After a summer of much traveling for myself and the wife, I have settled into another season of High School football. As I look back on the 2011 and the season that the Neptune Fliers had, 2012 looks to be more of the same.

Mark Ciccotelli has taken this program to the elite level and I don’t see them slipping back to the pack this year. With deep threat wide out Geoff Fairbanks and senior LB David Calderon anchoring the “O” and “D,” look for Neptune to make a run at back to back State titles. The key to the Fliers this year will be Ajee Patterson, who takes over for All-State QB Jaheem Woods. Can he make Flier fans forget Woods. We shall see.

RBC has 275 lb. Josh Klecko to lean on this year and he alone can move the Casey’s to the prize at the end of the year. Non-Public Group 3 is always a blood-bath, but the Casey’s will make some noise this year. RBC did not lose to a SC school last year and won their 4th championship in the last 5 years. Look for more of the same this year.

When you have a pair of major college receivers on your team, opposing “D” coordinators will have plenty of sleepless nights preparing for the Braves of Manalapan. Those 2 receivers are Anthony Firkser and Saeed Blacknail. Each has major skills and expect the Braves to get the ball to them whenever they can. That job belongs to Junior QB Mike Isabella. With a full year under his belt, expect Isabella to be at the top of the QB charts this year.

Other teams to watch this year are Long Branch, Rumson, Brick Memorial, TR North and Southern among others who look to make a run at conference championships. The divisions have changed again, as they do every 2 years in the SC. Here is the new look divisions for 2012:

  • Class A North: Howell, Freehold Twp., Manalapan, Middletown North, Colts Neck, Middletown South and Marlboro.
  • Class A Central: Raritan, RBC, Monmouth, St John Vianney, Manasquan, Holmdel and Rumson.
  • Class A South: Brick Memorial, Toms River North, Toms River South, Toms River East, Lacey, Southern, Jackson Memorial, and Brick
  • Class B North: Freehold Boro, Wall, Neptune, Ocean, Red Bank Regional, Matawan, and Long Branch
  • Class B Central: Shore Regional, Asbury Park, Keyport, Point Beach, Keansburg and Mater Dei
  • Class B South: Central, Jackson Liberty, Manchester, Mon Don, Lakewood, Pinelands, Point Boro, and Barnegat


Two things here. One, I am glad they went back to the old divisions names. And two, they have created some nice division rivalries, such as Mid. South vs Mid. North, Brick vs Brick Mem. TR South vs TR North and TR East, Lacey vs Southern, Neptune vs Matawan, just to mention a few.

Although some of these schools have played each other before, this year conference championships are on the line. Not one to shy away from controversy, here are my predictions:

A North: Manalapan

A Central: RBC

A South: Southern

B North: Neptune

B Central: Shore

B South: Barnegat

The Shore Sports Network will be back on the air on Thursday night with our HS Football show beginning at 7 p.m. on September 6 from the Baker’s Water Street Grill in Toms River.

Matt Harmon, Kevin Williams and myself will look at the previous weeks games, have coaches and players on live with interviews and preview the coming week of games. Come down and join us or listen on 105.7 The Hawk every Thursday through-out the season.

Friday’s games will also be on 105.7 and This Friday’s game is cross-town rivals Brick at Brick Memorial. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. on September 7.