A perfect night on tap for the 38th annual U.S. Army All-Shore Gridiron Classic which for the first time will be held at Long Branch High School.  Known to many as the Monmouth-Ocean game it’s the final football game for many recently-graduated high school seniors while others get ready to play on the collegiate level.

Cover of the 2015 U.S. Army All-Shore Gridiron Classic program (Townsquare Media NJ)

The Ocean County team features a trio of outstanding quarterbacks in Brick’s Carmen Sclafani, Joe DeMaio of Jackson Memorial and Conor Davies of Lacey and among their defensive stalwarts are Adam Kakar of Toms River North, Xavier Young of Barnegat and Brick’s James Juliano.  The Monmouth County squad features a pair of explosive and exciting running backs in record-breaker Dahmiere Willis of Long Branch and Princeton-bound Charlie Volker of Rumson with Mater Dei’s Christian Palmer expected to handle most of the quarterbacking chores.

While Ocean County won last summer Monmouth leads the overall series 20-16 with one tie.  Kickoff is at 7pm and tickets are $10 at Bresett Stadium.  Our Shore Sports Network has produced free game day program that will be available at all gates and tonight’s game will be broadcast on NewsTalk Radio WOBM 1160/1310 AM with Matt Harmon, Ed Sarluca and yours truly calling the action. A live audio stream of the game will 

U.S. Women’s soccer team captain Christie Rampone is on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated and she’s not alone. In what was a first-ever move the magazine decided to give all 23 members of the team their own SI cover holding the World Cup championship trophy. 

Christine Rampone's Sports Illustrated cover (Sports Illustrated)

Rampone, of course, is a Point Pleasant native who now lives in Manasquan.  Subscribers like me will not get the issue with Christie on it as those mailed to homes will get a group cover featuring six players including Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach.

The women’s soccer squad was honored as Team of the Year during last night’s ESPY Awards which were televised for the first time by ABC.  I assume many watched the sports version of the Academy Awards to see the Arthur Ashe Courage Award which was presented to Caitlyn Jenner in what was her coming out party and first real public appearance since transitioning into a woman from a man who was considered the world’s great athlete in 1976. 

Frankly I thought the choice of Jenner was a poor one considering other worthy candidates like Leah & Devon Still and the late Lauren Hill who were also honored during the show.  Just my opinion but the fact that shortly after Jenner’s acceptance speech they aired a commercial for her new TV show tells me that this was as much about ratings and publicity than anything else.  I’ll leave it at that.