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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.

Face of the Franchise - Middletown North football



Editor’s note: Special thanks to Middletown football historian Ray Veth for providing the information for Middletown North’s nominees. These nominees include players who played for the team when there was only one school – Middletown High School – and also Leonardo High School. Other players heavily considered for this list include Ed “88” Keyes (1945), Rich Wacker (1945)(Dixie Abdella (1965), Pat Toland (1984), Pete Trezza (1951), Sal DeSalvo (1953), John Trezza (1954), Ed Foster (1983), Mahaki Burns (1997) along with coaches Lew “Gyp” Blood (1923-1935) and Vic Kubu (1975-1984).


Arnie Truex 

A legendary figure in Shore Conference football, Truex a three-sport standout at Neptune High School before earning a scholarship to Rutgers as a halfback. In college, he became one of the nation’s top punters and field goal kickers. In 1934, he was an All-East selection and an honorable mention All-American pick. He also played baseball at Rutgers. Following college, he played professional football for the Orange Tornadoes of Essex County, including a practice game against the New York Giants.

He began his coaching career at the now-defunct Atlantic Highlands High School in 1935 as a 22-year old and despite a roster of only 15-18 players, led the Tigers to the school’s only undefeated team and Shore Conference division championship in 1937. He also coached the schools to Shore Conference championships in basketball and baseball. His football teams had a 20-10-1 record, including a 17-4 mark over his final three seasons.

Truex was offered the head coach position at Asbury Park High School in 1939 but elected to take the reins at Leonardo High School in Middletown. He was the Lions’ head coach for 21 years, amassing a record of 117-42-5 for a .736 winning percentage. He led Leonard to six division championships (1940, 1942, 1946, 1948, 1952 and 1957), six state championships (1940, 1946, 1948, 1950, 1952 and 1957) and six undefeated seasons (1940, 1942, 1948, 1950, 1952 and 1957). He was the athletic director when Middletown won division and state championships in 1964 and 1969. His career ended in 1959 with an overall record of 137-52-6, 14 total championships and seven unbeaten seasons.

In addition to his legendary coaching career, Truex was a motivating force and co-founder of the original Shore Conference, which started league play in 1936. He served as Shore Conference President in three different decades. He was also instrumental in establishing the Monmouth County Baseball Tournament and was the baseball coach at Leonardo/Middletown from 1940-1966, winning over 200 games and capturing several division titles and state championships. He was also the school’s basketball coach.

Truex, who passed away on June 11, 1977, is a member of the Shore Football Coaches Foundation Hall of Fame, the New Jersey Coaches Hall of Fame, the Rutgers Hall of Fame and of Middletown Lion Hall of Fame. The football field at Middletown North is named Arnie Truex Stadium in his honor.


Tucker “Swede” Hanson

 A Class of 1927 graduate of Leonardo High School, Hanson was a 6-foot-1, 190-pound back known for his great speed, instincts and cutback ability. He was an All-State football player from 1924-1926 and led the school to Class B state championships in 1925 and 1926 as a tailback who could run, throw, punt and drop kick extra points and field goals. He was selected as New Jersey Player of the Year in both 1925 and 1926. Despite incomplete newspaper records from the era, it has been determined his scored more than 240 points during his career.

Hanson played collegiately at Temple University where he was a four-time All-American. In his first game, he totaled 29 points as Temple crushed Blue Ridge College, 110-0. He ended his college career with nearly 3,000 yards rushing and 237 points.

After college, Hanson took his ability to the NFL. He played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1931 and the Staten Island Stapes in 1932. When the Philadelphia Eagles were awarded the former Staten Island franchise in 1933, he scored the first touchdown in Eagles history and played for the team until 1937. He was a contemporary of the great Red Grange and was among the NFL’s rushing leaders and a two-time All-Pro. He finished his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates (now Steelers) in 1938 and was a running mate of Byron “Whizzer White, who later became a Supreme Court Justice.

Hanson was once written up in the Ripley’s Believe It or Not column where it claimed that during practice at Temple in 1927 he punted the ball 175 yards out of the stadium and into the parking lot.

