Face of the Franchise: Keansburg 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? And if there was a mountain nearby and we knew a sculptor, whose faces should be carved on its side to be forever honored?
With that in mind, we came up with a football feature that will run throughout this summer, and it’s called Face of the Franchise.
We reached out to all 43 football programs in the Shore Conference and in conjunction came up with five to six nominees for each school. The five 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.
At the end of the summer 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.
A standout running back for the Titans, Schulte was New Jersey’s leading scorer as a senior in 1973 when he led Keansburg to a 7-2 record and the Central Jersey Group 1 title. He was also an All-Shore and All-State selection. Schulte played collegiately at Benedictine College.
A member of Keansburg’s first NJSIAA championship team, which won the Central Jersey Group 1 title in 1976, Stark went on to play collegiately at The College of New Jersey where he was an all-New Jersey Athletic Conference defensive back. Stark was also a standout basketball player and a state championship-winning coach for the titans. He is currently the longtime athletic director at Keansburg High School.
A 1987 Keansburg High School graduate, Kmak followed his high school football and baseball careers by playing college baseball at St. Peter’s. He returned to Keansburg and was an assistant football coach when Keansburg won Central Jersey Group 1 titles in 1994 and 1996. Kmak was hired as the head coach in 2003 and led the Titans for 10 years, including guiding them to the a 10-2 record, the Patriot Division title and Central Jersey Group 1 championship game in 2007.
A preacher’s son who played the organ in the Keansburg Pentecostal Church, Schultheis was a menace between the lines, a gentleman off the field and a championship architect patrolling the sidelines.
A standout offensive lineman, Schultheis was part of Keansburg’s 1976 team that went 9-2 and won the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 1 title, the Titans’ first state title of the playoff era. He was a top player at Princeton University where he was a team co-captain and a first-team All-Ivy selection. The Philadelphia Eagles selected him in the seventh round of the 1983 NFL Draft but he elected to enter the ministry instead.
Back at Keansburg, Schultheis was Keansburg’s head coach from 1992 to 1998, going 39-30-2. The Titans had a fantastic three-year stretch from 1994-1995, going 25-7 with three Class C North division titles and two NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 1 titles, including a perfect 11-0 season in 1996.
A dominant running back and linebacker who is arguably the best athlete in school history, Shea led Keansburg to a pair of NJSIAA sectional titles, including the greatest season in program history.
A four-year starter, Shea scored touchdowns on his first two carries as a freshman. As a sophomore, he helped the Titans go 8-2-1 and win the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 1 championship. He was a third-team All-Shore linebacker as a junior when Keansburg went 6-5 and repeated as division champs. He was spectacular as a senior, winning Shore Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors while leading the Titans to an 11-0 record and the Central Jersey Group 1 championship. He had 93 tackles and eight sacks as a linebacker and ran for 1,656 yards and 25 touchdowns as a running back. In the sectional semifinals, he ran for 295 yards and five touchdowns in a 44-12 win over Shore.
Shea totaled 2,900 yards rushing and 37 touchdowns on an average of 7.6 yards per carry and caught 30 passes for 529 yards and five touchdowns. An outstanding three-sport athlete, Shea also scored 1,377 points and grabbed 654 rebounds on the basketball court and had a big senior season on the baseball diamond with a .494 batting average, 50 RBI and 15 stolen bases.
Shea had an offer to sign with the Kansas City Royals but opted to go to college to play football instead. He played defensive back at Monmouth University.
Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.