There is one consolation to the end of summer: the start of football season.  Football is by far my favorite sport and while the NFL waits until next week college and high school football get underway this weekend.

The Shore Conference season kicks off tonight with a pair of games under the Week Zero banner.  For the second straight year Central opens at Southern where the Golden Eagles scored a dramatic overtime win last year on their way to a second straight winning season.

There is a new head coach at Central in 34 year old Justin Fumando, who had spent the last five years as Manalapan’s defensive coordinator.  The good news for him is that Mike Bickford returns after rushing for over 3500 yards the last two seasons along with two-way standout Denis Corbin.

The bad news is Central moves up to Class A South having flip-flopped with Lacey in the new alignment.  Southern under Hall of Fame coach Chuck Donohue was 4-6 a year ago and hopes to improve on that with the help of senior two-way starters Dane Walker and Chris Citarella.

Also tonight Ocean led by University of Pittsburgh quarterback recruit Kenny Pickett will host Monmouth Regional.

It’s a big college football opening weekend and Monmouth University begins on the road in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania tomorrow at 12:30 against Lehigh. You can hear the broadcast on the Shore Sports Network’s WOBM 1160 and 1310AM. Led by quarterback Cody Williams and running back Lavon Chaney on offensive and safety Mike Basile (Brick Memorial) and linebacker Peyton Minnich on defense the Hawks look to get off to a fast start.

And of course I’m going to mention Penn State only because five Shore alumni are on the roster and will contribute.  Tight end Mike Gesicki (Southern), wide receiver Saed Blacknall (Manalapan) and defensive end Garrett Sickels (Red Bank) are all starters while sophomore linebacker Manny Bowen (Barnegat) is second on the depth chart and Chris Gulla (TR North) will be the regular holder and backup punter.

The Nittany Lions host Kent State in their opener Saturday afternoon.