  went 10-1 and won back-to-back division titles, the Raiders have had eight consecutive losing seasons including going wineless last season. Second-year head coach Kyle Sandberg played predominately underclassmen a year ago with an eye on the future and dividends should start paying off with a more experienced group taking the field this season. Senior QB/CB Jake Goodall returns under center with a year under his belt along with a stable of running backs including seniors Evan Otten (RB/FS), Tommy Ferrnate (FB/MLB), Logan Cochran (RB/LB), Louis Gallo IV (SB/CB) and junior Josh Kovalick (RB/CB). Seniors Nick Silvis (WR/FS) and Matt Gannon (TE/DE) were Goodall’s main targets a year ago along with the running backs that did a nice job catching the ball out of the backfield. Other key returnees include: Sr. MLB Pete Wilenta, Sr. OL/DL Trevor Melnyk, Sr. DL Steven Kontogiannis, Sr. OLB/DE Jason Longo, Jr. OLB/RB Anthony Eufemia and Sr. MLB/FB Marc Rothman. Toms River East has a load of experienced players returning, including Otten, who gained All-Division honors. They will be better this season, just how much they improve depends on whether they can put last season in the rear view mirror, move beyond it and accentuate the positives.



RED BANK CATHOLIC: 2016 record (5-5, 3-3), fifth in Class B North, lost in first round Non-Public Group III – Minus a few standouts from a year ago, Red Bank Catholic essentially returns the bulk of its team from last season with a year of experience under its belt. The Caseys find themselves back in the preseason top 10 with a shot at battling for that No.1 spot at year end. Key losses: Justin Noah (OLB), Nasir Darnell (DE), Max Hazzard (WR/DB) Connor Moore (DE/G) and Colin O’Hara. Key returnees: All-Division selections Matt Ansell (Sr. DB/WR 6-2,210), Zac Bair (Sr. RB/LB 5-10,195) and Colgate commit Michael Griggs (Sr. OL/DL 6-4, 275), along with  Steve Lubischer (Jr. QB/DB 6-1, 190), Brandon Lombana (Sr. WR/DB), University of Virginia commit Emmett McNamara (Sr. DE/OL 6-6, 255), Nick Brusca (Sr. RB/LB 5-9, 200), Jaden Key (Jr. WR/DB 6-3, 190), Logan Whelan (Sr. WR/RB/DB 5-8, 175), Kevin Bauman (So. TE/DE 6-4, 225), Steve Cmielewski (Jr. FB/LB 5-11,210), Tahj Berardesco (Sr. CB/WR), Tommy Smith (Jr. OL/DL 6-2, 270), Rich Christie (Sr. OL 6-3, 275)), Harvard commit Connor Smith (Sr. OL/DL 6-5, 270), Alex Sargiss (Sr. OL 6-3, 280), Brandon Dente (Sr.OL/DL 6-2, 255), Charlie Gordinier (So. TE/LB), Gino Tartamella (Jr. LB/TE, 6-2, 215), All-Division punter Ryan O’Hara and sophomore playmaker WR/DB Sean Rossback – a transfer from Ocean Township.  Lubischer began the 2016 season as the starting QB but went down in the first game of the season with an arm injury and was replaced by Tommy Lang, who broke his clavicle in the third game of the season and is no longer on the roster. Lubischer returned for the final three games of last season and finished with 640 yards and six touchdowns and will be behind center when the season starts accompanied by high expectations. Bair (141-1007-5) should take his game to the next level, especially with the massive offensive line in front of him that returns five bodies with starting experience. The defense returns seven starters with starting experience led by Ansell, a third-team All-Shore selection who recorded close to 85 tackles and three interceptions; Tartamella, who recorded 57 tackles as a sophomore and is a vicious hitter; Cmieleski with 43 tackles; McNamara had 40 tackles and 2.5 sacks coming off the edge last season; and Smith from the inside had 51 tackles with 4 TFL. Key (14-349-4) and Lombana (21-399-4) are two wide receivers that should double those numbers this season with Ansell, Whelan, Berardesco and Bauman at tight end all expected to contribute in the passing game.

MANASQUAN: 2016 record (10-2, 4-2), tied for second Class B North, won the CJG II championship – The Warriors won seven of its final eight games to capture the program’s 12th state sectional title with its only loss in that stretch coming against rival Wall on Thanksgiving. Key losses: All-Division selections Ben Barry (OL/DL), Dylan Pacetti OL/DL), Adam Schreck (DE/TE), Jack Mallett (LB) and Damaso Jamie (DB/WR), along with Jerry Maher (QB), Tommy Meyer (OLB/FB), Dan Fiske (G/DE), Jay Ostberg (SS/WR) and Nick Pierro (G/DT). Key returnees: Connor Morgan (Sr. RB), Tommy Antonucci (QB/CB), Canyon Birch (Sr. RB/OLB), James Mele (Sr. SS/FB), James Pendergist (Jr. WR/CB), Evan Hilla (Sr. G/DE), Francis Marshall (RB/SS), Alex Wells (Jr. OL/DL), Art Forman (Jr. OT/DT), Jack Fabean (Jr. MLB/FB) and Mike LaPoint (Jr. LB/RB). The Warriors return one of the top running backs in the Shore in senior Connor Morgan (260-1490-16) and his backfield-mate Birch (111-594-6) giving the Warriors two outstanding running backs to lean on with senior Tommy Antonucci stepping in as the starting quarterback. Antonucci is a tremendous athlete who should transition seamlessly into his new role in offense as the field general. The offensive line will have Hilla, Wells and Formam back to pave the way for Morgan and Birch. The defense lost some key pieces from graduation and will rely on Hilla to anchor the defensive line along with Forman at DT. Birch will head up the linebacking crew with Antonucci and Pendergist at cornerback and Marshall at Strong safety.  Rising sophomore standout Alex Galvin (6-2, 200) should make his presence felt at defensive end and tight end.

