Alumni Update: Gesicki Sets Penn State Record, 19 Shore Grads Named All-Conference
A milestone for Southern graduate Mike Gesicki at Penn State and 19 Shore Conference graduates earning all-conference honors across college football highlighted this week as many teams wrap up their seasons.
Gesicki set a record for catches in a season for tight ends at Penn State, while a host of Shore graduates from the FCS level through Division III were honored as the best players in their respective conferences.
---Rookie outside linebacker Shilique Calhoun (Middletown North) had one tackle and a pass break-up on Monday Night Football to help the Raiders beat the Texans 27-20 and improve to 8-2.
---Defensive end Vinny Curry (Neptune) had 2 tackles, 2 quarterback hits and was in on a sack for the Eagles in a 26-15 loss to the Seahawks.
---It was a tough day on special teams for the Cincinnati Bengals and long-snapper Clark Harris (Southern/Rutgers), as kicker Mike Nugent missed two extra points in a 16-12 loss to the Bills.
---Tight end Neal Sterling (Manasquan/Monmouth University) was listed as questionable with a foot injury for the Jaguars and did not finish with any catches in a 26-19 loss to the Detroit Lions. Tight end Tim Wright (Wall/Rutgers) and wide receiver Ryan Spadola (Freehold Twp.) are on the Lions but are currently on injured reserve.
---Mike Gesicki (Southern) had a game-high 5 catches for 47 yards in a 39-0 wipeout of Rutgers to set a Penn State single-season record for catches by a tight end with 42. Saeed Blacknall (Manalapan) started at wide receiver for the Nittany Lions but did not have a catch. Defensive end Garrett Sickels (Red Bank) had a tackle for a loss, and linebacker Manny Bowen (Barnegat) had a tackle in the win. With a win over Michigan State this week and an Ohio State win over Michigan, Penn State will play in the Big Ten title game with a chance to make the four-team playoff for the national championship.
---Temple is now 8-3 after a 31-0 romp over Tulane in which wideout Keith Kirkwood (Neptune) had 2 catches for 39 yards.
---Fullback Anthony Gargiulo (Colts Neck) had 3 carries for 12 yards as Navy won the American Athletic Conference's West Division title by walloping East Carolina in a 66-31 win.
---Old Dominion is now 8-3 after a 42-24 win over Florida Atlantic. Pat Toal (Raritan) saw time on the defensive line in the win.
---Defensive back Ikie Calderon (Neptune) had 6 tackles for Eastern Michigan in a 31-24 loss to Northern Illinois.
---Kicker Mike Caggiano (Manalapan) was 0-for-1 on extra points in UMass's 51-9 loss to BYU.
---Defensive back Otis Kearney (Toms River South) saw time but did not have a tackle for Central Michigan in a 27-20 win over Ohio.
---Starting offensive lineman Quenton Nelson (Red Bank Catholic) and Notre Dame dropped a 34-31 game to Virginia Tech.
---Long-snapper Frank Gabriel (Red Bank Catholic) and Miami improved to 7-4 with a 27-13 win over N.C. State.
---Tight end/H-back Anthony Firkser (Manalapan) of Harvard was named first-team All-Ivy League and Dartmouth defensive lineman Nick Tomkins (Matawan) earned second-team All-Ivy honors. It's the third All-Ivy honor for Firkser, who led the Crimson in TD catches (7) and receiving yards (702), while making 45 grabs overall. Firkser will graduate tied for sixth in program history with 14 career touchdown receptions, eighth with 1,559 receiving yards and 11th with 99 catches.
Princeton freshman offensive lineman Reily Radosevich, Firkser's old Manalapan teammate, earned honorable mention All-Ivy honors and so did yet another former Manalapan Brave, Yale defensive end Kyle Mullen.
---Monmouth University junior safety Mike Basile (Brick Memorial) was named first-team All-Big South Conference for the third time after leading the team with 110 tackles. He was one of five Hawks to earn all-conference honors.
---Stony Brook safeties Tyrice Beverette (Lakewood) and Jaheem Woods (Neptune) were both named second-team All-Colonial Athletic Conference. Beverette led the team with 98 tackles, which ranked third in the CAA, and also had four interceptions and 4.5 sacks. Woods finished with 73 tackles in the last season of a great career.
---Fordham sophomore tight end/H-back Isaiah Searight (Monmouth Regional) was named second-team All-Patriot League along with Lehigh offensive lineman Tim O'Hara (Red Bank Catholic). Searight, who was a first-team All-Shore wide receiver at Monmouth, finished with 13 catches for 181 yards and 2 touchdowns.
---Defensive lineman Tayler Hendrickson (Middletown South) had a sack for a 10-yard loss as the University of Pennsylvania won a share of the Ivy League title for the second straight year with a 42-20 win over Cornell.
