Keys to Glory: 2023 Keyport Football Preview
The last two seasons for the Keyport Red Raiders under head coach Jason Glezman have been a monumental success as a positive culture has been re-established with a standard to be upheld for years to come.
Glezman now enters his sixth season as the head coach of the program, leading Keyport to 12 wins in the last two years. He brings back a strong returning roster from last season, which includes two Third Team All-Shore talents in seniors Mike Ford and Nazir Treadwell.
A Holy Cross commit, Treadwell returns as the Red Raiders' leading man for their pro-gun spread offense after rushing for 941 yards and 11 touchdowns on an average of 8.9 yards per carry. He will be helping lead the offense with newcomer, sophomore Darius Applewhite, taking over as the new quarterback.
Applewhite will not only have a strong running game behind him but will add Ford as the top wideout threat for the team. Ford comes into the year after breaking out as a junior with 352 receiving yards and four touchdowns. He will be working in tandem with junior Andrei Matthews, who looks to explode onto the scene after showing flashes of talent last season. Newcomers Justin Fernandez, Damion Purnell, and Mike Nichols will be added to the depth chart at wideout. All three will quickly be looking to be significant playmakers for Keyport, making teams think differently about who they’re going to be covering.
A pair of returning starters anchor the offensive line with 6-foot, 235-pound junior Ryan Burns at right tackle and 6-foot, 275-pound junior left guard Shawan Singh at left guard. Senior Jake Swain is at left tackle, senior Hunter O'Donnell is the center, and junior John Reyes is the right guard. Burns was a First Team All-Patriot Division selection last season and will be entering his third year as a starting offensive lineman.
The defense that returns for the Red Raiders looks to cause havoc across the Patriot Division this season after allowing 17.1 points over nine games in 2023.
Junior Liam Kilian looks to break through from his spot at defensive tackle after recording one sack and 12 tackles in limited action last season. He will also have senior Fernando Greiss as Keyport’s other defensive tackle looking to make headlines (15 total tackles.) They both will have to step up in impactful roles as recent graduate Kevin Fitzgerald (55 total tackles, 2 sacks) will not be on the field to help them out. Burns is also back as a starter at defensive end.
Seniors Vincent Cavallo and Justin Fernandez will get the nod to start at linebacker after seeing action last season. Cavallo is also the Red Raiders starting tight end. The two seniors will be joined by promising freshman inside linebacker Mekai Henderson, who will look to become a mainstay of Keyport's defense for the next four years.
The strength of the Raiders' defense may very well be their work in the defensive backfield. Ford returns as the starting free safety after being one of the Shore’s best last season, leading the conference with eight interceptions (one pick-6) and earning Third Team All-Shore honors. Returning with Ford is Treadwell, who returns for his fourth season as Keyport's starting strong safety. Treadwell had 29 total tackles and an interception on his resume last fall and will team with Ford to give Keyport a strong veteran presence in the secondary.
Freshman Marshall Colangelo joins Keyport as the main guy on special teams. Colangelo will be taking over the duties as the new kicker and punter of the team, taking over for graduate Max Judson.
The Red Raiders have made significant strides over the last two years with back-to-back playoff appearances and sharing the Patriot Division title last year with Shore Regional and Asbury Park. They have an experienced senior class led by Ford and Treadwell who will look to have Keyport competing for the division crown yet again.
At a Glance
Head Coach: Jason Glezman, 5th season
Career Record: 20-33 (17-16 at Keyport)
2022 Record: 6-3
Offense: Pro-Gun Spread
Coaching Staff: Nick Christathakis (Ast. HC/ OL/DL); Angelo Marocco (Offensive Coordinator); Jimmy Maguire (Defensive Coordinator/RB/DB); Pete Miller (QB/DB’s); Kyle Keelen (OL/DL) Jerry Hourihan (Volunteer); Kelly O'Donnell (Athletic Trainer).
Circle the Date: Week 0 - Saturday, Aug. 26th vs. Manville
The Red Raiders open the season vs. the Mustangs for the second straight season and Keyport will be looking for revenge and a strong start to the season after dropping a 30-20 game last season.
Player to Watch: Nazir Treadwell, Sr., RB/DB
Treadwell was a Third Team All-Shore selection last season and is committed to Holy Cross. He ran for 941 yards and scored 13 total touchdowns last season. He is among the Shore's top running backs and will be the focal point of Keyport's offense.
Player to Watch, 2: Mike Ford, Sr., FS/WR
Ford was the top ballhawk in the Shore last season with a conference-leading eight interceptions and was also the team's top receiver with 352 yards and four touchdowns on just 10 receptions, averaging 35.2 yards per catch.
Impact Newcomer: Marshall Colangelo, Fr., K/P
Freshmen tend to get more opportunities to make a varsity impact at the Shore's small schools and Colangelo is such a player as Keyport's starting kicker and punter.
Did you Know?
Keyport is looking to make its third consecutive appearance in the NJSIAA Group I state playoffs. Their back-to-back appearances ended their three-year drought.