Over the last decade, Rumson-Fair Haven has established itself as one of the premier public-school football programs in New Jersey, and the one constant throughout has been Jerry Schulte.

As the Bulldogs current head coach and former defensive coordinator, Schulte has played a part in all six of Rumson’s NJSIAA state sectional championships – two as head coach and four as defensive coordinator.

Schulte and several members of his coaching staff, including his son, Jeremy, will lead a Monmouth County squad that includes four Rumson standouts: linebacker Christian Lanzalotto, offensive lineman Ethan Ardolino, defensive lineman Kenny Rainey and defensive back Ryan Dupree.

This past season, Rumson won its fifth sectional title in the last six years and then emerged victorious in the inaugural NJSIAA Bowl Series to cap a fantastic 10-2 season. After falling to Somerville in 2017 Central Jersey Group 3 final to snap their streak of five straight sectional titles, the Bulldogs earned revenge to reclaim the championship with an epic road victory. Once again taking on Somerville, this time on the Pioneers’ home field, Rumson’s ground game ruled the day in a 42-35 victory that brought the Central Jersey Group 3 title back to Ridge Road.

Senior running back Alex Maldjian put forth a legendary performance with 271 yards and four touchdowns on a whopping 49 carries behind a mauling offensive line of Ryan McCann, Evan Davis, Tim Kelly, Ethan Ardolino and Spencer Short. Senior tight end Ian O’Connor added a pair of touchdown catches from junior quarterback Collin Coles, including a 71-yard score in the first quarter that answered a Somerville touchdown.

Rumson then took on Woodrow Wilson and record-setting quarterback Nick Kargman in the Central-South Group 3 Bowl Game at MetLife Stadium. Maldjian had another monster game with 40 carries for 204 yards and a touchdown, plus a two-point conversion run in a 26-18 victory. Sophomore Johnny Volker added a touchdown run while Coles tossed touchdowns to O’Connor and senior Jackson McCarthy, the latter coming with 1:15 left in regulation to snap an 18-all tie. It was also a big game for Rumson’s defense, which held the Tigers’ high-scoring offense to just 18 points thanks to several timely plays. Senior linebacker Keegan Woods, the Shore Sports Network Defensive Player of the Year, was outstanding with 11 tackles, an interception and a game-changing forced fumble.

Prior to its successful state playoff run, Rumson won the Shore Conference Colonial Division title with a perfect 5-0 record against the likes of St. John Vianney, Brick, Brick Memorial, Freehold and Middletown North.

Rumson had 10 players selected to the Shore Sports Network All-Shore teams, including First Team selections Maldjian, McCann, O’Connor, Woods and defensive lineman Henry Sullivan. Maldjian ran for 1,702 yards and 23 touchdowns while Woods had a state-leading 178 tackles.

Throughout his tenure at Rumson, Schulte has presided over a defense that has turned in several spectacular performances in championship games. When Rumson won its first sectional title in 2010, the Bulldogs shut down a tremendous Matawan offense to stun the Huskies, 13-7. The following season, the Bulldogs lost to Matawan in the state final, but the defense allowed just three points in a 3-0 defeat. Rumson’s second state title came in 2013 when it held down a powerful Weequahic team in a 13-6 victory. In 2014, Schulte’s defense suffocated Delaware Valley in a 21-0 triumph. The 2015 season saw another championship shutout as the Bulldogs blanked rival Red Bank, 21-0, to hoist their third straight title and fourth overall.

Schulte is 29-7 as Rumson’s head coach and has an overall head-coaching record of 88-85-1 including his time at Wall (1990-1999) and Mater Dei Prep (1980-1984).

A 1970 graduate of Keansburg High School where he was a standout full back and middle linebacker, Schulte then played collegiately at the now-defunct Upsala College in East Orange before an injury ended his career. He transferred to Monmouth University where he graduated in 1975.

Schulte began his coaching career as an assistant at Keansburg before head-coaching stops at Mater Dei and Wall. He was the offensive coordinator at Monmouth Regional from 2000 to 2004 before joining Rumson’s staff for the 2005 season. Schulte has also been a wrestling coach around the Shore Conference, serving as the head coach at Mater Dei Prep, Wall and Monmouth Regional and as an assistant at Wall and Rumson.

 

Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at bob.badders@townsquaremedia.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.

 

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