Archive for June, 2010

Extras from the North-South Game

June 29, 2010

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While it wasn’t the best result for the South All-Stars, which included a group of 14 Shore Conference players, in a 17-3 loss in the annual North-South All-Star Classic on Monday night in front of 3,000 fans at Kean University, there was still plenty to take away from the game. (You can click here for the game story.)

Here are some extra notes/thoughts:

—Manchester defensive tackle Jimmy Lawson, who is headed to Monmouth University, was the first name to pop out of the mouth of South defensive coordinator Rich McGlynn of Highland Park when asked about what players caught his eye during the weekend of practice. Lawson finished with 6 1/2 tackles in the game and had several quarterback pressures in a game where defensive linemen could not stunt or line up in the gaps. It was just brute strength and quickness.

“Lawson is the real deal,” McGlynn said. “His hips are low and he has an explosive first step. Plus his motor never stops.”

I talked to Jimmy after the game and asked him if he still gets questions about wrestling in his future. Lawson was a three-time NJSIAA heavyweight champion who initially verbally committed to Rutgers for wrestling before breaking that commitment and signing with Monmouth University for football.

“Everywhere I go,” Lawson said before smiling. “Even the kids here this weekend were all asking me about wrestling. I am committed to Monmouth to play football, and that is what I am going to do.”



Shuler Selected to U.S. Army All-American Bowl

June 28, 2010

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Rising Long Branch senior quarterback/defensive back Miles Shuler has been selected to play in the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January. Click here for more.

Six Shore Conference Players Ranked in Preseason Top 20 in NJ by Rivals

June 24, 2010

Lending further credence to the notion that the Class of 2011 will contain the most FBS (Division I-A) recruits in a single class in Shore Conference history, six of them are ranked among the top 20 prospects in the state in the preseason, according to (Click here for the list).

Long Branch quarterback/defensive back Miles Shuler leads the way at No. 4, followed by Red Bank Catholic tight end/defensive end Jack Tabb at No. 12, Raritan offensive lineman Shane Mertz (verbal to Northwestern) at No. 15, Middletown North tight end/defensive end Shilique Calhoun at No. 16, Neptune running back/defensive back Charles Davis (verbal to Rutgers) at No. 19 and Point Boro wide receiver/safety Ryan Malleck at No. 20.

I can’t remember anything close to that kind of high-level talent in a given Shore Conference class. Even the class with Knowshon Moreno did not have that kind of depth.

15 Shore Players In North-South Game on Monday/Game Rosters

June 23, 2010

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Here is the latest information on the 32nd annual North-South game on Monday at Kean. Just a caveat – the rosters for this game often change in the days leading up to the game, but the one below is the latest. The locals, who will play for the South team, are Howell quarterback Jimmy Ryan, Toms River East running back Nico Steriti, Manalapan wideout Kevin Cruz, Pinelands offensive lineman Tim Lamezec, Point Boro offensive lineman Matt Betz, Monsignor Donovan offensive lineman Alex Pangaro, Asbury Park quarterback/defensive back Jamar Small, Matawan linebacker Dave Incle, Ocean offensive lineman George Sofield, Toms River North defensive tackle Rob Cassidy, Red Bank Catholic defensive tackle Lorenzo Coscarelli, Lacey defensive lineman Mike Stuppiello, Keyport defensive tackle Bryan Thomson, Middletown South defensive end Nick Bricker, and Point Beach defensive back Kyle Barnes.

The game will be broadcast on tape delay for Verizon FiOS subscribers on Verizon FiOS1 Sports. I will be doing the color commentary on the broadcast. I will post the times of the broadcast for you when I get them.

32nd Investors Savings Bank North-South All-Star Football Classic at 7 p.m. on June 28 at Kean University. Tickets are $10.

The North, which will look to avenge a 7-0 loss in last year’s game, will be led by former Essex Catholic and Newark Central head coach Larry Schumacher. The South will be headed by former Neptune coach John Amabile.