---Princeton clinched its share of the Ivy League title with a 38-21 win over Dartmouth as running back Charlie Volker (Rumson-FH) had a big day with 18 carries for 111 yards and a touchdown to lead the way. Defensive back Connor Grogan (Manasquan), linebacker Thomas Martello (Rumson-FH) and offensive lineman Reily Radosevich (Manalapan) all saw time in the win. Defensive lineman Nick Tomkins (Matawan) had 4 tackles and a sack in the loss for Dartmouth. He finished the season second on the team with 3 sacks.
---Wide receiver Joey Fields (Donovan Catholic) finished a great season with 5 catches for 128 yards and a touchdown in Central Connecticut State's 52-19 loss to Duquesne. Fields led the team in catches (46), yards (732) and touchdown catches (6).
---Pat Toomey (Red Bank Catholic) averaged 49 yards on 5 kickoffs as Towson edged Rhode Island, 32-31, on a 55-yard field goal by Aidan O'Neill. Defensive lineman Monte Sinisi (Manasquan) had 2 tackles and defensive lineman Geoff Horwitz (Wall) saw time in the loss for URI.
---William & Mary upset Richmond for its first win over the Spiders in five years as senior quarterback Steve Cluley (Wall) closed out a great career by 17-for-25 for 190 yards and two touchdown passes. He finished the season with 2,015 yards passing and 12 touchdowns. Senior defensive tackle Chris Donald (Red Bank Catholic) also went out with a win as he had a tackle and quarterback hit, and defensive back Mike DeMonte (Red Bank Catholic) added a tackle.
---Defensive back Shawn Ramcheran (Matawan) had 2 tackles and a pass break-up and freshman wide receiver Mike Stapert (St. John Vianney) saw time as Sacred Heart wrapped up a 6-5 season with a 42-34 loss to Bryant. Ramcheran finished the season with 29 tackles.
---Wagner upset Northeast Conference champion St. Francis (Pa.) in a 31-24 win to cap a 6-5 season. Quarterback Alex Thomson (Keyport) went 19-for-27 for 263 yards, three touchdowns and one interception to lead the way. Safety Jesse Flaherty (Red Bank Catholic) had 3 tackles and an interception in the win. Flaherty's old RBC teammate, defensive end Shawn McCord, saw time in the loss for St. Francis. Flaherty finished fourth on the team with 52 tackles and second on the team with 3 interceptions, while Thomson threw for 2,173 yards and 13 touchdowns.
---Defensive back Josh Taylor (St. John Vianney) had 3 tackles and a pass break-up as Marist concluded a 5-6 season with a 41-35 loss to Jacksonville.
---Fordham closed out an 8-3 regular season with a 36-22 win over Bucknell as senior wideout Robbie Cantelli (Holmdel) had another big game with 3 catches for 113 yards and a touchdown, and tight end Isaiah Searight (Monmouth Regional) had 2 catches for 45 yards. Linebacker Brett Lambert (Holmdel) had 4 tackles and a pass break-up in the win. Cantelli led the Rams with 13 touchdown catches, which was second in the Patriot League, and he was second on the team with 37 catches and 634 yards.
In the loss for Bucknell, running back Chad Freshnock (Middletown North) had 95 yards rushing and a touchdown along with a 10-yard catch, quarterback Matt Muh (Shore Regional) was 0-for-1 passing, Doug Whitlock (Red Bank Catholic) started at defensive end, and long-snapper Dillon Paprota (Donovan Catholic) saw time. Freshnock finished second on the team in rushing as a true freshman with 626 yards and tied for the team high with 10 touchdowns.
---Lehigh (9-2) geared up for a showdown with New Hampshire in the FCS playoffs by beating Lafayette 45-21, with Tim O'Hara (Red Bank Catholic) starting at left tackle and offensive lineman Evan Sweeney (Wall) and defensive lineman Justin Gille (St. John Vianney) both seeing time. Wide receiver Tim Vangelas (Colts Neck) had 4 catches for 45 yards in the loss for Lafayette.
---A Yale team that finished 3-7 upset Harvard 21-14 to deny the Crimson a shot at the Ivy League title in a game featuring a pair of former Manalapan teammates. Defensive lineman Kyle Mullen had 4 tackles, 1.5 for a loss, in the victory. Tight end/H-back Anthony Firkser had 2 catches for 47 yards in the loss for Harvard.
---Stony Brook ended a 5-6 season with a 13-6 loss to Albany, as safety Tyrice Beverette (Lakewood) polished off a brilliant season with 8 tackles and 2 interceptions he returned for a total of 43 yards. Safety Jaheem Woods (Neptune) had 6 tackles and a pass break-up to wrap up a great season of his own.
---Tight end Jordan Powell (Lacey) had 6 catches for 43 yards and wide receiver Anthony Pante (St. John Vianney) saw time as playoff-bound New Hampshire retained the coveted Brice-Cowell Musket with a 24-21 win over Maine. Defensive back Darrius Hart (Toms River South) had 5 tackles and a pass break-up for Maine, which finished 6-5.
