Week 1 of high school football has come and gone. In the sweltering heat of a summer-like weekend, all who play this great game were on display. There were a few surprises, which we will discuss later. The "power teams" proved they were worthy of the preseason hype. Some new coaches got win #1 in their new positions, or in one case one school got #2 (Central Regional played game 2 and is off to a 2-0 start). Let's take a closer look at week 1.
The big surprise of the first week was Asbury Park's stunning 14-7 victory over Shore on Friday night. Shore entered the contest with a 20 game winning streak and was heavily favored. The Bishops were led by RB Paul Reed (85 yds/2 yd TD) and 1st year QB Jaking Agostini. "It's a big confidence booster for our program", as 2nd year head coach Tim Fosque said, following the big win. Shore must regroup and face a 1-0 Barnegat team who beat Donovan Catholic 28-7 on Friday.Another surprise was Wall's 35-14 victory over now 1-1 Ocean. Using an impressive ground game led by Sean Larkin and Brady McNally who each ran for a pair of TDs, Wall scored 4 unanswered TDs in the 2nd half to secure the win. Keeping the ball away from Ocean QB Kenny Pickett looks like the way to beat the Big Red, as the Pitt recruit is among the very best in the State. Wall (1-0) gets unbeaten Central (2-0) at home on Friday night.The big guns flexed their muscles as Middletown South (1-0) won 49-14 over RBC, Toms River North (1-0) won 41-7 over Southern Reg, and Rumson (1-0) beat up on Raritan 41-0. All 3 of these teams are returning State Champs and look like they can make another run at a championship. Rumson is looking for their 4th in a row under new head coach Jerry Schulte. Schulte was Rumson's defensive coordinator the last 10 years, so he's in tune with the Bulldog program. I took in the Mid South/RBC game and came away impressed with what I saw. Using a 3 headed RB rotation of Maxx Imsho, Anthony Summey, and Samson Dube, the Eagles ran rough shod over the Casey's. QB Aneesh Agrawal was good enough running the offense, and threw the ball well when needed. Remember the Eagles lost their star RB James McCarthy to an ACL injury during the summer. You have to feel for McCarthy who was looking for a big year and another State Championship. Although out for the year, he will help these runners, as he becomes another coach on the sidelines. By the way, the most impressive player on the field was Maxx Imsho. Maxx was all over the field offensively and defensively. He intercepted a ball, recovered a fumble and returned it for a TD, played RB with reckless abandonment and was a savage on defense with double digit tackles. He's one of the big time leaders of this team, and one of the top players in the Shore.
TR North's QB Mike Husni had himself a career night as he threw 5 TD passes and 232 yards. Husni also ran for 137 yards, as North gained 261 yards on the ground. The Mariners have many weapons on offense. Darrion Carrington caught 3 TD passes of 55, 30 and 43 yards. RB Parker Day (124 yds.) who came back to North after spending his junior year at Manasquan, looks like a solid back to keep defenses off of Husni. North's last loss was to Brick Memorial 11 games ago. Next up for North: on the road at Brick Memorial.
Also having impressive 1st game wins were SJ Vianney (31-0 over Matawan), Jackson (50-6) over cross town rival Liberty, and Manalapan (49-12 over Marlboro). These teams were all over their opponents and big things are expected from them.
I mentioned 1st year head coaches who won. Central's Justin Fumando is already 2-0 as he played zero week. Matt Cilento, Point Boro's new head man, beat Pinelands 31-12. We will broadcast Boro's week 2 game vs Lacey this Friday night. Dino Mangiero has taken over at suddenly revived Mater Dei. His 35-0 trouncing of Keansburg made a statement around the Shore. Jay Graham of Keyport also won his 1st, a 10-7 win over Point Beach. A graduate of Keyport, Jay returns to lead his alma mater.
Ugly scene at the Central/TR East game as 6 players, 3 from each team, were ejected and face possible serious discipline from the State, as they investigate. State guidelines state that multiple ejections could mean ineligible participation from State playoffs if these allegations come to fruition. The all important referees report will determine the penalty of these 2 teams. More to follow on this story on www.shoresportsnetwork.com.
Our Gateway Toyota Coaches Corner is Thursday night throughout the season. We will have shows around the Shore as we are visited by coaches and players to talk high school football. This week, we are at the River Rock Restaurant & Marina Bar in Brick as Dragon head coach Len Zdanowitz, Ja'Sir Taylor and Dean Helstowski join us from 7-8pm. Also on this week's show is head coach Dan Curcione of Wall and 2 of his outstanding players Shane Richey and Mike Andrejco. Come on down to the River Rock and support these programs. Can't come, join us on 105.7 FM The Hawk or listen on line at www.shoresportsnetwork.com.