LONG BRANCH: 2016 record (2-8, 0-6), last in Class B North – Last season the Green Wave were not as bad as their record indicated and their 27-0 win versus Red Bank in their final game of the season showed just that. With a large number of players returning for Long Branch this fall, look for the Green Wave to turn things around this season after two consecutive losing seasons. This summer they began to show their potential winning the Shore Conference 7-on-7 tournament where they showcased some very talented skill players who will play big roles this season. Key losses: OLB and leading tackler Leo Morabito, DE Xavier Jenkins and leading rusher Keith Cooper. Key returnees: Juwan Wilkins (Sr. QB), T.J. Fosque (WR/DB, 6-4, 170), Kaymar Mimes (Sr. DE/TE, 6-5, 220), Pasa Fields (Sr. WR/DB), Kevin Porch (Jr. WR/DB, 6-2, 170), Billy Levy (Sr. RB/LB Ocean Twp. transfer), Luke Arnold (Jr. LB), Kevin Torch (Sr. DB) J.J. Sherin (So. WR/SS), Marc Dennis (Jr. WR/QB/RB/FS), Shawn Gonzaga (Sr. RB), La’Qym Morris (Jr. RB) and Darrien Cleveland (Sr. OLB). Wilkins had a solid junior year (47-of-87 for 759 yards, nine TDs) behind center a year ago and if his performance in the 7-on-7 tournament was an indication of things to come, Wilkins could be heading for a monster year. He’ll have his three top receivers and tight ends back to throw to including Fosque (20-46-6), Fields (19-233-2), Mimes (15-145) and Porch. Dennis (54-299-1), Gonzaga (40-164-2) and Morris (15-62-1) will help fill the void left by Cooper (158-1085-13) at running back but it looks as though sophomores Jermaine Corbett and Jaquan Bordon will get the bulk of the carries after leading the freshman team to an undefeated season a year ago. They’ll be a helped by an offensive line that returns senior offensive linemen Peter Wersinger ( 6-2, 225) and Brian Santiago and juniors Hunter Metzler (6-0, 240) and Kevin Cerruti (6-3, 250). Mimes (72 T, 4 SKS) will command double and triple teams if he is to be contained after a breakout junior season. Junior linebacker Luke Arnold (75 T), sophomore strong safety J.J. Sherin (72 T) and Porch (58 T, 3 INT) are other top returners on defense who are expected to have big years. Dennis is a tremendous all-around athlete who will contribute at a number of positions. Long Branch is still flying under the radar, however, it won’t take long for the rest of the Shore Conference to take notice that the Green Wave is for real.

WALL: 2016 record (10-2, 4-2), second Class B North, won SJG III championship – The Crimson Knights won the NJSIAA South Jersey, Group III title, its first since sectional title since 2002. That team was stacked with an outstanding senior class, including 18 starters. Key losses: first-team All-Shore RB Sean Larkin, first-team All-Shore OL Mike Andrejco, second-team All-Shore OL/DL Darryl Valme, third team TE/DE Gene Scott, third-team All-Shore linebacker Kyle Dallicardillo and second-team All-Shore DBs R.J. Janeczek and Shane Richey, just to name a few. On top of graduating so many key players, head coach Dan Cursione resigned to take the head job at Donovan Catholic. Tony Grandinetti, who was Wall’s offensive line coach a year ago, was elevated to head coach. Grandinetti helped develop Wall’s offensive line into one of the top units in the Shore last season so the transition should be seamless. Senior quarterback Eddie Scott returns after a solid junior campaign that saw him pass for 768 yards and seven touchdowns completing 62-of-125 passes while rushing for an additional 423 yards and three scores on 114 carries. With the Knights’ skill positions taking such a hard hit, senior WR/CB/KR Chevesse Covin will be counted on heavily to supply some offensive. Covin picked up 612 yards and four TDs on 71 carries primarily on jet sweeps a year ago but expect him to take a more active role catching the ball this season. After rushing for 353 yards and five touchdowns on 52 carries (6.8 yards/carry) senior RB/LB Brady McNally will carry the load in the backfield. Junior Dylan Richey will have a more active role at both WR and CB this season as will Joshua Schucht and Romeo Palmieri. The offensive and defensive lines will have to be rebuilt with seniors Grant Berardo and Bryan Schulman topping the list of candidates with Schulman joining senior Ryan Kellett at linebacker where senior LB/FB Tim McKenan  returns to build the defense around after recording 96 tackles, 1.5 sacks and two tackles for losses.

