T&T Coast Shore Conference Football Top 10, 9/13/16
As I wrote during the preseason, Week One and Thanksgiving always seem to be the weeks where there are at least a couple of eye-opening results, and that was again the case this past weekend.
At lot of that, of course, has to do with the uncertainties that surround every team heading into the season. Sometimes things are not as they appear before the real games officially begin. During the first full week of Shore Conference action, a pair of teams ranked in the Shore Sports Network Preseason Top 10 were handed defeats, as Wall and Asbury Park delivered the first upsets of the season.
The Crimson Knights took down previous No. 7 Ocean, 34-14, for an impressive road victory, rallying from a seven-point deficit with 27 unanswered points. This isn’t a major surprise considering Wall’s senior class has been earmarked for success ever since it entered the program, but nonetheless a very good win for a Wall team looking to rebound after a disappointing 2015 season.
The result that reverberated most around the Shore Conference was Asbury Park’s 14-7 win over previous No. 9 Shore Regional, which ended the Blue Devils’ 20-game winning streak. Shore has been dominant in Class B Central, winning the last three division titles, so the Blue Bishops’ win certainly shakes things up. A division that usually has one meaningful game a year in terms of deciding the division championship now has several intriguing matchups going forward.
The top teams all took care of business as No. 1 Middletown South, No. 2 Toms River North and No. 3 Manalapan all rolled in games they were heavily favorited. The same goes for fourth-ranked St. John Vianney, No. 5 Jackson Memorial and No. 6 Rumson-Fair Haven, which all won in blowout fashion. Middletown North looked very good in a 34-7 win over Neptune, while Brick won another intense battle with Brick Memorial for its fourth straight win over the rival Mustangs.
Week Two has several interesting matchups, led by a top-10 showdown in Class A South between Jackson Memorial and Brick. These two teams have had some back and forth battles over the past few years, and when A South powers meet it’s usually a hard-hitting, physical game. Also in A South, Toms River North will look to get a measure of revenge against Brick Memorial, which dealt the Mariners their only loss last season.
Unbeaten Central taking on Wall is also a solid matchup, but you have to wonder how the Golden Eagles will approach the game after learning yesterday they are ineligible for the playoffs. Middletown North will look to start its Class B North schedule off with a win in welcoming an 0-1 Red Bank Catholic team looking for a bounce-back performance.
Shore Sports Network Top 10
1. Middletown South (1-0). Last week: No. 1
The Eagles started slow, but eventually got on track and could not be stopped in a 49-14 Class B North win over Red Bank Catholic for their 13th straight win. Senior Maxx Imsho was all over the field with a touchdown run, a fumble recovery for a touchdown, an interception and double-digit tackles. Newcomers Anthony Summey and Aneesh Agrawal impressed with two touchdowns each. Summey, who transferred from RBC weeks before the season started, ran for 130 yards and two scores and Agrawal, Holmdel transfer, had one touchdown through the air and another on the ground. Next game: The Eagles welcome Ocean (1-1) to “The Swamp” on Friday night where they’ll look to contain Pittsburgh-bound quarterback Kenny Pickett.
2. Toms River North (1-0). Last week: No. 2
Senior quarterback Mike Husni began the season with a fantastic performance, throwing for 236 yards and four touchdowns and running for 137 yards and a touchdown in a 41-7 Class A South win over Southern. Senior wide receiver Darrion Carrington had three touchdown catches and over 100 yards receiving, and senior running back Parker Day also ran for 100 yards as the Mariners’ offense flashed its unbelievable potential. Next game: The Mariners travel to Brick Memorial (0-1) on Friday night, the site of their only loss season, and will look exact some revenge.
3. Manalapan (1-0). Last week: No. 3
Big games by junior quarterback Luke Corcione and junior running back Naim Mayfield led the way for the Braves in a 49-12 Class A North victory over Marlboro. Corcione threw for 239 yards and three touchdowns, two of which went to junior Scott Scherzer. Mayfield ran for 146 yards and two touchdowns on just 11 carries, and also caught a 75-yard touchdown. Next game: The Braves host Southern (0-2) in a nondivisional game on Friday night.
4. St. John Vianney (1-0). Last week: No. 4
Senior running back Chris Chukwuneke ran for 135 yards and a touchdown and Johnny Buchanan ran for a pair of scores in a 31-0 Class A Central victory over rival Matawan. Defensive end Nick Densieski led the way for the Lancers’ defense with four sacks as the unit allowed just 104 total yards. Next game: The Lancers travel around the block to Hazlet on Friday night to face a Raritan (0-1) team looking to rebound from a rough loss to Rumson.
