Week zero is in the books and first and foremost it’s kind of ridiculous to call it zero when most of the Shore Conference played.  Teams had the option of moving a latter game on their schedule, as long as both teams agreed.  That would provide a bye week for those teams involved. Thirty teams in the Shore played this past weekend. My reaction to the games played was that it looked like the teams were ready to play, so for future scheduling make it week 1, and forget week 0.

The featured game involved #1 RBC (0-1) vs #4 Rumson (1-0).  A matchup of teams that each won championships last year.  Rumson won this one, 20-14, on the road, which was rather impressive. First-year starters, including a new offensive line, provided returning RB John Volker plenty of room to run to the tune of 150 yds. and a TD.  He also caught a TD pass.  These two teams will be in the top 5 all year and expect them both to make another run towards a championship.

Photo by Richard O'Donnell.

Impressive wins by Point Boro (23-13 over Barnegat), Lacey, over Steinert (14-6), and TR East over Howell (21-19). The East win has been building for four years under head coach Kyle Sandberg. Having coached at East since day one in 1979 when the school opened, I have consistently been asked what has happened to this program - why can’t they win? Well, this may be the year that the Raiders get over the stigma that has haunted them since head coach Charlie Diskin finished 5-5 in 2010. Diskin began his Raider tenure with a 10-1 record in 2006 and won four years in a row accumulating 33 wins. Since the 5-5 season, it’s been eight years of losing for the once-proud Raider program and a 14-63 record. Sandberg has been the head coach during the last three years. Look for the Raiders, led by senior running back/linebacker Frank Giannetti, to do well in their new Freedom Division. Quarterback Mike Goodall is a great athlete both on the field and on the basketball court. Keep him healthy and East returns to prominence in 2019. A big one this week against rival Toms River South at home Friday night.

The new “Monster” team in the Shore is Donovan Catholic. They have been hyped by just about everyone including me. They drew a top-20 team in Linden and destroyed them 35-0 on Saturday. Impressive performance by the Griffs led by head coach Dan Curcione and four-year QB Ryan Clark. The Griffins are big, strong, experienced, deep, and ready to challenge the schedule in front of them in the Liberty Division. Their 7-3 record last year can be improved upon and games against Holmdel, Red Bank, Manasquan and RBC will surely test the Griffs.

Another great story was the Point Beach win over Manville by a 28-7 score. Score three TDs and lead your team to their first win in 11 games and you get instant notoriety. That’s what head coach Joe Zaccone and RB Liam Buday did for the Gulls. Buday and Zaccone will be featured on our Asylum Sports Center Coaches Corner Wednesday at River Rock from 7-8pm. Listen on 105.7FM or watch online on the Shore Sports Network, or better yet come on down to the River Rock in Brick.  t’s a great bar/restaurant. Also joining coach and Liam will be Aidan Conway. The Gulls play in the newly-formed National Division. Look for them to make some noise there.

In a game between two perennial winners, Jackson Memorial won a hard-fought contest over Brick Memorial 24-17. Look for each of these teams to challenge in their respective divisions., Jackson Memorial in the Colonial and Brick Memorial in the Constitution. Jackson has one of the top defensive players in the state in senior defensive end Collin McCarthy. He’s 6-foot-7 and  240 pounds and will be tough to contain for all offenses. He had 1.5 of the eight sacks against Brick Memorial on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Stangs look to throw the ball this year a little more than in the past. The offensive line must protect QB Anthony Albanese who will lead the attack.

Is Toms River North back?  I’ll answer that with a big YES. Scoring 38 points in the second quarter against Cherry Hill West on their way to a 45-6 halftime lead. They cruised in week 0. However, it won’t be easy for the Mariners, as they play in the toughest division (American).

Manalapan, Wall, Shore, and Red Bank all picked up week 0 wins. Head coach David Schuman of Red Bank put up 50 points in his first game at his new school. He beat Freehold 50-7.

This week we travel to Wall, which had to come back in the second half to beat Middletown North, 23-10. They will entertain Rumson in a matchup of two teams who have playoff aspirations. The game will be streamed live beginning at  7 p.m. on the Shore Sports Network.

 

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