MIDDLETOWN NORTH: 2016 record (9-3, 4-2), tied for second in Class B North, lost in the North 2, Group IV final – The Lions won nine games for their most wins since the 1996 team that went 9-2 and won the CJG IV title. They also defeated Middletown South on Thanksgiving for the first time since 2000 ending a 16-game losing streak against the Eagles. However, like most teams within the division they face an uphill challenge to repeat the accomplishments from a year ago. Key losses: Four-year starting QB and second-team All-Shore selection Donald Glenn (Wagner University), first-team All-Shore WR/DB Brendan Kube, first-team All-Shore DB/WR/RB Dwight Wilkerson, second-team All-Shore LB Nick Kish, Ryan Stark (LB), Sam Santiago (DB), Thomas Anderson (OT/DE/LB), Jake Goldfarb (OT/DT), Kyle Ewington (OL/DL), Brock Zenker (LB), Austin Bazuk (G/DT), Justin Muller (TE/DE), Marc Cerbo (CB/WR) and Ryan Sydor (C/DE). Key returnees: second-team All-Shore DL/TE Austin Dewise, Connor Welsh (Sr. RB/DB), Connor Robbins (Jr. RB/LB), Aiden Campbell (Jr. WR/FS), junior QB Sean Glenn, Nicko Cofone (Sr. DE/OL) who posted 49 tackles and seven sacks, Allajah Morin (Sr. OT/LB), All-Division kicker Joey Cavanagh, Alex Zenker (Jr. DB/RB), Daylon Wilkerson (Sr. DB/WR), Paul Dunleavy (Sr. WR/S) and senior Tim McCann (Sr. OL/DL). The Lions will be breaking in Glenn – Donald’s younger brother – behind center this season and will be banking on running backs Welsh (93-482-5) and Robbins (126-508-8) to help ease in the transition. Glenn and Campbell have connected well in camp as Campbell has emerged as Glenn’s go-to guy with the 6-2 Dunleavy stepping up as well. Dewise (59 T, 12 SKS, 24 PRS) will anchor the defensive line with Cofone (49 T, 7 sacks) and the 6-2, 230 pound McCann, who’ll be going both ways at tackle.  Campbell, Welsh, Dunleavy, Zenker and Wilkerson head up the secondary giving the Lions a formidable group in the defensive backfield. Morin and Robbins take over at linebacker after seeing limited time there a year ago. The Lions enter a new era of football with a new Glenn at QB and graduated some very good players that will be hard to immediately replace. However, they do bring back enough talent and rising stars to keep them competitive.

MIDDLETOWN SOUTH: 2016 record (7-4, 5-1), first in Class B North, lost in semifinals of North 2, Group IV – The Eagles bring back one of the top defensive players in the state but suffered some key losses on both sides of the ball including last year’s starting quarterback Aneesh Agrawal, who passed for 1618 yards and 16 touchdowns a year ago and all of its wide receiving corps among others. Key losses: All-Division selections Bobby Burke (OL/DL), Samson Dube (WR/FS), Kevin Higgins (LB) and Max Imsho (SS/WR), along with Jeff Lewandowski (WR/DB), Jeremy Joyce (WR/CB), WillGullick (DT/OL), Mike Wilson (OL), Damon Tobacco (G/DT) and Ian Porter (LB). Key returners: Jake Krellin (Sr. DE/OLB), Joe Bancala (Sr. DT 5-10, 235), Chris Patterson (Sr. G/MLB), Jr. Matt Tardy (Jr. DE/TE), Chaz Alessi (Sr. RB/OLB), Austin Markmann (Sr. OL/DL), Frankie Settembrino (OL/DL), Johnny Flynn (Sr.DE) and Vinny Candido (So. DB). The Eagles look to rely heavily on Alessi (47-247-2) at running back after 1,000-yard rusher Anthony Summey transferred to St. Peter’s after transferring in from Red Bank Catholic last season to lead the Eagles in rushing. Senior Ben Kinsella gets the starting nod at quarterback with Markmann (6-1,250) and Settembrino anchoring the offensive line at the tackle spots. Junior Trevor Brey will back up Kinsella but don’t be surprised to see him under center as well. After a stellar junior campaign which saw him wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks, Krelin – a first-team All-State selection at defensive end –  is back to lead the defensive unit after recording 109 tackles – including an eye-popping 45 for a loss – to go with a Shore Conference-high 15 sacks and 16 quarterback pressures. Tardy is back after recording 36 tackles – 14 for a loss – and seven sacks a year ago giving the Eagles a pair of elite book end defensive ends. Markmann and Bancala will start at defensive to complete a stellar defensive line.  Patterson is back at middle linebacker after posting 58 tackles and will do double duty on the offensive line at guard. Alessi will flank Patterson at linebacker. Seniors Aidan McCann and Jackson Rossi and juniors Chris Flemming and Rob Zega will restock a decimated receiving corps with rising sophomore Vinny Candido expected take on a big role in the secondary. South’s front seven is exceptional but its secondary is a work in progress as is the offense which returns just two starters. Newcomers Jayme Petrillo (Jr. RB/WR/QB), Matt Cruz (Sr. DB/WR), Troy Burbank (Jr. SB/CB) and Robby Zega (Jr. WR/DB) will compete for spots at wide out and in the defensive backfield.

