For the third straight season, Red Bank Catholic remained at the top of the heap in Shore Conference football following another dominant year.

For the third straight season, Red Bank Catholic finished as the top-ranked team in the Shore Conference. (Photo by Scott Stump)
For the third straight season, Red Bank Catholic finished as the top-ranked team in the Shore Conference. (Photo by Scott Stump)

Also, one year after going without a state title for the first time since 1985, the Shore Conference rebounded to bring home three state sectional crowns. Brick won Central Jersey Group IV for its first title since 1994, Rumson-Fair Haven took the Central Jersey Group II crown for its second championship in four seasons, and Point Beach grabbed the Central Jersey Group I title for its first state sectional title in school history.

The final top 10 rankings were compiled by a committee of Shore Sports Network's Scott Stump, Bob Badders, Kevin Williams and Ed Sarluca.

1. Red Bank Catholic (10-1). Last week: No. 1.

The Caseys once again dominated the local competition before running into perennial state power St. Joseph-Montvale in the NJSIAA Non-Public Group III semifinals for their only loss. RBC averaged a Shore Conference-best 43.5 points per game while scoring a school-record 479 total points. All of their wins came by at least 28 points, including a 45-0 victory over No. 2 Rumson-Fair Haven, the Central Jersey Group II champion. RBC is the first team to finish No. 1 three years in a row since the Knowshon Moreno-led Middletown South teams of 2003-05. The Caseys will take a 33-game winning streak against Shore Conference competition into next season. They graduate a stellar senior class that includes Notre Dame recruit Quenton Nelson, 1,600-yard rusher Larry Redaelli, leading tackler Ryan Schoer and sack leader Shawn McCord, but have plenty of talent returning, including junior running back/safety Mike Cordova, junior linebacker/defensive end/tight end Jamie Gordinier, junior two-way lineman Ryan Kroeger, and sophomore quarterback/safety Eddie Hahn.

2. Rumson-Fair Haven (11-1). Last week: No. 3.

The Bulldogs jump up a spot to finish No. 2 in the final rankings, as their only loss came at the hands of No. 1 Red Bank Catholic. They set a single-season school record for wins after an impressive 14-6 win over a previously undefeated Weequahic team that was averaging 39 points per game and allowing less than three coming into the Central Jersey Group II final. They took home their second state sectional title in school history and their second in the last four seasons. The Bulldogs also had a win over No. 9 Manasquan. They graduate a strong senior class led by Rutgers-bound defensive end Donald Bedell and fellow defensive end Kevin Clayton, leading tackler Thomas Martello, linebacker J.T. Jennings, offensive lineman Peter Righi and two-way standout Sam Shaud, but have a major piece returning in junior tailback Charlie Volker, the Shore Sports Network Offensive Player of the Year. He set a school record with a Shore Conference-best 2,108 yards rushing and 24 touchdowns.

3. Manalapan (11-1). Last week: No. 2.

It was another frustrating end for the Braves, who suffered their only loss in the Central Jersey Group V final for the second straight season, losing 21-0 to Hunterdon Central to be denied their first state title in school history. They won their fourth straight Class A North title and have won 25 straight games against Shore Conference competition. They graduate a tremendous senior class that includes Shore Sports Network Defensive Player of the Year Chris Noesges, Rutgers-bound wide receiver Saeed Blacknall, top rusher Tyler Leonetti, noseguard/tight end R.J. Krause and a host of other talented defensive players. They return quarterbacks Dan Anerella and Charles Lombana along with versatile threats John Cheung and Dan Debner as well as standout kicker/punter Mike Caggiano and tailback Imamu Mayfield.

4. Brick (9-3). Last week: No. 8.

The Green Dragons leap up to finish in the top five thanks to a 26-15 win over previously fourth-ranked Colts Neck in the Central Jersey Group IV final. It marked Brick's first state title since 1994 and the seventh in school history. The Green Dragons peaked at the perfect time with an explosive offense and a defense that made plenty of big plays in the postseason. They outweighed some tough regular-season losses with victories when it counted most. This team is set up for another run at a title in returning a group that includes a pair of All-Shore first-teamers in quarterback Carmen Sclafani and running back/linebacker Ray Fattaruso, as well as leading tackler James Juliano and a strong junior class overall.

