Face of the Franchise: Freehold Township football
When a Shore Conference football program is mentioned there are certain people that always come to mind. For some, it’s unanimous no matter what era you are from. For others, it’s a fun debate comparing all-time greats from different eras whether they roamed the sidelines as coaches or broke records between the lines.
That got us at the Shore Sports Network wondering: when you think of Shore Conference football, who are the most prominent figures in each program’s history?
With that in mind, we came up with a football feature called Face of the Franchise.
We reached out to all 43 football programs in the Shore Conference and in conjunction came up with nominees for each school. The names and their accomplishments will be listed and fans will have a chance to cast their votes to select who they feel is the Face of the Franchise for each program. Our SSN football crew of Bob Badders, Kevin Williams, Ed Sarluca and Matt Harmon will also put their heads together to make a selection. The polls will run for one week each.
When the Face of the Franchise has been determined for all 43 programs, we’ll run one final poll to see who the fans think should go on top of the mountain; five legends to represent the history of Shore Conference football.
Castellano was a top-notch defensive end for the Patriots who was first-team All-Division, second-team All-Shore and first-team All-State Group IV selection as a senior in 2001. He helped Freehold Township go 7-3 to set a then-school record for wins in a season that has since been eclipsed. He began his college career at Villanova before transferring to Monmouth University where he was a three-year starter and two-time All-Northeast Conference selection at middle linebacker. As a senior, Castellano was named a Football Gazette First Team Mid-Major All-American. He finished his Monmouth career with 218 tackles, 12.5 sacks and seven interceptions.
Gilbert was a standout quarterback for the Patriots who helped Monmouth County win the 1988 All-Shore football game. He received a scholarship to Michigan State University before transferring to Shippensburg University where he was a three-year starter and second on the school’s all-time passing list with 6,205 yards. Gilbert then went on to become a championship-winning head coach in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania. He took over a struggling Palisades High School program in 2001 and over the course of nine seasons compiled a 61-43 record and led his team to a league championship and two District 11 titles. He then coached at Whitehall High School from 2012 through 2018 and went 48-23 with two District 11 Class 5A titles. He also coached future NFL standout Saquan Barkley at Whitehall. Gilbert is currently the athletic director at Palisades High School.
As a standout wide receiver and defensive back, Lotti was a Shore Sports Network first-team All-Shore selection as a senior in 2016 when he helped Freehold Township go 7-3 for its first winning season since 2004 and best season since 2001. He caught 46 passes for 648 yards and five touchdowns and ran for 298 yards and a touchdown, and on defense he made 64 tackles and intercepted two passes. Additionally, Lotti was a two-time All-Class A North selection and a two-time All-State Group 5 selection. He continued his football career at the University of Pennsylvania but suffered a career-ending shoulder injury early in his sophomore season.
Spadola was a second-team All-Shore wide receiver as a senior in 2008 before a standout collegiate career at Lehigh led to a four-year stint in the NFL. At Lehigh, Spadola was a three-time First Team All-Patriot League selection, including a sensational junior year where he caught 96 passes for a Patriot League single-season record 1,614 yards and 11 touchdowns. He had 78 catches for 1,130 yards and nine touchdowns as a junior and 57 catches for 851 yards and four touchdowns as a senior to finish his illustrious career with 232 receptions for 3,611 yards and 24 touchdowns. When he graduated he was ranked second in school history in career receptions and receiving yards. In 2013, Spadola was signed by the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent and appeared in three games. His career highlight came in a preseason game when he caught three passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. He also appeared in one game for the Miami Dolphins in 2013. Spadola then spent time on the practice squads of the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions through 2017.
Yngstrom played offensive and defensive line for the Patriots from 1999-2002 and as a senior was third-team All-Shore and second-team All-County and was selected to the Super 100 by the New Jersey Football Coaches Association. He continued his career at Monmouth University where he was a three-year starter along the defensive line, recording 109 tackles, 24 sacks and 31 tackles for loss. As a senior, he was a second-team All-Northeast Conference selection.
Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.
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