Scanning the High School Football Scene With Ed Sarluca: The Over-Achievers
RBC, Rumson and Long Branch pulled it off and now live on as football elite for 2018. The Non-Public groups (2-3-4) crowned overall champs while all other groups were sectional champions. That’s where Long Branch and Rumson fall and each went on to win newly formed “Bowl Games” which pitted the South champ vs the Central Champ. A fitting conclusion to excellent seasons by these three schools. LB won back to back championships, while Rumson won for the 5th time in the last 6 years and has six overall titles. While we close the 2018 season with these champions, let’s look at some other teams and how they concluded their seasons.
Of course RBC, Long Branch and Rumson top this list, but there were others. Holmdel (8-2) won the National Division with a 6-0 record, won their first round game in the playoffs and overall had a tremendous year under Jeff Rainess. In the same division, Donovan Catholic (7-3) also had a surprise season under Dan Curcione and with most players returning (only 3 seniors) look for the Griffins to be strong next year. DC lost to Holmdel 21-11. Middletown South (8-3) won the American Division and their 1st round playoff game. Another championship for this elite program. Manasquan (8-3) won the Liberty Division and made it the SJ Group 2 finals before losing to Hillside in a game that could have gone either way. Mater Dei Prep (10-2) won the Patriot Division and made it to the finals in Non-Public 3 only to lose to RBC in a classic game which they dominated in terms of statistics but lost 14-10. They have established themselves as an elite program in the Shore. Red Bank (7-3) finished third in the very tough Freedom Division behind RBC and Long Branch and HC Nick Giglio had them playing well all season. Brick (8-3) finished behind Rumson in the toughest division in the Shore-the Colonial, where every team made the playoffs. They beat crosstown rival Brick Memorial (4-6) to open their season, which is always a big win. They lost to eventual State winner Long Branch in the semi-finals 21-14.
These teams in my opinion had good years and should be singled out for that. Wins and losses sometimes don’t tell the whole story. Toms River North (6-3), Manalapan (6-4), Jackson (6-4), Wall (6-3), Barnegat (7-3), Shore (7-3), Pinelands (4-5), Keansburg (4-5), and Manchester (5-5) all had special years and should be mentioned as such. In some cases, they had their best seasons in quite some time and in the case of Jackson, it resulted in a division title. Other teams like Lacey (5-5), Neptune (5-5), Freehold Twp (5-5), Raritan (5-4), Freehold Boro (5-4), and St. John Vianney (5-5) all had .500 or better records, and that’s always a plus season.
Only one show left in our Gateway Toyota Coaches Corner, and that takes place on Tuesday this week. Our show comes from the Gateway Toyota showroom on Route 37 East in Toms River from 7-8pm. We will crown our special award winners: Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, Coach of the Year and the Shore Sports Network Most Valuable Player award. We will also salute Red Bank Catholic as the #1 team at the shore. Catch the show Tuesday on 105.7 The Hawk with a live video stream at ShoreSportsNetwork.com.