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Sunday was a good day for tight ends with Shore Conference ties, as Brick senior Simon Bingelis announced his college commitment and former Wall star Tim Wright punched his ticket to the Super Bowl as part of the Patriots' romp over the Colts.

Bingelis announced that he has verbally committed to the high-level FCS program at Villanova, which currently features three Shore Conference grads on its roster. Bingelis also had offers from Fordham, Yale and Columbia. He looks to be one of multiple scholarship players from Brick's senior class that also includes quarterback Carmen Sclafani, who took an official visit to Sacred Heart this weekend, and defensive back Ja'Quez Johnson, who will choose between Marist, Bentley and Assumption.

As for Wright, the tight end did not have any catches in New England's 45-7 beating of Indianapolis, but the Rutgers grad will be heading to Arizona to play in the big game against Seattle in two weeks. He becomes the second straight Shore Conference alumnus to play in the Super Bowl, as former Middletown South star Knowshon Moreno was part of the Broncos' team that lost to Seattle at MetLife Stadium last year. It involved a stroke of luck for Wright, as he started the season on the worst team in the NFL, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but came over to New England in a mid-season trade in the midst of his second NFL season.

Doesn't seem like that long ago that Wright was lighting it up as a receiver and running back for the Crimson Knights back in the mid-2000s, but he has come a long way as an undrafted free agent out of Rutgers.

Former Wall star Tim Wright is part of the Patriots team that punched its ticket to the Super Bowl. (Photo by Scott Stump)

The last Shore grad to win a ring was former Marlboro/Temple star Dan Klecko, who was part of the Colts' team that won it all in 2007. He has three Super Bowl rings, as he was also a member of the Patriots when they won back-to-back titles.

Sunday also marked the inaugural Bulldog Challenge girls basketball showcase at Rumson-Fair Haven, which essentially has replaced the Boardwalk Showcase on the girls side. The Shore Conference ruled the day, led by top-ranked St. John Vianney, which beat Morris Catholic 50-44 behind 19 points from center Kim Evans and 14 by point guard Kelly Campbell in a meeting of top 10 teams in the state.

Red Bank Catholic topped Chatham, 59-49, thanks to 20 points and 10 rebounds by center Maureen Coakley. Middletown South rolled past High Point, 67-47, as star Stephanie Karcz poured in 31 points, host Rumson-Fair Haven picked up an 86-43 win over West Morris behind 16 points from Grace Stant, and Manasquan cruised to an 80-51 win over New Providence in a match-up of state-ranked teams as standout Marina Mabrey dropped in 27 points.

More on Monday: 

  • For those jonesing for some basketball today, some of the state's top teams are part of a Martin Luther King Day showcase up at Paterson Eastside.
  • New Shore Conference boys basketball Top 10 by Matt Manley.
  • New Shore Conference wrestling Top 10 by Bob Badders.
  • Chris Partridge, the football coach who built Paramus Catholic into a state power, stunningly announced at the team's banquet last night that he was stepping down and already has a successor in place.
  • Former Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes was having some fun at the Patriots' expense after their win.
  • Great story on how former USC men's basketball coach and long-time hoops fixture George Raveling came into possession of the original copy of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream Speech," which Raveling has preserved all these years.
  • A few book recommendations for MLK Day: Hellhound on His Trail by Hampton Sides. It starts by giving insight into MLK the man in the time leading up to his tragic assassination, but the bulk of the book is about the worldwide manhunt for his assassin, James Earl Ray, and the incredible amount of resources and luck that went into capturing him just before he could've potentially disappeared forever to Africa. Also, the trilogy of books by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Taylor Branch about King are a tremendous and exhaustive look at the civil rights movement and his life.

On tap for tonight: Nothing really on the schedule today because of the holiday.

What to watch for this week: In boys basketball, tomorrow is a huge day with 21 games scheduled. The ones to watch are Colts Neck at Wall at 6:30 p.m. in a game between two teams tied for first place in Class B North, and Manchester at Lakewood at 6:30 p.m. in a game for sole possession of first place in Class B South. Also, Red Bank Catholic will try to right the ship after two losses when it faces rival Red Bank, the No. 2 team in the latest Shore Sports Network Top 10, in Class B North at 7 p.m. on the Bucs' home floor.

On Thursday, Southern heads to Toms River South for an important Class A South match-up, and Red Bank hosts Wall in another crucial Class B North meeting that could potentially be for sole possession of first place depending on how Wall and Red Bank do tomorrow. On Friday, No. 1 Christian Brothers Academy goes on the road to Freehold Township in a huge Class A North game as the teams go through the divisional schedule for a second time. The Colts routed the Patriots in the season opener, but Freehold Township has its full lineup back and looks to shake up the race, while CBA looks to end any suspense and take a big step toward the title.

Also on Friday, Rumson-Fair Haven travels to Manasquan for a big Class A Central meeting, which is also a huge game on the girls side as well.

In wrestling, the big match is No. 3 Jackson Memorial traveling to No. 2 Brick Memorial for a monster Class A South showdown at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday. It's a big week for the Mustangs, as they have to turn right around and travel to Southern for another crucial Class A South match at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and then have a Saturday quad at Bound Brook, the No. 2 team in the state, that will also feature state-ranked Don Bosco Prep.

Southern also has a quad with state powers South Plainsfield and Kingsway on Saturday, and Jackson Memorial will host state power Hanover Park as well as another top 10 team, Christian Brothers Academy, on Saturday. Top-ranked Howell will host a triangular match on Saturday that will include another Top 10 team in Long Branch. Another Class A South battle to keep an eye on is No. 5 Brick hosting No. 7 Toms River South on Saturday that is part of a quad.

I will end with some old-school Tim Wright highlights from his Wall days in honor of his trip to Glendale, Arizona.