Hanson is a member of the Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame, the Temple Athletic Hall of Fame and the Middletown Lion Athletic Hall of Fame.


Joe Bolger

“The All-American Boy” Bolger was a Class of 1941 graduate of Leonardo High School who earned nine varsity letters and is one of the few athletes in Shore Conference history to earn All-State honors in three sports.

Bolger starred on the 1940 football team that finished undefeated and garnered Shore Conference and state championships. The team is still considered as the greatest team in school history. He led the state in scoring while also kicking off, punting and passing and was also a standout on defense as the Leonardo incredibly did not allow their appoints to score an offensive point the entire season.

He was also a standout basketball and baseball player who earned All-State honors on the hardcourt and the diamond.

Bolger attended the University of Pennsylvania before being called to serve in the 98th Infantry from 1942-1946 during World War II. He earned the rank of Technical Sergeant and played in the first football game ever to take place in Japan. After the war, Bolger graduated from Seton Hall University and began a career in education and coaching. He was the basketball coach at Red Bank Catholic in 1951 and in 1952 became the football coach and athletic director. He coached RBC to its first unbeaten season in 1954 and also led the baseball team to parochial state championships in 1953 and 1954.

When Keansburg High School opened in 1968 he moved into administration at the school. He later became the Keansburg Superintendent of Schools and the Joseph R. Bolger Middle School is named in his honor.


Ted Lauer 

Legendary coach Arnie Truex once dubbed Ted Lauer as “The greatest athlete I ever coached”. He was a fixture for the Lions ever since he was a 10-year old mascot and ball boy before starring on the gridiron, basketball court and baseball diamond.

A 1948 graduate of Leonardo High School, Lauer was a triple-threat tailback and played on the undefeated state champion football teams of 1946 and 1948. In 1948, his 115 points in eight games led New Jersey in scoring as the Lions dominated each opponent. He also threw six touchdowns passes, which was rare during the single-wing era. Lauer earned first-team All-State and first-team All-Shore honors and was recognized as the top player in the Shore Conference.

Lauer was also a four-year varsity basketball player and as a senior helped Leonardo High School set a school record by finishing 19-6. As a baseball player, he led the Lions to Shore Conference and Group 2 state title in both 1948 and 1949 and tossed a no-hitter against Neptune as a senior.

After graduation, he received a scholarship to Potomac State College in West Virginia where he was a three-sport standout. He has since been inducted into the college’s Hall of Fame. Lauer served in the U.S. Army at the end of the Korean War and then settled down in Belford where he established a well-known surveying firm.


Chris Barnes 

A 1983 graduate of Middletown North, Barnes is still ranked among the most gifted players ever to wear the orange and black football uniform. At 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds he combined speed, power and an elusive ability and became a valuable cog in the success of legendary coach Vic Kubu’s teams of the early 1980s. He spearheaded the Lions’ Class A North championship teams in 1981 and 1982 and led the teams to records of 9-1 and 10-1, respectively.

As a senior, Barnes earned first-team All-Shore honors for the second season in a row while also earning a place on the All-State team. He led the Shore Conference in rushing with 1,487 yards while scoring 98 points in 16 touchdowns and a 2-point conversion. Barnes holds the Middletown North record by rushing for over 100 yards in 17 straight games and most of the time he only played the first half as Kubu’s talented teams were usually way ahead. The streak could have been even longer if Barnes didn’t injure his knee and miss the last four games of the 1981 season when he was leading the Shore in rushing with 1,146 yards on a gaudy average of 10.1 yards per carry.

Barnes finished his high school career with 3,120 yards and 33 touchdowns. He also threw two touchdown passes and intercepted four passes on defense.

Barnes continued his stellar career at Syracuse University where he played halfback and fullback and was a member of the 1987 Sugar Bowl team. He became a teacher after college and began his coaching career as an assistant at Middletown North under head coach Mike Galos. He then became the head coach at Jackson Memorial where he resurrected a previously struggling program. From there he accepted the head coaching position at Wall where he coached the Crimson Knights for 12 years, amassing a record of 90-38 and with five division titles and the 2002 NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 3 state title.


