Big Birds: 2022 Point Pleasant Beach High School Football Preview
After going winless during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Point Beach rebounded last season with a 3-7 record, including winning their final two games. With nine returning starters on each side of the ball, the Garnet Gulls are looking forward to getting back to the playoffs and contending for the Patriot Division title.
The Gulls enter 2022 in a much better position than in recent years in terms of experience and size with multiple three-year starters and players in the 6-foot-plus and 200-plus pound range. One of those three-year returning starters is senior quarterback/middle linebacker Joe Beley. He was the heartbeat of Point Beach last season, throwing for 734 yards and seven touchdowns in the Gulls' Wing-T offense and making 97 tackles on defense. Along with Beley, Point Beach has four returning starters in the backfield with senior three-year starter Roman Grauso at running back and seniors Ryan Oreste and Jake Mullins at wing back.
The wide receivers are junior Anthony Abdy, a returning starter, and 6-foot-3 senior Kevin Burns. The measurables of 6-foot-2, 230-pound senior tight end Jackson Killian are one example of the difference in size that Point Beach brings to the table this season. Four starters return along the offensive line and the newcomer, senior right tackle Chris Valente, just happens to be 6-foot-6 and 330 pounds. Senior David Fant (6-0, 225) is the left tackle, senior Rob Dey (6-0, 240) is the left guard, senior Arthur LoGuidice is the center, and senior Ronnie Thorne and junior Andrew Cole are both at right guard as Beach will rotate players in and out to remain fresh.
Point Beach's 4-3 defense is also well-stocked with experienced players. Grauso is a three-year returning starter and will move to defensive end after playing linebacker last season. Dey and Valente are returning starters at defensive tackle and combine for a whopping 570 pounds in the middle of the line. Killian flanks them as the other defensive end. Junior Jamie Setrakian (6-3, 240) was a starter last season and will see significant playing time again at defensive tackle along with senior Alex Coles.
The linebackers are all returning starters with Beley at middle linebacker and Oreste and LoGuidice at outside linebacker. Oreste played in the secondary last season and tied for second in the Shore Conference with four interceptions.
The secondary has three returning starters with Mullins and senior Aidan Kane as the cornerbacks and Abdy as the strong safety. Senior Kevin Burns (6-3, 170) will step in as the free safety.
On special teams, junior Connor Loughran returns as the kicker and punter.
Point Beach will be in the Patriot Division this season with Asbury Park, Keansburg, Keyport, Shore Regional, and Lakewood.
The vibes are positive and expectations are high for Point Beach entering year four under head coach Joe Zaccone. With talent, experience, and size throughout the lineup, the Garnet Gulls are planning for a resurgence this fall.
At a Glance
Projected starters (RS=returning starter, 3RS=3rd-year returning starter)
Offense: Delaware Wing-T
QB: Joe Beley, Sr., 3RS
RB: Roman Grauso, Sr., 3RS
Wings: Jake Mullins, Sr., RS; Ryan Oreste, Sr., RS
WR: Anthony Abdy, Jr., RS; Kevin Burns, Sr.
TE: Jackson Killian, Sr.
LT: David Fant, Sr., RS
LG: Rob Dey, Sr., RS
C: Arthur LoGuidice, Sr., RS
RG: Ronnie Thorn, Sr., RS; Andrew Cole, Jr. RS
RT: Chris Valente, Sr.
Returning starters: 9
DE: Roman Grauso, Sr., 3RS
DT: Rob Dey, Sr., RS; Alex Coles, Sr.
DT: Chris Valente, Sr., RS; Jamie Setrakian, Jr.
DE: Jackson Killian, Sr.; Andrew Cole, Jr.
OLB: Ryan Oreste, Sr., 3RS
MLB: Joe Beley, Sr., 3RS
OLB: Arthur LoGuidice, Sr., RS
CB: Aidan Kane, Sr., RS
CB: Jake Mullins, Sr., RS
SS: Anthony Abdy, Jr., RS
FS: Kevin Burns, Sr.
K/P: Connor Loughran, Jr., RS
Head coach: Joe Zaccone, 4th season
Career record: 10-17
Team record last five years:
Assistant coaches: Jeff Bower (Defensive Coordinator/DB/RB); Brandon Gross (Offensive Coordinator/DL/OL); Josh Yates (Special Teams Coordinator/DB/QB); John Wagner (OL/LB); Michael McGee (LB/Wings); Michael Pellicane (LB/WR); Jimmy Ilvento (WR/DB); Cali Whedon (Athletic Trainer).
Player to Watch: Joe Beley, Sr., QB/LB
Beley returns for his third year as a starter on both sides of the ball and looks to lead the Gulls back to the playoffs. He threw for 734 yards and seven touchdowns and registered a team-high 97 tackles last season.
Player Under the Radar: Roman Grauso, Sr., RB/DE
The 2022 season will be Grauso's third as a starter. He'll be Point Beach's running back in the Wing-T offense and moves from linebacker to defensive end. He figures to be in the middle of everything Point Beach does and a player who is key to their aspirations.
Impact Newcomer: John Wagner
Yes, we're going with an assistant coach here, but not just any coach. Wagner is a Hall of Fame head coach who led Point Beach from 2011 through 2017 after being the longtime head coach at Roselle Park. He was most recently an assistant at Rumson-Fair Haven. The Garnet Gulls reached unprecedented heights under Wagner's direction, including consecutive 10-win seasons in 2012 and 2013 and the 2013 Central Jersey Group 1 championship, the program's first and only NJSIAA sectional title. He'll coach the offensive line and linebackers this season and offer invaluable experience and insight to head coach Joe Zaccone and the rest of the coaching staff.
Rivalry Game: Oct. 7 at Shore Regional
Shore and Point Beach are in the same division in most sports and routinely compete for division titles against one another. It's too early to tell the significance of this season's Week 6 game but it will certainly be a game each roster has circled on their calendars.
Sept. 1 - @Pinelands, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 - vs. Keansburg, 7 p.m.
Sept. 17 - @Keyport, 12 p.m.
Sept. 23 - vs. Asbury Park, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 - vs. KIPP Academy, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 - @Shore, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 - vs. Jackson Liberty, 7 p.m.
Oct. 22 - @Lakewood, 1 p.m.