---Monmouth University wrapped up a 5-6 season with a 34-33 loss to Gardner Webb. Wide receiver Vinny Grasso (Donovan Catholic) had 2 catches for 8 yards and also had a 16-yard punt return, while safety Mike Basile (Brick Memorial) wrapped up another monster season with a game-high 15 tackles for the Hawks. Defensive lineman Dimitrius Smith (Jackson Memorial) added 6 tackles, defensive end Manny Maragoto (Freehold Twp.) had 3 tackles, a forced fumble and was in on a sack, Matt Castronuova (Jackson Memorial) had 2 tackles, and defensive lineman Adam Kakar (Toms River North) had a tackle for a loss. Ryan Wetzel (Colts Neck) started at left guard, Peter Righi (Rumson-FH) started at right guard, Ryan Brodie (Long Branch) saw time on the offensive line and Christian Wagar (Red Bank Catholic) saw time in the secondary. Basile led the team with 110 tackles, and Maragoto had a team-high 6 sacks.
---Wide receiver Ishmael Hyman (St. John Vianney) saw time as playoff-bound James Madison finished unbeaten in Colonial Athletic Association games with a 63-14 win over Elon.
---Playoff-bound Villanova finished up the regular season with a 41-10 win over Delaware, as running back Matt Gudzak (Toms River East) led the way with a career-high 121 yards rushing and a touchdown on 13 carries as well as a 54-yard touchdown catch. Wide receiver Sam Shaud (Rumson-FH) and tight end Ryan Morris (Barnegat) also saw time in the win.
---The Shore Conference was well-represented on the All-New Jersey Athletic Conference teams. Montclair State running back John DiStefano (Red Bank Catholic), who led the conference with 1,257 yards rushing, was named to the first team along with Salisbury fullback Connor Canonico (Colts Neck), Wesley tight end Tory Robinson (Howell), and Kean cornerback Austin Davis (Matawan). Earning second-team honors was Montclair State fullback Anthony Dorsi (Red Bank Catholic), Kean offensive lineman Joe Bick (Manchester), and Rowan punter Mark Diedrichsen (Ocean).
---Bridgewater State quarterback Danny Higgins (Southern) was named first-team All-Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference after throwing for 2,260 yards and 19 touchdowns. He finished his career as Bridgewater State's all-time leading passer with 6,091 yards.
---Muhlenberg sophomore defensive back Nate Corvil (Freehold Twp.) was named second-team All-Centennial Conference, and Franklin & Marshall punter Cody Hubbs (Howell) earned honorable mention.
---Albright senior defensive lineman Rich Kuhn (Brick Memorial) was named first-team All-Middle Atlantic Conference with 28 tackles, 10 for a loss, and 4 sacks.
---Tight end Tory Robinson (Howell) had one catch for 15 yards as Wesley rolled over Stevenson, 38-17, in the first round of the Division III playoffs to advance to face John Carroll University in the second round.
---Quarterback Danny Higgins (Southern) was 13-for-27 for 193 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions as Bridgewater State concluded an 8-3 season with a 33-27 overtime loss to Alfred in the Division III playoffs.
---Rensselaer wrapped up a 6-5 season with a 38-6 win over Maritime College in a bowl game as running back Nick Cella (Red Bank Catholic) had 8 carries for 46 yards and a touchdown, and Conor Davies (Lacey) had 4 punt returns for 69 yards.
---Kean finished 7-4 after beating Cortland 30-27 to cap the season. Wide receiver Jordan Smith (Raritan) had a 9-yard catch, defensive back Austin Davis (Matawan) had 5 tackles and an interception, linebacker Marquis Oliver (Lakewood) added 4 tackles and a pass break-up, Steve Ferlisi (Brick) had a 43-yard punt, Chris Vurchio (Raritan) started at right tackle, Joe Bick (Manchester) started at left tackle, and defensive back Amani Richardson (Manchester), tight end Kyle Rooney (Holmdel) and linebacker Liam Christensen (Central) all saw time.
---Muhlenberg concluded a 9-2 season with a 30-27 loss to Delaware Valley in a Centennial-MAC bowl game. Linebacker Jack Fitzsimmons (Pt. Boro) had 5 tackles, including one for a loss, defensive back Nate Corvil (Freehold Twp.) had 4 tackles, and defensive back Gerard Grimes (Pinelands) added 2 tackles in the loss.
---Albright ended the season 8-3 after a 28-23 win over Franklin & Marshall in the Centennial-MAC Bowl Series. Defensive lineman Rich Kuhn (Brick Memorial) finished with 9 tackles, 2 for a loss, and a fumble recovery, and running back Danny Tighe (Pt. Beach) also saw time in the win.
WATCH: Toms River North's Mike Husni with a long TD pass to Darrion Carrington in the state playoffs