A Pair of Hall of Fame Coaches Join the Week 7 Varsity Link Coaches Corner
Two of the most well-known and successful football coaches in the Shore Conference whose teams are both undefeated this season will join us on Wednesday from River Rock Restaurant and Marina Bar for the Week 7 Varsity Link Coaches Corner Football Show.
Long Branch head coach Danny George and senior quarterback Christian Rodriguez will join us during the first half-hour of the show and Middletown South head coach Steve Antonucci along with Eagles senior quarterback Tom Schork will be our featured guests during the second half.
George announced in June that he was resigning as both Long Branch's head football and wrestling coach, closing the books on a fantastic coaching career for a Long Branch icon. This past season was his last on the mats but he vowed to return for one final season on the sidelines leading the Green Wave. His farewell tour has gone as well as possible with Long Branch sitting at 5-0 and last week clinching the Shore Conference Freedom Division title with a 28-0 victory over Toms River South. In all, George's Long Branch teams have won four division titles and three NJSIAA state sectional titles, the most recent ones coming in 2017 and 2018. He has a career record of 164-96-1 and was inducted into the Shore Football Coaches Foundation Hall of Fame in 2018.
It has been a combination of a high-octane offense and a physical defense for Long Branch. Rodriguez has been one of the top quarterbacks in the Shore Conference this season with 788 yards passing and 12 touchdowns along with 253 yards rushing and four touchdowns. He is surrounded by a plethora of playmakers including junior running back Sekou Kamau, senior wide receiver Jayden Farmer, junior wide receivers Michael Hall, Ka'Jion Thorne, and Sharmar Williams, and junior tight end Jyshon Pressley.
Long Branch takes on local rival Ocean Township on Friday night to close out its regular season.
Middletown South is coming off a 21-14 victory over Southern Regional that clinched the Colonial Division title and pushed the Eagles' record to 5-0. It is the latest piece of championship hardware for one of the Shore's banner programs led by its legendary head coach.
Earlier this season, Antonucci became the ninth coach in Shore Conference history to reach 200 career victories and just the seventh to do so entirely within the Shore. He has an incredible career record of 202-59 in 24 seasons at "The Swamp" with 12 division championships and six NJSIAA state sectional titles, which is second all-time in Shore Conference history. He was inducted into the Shore Football Coaches Foundation Hall of Fame in 2016.
Schork has had a strong season leading Middletown South's offense and is also a standout in the secondary for the Eagles' ferocious defense. Senior running back Dan Primiano has contributed some big games, as well, including his 192-yard performance in a win over Jackson Memorial.
Middletown South's defense is allowing just 7.2 points per game with senior defensive end Jack Latore, senior linebacker Jack Willi, senior defensive lineman Jake Williamson, senior defensive back Matt Grab and sophomore linebacker Colin Gallagher among the several standouts as defensive coordinator Al Bigos' disposal.
Week 7 is the final week of the regular season before the Shore Conference postseason matchups for Weeks 8 and 9 are announced. The NJSIAA playoffs will follow beginning in Week 10 on Nov. 5.
As always, hosts Bob Badders and Ed Sarluca will also recap some of last weekend’s top games and preview the upcoming schedule while discussing relevant Shore Conference football news.
Now in its 11th year, the Varsity Link Coaches Corner is broadcast every Wednesday from 7-8 p.m. during the football season and can be viewed on shoresportsnetwork.com. The show is archived on the website and available for viewing at any time.
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