5. Jackson Memorial (1-0). Last week: No. 5
Senior running back Mike Gawlik ran for 114 yards and three touchdown to set the Jaguars’ all-time touchdown mark at 41 in a 50-6 wipeout of rival Jackson Liberty in a nondivisional game. Dan Kellet, Chance Benjamin and Leo Shimonovich added rushing touchdowns and John Ghigna threw a touchdown pass to Steve Vigliarolo. Next game: The Jaguars head to No. 9 Brick on Friday night for a key Class A South contest.
6. Rumson-Fair Haven (1-0). Last week: No. 6
The Bulldogs’ running game dominated in 41-0 victory over Raritan, paving the way for Rumson to average over 13 yards per carry with two 100-yard rushers. Senior running back Matt Vecchiarelli needed just 11 carries to run for 153 yard and three touchdowns, while senior quarterback Mike O’Connor ran for 114 yards and two scores on five carries. Junior Peter Lucas added a long touchdown run and the defense registered five sacks. Next game: Rumson has a bye in Week Two and returns to action in Week Three with a Class A Central home game vs. Holmdel.
7. Middletown North (1-0). Last week: No. 8
Junior running back Connor Welsh ran for 114 yards and two touchdowns and senior quarterback Donald Glenn threw for 174 yards and two touchdowns in a 34-7 nondivisional win over Neptune. Senior Dwight Wilkerson had 77 receiving yards and a touchdown and Welsh also hauled in a touchdown. Senior linebacker Nick Kish made 14 tackles to lead the defensive effort. Next game: The Lions will host Red Bank Catholic (0-1) in a Class B North game on Friday night.
8. Wall (1-0). Last week: unranked
The Crimson Knights won their season-opener for the first time under head coach Dan Curcione when they put together a big second half in a 34-14 win over Ocean in a Class B North game. Senior Shane Richey made two clutch plays in catching a tipped pass for a go-ahead 38-yard touchdown and later making a diving interception in the end zone. Shane Larkin and Brady McNally each had a pair of touchdown runs. Next game: Wall hosts Central (2-0) in a nondivisional game on Friday night where it looks for its first 2-0 start since 2013.
9. Brick (1-0). Last week: No. 10
Clutch plays by seniors Ja’Sir Taylor, Dean Helstowski, Anthony Costanza and Jay Obenauer helped the Dragons beat rival Brick Memorial, 28-14, in a Class A South game for their fourth straight victory in the rivalry series. Taylor had a go-ahead 65-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter while Helstowski had a momentum-turning 90-yard fumble return for a touchdown on the opening series of the game. Costanza accounted for 153 total yards and Obenauer had a game-clinching pick six late in the fourth quarter. Next game: Brick hosts fellow top 10 team Jackson Memorial in a marquee Class A South game on Friday night.
10. Asbury Park (1-0). Last week: unranked
The Blue Bishops had everyone talking Friday night when they ended Shore’s 20-game winning streak with a 14-7 Class B Central win. Paul Reed’s touchdown run in the fourth quarter held up as the game-winner and JaKing Agostini had a touchdown pass to Javon Higgs. The Asbury Park defense was outstanding against what has been one of the conference’s top rushing teams in recent years. Safety Devin Nash-McGee had a crucial interception, as well. Next game: The Blue Bishops continue their Class B Central schedule on the road in Keyport on Saturday.
Dropped out: No. 7 Ocean, No. 9 Shore
Teams to watch
Freehold Township (1-0): Charles Sabbagh’s 75-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Lotti with 3:28 left in regulation enabled the Patriots to escape with a 16-12 win over rival Freehold. Next game: Saturday at Colts Neck (0-1).
Central (2-0): Senior receiver Anthony Holloway had two touchdown catches and a fumble return for a touchdown in a 42-0 win over Toms River East, but the game was marred by a fight that saw three players from each team get ejected, resulting in both teams being banned from the playoffs. Next game: Friday at No. 8 Wall (1-0).
Howell (1-0): Junior quarterback Eddie Morales threw for 238 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-13 victory over Colts Neck. Next game: Saturday at Freehold (0-1).
Mater Dei Prep (1-0): Junior quarterback George Pearson had a pair of touchdown passes and Marvin Pierre had a touchdown catch and a rushing score in a 35-0 win over Keansburg. Next game: Friday night at Dunellen (0-0) in a nonconference game.
Lakewood (1-0): Junior quarterback Zyhier Jones ran for two touchdowns and threw another to twin brother Tyhier Jones in a 20-0 win over Manchester. Next game: Saturday vs. Donovan Catholic (0-1).
Football editor Bob Badders can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.