Shore Sports Network Defensive Player of the Year: Manalapan’s Chris Noesges
While Manalapan senior linebacker Chris Noesges might not have ended his career on the high note he was hoping for, when he looks back at his record-setting time with the Braves, there is still plenty to savor.
Noesges, selected as the Shore Sports Network Defensive Player of the Year, was an unstoppable force for the Braves all season long as they finished 11-1, won their fourth straight Class A North title, and reached their third straight NJSIAA sectional final. The ride came to an end with a 21-0 loss to Hunterdon Central in the Central Jersey Group V final, marking the third straight loss in a state final for the Braves.
"I'll look back saying that I had a lot of great memories the past few
years and friends that I will remember forever,'' Noesges said. "I'll always be a Brave."
Noesges finished with 130 tackles (4th in the Shore) along with 14 tackles for a loss, an interception and two fumble recoveries. Selected as the Class A North Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season, Noesges finished his career as Manalapan’s all-time leading tackler with 428.
He had 11 tackles and two tackles for a loss in a win over Class A South champion Jackson Memorial, finished with 16 tackles and two tackles for a loss in a playoff win over Brick Memorial, followed that with 14 tackles and two tackles for a loss in the Central Jersey Group V semifinals against Sayreville and then was credited by the coaching staff for a season-high 18 tackles, 9 of them solo, along with an interception in a loss to Hunterdon Central in the state final.
The 34-7 win over Sayreville, which beat Manalapan in the 2011 Central Jersey Group IV final, is one he will remember.
"That was sending a message game that Manalapan was for real,'' he said. "We avenged our losses in the past to them, showing we could step up in the big game, but unfortunately we couldn't finish (against Hunterdon Central). We played a good game holding them to six points through three quarters, but then the defense broke down at the end."
Noesges has attracted interest from Ivy League schools like Cornell and Yale as well as Marist, Georgetown and Franklin & Marshall as well as numerous other Division II and Division III programs.