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The Asbury Park High School football team will finally begin its season on Friday night, one week after being forced to forfeit its season-opening game due to a lack of eligible players.

Asbury Park School District Superintendent RaShawn M. Adams held a press conference on Wednesday afternoon outside the board of education building to announce that the Blue Bishops' scheduled game with Keyport High School will take place on Friday night. Eligibility issues regarding three players have been cleared up, allowing those players to return to the team and give Asbury Park enough players to safely compete.

The Asbury Park Press was the first to report the information from the press conference.

Under first-year head coach Lamar Davenport, Asbury Park was scheduled to open its season with a road game versus Newark's Weequahic High School on Friday, Sept. 2, but that morning the decision was made to forfeit the game due to not having enough eligible players. Since then, three players had their credit situations resolved and became eligible. Adams said the team will dress 18 players vs. Keyport. The program, which does not have junior varsity or freshmen teams this season, had 25 players during training camp, according to data collected by Shore Sports Network during the production of our season preview.

"We did not have certified documentation for the credit recovery for those students who were just on the cusp," Adams said. "Those students who were a few credits short of being eligible weren't allowed to play. It was a broad spectrum. We had some where it was extreme. we had some that were not. I took them all as not being eligible."

RELATED: Asbury Park High School Football Preview

Adams said 7-8 players were not eligible to play vs. Weequahic. Three have since been declared eligible and 4-5 players remain ineligible.

A roster of just 18 players teeters on the edge of being able to field a team that can safely compete on a weekly basis, however. Asbury Park, which has one of the lowest enrollments among Shore Conference high schools, competes in the Patriot Division with fellow small schools Keyport, Keansburg, Point Pleasant Beach, and Shore Regional. Lakewood is also in the division, and although the Piners are a larger school, the size of their football roster aligns more with schools the size of Asbury Park. Adams said he hopes the situation remains stable and the status of the team's games will not have to be decided on a week-to-week basis.

Asbury Park finished with a 5-5 record during a tumultuous 2021 season that was tarnished by the firing of former head coach Nick Famularo, who was removed from his position on Dec. 16 after he was found half-naked and allegedly trespassing at the school stadium in the early morning hours of Nov. 6. He was placed on administrative leave prior to being fired.

In April, Davenport was hired by the Asbury Park Board of Education as the Bishops' new head coach. Davenport is a former star for the Blue Bishops who played collegiately at Monmouth University and returned to Asbury Park as an assistant coach before being hired as head coach this year.

RELATED: Davenport plans to bring pride back to Asbury Park football



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