Archive for April, 2010

The Offers Keep Coming for RBC’s Jack Tabb

April 29, 2010

Posted by Scott Stump – http://twitter.com/Scott_Stump

E-mail: stump@allshoremedia.com

For a player who doesn’t have a whole lot of varsity football experience (one year), Red Bank Catholic junior Jack Tabb has become a prime target of some of the nation’s top football programs. He now has seven Division I offers – Rutgers, Maryland, Purdue, Iowa, Florida, North Carolina and Pittsburgh, according to Caseys coach Jim Portela.

If I’m not mistaken, Tabb is the first Shore Conference player to get an offer from perennial national title contender Florida since Knowshon Moreno’s days at Middletown South. For a 6-4, 250-pound tight end, he runs well and is athletic. I don’t even think he caught 10 passes last season as a junior because RBC was more of a run-oriented team behind the tandem of Andrew Casten and Kevin Whitlock. I believe rising junior Ryan Spahr, who is a baseball standout with a strong arm, looks to be the Caseys’ next quarterback, so I would think Tabb will be more of an impact offensive player as a senior. But as we all know, it’s not necessarily what you do in high school, it’s what you project to do at the next level, and Tabb has all the requisite measurements and times to put him front and center in the recruiting efforts of a lot of quality programs.

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Asbury Park Coaching Update

April 28, 2010

Posted by Scott Stump – http://twitter.com/Scott_Stump

E-mail: stump@allshoremedia.com

The lone remaining head coaching opening in the Shore Conference (for now) is Asbury Park, and it may take some time for the Blue Bishops to get their replacement for head coach Don Sofilkanich, who is now the head coach at Neptune.

Asbury Park, which has won three straight NJSIAA Central Jersey Group I titles, has reportedly not even started interviewing candidates yet, as the recent budget cuts are causing stress in that district just like all the other districts across the state. Several current assistants may receive Reduction in Force (RIF) notices, meaning that they could possibly be laid off from their teaching jobs, so it remains to be seen what happens as these budget issues are sorted out. The most logical candidate is still offensive coordinator Matt Ardizzone, who was the head coach for one season before Sofilkanich arrived in 2007. Many schools are hiring from within at this point because the budget cuts have put a strain on creating any new teaching positions to attract top candidates, and most coaches are afraid to leave any current job they have to become nontenured teachers in a new district thanks to the budget crisis.

As previously reported, Marlboro head coach Derek Sininsky and Colts Neck head coach Greg LaCava have also received RIF notices because they are nontenured, and they are reportedly not alone. I recently spoke to a head coach of a team that has won a state championship in the past few seasons, and he also received a RIF notice because of the budget in his district failing.  The hope is that when the municipalities sort out the budget in the next few weeks that all these coaches are retained instead of laid off, but you never know, so it could be a scary month of May for a lot of head coaches.

Quick Garrett Graham Story

April 28, 2010

Posted by Scott Stump – http://twitter.com/Scott_Stump

E-mail: stump@allshoremedia.com

Now that Garrett Graham is set to begin his professional career after being selected in the fourth round of the NFL Draft by the Houston Texans, there is one former Brick Memorial player who can say he was a future NFL player for a day.

During Graham’s senior season at Brick Memorial in 2004, he suffered a season-ending meniscus injury in his knee, which no one really knew about except the team. They somehow kept it a secret leading up to a Central Jersey Group IV playoff game against Sayreville. In the days leading up to the game, a senior named Ian Jasperse approached head coach Fred Sprengel and said that he would wear Graham’s No. 16 jersey as a decoy. Jasperse was tall and thin and at least bore a passing resemblance to Graham.

They dressed Jasperse in Graham’s jersey and put him in the game. Early in the game, the Mustangs ran a reverse pass trick play and hit Jasperse deep down the field, only for the public address announcer to announce the catch being made by Garrett Graham, much to the chagrin of Jasperse’s family, as he was a wideout who had barely caught any passes all season and now he was being announced as another player. For the whole game, Sayreville was double-covering Jasperse thinking it was Graham, and the Mustangs nearly pulled off the upset before losing 22-19. After the game, the Sayreville coaches were saying that they thought Graham was a little bigger than that.

