Summer Football At Its Finest
Baseball’s All-Star game may be considered the “Midsummer Classic” but to many of us in the shore area that is reserved for the annual football game that matches recent graduates of Ocean and Monmouth County high schools.
The 42nd Annual Shore Sports Network All-Shore Gridiron Classic presented by Asylum Sports Center will be played tomorrow night at Long Branch High School and for some it’s the final game of last season while others consider it the first game of the upcoming season.
Either way it’s a tradition that dates back to 1978 and despite name changes and more it’s very much similar to the first game played at Wall Stadium. A group of more than 90 young men who just graduated high school will put on the pads for what will some be the last time.
While the overwhelming majority are on their way to college with many playing football, for some this will be the last time they play a game which has been part of their lives since they were little boys.
The teams have been practicing since last Saturday at the facilities of the two head coaches Rumson’s Jerry Shulte and Brick’s Len Zdanowicz and they will go through their final practices tonight.
Monmouth leads the overall series 22-18 with one tie and is considered the favorite to make it three straight wins. They are led by among others Long Branch quarterback Marc Dennis, RBC receiver Jaden Key and linebackers Najere Hutchinson of Neptune and Christian Lanzalotto of Rumson.
The Ocean County squad may not include as many high profile players as their rivals to the north but they do boast Brick teammates Cole Groschel and Richie Tallmadge, Central’s versatile Darius Martorano and Manchester defensive end Eric Cowan who was an MVP in last month’s Phil Simms North-South Classic.
Gates open at Long Branch tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. with kickoff around 7 p.m. At halftime Manalapan coach Ed Gurrieri and former official Bob Zampelle will be inducted into the Shore Football Coaches Foundation Hall of Fame. The game will be streamed live on shoresportsnetwork.com where you can find additional information including rosters and player bios.
Asylum Sports Center of Wall is the presenting sponsor. They offer skills specific training in football, baseball and softball. Visit asylumsc.com for more.