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The Few, The Proud, The Beach

Like just about everything else the high school football season was interrupted by Hurricane Sandy and is trying to get back to normal, whatever that means. 

Point Pleasant Beach High School
Point Pleasant Beach High School

It does so just in time for the NJSIAA Playoffs, an annual event that has been expanded and will allow 24 teams to proclaim themselves “state champions” when it’s all over on December 8th.  28 of the 43 Shore Conference football teams have qualified and that group includes a one-win Mater Dei team.  Clearly you don’t have to be very good to make the playoffs but winning a state title is a different story.

Speaking of stories there has been none better than the one being written at Point Pleasant Beach where the Garnet Gulls have become the talk of the town. That is after hurricane conversation.

John Wagner came to the tiny school in 2011 following a 25-year highly successful stint at Roselle Park.  Wagner had retired from teaching and relocated at the shore and the school was smart enough to hire him to fill their coaching vacancy.

The results were immediate and impressive as the Beach posted its first winning season since 1997 and won their first playoff game since 1982 on their way to an 8-3 record.  For that Wagner was saluted as our Shore Sports Network Ocean County Coach of the Year.

Many probably expected the winning to be a one-year thing but not Wagner and not players like Kyle Samaritano, Danny Tighe, Quinn Kusma and Andre Cochran.

The four senior co-captains are the heart and soul of this year’s squad which has set its sights on not just wins but championships.  Point Beach has won its first eight games by an average of 32 points per game and on Thanksgiving they will face Shore Regional for the Class B Central title.  However their bid for a Central Jersey Group 1 title starts tomorrow night when they host South River and our Shore Sports Network will be there to broadcast the game on 105.7FM.

 

It will also be the first home game for the Garnett Gulls since the October 29th storm…one that left many players without homes.  The Beach draws students from as far away as Lavallette and after many of the players helped their own families clean up they then organized as a group for days to help in the community.

Now that same community can come together tomorrow and cheer for a team that knows the definition of success is not just wins and losses although it would be sure nice to win 4 more games and complete and perfect and historic season.

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