The Seniors’ Moment: 2020 Toms River South Football Preview
The current Toms River South football senior class was a heralded group after having a very successful freshman season, and at times last fall it looked like they were close to putting it all together. The Indians went 4-6 but three of their losses came by eight points or less. If they could have found a way to win those one-score games, they would have finished 7-3. But close does not count and now the question is whether this group, which returns 19 starters, can live up to all the expectations that some had for them and post the first winning season for the school since 2013.
Ron Signorino Jr., now in his 10th year as the Indians' head coach, feels the veteran leadership can lead to a successful season.
“We played our best football in the second half of 2019 and hope to pick up where we left off," Signorino Jr. said. "At times, we performed well in all phases but we just need to put all three together in the same game.” Signorino added that the coaching staff really likes this senior class but “they will need to play better in 2020 while also making our juniors and sophomore classes better.”
On offense, it starts at quarterback where Jack Huber is a four-year starter when healthy. He certainly showed flashes in 2019 and earned all-division honors as both a passer and runner for the Indians.
“He rarely makes a mistake, has complete dual-threat abilities and makes our option game go,” Signorino Jr. said. "He can make any throw on the field regardless of the hash marks. When healthy he is an outstanding quarterback and an even better young man and student.”
Just about all of Huber’s offensive weapons are back including senior backs Gerry Ferrigno, Travis Squire (660 yards) and Anthony Jonin along with wide receivers Tyler Madeo (26 receptions), Mike Citta and Gavin Migliore. Back to start along the offensive line are seniors Shane Watkins, Bobby Grady and Justin Kozak.
The defense gave up 37 points per game in the six losses and that unit will clearly have to play better. Experience will not be a problem as the Indians will line up with returning starters at just about every spot. The deepest groups is at linebacker and in the secondary with top returners including linebackers Ferrigno, Squire, Ryan Tobin and Aaron Height and defensive backs Jonin, TMadeo, Elijah Metellus, Dominic Cats and Devin Raevis. Junior Camren Stein will handle both the kicking and punting chores after a solid sophomore season.
South lost a 13-8 heartbreaker to crosstown rival Toms River East in its opener last fall. The Raiders went on to win the Freedom Division title while the Indians were left wondering what might have been if they could have pulled that one out. Now in a season without divisions, they are tasked with playing four champions from a year ago as part of their six-game schedule. Signorino is well aware of the challenge.
“Our schedule is daunting and all six of our opponents have had success and are quality programs," Signorino Jr. said. "We will certainly be challenged and look forward to playing and having a football season.”
Like the other 42 programs just playing each week is a victory of sorts but Toms River South would also like to add some Ws, as well.
At a Glance
Projected starters (RS=returning starter, 3RS=3rd year returning, 4RS=4th-year returning starter)
QB: Jack Huber, Sr., 4RS
FB: Gerry Ferrigno, Sr., 3RS; Devin Reavis, Jr.
SB: Travis Squire, Sr. RS; Ryan Tobin, Sr.
SB: Anthony Jonin, Sr., RS; Devon Bond, So.
WR: Tyler Madeo, Sr. RS; Mike Citta, Sr.
WR: Gavin Migliore, Jr.; Wyatt Sternberg, Jr.
LT: Ryan Florio, Jr.; James Brierley, So.
LG: Shane Watkins, Sr. RS
C: Sheldon Harvey, Sr.; Tommy Dolan, Sr.
RG: Bobby Grady, Sr., RS
RT: Justin Kozak, Jr., RS
OL: Todd Dudley, Jr. or Jack Vandiver, Jr.
DL: Sheldon Harvey, Sr., RS; Tommy Dolan, Sr.
DL: Shane Watkins, Sr., RS; Josue Tecalero, Jr.
DL: Bobby Grady, Sr.; Ryan Florio, Jr.
OLB: Ryan Tobin, Sr., RS;
OLB: Travis Squire, Sr., 2RS
ILB: Gerry Ferrigno, Sr., 2RS
ILB: Aaron Height, Sr., RS
CB: Anthony Jonin, Sr., RS
CB: Tyler Madeo, Sr., RS; Elijah Metellus, Jr., RS
S: Dominic Cats, Sr.,
S: Devin Raevis, Jr., RS
K/P: Camren Stein, Jr., RS
Head Coach: Ron Signorino, Jr., 10th season
Career record: 36-56
Team record last five years:
Assistant coaches: Matt Martin (Defensive Coordinator/DB); Denis Tobin (Special Teams Coordinator/slotbacks); Kyle Austin (OL); Bill Malast (OL); Ricky Maldonado (RB); RJ D’Anton (DB); Joe Kelly (LB); Jim Dempsey (LB); Jim Drackwicz (DL) Freshman coaches: Dave Fanslau, Brett Hardie, Joey Meyers; Dan Crashewsky` (athletic trainer).
Players to Watch: Travis Squire, Sr., RB/OLB and Gerry Ferrigno, Sr., RB/ILB
Squire and Ferrigno give the Indians a pair of big-time performers who were all-division players a year ago, and they will need to step up even more this season. Squire led the team in rushing with 660 yards and Ferrigno led in tackles with 129, which was fourth in the Shore Conference. This duo will be on the field for most of the game and need to produce consistently.
Player Under the Radar: Jack Huber, Sr., QB
If it seems like his name has been around for a long time it’s because it has. Huber started as a freshman and played well even if he took a beating at times. He missed most of his sophomore year with an injury and then came back last season and made the option game go as an effective runner and passer (850 yards, 9 TD’s). Staying healthy is a must, as is taking his game to the next level.
Impact Newcomers: Juniors
South is loaded with returning senior starters but will need help from several juniors including Roy Pappalardo (RB/LB), Gavin Migliore (WR/DB), Ryan Florio (OL/DL) and Wyatt Sternberg (WR/LB).
Top position group: Linebackers
With standouts like Gerry Ferrigno, Travis Squire, Ryan Tobin and Aaron Height this group gets the nod over a veteran group of defensive backs.
Big Shoes to Fill: The offensive and defensive linemen
Toms River South's graduation losses were mostly along both the offensive and defensive lines so players like Ryan Florio, Sheldon Harvey, Bobby Grady, Tommy Dolan and Josue Tecalero need to contribute from the get-go.
X-Factor: The schedule
Without question, the Indians will play one of the tougher schedules in the Shore comprised mostly of teams from the old Class A South days. Four of their opponents won division titles last year (Toms River North, Donovan Catholic, Southern and Toms River East) and were a combined 34-9. South could be a team that improves greatly but that’s not reflected in their final record.
Friday, Oct. 2 – vs. Toms River North, 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 9 – vs. Lakewood, 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 16 – at Donovan Catholic, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 24 – at Southern, 1 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 30 – at Brick Memorial, 7 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 6 – vs. Toms River East, 7 p.m.
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Kevin Williams is the Director of the Shore Sports Network and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @shoresportsman. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.