OCEAN TOWNSHIP: 2016 record (5-5, 1-5), sixth in Class B North – After a disappointing 2016 season that began with high expectations built around senior QB and current University of Pittsburg QB Kenny Pickett and a host of talented skill players, the Spartans hope to be a surprise team this season. Key losses: Pickett, second-team All-Shore WR/DB Joey Alderelli (now at Monmouth University and expected to play as true freshman), All-Division LB/RB Anthony Tedesco and OL Chris Vivian and RB/OLB Billy Levy (who transferred to Long Branch). Key returnees:  Kam Thompson (Sr. WR/DB), Robbie Nungasser (Sr. QB), Jasher Pena (Sr. RB), Andrew Worthington (Sr. C/DT), Christian Wilson (LG/DE), Lawrence Betton (Sr. RT/DL), Anthony Russomanno (Sr. DE), Ryan Jenks (Sr. LB), Ryan Moran (Jr. LB/DB). Nungasser got the starting nod in Ocean’s first scrimmage and appears to have won the starting job but will have big shoes to fill replacing Pickett. But with three returning offensive linemen up front it should help in his transition to a starter. Thompson will have an expanded role on both sides of the ball this season with an opportunity for a breakout season.  Russomanno is the top returner on defense.



MATER DEI PREP: 2016 record (12-0, 5-0) first in Class B Central, won Non-Public Group II championship – It will be hard to top last year’s undefeated season and state championship including its now famous fourth down, last second hook-and-ladder touchdown that gave them the title. It will also be hard to replace some key pieces from that championship team that have graduated, but the Seraphs bring back some top talent that will more than make up for their departing seniors. Key losses: first-team All-Shore selections Marvin Pierre (LB/RB) and Eddie Lewis (WR/KR/FS) and All-Division picks Shane Mastro (OL/DL), Jawan Mitchell (LB/TE), Justice George (DB), Jonathan Lubintus (DB) and Mario Rodriquez (DE/OT). Key returnees: George Pearson (Sr. QB), Russell Ferrisi (Jr. LB/RB), Izaiah Henderson (DL/LB/TE), Kyle Devaney (Sr. WR/KR/DB), Sincere Saunders (Jr. RB), Isaiah McClain (Sr. RB/CB), Shitta Sillah (Jr. OLB), Tom Olausen (Sr. OL, 5-11, 210), Malik Ingram (So. RB/LB), Clarence Lewis (So. WR/KR/DB) and Nolan Aloia (Jr. OT, 6-6, 280). The Seraphs went unchallenged in the division a year ago and they’ll breeze through the B Central again unscathed but in an attempt to gain some scheduling credibility they’ve added three non-conference games that will be a stern test including Delbarton (10-28-17), Lincoln (10-20-17) and Canada Prep, Ontario (9-30-17). Pearson – a Central Michigan University commit – threw for 1,426 yards and 24 TDs with only four interceptions completing 79-of-139 passes while garnering All-Division honors. All-Division pick Kyle Devaney (23-461-8) will be Pearson’s main target with Henderson at tight end and rising star Clarence Lewis set to make a big impact at wide receiver. Saunders is ready for a breakout year at running back after picking up 374 yards and five TDs on 55 carries a year ago. Henderson (59 T, 2 SKS) returns at DE/LB and will be a force with All-Division pick Ferrisi back at linebacker  to lead the defense with Olausen and the massive Aloia  on the offensive and defensive lines.

ASBURY PARK: 2016 record (8-4, 3-2) third in Class B Central, won CJG I championship – Asbury Park will be in the mix for a sectional title again this season and battle for second place with Keyport, who they host the second week of the season. Like most teams they must replace some key pieces from its championship team but do return enough experience to make another playoff run. Key losses: All-Division RB Paul Reed, WR Josmere Taylor, WR/OLB Dyquan Young, All-Division DT/G Calvin Simmons Carter, second-team All-Shore DE Cishiume Simmons and All-Division LB Namir Argilagos. Key returnees: Ja’king Agostini (Sr. QB), Jaylen Paige (Sr. DT/OT 6-3, 275), Donte Abrams (Sr. DB/RB), Javon Higgs (Jr. WR/FS), Kharod Young (Jr. LB/WR), Alexander Peavy (Jr. LB/FB), Devin Nash-McGhee (Sr. FS), Kyrie Moore (Sr. OL/DL 6-1, 225), Che-czar Lovett (Jr. CB/SB) and Kymar Ponds (Sr. DL/OL/TE 6-4, 230). Agostini threw for 1,185 yard and nine touchdowns completing 75-of-157 passes as a first-year starter so with a year under his belt you can expect bigger and better things out of the senior signal caller. The Bishops will have to replace Reed’s 1,237 yards on the ground but feel versatile athlete Donte Abrams can fill the bill. Abrams carried the ball 21 times for 99 yards and caught 16 passes for 180 yards and three TDs a year ago and the Bishops expect big things out of him this season. Shore Regional transfer junior Quadir Lawson (47-320-2) will help Asbury Park restock at running back and could challenge for a starting spot there and at linebacker. Abrams was also a key contributor in the secondary making 21 tackles and intercepting three passes. Higgs (13-241-1) is back at wide receiver and free safety with Lovett and Nash-McGhee (28 T, 2 INT) returning there as well. Moore will anchor both lines after recording 83 tackles and a sack a year ago while Peavey (74 T, 2 SKS) and Young (48 T) return to head up the linebackers.

