Football – Out for Glory: 2015 Shore Regional Football Preview
With a host of returning starters off a team that captured the program’s sixth sectional title last season, Shore has its sights set on another dominating season that ends in a haul of championship trophies.
The Blue Devils captured the Shore Conference Class B Central championship last season before crushing South Hunterdon 42-12 in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group I title game at Kean University. With eight returning starters on offense and defense, they will enter the season as the favorite to do it all again.
“Every time we step on the field there’s an expectation,” said senior Connor Rempel. “The day after we won we knew we would be back in the weight room as soon as our banquet was over. We’ve been working toward (repeating) ever since.”
“We got back to work pretty quickly, and the kids know what the expectations are every year,” said Shore head coach Mark Costantino. “The kids work hard, and we have no problem with that. Our staff is outstanding. We’re just trying to stay healthy and gear up for the season.”
The Blue Devils had the No. 1 scoring defense in the Shore Conference last season, allowing a paltry 5.1 points per game while recording six shutouts. Several starters return from that unit as they look to once again suffocate their competition. Senior Steve Fiumefreddo, a 285-pound wedge in the middle of the defensive line, is back as a starter at defensive tackle in the 4-4 multiple set. Junior Mike Devine and senior Kyle Grogan will rotate with Fiumefreddo. Seniors Erik Graham (6-foot-2, 240 pounds), Jeremy Redaelli and Nick Boice all started at some point last season and will rotate at defensive end.
Standout senior Doug Goldsmith will start at middle linebacker for the third straight season and will be joined by senior Devin McLaughlin, who started at times last season. Goldsmith missed six games last season because of a knee injury and then suffered a broken foot toward the end of lacrosse season, but is all healed up and ready to go for the start of the season.
“Last year the first few weeks after I came back I was taking it easy and just doing what I could,” Goldsmith said. “This year we haven’t let anyone get a look at me (in preseason) so I’ll be good to go for Keyport.”
Juniors Josh Campi and Tim O’Brien will also see time at middle linebacker. Rempel and senior Alex Johnson are both returning starters at outside linebacker with junior Mark Russo also slated to see some time.
The cornerbacks are seniors Jack Britton, Tyreek McCain and Duke Russo. McCain was a starter last season and Britton was a starter as a sophomore. He is back in the lineup after missing all of last season with an injury. Junior Matt Pennell is the starting safety with Mark Russo also at the position. Senior John Teufel will see time in the secondary as well.
“The sky is the limit at this point,” Goldsmith said. “We lost some good guys and I’ll have to step up to replace (SSN first team All-Shore linebacker James) Bedell, and other guys will have to step up, but once we get that midseason chemistry we’ll be fine.”
“I think we can be just as good,” Graham said. “Our secondary is probably more complete than last year and we have Devin McLaughlin stepping in at linebacker.”
Shore’s Delaware Wing-T rushing attack did its job perfectly last season in averaging 26.3 points per game. The Blue Devils spread the ball around nicely with three players putting up over 550 yards rushing. Despite missing six games Goldsmith still ran for 806 yards and eight touchdowns. He is back for his third year as the team’s starting fullback. McCain, who ran for 573 yards and seven touchdowns, is back as a starter at halfback, and Britton is also back after starting as a sophomore. Mark Russo and Johnson will also be in the backfield rotation.
Pennell will step into the starting quarterback role, and the Blue Devils are excited to see what his dual-threat abilities can bring to the offense.
“He can run and throw and he has receivers who can catch,” Costantino said. “I’m excited to see what he can do.”
“He’s the finishing piece to the puzzle,” Rempel said. “He can drop back and pass and roll out and run, and he’s also an awesome defensive player.”
Duke Russo leads the group of wide receivers as a returning starter. Britton will also see time at receiver along with Teufel. Rempel is a returning starter at tight end.
The offensive line has three returning starters with Fiumefreddo at left tackle, senior Casey Rogers at center and Graham, who can play any position along the line, at right tackle. Boice played a lot last season and will now start at left guard. Redaelli and O’Brien will rotate at right guard.
On special teams, senior George Notte will be the starting kicker and punter. He filled in early last year when now-graduated standout Jake Monteiro was injured.
With a loaded defense and an offense that has a few new weapons, Shore has a great chance to add to its illustrious history with state championship No. 7 in 2015.
“It starts with defense, and we’re going to make teams earn everything, and on offense we have so many weapons,” Costantino said. “It takes a lot of work in the offseason, and they buy into it. I want to make sure while I”m here we keep it going and we leave our mark on the program. I always tell the kids to put a new one up, get their rings and make their own mark. Leave a legacy.”
Head Coach: Mark Costantino, 24th season.
Career Record: 153-85-1.
Assistant Coaches: Mike Whitacre (OL/DL); John Remedios (OL/DL); Pete Vincelli (RB/DB); Bob Biasi (WR/LB); Jack Levy (QB/DB); Martin Mullarney, Joe Rankin, John Vaccarelli (freshmen); Nora McCormick (athletic trainer).
2014 Record: 11-1 (5-0).
BIG SHOES TO FILL: Devin McLaughlin, Sr., RB/LB
McLaughlin played last season but will have an increased role in stepping into the linebacker position vacated by James Bedell, who was second in the Shore Conference with 146 tackles last season.
X-FACTOR: Quarterback play
The Blue Devils offense should be very good regardless of how much production they get from the quarterback, but if Pennell has a big year on the ground and in the air it could make the offense unstoppable.
GLUE GUY: Doug Goldsmith, Sr.,. RB/LB
A three-year starter, Goldsmith has been an impact player ever since he stepped into the varsity lineup as a sophomore. Fully healthy, he will be among the conference’s best players on both sides of the ball.
IMPACT NEWCOMER: Jack Britton, Sr., RB/WR/LB
Britton started on both sides of the ball as a sophomore but missed all of his junior season with an injury. Having him back in the lineup gives Shore another offensive weapon and a playmaker on defense.
PIVOTAL GAME: Oct. 30 at Point Beach
Shore and Point Beach look to be the top two teams in Class B Central, meaning this game will likely be for the division title while also being a potential state championship preview.