Here is a look at the lineup of players slated to represent their high school’s in the annual all-star game,


QB: Greg DePugh, Parsippany Hills
QB: Gavin McCarney, Jefferson
RB: Ray Centrulo, Nutley
RB: Rashon Evans, Irvington
RB: Greg Moore, Paterson Catholic
WR: Garret Avitabile, River Dell
WR: Eddie DeMarchi, Butler
WR: Mike Fess, Caldwell
WR: Kyle Gayle, Montclair
WR: Josh Ford, St. Anthony
WR: Najee Salaam, Passaic
OL: Alex Blum, Millburn
OL: Matt Cardona, Johnson
OL: Brandon Castelbuono, Wayne Valley
OL: George Grosz, Clifton
OL: Tim Kologrivov, Ramapo
OL: Joe Ligas, Cedar Grove
OL: Dan McDonald, Walkill Valley
OL: Andrew Tullo, New Providence
DL: Billy Dobbs, East Orange
DL: Terrance Gavin, Union
DL: Willie Johnson, Westfield
DL: Olsen Pierre, Rahway
DL: Akmad Razzaq, Roselle
DL: Mike Watts, Summit
LB: Marc Aspinwall, Ridgefield Park
LB: Tom Calabrese, Belvidere
LB: Joe Falato, Lodi
LB: Willie McDonald, Madison
LB: Gianni McLaughlin, St. Peters Prep
LB: Bryant Worts, Ferris.
DB: Matt Chierici, Montville
DB: Mike Cimilluka, West Essex
DB: Mike DiTommaso, Seton Hall Prep
DB: Alex Fox, Westwood
DB: Marcus Hackett, Immaculate Conception
DB: Jay Pachero, Wallington
DB: Auxence Wogou, Hackettstown
K/P: Jon Allard, Lakeland


QB: Nolan Quinn, Middle Township
QB: Jimmy Ryan, Howell
RB: Marcus Hampton, Williamstown
RB: Austin Medley, Delsea
RB: Nico Steriti, Toms River East
WR: Kevin Cruz, Manalapan
WR: Corey Reeder, Pemberton
WR: Drew Semple, Hopewell Valley
WR: Khalil Wallace, Millville
TE: Boomer Walton, Northern Burlington
OL: Josh Martinez, Cherry Hill West
OL: Tim Lamezec, Pinelands
OL: Anthony DeRosa, St. Joseph (Hamm.)
OL: Alex Pangaro, Monsignor Donovan
OL: Robert Slotterback, Franklin
OL: Christian Bollin, Middlesex
OL: Matt Betz, Point Pleasant Boro
OL: George Sofield, Ocean Township
DL: Nick Bricker, Middletown South
DL: Robert Cassidy, Toms River North
DL: Lorenzo Coscarelli, Red Bank Catholic
DL: Wanemi Omuso, Burlington Township
DL: Ethan Posey, Lawrence
DL: Mike Stuppiello, Lacey
DL: Brian Thompson, Keyport
DL: Bryant Watts, Florence
LB: Carl Bonley, J.P. Stevens
LB: Romaine Evans, Palmyra
LB: David Incle, Matawan
LB: Rashaun Smith, Bridgeton
LB: Pete Sorrento, East Brunswick
LB: Marc Tyson, Monroe
DB: Malcolm Griggs, Piscataway
DB: Craig James, Oakcrest
DB: Leon Jones, Lindenwold
DB: Josh Sherman, Holy Cross
DB: Jamar Small, Asbury Park
DB: David Webb, Highland Park
K/P: Kyle Barnes, Point Pleasant Beach
K/P: Ryan Stant, Cumberland

Updates on Barnegat’s Mike DeTroia, RBC’s Matt Paolillo

June 17, 2010

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Barnegat wide receiver/defensive back Mike DeTroia, one of the top returning receivers in the Shore Conference, has been offered by Bucknell and the University of Pennsylvania and is heading up to the camp at Boston College this weekend, according to his parents, which may continue to boost his stock. DeTroia is the main target for rising senior quarterback Nick SanGiacomo, who has already verbally committed to Tulane.