KEYPORT: 2016 record: (10-2, 4-1) second Class B Central, lost to Asbury Park in CJG I final – The Red Raiders will once again rely heavily on their relentless ground attack with its three top running backs returning including All-Division pick Devin Wollner, who racked up 1,673 yards on 255 carries and nine touchdowns. Key losses: QB Chris Hogrefe, WR Cody Young, DL/TE Zack Frick, DB Rayquan Brown, LB Skye Blanks and OL/DL Eric Nellis. Key returnees: Wollner, Greg Robinson (Jr. RB/LB 5-10,205), Joey Kay-Flagg (Sr. WR/S), Kyle Roberts (Jr. OL/DL), Brandon Tate (Sr. OL/DL 6-1, 275), Antonio Collila (Sr. OL/DL 5-10, 185), Zach Walker (Sr. CB), Jay Hansen (Sr. MLB/FB 6-0,215) and Shykim Treadwell (Jr. RB/DB 6-2, 195), Jahmir Jones (Jr. WR/DB 5-9, 160) and Devon Mezza (So. OL/DL 6-4,240). Wollner will attempt to top his breakout sophomore campaign and will be joined in the backfield by Robinson (83-408-10), who’s more of a power back than Wollner. They complement each other nicely, and throw in Treadwell (62-262-4), who’s a combination of the two, and you have a three-headed monster in the backfield. They’ll need to find a quarterback with Hogrefe gone but whoever they find will be asked to be more of a game manager than a numbers guy. Roberts (6-4, 285), Meza , Tate and Collila are back to anchor both lines of scrimmage and senior captain Jay Hansen (6-0, 230) returns at middle linebacker after leading the team with 89 tackles a year ago with Robinson also back at linebacker. Walker, Wollner, Jones, Treadwell and Kam Lighthouse form a talented group in the secondary that recorded 10 interceptions a year ago, including Walker’s three.

SHORE REGIONAL: 2016 record (7-4, 2-3) fourth in Class B Central, lost to Asbury Park in CJG I semifinals – One of Shore Regional’s mottos is “tradition never graduates.” And they’ve proved it. Prior to last season the Blue Devils went to the state finals five times over a six-year period, winning three championships. Year after year the Blue Devils never miss a beat when faced with a large graduating class. They have a knack of reloading while other schools their size rebuild. This year is no different. They graduated their top four rushers that accounted for 2,178 yards of their 2,689 yards on the ground running out of the Delaware Wing-T offense. Gone is QB Matt Pennell and running backs Mark Russo, All-Division pick Josh Campi and Lukas Jackey along with their top offensive lineman, All-Division tackle Mike Devine. Junior RB/DB Gil Goldsmith, who picked up 98 yards and a TD on 21 carries and led the team with 191 yards and two touchdowns as a receiver out of the backfield returns for what Shore hopes to be a breakout season. Goldsmith doubles as a defensive back and also punts. Getting the ball into Goldsmith’s hands will be the job of senior quarterback Ryan Morris, a team captain who contributed on special teams a year ago. Juniors Jack McCrae (13-43) and sophomore Terry Carlstrom will join Goldsmith in the backfield. Lawson, McCrae, and Goldsmith will be major contributors on defense as well. Additional key returnees: Mike Rosati (Sr. DE/OL), Jason Vanbrunt (Sr. DE/G), Vinney Dimaio (Jr. DT/OT 6-5, 275), Frank Illiano (Jr. DT/OT 5-10, 290), Matt O’Donnell (Sr. TE/DE), Matt Altomare (G/LB) and Sam Aromando (OT/DT). The Blue Devils, as usual, will fight for a title in both the division and CJG I playoffs.

 POINT PLEASANT BEACH: 2016 record (6-5, 1-5) fifth in Class B Central, lost to Keyport in CJG I semifinals – Dual-threat QB/LB Luke Frauenheim is back for his senior year after leading the Gulls in passing, rushing and tackles a year ago. The Gulls Delaware Wing-T attack centers around the athletic Frauenheim who does a little bit of everything for Point Beach on both sides of the ball. He completed 49-of-102 passes for 986 yards and 12 TDs while rushing for 704 yards and six scores on 104 carries and on defense led the team with 82 tackles from his middle linebacker spot. The Gulls need to find some big bodies to replace All-Division two-way lineman Cody Liguori and two-way starter Cade Watkins. All-Division WR/DB Connor Wells will be missed as well. Senior Chris Webber is back at running back (59-402-3) and linebacker (58 T) and Sean Gould will carry a heavier work load this season in the backfield after picking up 157 yards on the ground a year ago while leading in the secondary where he recorded 44 tackles last season.  

KEANSBURG: 2016 record (2-8, 0-5) last in Class B Central, lost to Shore, 50-21, CJG I first round – The Titans look to climb out of the winless column within the division and on paper return enough talent, including most their skill players on offense, to that and more. Key losses: All-Division OL/DL Richie Squeo, DE David Clayton, DB Mina Mansour, OLB/G Isaac Monteiro, CB Zion Jackson and DB Basit Khan. Key returnees: Liam Riecks (Jr. RB/OLB), Daniel Vital (Sr. QB/FS), Justin Alessi (Sr. WR/CB), Darius Moore (Sr. WR/DB), Miguel Crespo (Sr. RB/LB), Jashawn Martin (Sr. SS/SB), Deshawn Conway (Sr. DE), Joe Osterbye (Sr. LB/FB), Ron Rotondella (Jr. C/DT 5-10, 235) and Derek Levendusky (Jr. OL/DL 5-7, 230). Vital returns as the starting quarterback after passing for 680 yards and seven TDs and rushing for an additional 447 yards and seven scores. Reicks returns at running back where he ran for 846 yards and five TDs on 155 carries. Alessi (14-98-1) and Moore (13-271-5) are back at wide receiver with 6-6 target Paul Eckleberry expected to make a big impact this season at wide out. Rotondella returns to anchor the offensive and defensive lines with juniors Derek Levendusky and Justice Tucker (6-2, 260) stepping into starting roles this year adding muscle up front in the trenches. Three-year starters Crespo and Osterbye head up a solid linebacking corps with Vital, Moore and Alessi in the secondary.



