Scanning the High School Football Scene With Ed Sarluca: Week 2
Week 2 usually begins to separate the good teams from the bad teams and the surprise teams from the pretend teams. Let’s look at who is off to that quick start that makes the alumni happy.
RBC (3-0) is off to what could be a championship year. It’s still early, but the sky’s the limit for this juggernaut. QB Steve Lubishcer, TE Kevin Bauman, and a veteran offensive line will keep the Caseys on top in the Shore and get them ready to make a run in the playoffs.
Mater Dei (3-0) will get tested by a good Shore team this week, a big Barnegat team in October, and a big challenge from Manasquan in week 6. Their schedule this year is much more challenging than last and will prepare them for the playoffs in the long run.
Lacey (3-0) is off and running with a stingy defense and an offense that has been just good enough. They have won their 3 games by a total of 15 points. Things get a little tougher in the next 2 weeks when they go to Wall (1-1) and host Jackson (2-0).
TR North (2-0), coming off a 1-9 season has already doubled their wins total. They have outscored their opponents 63-14 and look to make some noise in the new American Division.
Freehold Boro (2-0) has continued to win after Ashante Worthy’s phenomenal year in 2017, with a nice come from behind win (20-17) over Brick Memorial (1-2). QB Matt Krauss (169 yards rushing and 162 yards passing) has assumed the job of replacing Worthy with outstanding results. Memorial playing without their starting QB Tyler Sindel (lacerated chin - 20 stitches) got a nice performance from junior QB Anthony Albanese (121 yards rushing and 137 yards passing), but it wasn’t enough to overtake the Colonials. Both Freehold wins have been close, one by 2 points and the other by 3 points.
Red Bank (2-0) has won 2 games and both have been on the road. That’s impressive when you must start on the road and you win them, especially when it’s TR South and Holmdel. Not easy places to win games. Buckle it up this week, as #1 RBC comes calling on Friday night.
Manasquan (2-0) had to fight back from a 10-0 deficit to beat Neptune (0-2) 21-10. They will host unbeaten Raritan (2-0) on Saturday afternoon in a matchup of unbeaten teams.
Raritan (2-0) won a game over Monmouth Regional 31-27 in a shootout on Friday night. The game was played after the tragic death of assistant coach Mike Dragonetti of Monmouth earlier in the week. Once in a while, you are challenged as a player to overcome adversity, and the Falcons certainly played with heavy hearts and gave it a great effort on Friday. Condolences and prayers to Mike’s family.
Jackson (2-0) used their home field advantage to grind out a 12-6 OT win over Wall (1-1). The game was played on horrible field conditions due to a week of rain in the area. It was impossible for anyone to get off the ball in inches of mud. Working the sidelines, I knew first hand it was not a game that any running back was going to excel in. An early season star for the Jags has been lineman Colin McCarthy who has dominated in the Jag wins this year. Only a junior, the 6’6” 220 lb McCarthy has college programs taking notice.
Donovan Catholic (2-0), Barnegat (2-0), Long Branch (2-0) and Rumson (2-0) are also off and running to a good season. All are looking to make that run at the end of the season in the playoffs.
While the above unbeaten teams all look to stay that way, there are teams that have started with all losses and need a win badly. Perhaps the most intriguing of those teams is Manalapan (0-2) who has lost both games in the last moments of their games: a stunning 15-14 loss to TR North and an OT loss to Middletown South 17-14. Look for the Braves to turn it around this week against Freehold Twp. They are too good a team.
Another of those winless teams is Middletown North (0-2). A preseason favorite in the new Colonial conference, the Lions have stumbled out of the blocks and things will not get any easier as they face a very good St. John Vianney (1-2) team who seem to have straightened it out after an 0-2 start. They beat a very good Brick team (1-1) 21-7 on Friday night. Middletown North will face Brick after SJV and then Brick Memorial. Tough division this year in that Colonial.
TR South (0-2) and TR East (0-2) play each other this week, so somebody gets a win.
Howell (0-2), Southern (0-2), and Matawan (0-2) all need a win badly, as does Lakewood (0-2), Point Beach (0-2), and Central (0-3).
News around the Shore:
1 - Donovan Catholic will unveil a new turf field in their next home game. Those of us who have been around awhile remember St. Joe’s field as being the only field and first with lights. They went from St. Joe's to Mon Don to Donovan Catholic, and now will have the latest and newest turf field around. Try and check it out this year.
2 - QB Garrett Romer of Point Boro has over 400 yards rushing in 2 weeks. This week he put up 212 yards and 5 TDs. His day helped new HC Brian Staub pick up his first varsity win of what will be a long career on the sidelines. Put that game ball up on the mantle Brian.
3 - Rumson is the sleeping giant up in Monmouth County. RB Alex Maldjian has 8 TDs already in the 2 wins, and Rumson’s offense has scored 84 points in 2 games. Jerry Schulte has also added John Wagner to his staff this year and that certainly will help the Bulldogs. Wagner was the very successful head coach at Point Beach the last few years, taking them to a State Championship a few years ago.
4 - In the Southern/Lacey game, won by Lacey 6-3, the teams combined to go 3 for 23 on 3rd down. Good defense or offensively challenged? You be the judge.
5 - Brick (1-1) has lost to St. John Vianney 3 straight years and have given up 85 points in those 3 losses, including 42-0 last year. A senior-dominated team, the Dragons must get Cole Groschel involved a little more on offense. He’s a game changer.
6 - Great win by Pinelands (26-22 over Matawan) after getting pounded in their first 2 games. It says a lot beating an established program like Matawan. The Wildcats were 2-8 last year and sit 1-2 in 2018.
Key games this coming week:
Freehold Boro (2-0) at Brick (1-1)
RBC (2-0) at Red Bank (2-0)
Raritan (2-0) at Manasquan (2-0)
The unbeaten Mariners of Toms River North are featured this week on the Gateway Toyota Coaches Corner from The Office Lounge in Toms River at 7 p.m. Listen on 105.7 The Hawk or watch live on the Shore Sports Network app.