Week 1 has come and gone on the HS gridiron with a few minor surprises and the elite teams continuing to roll.


Let’s look at the top of the pack first.

Neptune(1-0), my #1 team, looked every bit as tough as 2011 with an impressive 41-13 win over Raritan. QB Ajee Patterson has taken over for Jaheem Woods and the Neptune “O” never looked better. All Patterson did was rush for 3 scores, throw a TD pass, and total 293 yds. of offense. Myles Martin chipped in with 2 scores and 110 yds. Looks like another dynamic offensive year for the #1 Fliers.

RBC(1-0) made its claim to be in the top spot with an equally impressive 47-0 romp over crosstown rival Red Bank. RBC rushed for 266 yds. on the day. Those rushing totals were attained without #1 RB Larry Redaelli, who tweaked his ankle early in 1st quarter and did not play the rest of game. In his place was a pair of RBs, Jessie Flaherty(70yds. and 1 TD) and Michael Cordova(98 yds. and 2 TDs). The ground game along with a suffocating defensive effort(20 yds. rushing and 10 yds. passing) will have the Casey’s fighting for the top spot all year. Up next is Manasquan, who lost their opener to Long Branch 18-13. Tough division with Rumson(1-0), SJV(1-0), and Manasquan(0-1) looking to make some noise.

Manalapan(1-0) keeps rolling from last year with a rout of Jackson, 30-12. With Anthony Firkser and Saeed Blacknall catching passes from Mike Isabella, defenses will need an extra man in the secondary to cover these guys. You can’t double either without the other being open. Isabella’s job will be to read the coverage and find the open man. The guy who may benefit the most is RB Tyler Leonetti, as the 2 receivers get doubled up, and the lanes open up. This was Manalapan’s first opening day win in 10 years. Tough games ahead will be Mid. South and TR North, so they will be tested. Mid. South(bye week) looks to be the main threat to the Braves in A-North.

Southern proved why they are the choice in A-South. The Rams delivered on opening night with a zero, 28-0 over Free. Twp., in a game halted with 2 min. left in the 3rd quarter, by lightning. QB Dan Higgins fought back from an injury in pre-season to throw 2 TD passes and lead the Rams offensively. RBs Abe Gonzalez(63 yds. and a TD run of 8 yds.) and Rob Yaiser(50 yds. rushing) provided ample support. Remember, they only played 2 min. shy of 3 quarters, so the numbers are not where they could have ended up. Look for the Rams to be tested in 2 weeks at home vs. TR North. Brick Memorial and TR North and Lacey all won big, in week 1, and look to be Southern’s challengers this year.

Surprise of week 1:

Let’s start with the impressive win by SJV, 40-0 over Mon. Don. Transfer QB Billy DeMato, could not have looked better in his first game for the Lancers. DeMato, a senior, started 15 games for Bishop Ahr during the last 2 years, threw for 231 yds. and 2 TDs. Not only was the offense moving the ball, but the “D” got their zero, as they held Mon. Don. To 3 first downs and 84 total yds.

How about Holmdel’s 21-0 shutout of B-South favorite Barnegat. A non-divisional win, but a very impressive one. Rushing for 212 yds. on offense and holding the Bengals to 142 yds. of total offense on defense, it was a great night for the Hornets, led by head coach Frank Papalia.

Jax. Liberty looked good beating Wall 21-6. Nice opener for Tim Osborne, as they look for that first winning season and 1st playoff berth, in their 6 year history.

Nice non-divisional win for Colts Neck over TR East by a 14-7 score.

TR North could be the fastest team in the shore! Their 35-7 victory over Howell on Sunday afternoon unveiled speed and more speed. With new Soph QB Carmen Scalfani throwing and running the offense this year, the Mariners have the pieces to win the A-South. Play-makers Joey Fields, Kyle Carrington, and Damien Singleton are a threat to go the distance anytime they touch the ball. The defense this year will be run by “D” coordinator Dan Curcione, and they were impressive containing the Howell passing attack.

Congrats to Shane Fallon on his 100th win in his 15th season as the head man. It wasn’t easy for the Bulldogs as they had to go into OT to beat Shore Reg. 13-10. It was an 36 yard OT field goal by Jake D’Amelio that won it.

Point Beach continues to roll under Head Coach John Wagner. A 48-8 win over out of area foe Cardinal McCarrick.

Central wins on last play of game with a 27 yard FG by Austin DeRose. The Golden Eagles beat rival TR South 29-26 in a wild contest. Central actually had a bad snap on the attempt on the prior play and DeRose did not get the kick off. But since it was only 3rd down, holder Tony Clark alertly threw an incompletion to set up one more play as time expired. Great win for Central, and a very tough loss for the Indians.

Nice win by Lakewood as RB Tyron Wemberly looks to be a nice option to go to besides QB Tyrice Beverette. The 23-13 win over 2 time State Champs(2008 and 2010), Freehold Boro, was a nice win for Head Coach AJ Clark who is respected and has proved to be just what the Piner’s need.

My week 2 Top Ten:

  • 1- Neptune (1-0) Defending Champs and my #1 until someone can beat them.
  • 2- RBC (1-0) Looks like a legit powerhouse team.
  • 3- Manalapan (1-0) Will be tough to defend this year.
  • 4- Southern (1-0) The Rams begin a 2 week home-stand vs.TR South and TR North.
  • 5- TR North (1-0) The Mariners showed speed to burn in their opener.
  • 6- Matawan (1-0) The Huskies are defending State Champs.
  • 7- Middletown South (0-0) The Eagles had a 1st week bye. No coach likes that, but they have had plenty of time to prepare for Brick.
  • 8- Brick Memorial (1-0) Defense carried the Stangs last week against Brick in their 35-13 win. Must clean up the offense, if they are to challenge TRN and Southern.
  • 9- Rumson (1-0) The Bulldogs survived week 1.
  • 10- Asbury Park (1-0) The Bishops continue to roll.

Just outside looking in:

Lacey(1-0) Have a chance to get into top ten this week vs. Toms River North.

SJ Vianney (1-0) Nice win in opener.

Long Branch(1-0) Must bite the bullet until injured Dwight Clark comes back.

The Shore Sports Network will be broadcasting the Toms River South vs. Southern Regional football game this Friday on 105.7 the Hawk or streamed her on shoresportsnetwork.com.

Join us Thursday at the Water Street Grill on TR waterfront at 7 p.m. for our High School Football talk show, with guest coaches and players.