The postscript is that Garrett Graham’s No. 16 jersey has now been retired at Brick Memorial, as he is the first player in school history to get selected in the NFL Draft.

“And the last guy to actually wear that jersey,” Graham said before smiling at his recent draft party, “was Ian Jasperse.”

Budget Cuts, Midd. North Duo Commits, Recruiting Updates and More

April 23, 2010

Posted by Scott Stump – http://twitter.com/Scott_Stump

E-mail: stump@allshoremedia.com

Some more depressing news on the heels of yesterday in that the teaching jobs of Marlboro head coach Derek Sininsky and Colts Neck head coach Greg LaCava could be in jeopardy because of the recent budget cuts. Both are nontenured teachers. Click here for more on that.

Not having tenure as a teacher right now in a district whose budget just got voted down is a very precarious position to be in, that’s for sure. I think of someone like Brick head football coach Patrick Dowling, who is a nontenured special education teacher at Brick who just came over from Allentown last year, as everyone knows, under a cloud of controversy because he was not wanted by former head coach Warren Wolf, Brick’s only coach in its illustrious history up to that point, and Wolf’s supporters because he did not have Brick ties. Now Wolf has been elected to the Brick Board of Education after deciding to run this year. I would assume he did that in order to nudge Dowling out the door and get “a Brick boy” into the job, so Dowling is an awfully tough spot.

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A Rough Day for Shore Conference Football

April 23, 2010

Posted by Scott Stump – http://twitter.com/Scott_Stump

E-mail: stump@allshoremedia.com

Unfortunately, we start with a depressing time for Shore Conference football, beginning with the tragic death of former Keyport running back Aaron D. Lee of undisclosed causes. Lee, who ran for over 1,000 yards for Keyport last season, died at 19 years old at his home in Georgia. Aaron was a quiet kid but he was a nice kid. He played in this past summer’s U.S. Army All-Shore Gridiron Classic and made some impact plays in the game for Monmouth County. He told me he was joining the U.S. Marine Corps in the fall, so maybe that is why he was down in Georgia. He was also a father to a baby girl, which makes it even more tough. He may best be remembered for scoring a school single-game record 7 touchdowns in a game in a 55-34 win over Monsignor Donovan last year to etch his name in the Red Raiders’ record book alongside former greats like Ken Cattouse and J.J. Bedle.

Our condolences to Lee and the whole Keyport family for their loss.

This also marks the second player in the last 3 years who died too young for Keyport, as Bedle passed away of undisclosed causes at 21 years old in February of 2007. Bedle was an All-Shore first-teamer at wide receiver who helped the Red Raiders win a Central Jersey Group I title in his junior year and went on to play at Syracuse.

In other depressing news, I’m hearing from multiple sources that two Shore Conference head football coaches from Monmouth County have been laid off as a result of the majority of the school budgets being voted down on Tuesday. At least two teams may have new head coaches this season that did not expect that to be the case.

These dramatic budget cuts are going to hit the Shore and state like a tidal wave. I’ve already heard of some freshman football programs being eliminated at certain schools, and freshman sports in general are in a lot of trouble. Any head coach who doesn’t have tenure at his or her respective school is on the endangered list. Pay to play is also being seriously discussed at a lot of schools. It may be a whole new landscape in football with less assistant coaches, freshmen playing on the jayvee team and kids having to pay to be on the team. Roster depth may soon be a thing of the past.

Finally, the home and offices of Toms River Superintendent of Schools Michael Ritacco were raided by the FBI on Thursday, so even though the district had its budget approved on Tuesday, who knows what the future may bring for one of New Jersey’s largest public school districts and if it will have any effect on athletics considering the most well-known scholastic arena in New Jersey bears Ritacco’s name.