5. Colts Neck (10-2). Last week: No. 4.

The Cougars fell 26-15 to Brick in the Central Jersey Group IV final, but it was still a season to remember as they won a school-record 10 games and reached their first state championship game in program history. The bad news is that they graduate the school's all-time leading rusher and tackler, Anthony Gargiulo, along with standouts like tight end/defensive end Nick Volpe, two-way lineman Ryan Wetzel and fullback/linebacker Mike Ververka. They do return junior quarterback Christian Sanchez, wideout Dan Calabro, running back Abdul Quddus and others to make another run.

6. Jackson Memorial (8-3). Last week: No. 7. 

The state championship victory by Brick helped raise the profile of the Jaguars, who beat the Green Dragons 9-7 and won the Class A South title for their first division championship since 2005. They also picked up their first state playoff victory since 2006. Their losses were to No. 3 Manalapan, South Jersey Group V champion Cherokee, and No. 8 Toms River South. They will have to find a way to replace two first-team All-Shore talents in running back/defensive back Khani Glover and running back/linebacker Ken Bradley in order to keep the wins coming.

7. Ocean (10-1). Last week: No. 5. 

Brick's big finish nudged the Spartans down in the rankings, as they were ousted in the semifinals in Central Jersey Group III by eventual champion Hopewell Valley. They won their first division title since 2006 and will have to replace a strong senior class, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, highlighted by linebacker Dan Loizos, defensive end Mike Halawani and all-around threat Cole Mehr. The good news is that they still have two more years with sophomore tailback Tyler Thompson, a 1,400-yard rusher, and another season with junior quarterback/defensive back Royal Moore.

8. Toms River South (8-3). Last week: No. 9. 

The Indians turned in their best season since winning eight games in 2002, while also winning their first state playoff game in 10 years to reach the South Jersey Group IV semifinals. They also had a win over No. 6 Jackson Memorial, which won the Class A South title, and a lop-sided victory over Lakewood, which handed South Jersey Group III finalist Barnegat one of its two losses. They lose some key cogs in the machine like running back/linebacker Otis Kearney, linebacker/kicker Russell Messler and wideout/defensive back Darrius Hart. However, they return explosive junior quarterback Tymere Berry, standout junior running back Khaleel Greene, and leading tackler Quentin DeCarlo, so they should again be right in the hunt next year.

9. Manasquan (8-3). Last week: No. 6. 

When all the dust settled, the Warriors were a team that didn't slip up against anyone all season and only lost to No. 1 Red Bank Catholic, No. 2 Rumson, and South Jersey Group III champion Delsea. They gave Rumson one of its hardest games outside of the Bulldogs' loss to RBC, falling 22-15 on a touchdown in the final minute. They graduate a great senior class that includes quarterback Tucker Caccavale, 1,000-yard rusher Joe Murphy, leading tackler Blaine Birch, standout linemen Matt Forst and Monte Sinisi, kicker Raul Perez and wideout/defensive back Joe Fittin. Junior linebacker/tight end Tanner Cowley leads the returning group.

10. Point Beach (10-2). Last week: Unranked. 

The Garnet Gulls finish in the top 10 after knocking off Shore Regional 12-7 to win the Central Jersey Group I title for the program's first state sectional championship. The victory came only eight days after they lost to Shore 31-0 in the Class B Central title game. They lose some strong seniors in All-Shore first-team defensive back Noah Yates and standout two-way lineman Sean Struncius and linebacker Bill Barry, but have the firepower returning for another run. Junior Joe Wegrzyniak, a 1,500-yard rusher and the team's leading tackler, returns along with two-way talent Mike Frauenheim, and quarterback/defensive back Jake Fioretti.



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