POINT PLEASANT BORO: 2016 record (8-2, 7-0) first Class B South, lost CJG II first round – The Class B South looks to be a three-team race for the title between the Panthers, Lakewood and Lacey but as the defending champions and a ton of experience returning, Point Boro gets the top nod. Key losses: WR/CB Haden Frey, All-Division MLB Justin Rafi, All-Division OL/DL Alder Connolly and OL Joe Hynes. Key returnees: All-Division selections James Fara (Sr. QB/CB), Tanner Gordon (Sr. RB/OLB) and Trevor McNamara (Sr. FS/WR), also Nate Chiarello (Sr. RB/LB), Brandon Cipriano (Sr. RB/DB),Tyler Sanchez (Sr. LB), Garrett Romer (Jr. OL) Trent Livolsi (Jr. DE), Kyle Komanitsky (Jr. FS/WR), Gabe Fattizzi (Sr. C), Ronnie Leyda (Sr. DB), Tyler Sanchez (Sr. OLB), Anthony Bonavito (Sr. OL/DL) and Conor Landis (Sr. OL/DL). The Panthers will again highlight a potent rushing attack out of the triple option flexbone formation. Fara is back to run the offense after he had a breakout junior season which saw the dual-threat quarterback run for 1,293 and 19 touchdowns on 170 carries and pass for an additional 472 yards and five scores completing 27-of-46 passes. McNamara and Komanitsky look to be Fara’s main targets this season at wide receiver with Gordon back at “A” back after torching opposing defenses for 944 yards and 11 TDs and Chiarello and Cippriano return at slot back. An experienced offensive line returns including Fattizzi at left tackle and Landis at center with the 6-3, 285 Bonavito back at left guard after missing all of last season with an injury.  LiVolsi at right guard and junior Scott Franceschini at right tackle fill out the offensive line.  Livolsi is a returning starter at defensive end while Landis is at the other end spot and Bonavito is the nose tackle. Gordon and Leyda are returning starters at the outside linebacker spots with Chiarello returning at inside linebacker. Sanchez saw significant time last season and gets the start inside with Romer at middle linebacker in the Panthers 5-3-3 stack defense. Cipriano and Fara are at cornerback while McNamara, who had three interceptions a year ago is back at starting strong safety. Look for the Panthers to win their third straight division title.

LAKEWOOD: 2016 record (7-3, 6-1) second Class B South, lost SJG III first round – Following a financial crisis that nearly wiped out the football season, the Piners are alive and well and should compete for the B South title with 13 returning seniors as its catalyst. Key losses: All-Division selections RB/DB Honoree Richardson and WR/LB Adi Palmer and OL/DL Isiah Francis and OL/DL Tamir Sutton. Key returnees: All-Division picks Zyhier Jones (Sr. QB/DB), Jyhier Jones (Sr. WR/DB) and Jean Paul Rodriguez (Sr. OL/DL), first-team All-Shore pick and Class B South defensive POY Josh Lezin (Sr. DE/OL), Rizjoun Smullen (Sr. OL/DL), Johnny Webb (Sr. LB/SB) and Tye Pierce (Sr. OL/DL). The loss of Richardson and Palmer will hurt on both sides of the ball but the Piners bring back some exceptional talent that will keep them in the B South mix. Rodriguez (6-5, 275) – a Temple University commit – is a mountain of a man that packs the power of a Mack truck and he’ll anchor the offensive and defensive lines along with Lezin (6-2, 260), who absolutely dominated from his defensive end spot a year ago recording 82 tackles, 13 sacks, four forced fumbles, with two blocked punts and two blocked field goals a year ago. Smullen and Pierce return to help on both lines of scrimmage and twin brothers Zyhier and Jyhier Jones return to give the Piners two big-time skill players on offense. Zyhier threw for 1,472 yards and 15 TDs completing 87-of-160 passes and ran for an additional 413 yards and six scores. Jyhier caught 19 of his brother’s tosses for 480 yards and nine TDs. Both will be key contributors in the secondary as well.