If DeTroia can continue to improve his speed, the offers should only pick up, as he has good size and athleticism to win jump balls in mid-air. He drew a lot of praise from opposing coaches in the National Division last season who had trouble slowing him down. Barnegat is now part of the newly formed Class B South this season.

An All Shore Media third-team selection in the fall as part of a great crop of wideouts in the Shore Conference, DeTroia had 45 catches for 686 yards and 9 touchdowns for the Bengals and also had five interceptions at safety.

Another FCS (Division I-AA) prospect is rising Red Bank Catholic senior defensive end Matt Paolillo, who has been getting interest from Stony Brook, Central Connecticut State, Towson and Delaware. Maryland and Navy also want to see him in person, so he will be taking a visit down there near the end of this month.

Paolillo is one of several Division I recruits for the Caseys this coming season. Rising senior tight end Jack Tabb boasts 18 FBS (Division I-A) offers, including the University of Florida, and rising senior running back/defensive back Andrew Casten, a 1,000-yard rusher as a junior, also has received plenty of Division I-AA interest. Rising junior linebacker Doug Whitlock, the younger brother of senior star Kevin Whitlock, has received interest from UCLA and others, according to RBC coach Jim Portela.

Recruiting Update: Middletown North’s Shilique Calhoun

June 17, 2010

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The offers keep coming for Middletown North rising senior Shilique Calhoun, who said he is up to 17 so far and just took a visit to Pittsburgh this past weekend.

“It went well,” Calhoun said. “It’s a real nice campus and I liked the coaching staff.”

Calhoun said he has narrowed down his list “in my head” but is not publicizing his final few choices just yet. He also said that he plans on visiting West Virginia and “other schools” that he did not want to specify. He said he will not make his choice until at least during the football season or perhaps after.

The 6-foot-6 athlete said he is being looked at more as a defensive end than a tight end after playing both for Middletown North. He played defensive end in the last six games of the season for the Lions during the fall. He grew up playing basketball, as he is the cousin of former Raritan basketball star Qa’rraan Calhoun, and still plays hoops for the Lions. He did not start playing football until high school.

“(Middletown North football) coach (Joe) Trezza was going to make me play either way,” Calhoun said before smiling. “But to say I did it willingly makes it sound better.”

Calhoun said he joked with the Pittsburgh coaches about playing basketball there but it was nothing serious. He is starting to get some interest for basketball as well, according to Lions basketball coach Mike Iasparro. If he even gets a low-level Division I basketball offer, he may take a long, hard look at his options despite all the attention on the football field.

“I still have that thought, but I know that what I’m going to do to get to the next level is to play football,” he said.

Recruiting Update: Long Branch’s Miles Shuler

June 16, 2010

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Caught up with Long Branch quarterback Miles Shuler, one of the top recruits in New Jersey for the Class of 2011,and he said that he currently has 26 offers and will look to whittle down the list of his favorites next week. He said he may not commit until during the season or after, unlike several of the other top recruits in the Shore who have already offered commitments.

“I’m not really pressured,” Shuler said. “I’m having fun with it. There are schools out there trying to pressure me into a commitment early, so I’m just trying to weigh all my options and make it fun.”

Like several other recruits from the Shore I’ve spoken with lately, Shuler said that the conference roulette that is being played out, with teams jumping to different conferences, like Nebraska to the Big Ten, etc., has not affected his thought process at all.

“Not really,” Shuler said. “I’m just looking at the school itself, and what they have at the school academically and athletically. I’m not really focused on the conferences.”

That sentiment was echoed by Red Bank Catholic tight end Jack Tabb, another top recruit, who told me the other day at the boys basketball team camp at Red Bank Regional that it didn’t really matter to him, although he added, “I think Rutgers joining the Big Ten would be a good thing for them.”