Ken Hallgring 

Hallgring was a standout multi-sport athlete who earned first-team All-Shore honors in football, wrestling and baseball before he graduated from Middletown High School in 1970.

A three-year letterman in football, the muscular fullback unselfishly moved to guard in his senior year and was named first-team All-State, All-Shore and All-County. He led the Lions to the No. 1 ranking in New Jersey in 1969 while accounting for over 160 tackles as a linebacker. During “The Greatest Game Ever at the Shore” versus Toms River South, Hallgring made 14 tackles in the first half as the Lions went on to earn a 14-8 upset win.

Hallgring was a wrestling district champion in 1969 and 1970 and during the 1969-1970 season was undefeated during the regular season. He was a two-year starter on the baseball team and received All-State recognition as a catcher in his senior year.

Hallgring played collegiately at Montclair State University where he played football and baseball for the legendary Clary Anderson. One of his teammates was Bob Hermanni, the great running back from Toms River who would later play in the World Professional League.


Ed “Too Small” Jones 

Jones overcame the odds, morphing from an undersized and inexperienced football player during his freshman and sophomore years who was nearly cut from the team to a starting defensive back by the time his junior year rolled around. By the time he was a senior for Middletown High School in 1969 he was six feet tall and 175 pounds and possessed great speed.

He was a two-way player at defensive back and in the wishbone backfield under head coach Dick Kleva, who’s 1969 squad was named the No. 1 team in New Jersey. Jones led the Lions in scoring and earned the reputation of being a shut-down cornerback. He was an All-Shore and All-County selection and earned third-team All-Group IV distinction.

Jones earned a scholarship to Rutgers and as a freshman was a tailback before switching to defensive back. He made the All-East team and still holds a share of the Rutgers career record with 14 interceptions.

Jones was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the ninth round of the 1975 NFL Draft. When he arrived in camp he met hulking defensive end Ed “Too Tall” Jones, and the Rutgers grad was quickly labeled Ed “Too Small” Jones. He didn’t make the roster but joined the Buffalo Bills in 1976 and was named to the All-Rookie Team. His NFL career ended following the 1976 season but his professional career was far from over.

Jones headed north to play for the Edmonton Eskimos in the Canadian Football League. As a free safety, he was named to the All-West CFL team four times and was a three-time All-CFL selection. In 1980 he intercepted 10 passes and returned three for touchdowns. He finishes his nine-year CFL career with 30 interceptions and five fumble recoveries. He was a key player in the Eskimos’ run of five straight Grey Cup championships and was a teammate of CFL legend and NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon.

Jones still lives in Edmonton where he is a local celebrity. His son, Derek, has been playing for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL since 2014.


Donald Glenn

The most prolific passer in school history and the Shore Conference record-holder for career passing yards and touchdowns, Glenn helped bring the Lions out of nearly two decades of non-winning seasons as a four-year starting quarterback.

With former NFL coach Steve Bush taking over as head coach in 2013, Glenn took the reins of Bush’s spread offense and as a sophomore in 2014 led Middletown North to its first winning season 2000. From 2014-2016, he led the Lions to three straight playoff appearances and records of 6-4, 7-4 and 9-3, respectively.

As a junior, Glenn threw for 1,982 yard and 17 touchdowns and led Middletown North to its first playoff win since 2000. His produced a spectacular season where he threw for a conference-best 2,689 with 23 touchdowns and just six interceptions, leading Middletown North to a 9-3 mark and an appearance in the North 2, Group 4 state final, the program’s first championship-game appearance since 1996.

Glenn is the Shore Conference’s all-time leading passer with 7,561 yards and the all-time leader in passing touchdowns with 71. He rewrote the Middletown North record book by setting new marks for most passes completed in a game (23), season (163) and career (523); most passes attempted in a game (43), season (274) and career (930); most passing yards in a game (377), season (2,689) and career (7,561) and most touchdown passes in a game (4), season (23) and career (71).

Glenn accepted a scholarship to Wagner College where he played until a coaching change resulted in his transferring to Ramapo College. He was vying for the starting quarterback position until the New Jersey Athletic Conference canceled fall sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic.




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Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at 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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