LACEY: 2016 record (6-4, 5-2) third in Class B South – In their second season since moving from the A South, the Lions look to compete for the division title and work their way back into the state playoffs. Key losses: All-Division picks Matt Milden (DL/OL) and Chase Stephensen (WR/DB) and DL Zack Larney, CB/WR John Grosjean, DB/WR Christian Morales, LB Lian Muzyka, LB Bryan Scalla, OL/DL John Sokolov and OL Anthony Ceglie. Key returnees: Jason Giresi (Sr. RB/LB 5-11, 200), Greg Chadwick (Jr. LB 5-10, 200), Coleton Klaus (Sr. QB/OLB/P 5-11,200), Tanner Miick (Sr. WR/FS 6-2, 180), Carl Swenson (Jr. WR/ DB), Cory Gudzak (Jr.RB/LB 6-0, 190), Eric Green (Jr. WR/DB 6-2, 190), Anthony Tobia (Sr. WR/CB 5-9, 180), Anthony D. Ceglie (Sr. OL/DL 5-11, 205), John Carr (Sr. OL/DL 5-9,260), Anthony Krueger (Jr. C/NG 6-0, 252), Joseph Dow (Sr. T/DE 6-1, 225) and Jon Rioux (Sr. OT/NT 6-4, 295). Klaus is back behind center where he threw for 1,256 and nine TDs completing 98-of-154 passes while finding the end zone nine more times on the ground. His top running back, Giresi, was an All-Division selection after rushing for 1,105 yards and 10 scores and catching eight passes for 108 yards. Gudzak caught nine passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns out of the backfield and is another option for Klaus. Miick is back at wide receiver after grabbing 15 balls for 191 yards and four touchdowns and looks to be Klaus’s top target. Dow and Rioux are returning starters and will anchor the offensive line that lost three starters. The defense took a big hit from graduation but Chadwick (57 T, 4 FR, 5 TFL, SCK), Ceglie (20 T, 4 TFL, 3 SCK), Giresi and Gudzak will present a formidable linebacking crew and the secondary looks to be in good shape with Tobia, Green (31 T, 2 FR), Swenson and Miick all returning. Dow, Carr, Krueger and Rioux will be asked to go both ways this season on the defensive line that lost all its starters. Junior Ray Agosto has looked good in camp and could make an impact at defensive end. If some of the Lions’ big bodies can fill vacated spots on both lines of scrimmage they could be dangerous, especially with the skill players they return on offense.

BARNEGAT: 2016 record (5-5, 4-3) fourth in Class B South – The Bengals won their final two games of the season to finish .500 and they’re hoping to carry over that success into this season. They return a talented junior class and a solid nucleus of seniors from last season’s squad. Barnegat will be counting on a strong defensive unit while the offense finds its own identity after graduating most of its top skill players from a year ago. Key losses: QB Connor Lustenberger, leading wide receiver and All-Division pick Jacque Picault, All-Division LB Eric Becker, leading rusher Jake Schmitz, WR/DB Hunter Mauro, OL/DL Bryan Madej, LB Dennis Sullivan and OL/DL Andrew Meany. Key returnees: All-Division pick Levin Musawa (Sr. DE/RB, 64 T, 21 TFL, 5.5 SKS), leading tackler and All-Division selection Brian Ewan (Jr. MLB, 96 T, 49 solo, 13 hurries, SK), Charlie Cotton (Sr. DB/RB), Jaun Axzavier-Abraham (Sr. LB/RB, 70 T, 9 TFL, INT), Sean Morris (Jr. TE/DE 6-4, 225, 16-235-2, 2 TFL, FF, FR), Nico Adorno (Sr. WR/DB, 18-69, 2 INT), Sean Madej (Jr. DB/WR, 19 T, .5 SK), John Pannone (Jr. OL/DL, 24 T, 3 TFL, 2 pressures), Steve Pitiak (OT), Anthony Grimes (Jr. OL/DL 6-1, 270) and Julian Schoenberger (Sr. OL/DL 5-11, 242). It may be running back by committee until someone steps up to claim the starting job but there are a number of worthy candidates, including Musawa, Cotton and Axzavier-Abraham. The starting QB job is up for grabs with senior Thomas Key, junior Brian Finucan, and sophomores Dominique Dorphin and Matt Verneri competing for the job. Adorno figured to be a big contributor on both sides of the ball this season but a shoulder injury may keep him out for the season.  Pannone, Grimes and Schoenberger anchor the offensive line and defensive tackle spots and Morris is getting D-1 interest at tight end. Madej, Cotton and Adorno give the Bengals three experienced returners in the secondary with Musawa and Morris at defensive end. Ewan and Axzavier-Abraham will return at linebacker.

PINELANDS:  2016 record (4-6, 3-4) fifth in Class B South – The Wildcats will rely on their running game again this season after it churned out 2,593 yards and 25 touchdowns on the ground a year ago. They return their top two running backs and a quarterback that manages the game flawlessly. Key losses: All-Division picks OL Ryan McAndrews, OL Rob Hart and LB David Fairl and RB/MLB Kyle Hehre. Key returnees: All-Division picks Evan Burton (Jr. RB/LB) and Brennan Richardson (Sr. RB/CB) and J.D. Harrison (Sr. WR/CB/RB), Garrett Brown (Jr. QB), Chris Lewis (Sr. TE/DE), Jason Jeannotte (Sr. OLB), Dylan Bastian (Sr. DL), Robert Eagle (Sr. MLB), Nick Carmona (Jr. OL/DL) and Joey Parkinson (Jr OLB). Burton rushed for 1,362 yards and 12 TDs on 186 carries last season with another 11 catches for 78 yards and a score while his backfield mate, Brennan Richardson, added 582 yards and five TDs on 101 carries. In the past two seasons, Richardson has run for 1,494 yards and ten scores. Junior quarterback Garrett Brown returns under center where he’s an excellent game manager but can make the big throw when he needs to passing for 489 yards and five scores last season completing 34-of-77 passes. Harrison is his top returning wide receiver catching 15 passes last season with one TD. The Wildcats must replace two All-Division offensive linemen but the 5-11, 255 pound Carmona returns to anchor both offensive and defensive line with Lewis (24 T) and Bastian (21 T, 2 SKS, 2 TFL) back at defensive end. Eagle (40 T, 3 SKS) is back at MLB with Burton (25 T, 3 TFL, 2 SKS), Parkinson and Jeanotte heading up the linebacking crew. Richardson (28 T, 3 TFL, INT) is back at cornerback with Harrison opposite him in the secondary.

