Falling Temperatures and Rising Stars in the Shore Conference
With a chill in the air on Friday night, Toms River North made an early season statement on the road, as they defeated Southern 17-14 on a 4th quarter 45 yard field goal by their outstanding kicker, Chris Gulla.
With falling temperatures around 55 degrees, Gulla calmly lined up his holder to take his shot at winning the game. As the ball left his foot, he said he knew he hit it good, but would it have enough legs to get over the crossbar? The kick just made it over and with the kick, it puts the Mariners right back into the A-South race. With Brick Memorial and Lacey as the 2 lone unbeaten teams, North and Southern sit with 1 loss and North has games to play against the top 2. It was a game of 2 different half's on Friday, with Southern dominating the first half and North the second. Joey Fields 37 yard punt return for a TD was the turning point early in 2nd half. Field's TD was set up by a Gulla punt, downed by a tremendous effort by Jacob Forlenza on the 1 yard line. The North "D" held with a 3 and out and Field's took care of the rest. North's outstanding Soph QB Carmine Scalfani is getting better each week as he gains valuable experience for the big games to come.
If you had to pick an early season Player of the Year, it would easily be Brick Memorial's Mr. Versatile Mike Basile. All Basile has done is score 10 TDs in 3 games and 9 in the last 2 weeks. The 6"2 185 lb. Rec./RB has scored on the ground and through the air and also has 2 pick 6 returns for TDs. The Stangs took Jackson out early as they piled up just under 400 yards of offense, on their way to a 34-7 victory. Their defense has played well with Rich Kuhn leading the "Warlord" defense. QB Ryan Cieplinski has done a good job directing the Stangs offense, both running and passing. The Mustangs have big games down the road, including a home non-divisional game, with undefeated Neptune, in 2 weeks.
RBC, Neptune and Manalapan all sit with 3-0 records and top the Shore. I had a chance to see the Neptune-Long Branch game and came away impressed with both teams. Although Neptune won the game, Long Branch was equally impressive in my eyes. They will get RB Dwight Clark back in 3 or 4 weeks for their playoff run. Neptune, meanwhile has a multitude of weapons for Mark Ciccotelli to use. Kyle Lewis, Myles Martin, Keyshawn Rice, Ajee Patterson, Keith Kirkwood, Geoff Fairbanks, David Calderon. Need I go on!
Big games ahead include RBC at Middletown South on Oct 26th, Neptune plays unbeaten Matawan this week, then unbeaten Brick Mem. in 2 weeks, with both being on the road. That will test them. Manalapan has Mid. South this week on the road and a non-divisional match- up with TR North on Oct. 26th. With these games scheduled, there is sure to be movement in the top ten.
Congrats to the TR South Indians for their 40-13 win over Brick on Sat. night. Tymere Berry took over for injured QB Trevor Signorino and led the Indians to their first win of 2012. Otis Kearny also ran for 3 TDs on the night. Nice win for Ron Signorino Jr. And the South program. Brick drops to 0-3 and looks to be in trouble in A-South this year.
Point Beach, Cols Neck, Point Boro, Rumson, Lacey, Matawan, and Jackson Liberty all 3-0 and off to great starts. With the playoffs only 5 weeks from qualifying Saturday, these schools have 1 foot in the door to playoff berths. It's never to early to start thinking playoffs.
It's time to bring back the popular "they said it" segment.
"For everybody else he's been a sleeper. The only place that really knew about him was us. We knew he was going to have a breakout season." Brick Mem. Head Coach Walt Currie on The play of Mike Basile through 3weeks.
"We executed perfectly in the second half.". RB Kyle Spatz of Lacey on their 28 point second half vs. TR East that led to 42-14 win.
"We had a long break without a game. We had nothing to do last Friday and Saturday. Coming back to this field, there was so much motivation." RB Myles Martin from Neptune on his teams 27-14 win vs. Long Branch.
"I worked hard in the offseason and it paid off. At our camp in Rowan, I had a good camp and I moved up. In the second day they put me in and I've been a starter ever since." Mike Monda, Colts Neck LB after his 7 tackle, 1 pick game and a 34-6 victory over Marlboro.
"We started the season in shotgun. Our timing was off quite a bit, so I went back to the old game plan I had for years here, running the old Wing-T." HC Mike Ciccotelli of Keyport, after their 48-6 win vs. Cardinal McCarrick.
Top Ten Week 4:
1- RBC- 3-0 Moved to stop spot off more impressive win.
2- Neptune- 3-0 Solid victory over a good team, Long Branch.
3- Manalapan-3-0. Another blowout win. Just waiting for top two to falter.
4- Lacey- 3-0 Big 2nd half against TR East.
5-Brick Memorial- 3-0 Mike Basile a little off his game. He only scored 4TDs off his 5TD game last week.
6- Middletown South- 2-0 Solid club. Up next a major game with Manalapan.
7- Matawan- 3-0 Home game with Neptune this week, will see how good the Huskies are.
8-Rumson- 3-0 Starting to roll.
9- TR North- 2-1 Big win vs. Southern. Back in A-South race.
10- Southern-2-1 Tough loss to North. Still a top 10 team.
Just outside looking in:
Point Beach 3-0 All they do is win and pile up points.
Long Branch- 2-1 Good running attack vs. Neptune with top runner Dwight Clark.
Colts Neck- 3-0 Best start ever.
Jackson Liberty- 3-0 ditto above.
Point Boro- 3-0 Two defensive TDs last week, my kind of game.
Shore- 2-1 Could run the table until Beach in November.
Join us Thursday at Water Street Grill in Tons River for the St. Barnabas HS Football show from 7-8:30pm. Can't make it- listen on 105.7 FM or streamed live on shoresportsnetwork.com.