Long Branch’s starting quarterback, Shuler is expected to play receiver or another position at the next level.

“I’m not just a pocket passer,” Shuler said. “The coaches want me touching the ball on every single play, so I’m not that worried about continuing to play quarterback (in high school). I will just have to make the transition to another position and play wide receiver or running back. I’m ready for it.”

Raritan OL Shane Mertz Commits to Northwestern

June 15, 2010

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Raritan junior offensive lineman Shane Mertz, who has 14 Division FBS offers, verbally committed to Northwestern University on Monday night. You can read more about that here.

Mertz follows Neptune running back/defensive back Charles Davis (Rutgers) as the latest member in the vaunted Shore Conference Class of 2011 to offer a verbal commitment to a Division I-A program. In the interest of full disclosure for the non-regular readers of this blog, I am a Northwestern graduate, so in a selfish way I’m happy that Mertz made this choice and wish him luck just like all the other recruits from this class.

His team actually met up with a future teammate of Mertz’s at Northwestern this past fall when the Rockets rolled 41-6 in the season opener against Bishop Ahr in a nonconference game. Bishop Ahr’s senior center, Brandon Vitabile, is an incoming freshman recruit for the Wildcats.

A Tough Week for the Shore Community

June 10, 2010

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I went away for two days to take in Game Three of the NBA Finals only to come back to some brutal news. My condolences to the Castellano family, as former Jackson Memorial linebacker Marc Castellano died from injuries suffered when he was hit by a car on I-195 while on the job as a New Jersey State Trooper, leaving behind a wife and two young children.

Just awful to hear, as Castellano was the older brother of former Jaguars star running back/linebacker Nick Castellano, the centerpiece of the Jaguars’ consecutive state championship teams in 2000 and 2001. Marc played when I was still in college, so I didn’t cover him in high school, but that is just some really tough news and my prayers go out to that family. It’s been a rugged offseason between losing former Keyport running back Aaron Lee, who died at 19 years old down in Georgia, and now Castellano. He also is the second former Shore Conference football star to endure a catastrophic event while working as a state trooper as former Manchester star Brian Malast, the older brother of former Rutgers standout linebacker Kevin Malast, suffered serious, life-altering injuries in a car crash while on the job in 2005.

Also, this week we lost one of the great writers from our area, my former Asbury Park Press colleague, Bill Handleman, who died at 62 years old on Wednesday from kidney cancer. When I first came into this business, Handleman was an award-winning writer who I greatly respected and he often took time to talk to me about some of my work and offer me some advice, which I will never forget. His grumbling and rants were legendary, but he was funny when he did it. Bill was the ultimate “don’t let those bastards get you down” kind of guy, and someone I greatly respected.

He always found a way to get to the heart of a subject, and his writing was simple but eloquent. He could say more in 10 words than most writers trying to show off could say in 100. He will be greatly missed, but definitely not forgotten.

More from the NJ vs. Northeast All-Star Classic/Davis to Rutgers

June 7, 2010

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New Jersey continues to dominate what is now known as the New Jersey vs. Northeast All-Star Classic, as it won its fourth straight, 13-7, and its second in a row since the format changed from New Jersey vs. New York to New Jersey vs. a team made up of players from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York, Delaware and Virginia.

Toms River East’s Nico Steriti was on his way to a monster game with 82 yards rushing and a touchdown on his first seven carries before his day ended early in the third quarter when he took a helmet to the right shin that left a hole that he had to have wrapped up to stop the bleeding. Regardless, he still was named New Jersey’s offensive MVP despite the fact that Boston College-bound DePaul wideout Shakim Phillips had a game-high six catches for 124 yards.

For a player who was frustrated most of his senior year for not being able to attract a Division I-A offer, he showed he belonged on the field with a host of other Division I-A recruits before he heads off to play at New Hampshire, a top Division I-AA program. You could tell that the whole white running back stereotype that he battled during the recruiting process is something that still bothers him, but for one day at least, he had his say.