Scanning The Scene: Offensive Explosion in Week 2
While it's still early in 2017 to make an assumption, I'll put this out there and see what our listeners and readers think. Over the course of the last 2 years we have witnessed and may now be witnessing the 2 best offensive players to ever come out of the Shore. Now while I realize this will create controversy with some of our veteran coaches in the area, my expertise stems from 48 years experience of coaching, broadcasting and writing in the Shore area. I have seen a pretty good wide range of players in that time frame. With that said, I present you with Player of the Year Mike Husni who lead the Mariners to the finals of the State tournament last year, and Freehold's Ashante Worthy, this year's dynamic QB, who looks to shatter offensive records after just 2 weeks into the 2017 season.
Let's take a quick look back at what Husni did last year. He threw for 2,027 yards and ran for 1637 yards. That's 3,664 total yards which is the most ever, and produced 44 TDs. I repeatedly compared Husni to a player I was around during my coaching career: Eddie Conti from Ocean Township. Conti, who was coached by his father, rarely played a full game because of lopsided scores and led the "Big Red" to a State Championship. He both ran and rushed for well over 1,000 yards. Eddie was not big in stature, but he could fly and had a rocket arm when throwing the football. He also kicked for the Spartans. Husni, had very much the same qualities and his resume will go down in history.
Meanwhile, Worthy looks to shatter the records that Husni set last year. After moving to the QB spot last year in their 5th game, Worthy accounted for 2,904 yards of offense and 39 TDs. After just 2 weeks this year, Worthy has accumulated 984 yards. That breaks down to 534 rushing yards and 248 passing. Worthy will have at least 8 games remaining, with the possibility of 2 more playoff games if they continue to win in late November and early December. Bottom line is there's a lot of season left and the health and the grind of a long season can come into play, but if you have not seen this kid play, treat yourself to an exciting day of football and go to a Freehold game, you won't be disappointed.
Week 2 Highlights:
Howell (2-0) beat the above mentioned Freehold Colonials (1-1) in a shootout 55-35. RB Nick Chambers ran for 152 yards and 2 TDs, including one of 81 yards. QB Eddie Morales had a big game for the Rebels throwing for 184 yards and 2 TDs. Perhaps the biggest play came via a 95 yard interception return by Naseim Brantley. That was one of two pick 6 returns by the Howell defense. Howell did intercept Worthy 4 times.
Our Game of the Week took us to Toms River South (1-1) in the annual matchup with Toms River East (0-2). I had the pleasure of coaching in this one for many years, while I was at East, and it was always a war. This year was no different. The Indians prevailed 20-15, but I came away with much respect for the much improved Raiders. East will win some games this year, I firmly believe that, while the Indians will be a threat in the A-South. There is not a powerhouse in the division this year. Toms River North (0-2) looks like they are rebuilding which opens up the division. South will play with everyone and Coach Sig Jr has a big, physical team with some nice skill players to blend in.
In the victory, RB Sam Akinlolu (114 rushing) had a big night while the QB spot saw a rotation which included freshman Jack Huber and senior TJ Scuderi (144 rushing). Each preformed well and it's a nice problem to have as to who plays. The Raiders were also physical during the course of this contest and must stay the course and the wins will come. QB Louis Gallo (61 rushing) directs the attack well, while RB Evan Otten (148 rushing) is the go-to back. The pair produced over 200 yards running the football. We all love going to Detwiler Field and Friday night was no different. It was a packed house, with two student sections in a "white out", on their best behavior, and an exciting game. High school football at its best.
I was in attendance as Brick Memorial (1-1) and Toms River North (0-2) played on Saturday afternoon in what amounted to a do or die A-South game. The 'Stangs rushed for 312 yards as the triple option flexbone offense was unstoppable. RB Tony Thorpe (135 yards n a TD) was tough inside, while QB Tyler Sindel (57 yards, 1TD) directed the bone flawlessly, but the most dynamic player on the field was Blane Netterman (5 carries for 120 yards and 2 TDs). Netterman taking the pitch from Sindel broke one from 75 yards, which broke the game open. Meanwhile the Mustang defense held North to 84 yards rushing and 161 total yards. The 'Stangs host the Indians of Toms River on Friday night.
Brick (2-0) won a big A-South game vs. Jackson and move to the top of the division. WR Cole Groschel caught 2 TD passes and Jake Wyncoop kicked a 27 yard field goal which turned out to be the game winner. The green and white have built up a nice program under Len Zdanowicz and have a dangerous 0-2 team in Toms River North, then a very good SJV team on the road in 2 weeks.
In a shootout in Monmouth county Red Bank Catholic (2-0) crushed Middletown North (1-1) 60-41. The game was tied at the half 34-34, but RBC scored 26 straight to open the 2nd, and basically put the game away. QB Steve Lubischer ran for 134 yards and threw for another 98 yards. He accounted for 3 TDs. RB Zack Bair had 107 yards and 3 TDs. They lead an offense that has produced 107 points in 2 weeks. With SJ V putting up 55 points, this after scoring 69 in week 1, these two giant non-public schools meet on Oct 20th. Everyone will be looking forward to that contest.
Point Boro (2-0) could be the best school in Ocean County this year. They shut down a good offense in Lacey (1-1) 27-0 to take control of the B-South. It was QB James Fara who took over this game. Playing without ace back Tanner Gordon, due to injury, Fara knew he had to be extra special. He ran for 2 TDs and passed for another. Brandon Cipriano picked up the slack and had a huge game. He rushed for 90 yards and caught 4 balls for another 39 yards. We get to see the Panthers up close as they are our Friday night Game of the Week. They play a Donovan Catholic (1-1) squad that threw a shutout vs. Lakewood 28-0. Congrats to Dan Curcione for his first win at D.C.
Barnegat (2-0) won its second exciting game of this young 2017 season. They came from behind and beat Shore (1-1) 23-14 with DE Levin Musawa staring for the Bengals. He had 7 tackles, 5 hits behind the LOS, 2 sacks, and a fumble recovery. On offense TE Sean Morris continues to shine. He has 11 catches for 159 yards and 2 TDs after 2 weeks.
Also winning this week was Monmouth (3-0) with QB Ian Fitzgerald playing well. Manchester (2-0) has been an early season good story. Head coach Bill Furlong joins us with a player this Wednesday night from Martell's Water Edge on the Gateway Toyota Coaches Corner. Also joining us will be Donovan Catholic head coach Dan Curcione and Griffin seniors Sal DiSalvo and Jack Hadley. Join us in person or listen on 105.7 The Hawk, online at ShoreSportsNetwork.com, or on the brand new Shore Sports Network app.