MANCHESTER:  2016 record (3-7, 2-5) sixth in Class B South – The Hawks return their leading rusher, starting quarterback and a number of key performers that should be enough to offset the loss of two All-Division selections and some key pieces of its defense. Key losses: All-Division picks Tariq Ali (CB/WR) and Jake Lloyd (OL) and DE/G Jsan Santos, LB/TE Chris Baine, LB Dylan Cervenak and DB Bobby Hart. Key returnees: Jalen Glenn (Sr. RB/DB), Jerry Ward (Sr. QB), Lamont Lett (Sr. DB/RB), Quint Kearns (Jr. LB/RB), Nick Nuccio (Sr. SS/SB), James Froelich (Jr. DT/G 6-1, 250), Dan Morales (Sr. DT/OT 6-5, 280), Drew Bermudez (Sr. DE/OT 6-3, 263),Eric Cowan (Jr. TE/OLB 6-3, 205), Markel Hourigan (Jr. FB), Devin Zamot (So. RB/MLB) and Jeffry Eletto (RB/DB). The running game, behind its massive offensive line, will again be the Hawks’ bread and butter as Glenn (144-880-10) attempts to surpass the 1000-yard mark this season and Kearns (64-263-3) builds off a solid sophomore year running the ball. Ward will continue to manage the game and make a play downfield when called upon. Froelich, Morales and Bermudez will anchor both lines of scrimmage with Cowan (33 T, 2 TFL) and Kearns back at linebacker giving the Hawks a solid front seven to build off. Glenn (55 T, 5 TFL) returns to lead the secondary with Lett (22 T) and Nuccio.

DONOVAN CATHOLIC: 2016 record (0-10, 0-7) last in Class B South – The good news for Donovan Catholic is that Dan Curcione, who guided Wall Township to a state title last season, is now the Griffins head coach. He also brought along his offensive coordinator at Wall, Chip LaBarca Jr. LaBarca Jr.was previously the head coach at Toms River North from 2006 through 2012, including leading the Mariners to a 12-0 season and SJG IV title in 2007. He has a career 58-12 record including two seasons at Lakewood in 1997 and 1998 and was the offensive coordinator at Brick when the Dragons won the 2013 CJG IV championship. With Curcione and LaBarca Jr. running the show you can expect a quick turnaround of the Griffins program  that was in dire need of a face lift. As a private Catholic school, Donovan Catholic now represents a very attractive alternative for some of the top athletes in the area to consider.  The Griffins graduated their top rusher and wide receiver from last season, but they return their young quarterback who showed huge potential last season and someone you can build a team around. Key losses: Pete Schlendorf (WR/CB), Matt Baltus (RB/MLB), Don Rappocio (OT/DT), Jared Knoeller (OT/DT), Mike Lekperic (DE/TE) and David Novakowski (OLB). Key returnees: Ryan Clark (Sr. QB/FS), Jack Hadley (Sr.C/DT 6-3, 280), Sal Disalvo (Sr. G/DT 6-2, 210), Trevor Barber (Jr. WR/CB), Ian Knapp (Sr. RB/OLB), Eian Gilrohy (Jr. WR/DB), Angelo Diele (Sr. OLB/WR), Ropnan Bova (So. DB/WR), Zachary Hopkins (Sr. WR/DB), Charlie Chushman (Jr. OT/DT 6-2, 260) and Alex Bryant (Jr. RB/WR/DB). It will be interesting to see just how rapidly Clark grows as a quarterback under the watchful eyes of LaBarca Jr. The kid has all the tools to be a big-time QB, now he just needs to be coached up. Clark will have three of his offensive linemen back which will aid in his growth. Hadley, Disalvo and Cushman will make up three quarters of the defensive line as well. The secondary returns pretty much intact with Clark, Barber, Gilroy, Bova, Hopkins and Bryant all in the mix. Knapp and Diele head up the linebackers. You can’t stress just how important coaching is at the high school level and the Griffins now have two of the best in the business. It most likely won’t be this year, but it won’t be long before Donovan Catholic is competing for the division title.    

JACKSON LIBERTY: 2016 record (1-9, 1-6) seventh in Class B South – It might be a stretch for the Lions to make a big leap from last season’s one-win record after graduating its quarterback, top running back, leading receiver, top tackler and sack leader. Key losses: Malcolm Locklear (RB/OLB), Derek Catron (QB/LB), Ryan Downer (CB/WR), Steven Schuster (MLB), Jake Stillwell (OL/DL) and Xavier Roman (OL/DL). Key returnees: Joe Crouchman (Sr. OL/DL), Jaquel Spears (Sr. RB/CB) and Nick Johnson (Sr. OL/DL 5 SKS).

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