Archive for April, 2012

Curry Drafted by Philadelphia/Vitale, Dula Make College Commitments

April 28, 2012

Congrats to Neptune graduate and Marshall star defensive end Vinny Curry, who was taken in the second round of Friday night’s NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles with the No. 59 overall pick. Click here for more.

In college commitment news, Point Boro senior running back/linebacker Jack Vitale will continue his career at Widener University, according to Panthers coach Sean Henry. Vitale was an All-Class C Central selection by the coaches at linebacker. Also, Shore Regional quarterback/defensive back Brendan Dula will continue his career at Gettysburg College, where he will play safety. Dula was an All-Class B Central pick by the coaches.

 

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Derek Reichenbecher Approved as New Howell Head Coach/Jurkowski, Golden Make College Commitments

April 24, 2012

After 11 years as an assistant coach at Howell, defensive coordinator Derek Reichenbecher has ascended to the head coaching spot to replace Cory Davies after being approved by the Freehold Regional District Board of Education Monday night.

Reichenbecher, who has been the head boys lacrosse coach since also taking over for Davies in that job in 2003, has been both the offensive and defensive coordinator  at different points in his tenure at Howell. He has coached the linemen, running backs and linebackers, including coaching five All-Shore linemen during his 11 years. A 1996 Howell graduate who was an All-State selection as a senior, he went on to play at Boston University and is in the Howell athletic Hall of Fame.

He takes over a Rebels program coming off a 4-6 season that graduated record-breaking quarterback Ryan Davies, the son of the former head coach, as well as record-breaking wide receiver Brandon Yaegel and Fordham University-bound lineman Tim Donahue. Cory Davies was the head coach for the previous 21 years, leading the Rebels to their only state sectional title in program history and a school-record 11 wins in 2006. He decided to step down after the season to spend more time with his family.

Reichenbecher’s hiring fills the last open vacancy in the Shore Conference. The new head coaches for 2012 also include Matawan’s John Kaye and Wall’s Nick Gregorio.

In college commitment news, Point Beach senior defensive back/wide receiver Mark Jurkowski, an All-Class B Central pick and third-team ASM All-Shore selection, will continue his career at Catholic University, according to Point Beach coach John Wagner. Also, Red Bank Catholic senior defensive back/wide receiver Greg Golden will play at post-grad season at The Hun School, according to RBC coach Jim Portela.

Nick Gregorio Approved as New Wall Coach/Coscarelli Commits to Coastal Carolina

April 18, 2012

We are now down to one coaching vacancy left in the Shore Conference as Wall approved its replacement for former head coach Chris Barnes on Tuesday night. The Board of Education approved Nick Gregorio, a former head coach at A.L. Johnson and most recently the offensive line coach at Kean University.

Gregorio had two stints at Kean around a two-year stint as head coach at A.L. Johnson, whom he led to the playoffs in 2009, losing 23-0 to Rumson-Fair Haven in the Central Jersey Group II quarterfinals. Gregorio was a standout as a player at Montclair State, where he also was an All-American shot-putter. He played at New Providence, a small-school power in North Jersey.

Barnes stepped down in February to spend more time with his family after 12 seasons with the Crimson Knights that included nine state playoff appearances, five division titles, the 2002 Central Jersey Group III title and a trip to the 2004 CJ III final. Gregorio inherits almost an entirely new team, as nearly the entire starting lineup from this past fall’s Class C Central champions will graduate in June.

Gregorio’s hiring leaves only the Howell job unfilled, but from everything I’m hearing, defensive coordinator Derek Reichenbecher is expected to be approved as the replacement for Cory Davies, who, like Barnes, stepped down to spend more time with his family.

In college commitment news, Red Bank Catholic senior defensive tackle Joe Coscarelli, the All Shore Media Defensive Player of the Year, has signed with Coastal Carolina, an FCS program, according to RBC coach Jim Portela.

The 6-foot-1, 245-pound Coscarelli is a two-time, first team ASM All-Shore selection. He led the Caseys with 105 tackles, a rare amount for a defensive tackle, and also had a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. He had 24 solo tackles and 81 assists, and also had 5.5 sacks on a defense that allowed 9.5 points per game. RBC finished ranked No. 1 in the Shore Conference, won the Class B North title, reached the Non-Public Group III semifinals and did not lose to a Shore Conference opponent all season. Coscarelli had 16 tackles in a double-overtime victory against Central Jersey Group III champion Neptune, had 13 tackles in a double-overtime loss to Delbarton in the state sectional semifinals, and had 11 tackles in a 21-0 win over Central Jersey Group II finalist Rumson-Fair Haven. As a junior, he had 107 tackles and 7 sacks.This season he was named the Class B North Co-Defensive Player of the Year by the coaches.

 

Thoughts on NJSIAA Playoff Expansion Proposal, Update on Klecko, Gesicki

April 6, 2012

Before I get to my opinion on this new NJSIAA proposal, two quick recruiting updates. Red Bank Catholic junior defensive tackle Josh Klecko added an offer from Rutgers on Thursday, according to RBC coach Jim Portela, to offers from Temple, Old Dominion and UMass.

Also, Southern sophomore wideout Mike Gesicki is starting to generate interest. Coaches from Temple, Delaware and Penn State visited the school during the winter to get a look at Gesicki in person, according to Southern athletic director Chuck Donohue Jr. (By rule, coaches cannot speak directly with sophomores during that time period).

Now, on to the proposal.

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Association approved a proposal on first reading Wednesday that would expand the public group classifications to five, which would increase the number of overall state sectional champions crowned to 24.

Essentially, there would be a newly-created Group V for the largest public schools to go along with existing four Groups, starting in the upcoming 2012 season. The proposal is now before the NJSIAA’s program review committee and will be voted on next month at the NJSIAA’s executive committee meeting.

Click here for the full story.

If it goes through, the new classifications would look like this.

Here are my thoughts on this plan:

I don’t want to go crazy because it’s still just high school football, but I couldn’t be more against this plan. Just four months ago, the NJSIAA membership was voting to join the rest of civilization and actually play to overall Group champions in football, which was rejected. Now they want to add four more sections and crown 24 total championships, which is ridiculous. It’s a total step back, in my opinion. Being called a “state champion” in public school football in New Jersey is starting to mean less and less. It’s becoming harder to win division titles for a lot of these teams than to win a state sectional title.

This reeks of two things:

1) The “everybody gets a medal” mentality that is pervading youth sports. This means more teams, including teams with losing records, can make the playoffs, more teams get a trophy and all that, so that no one’s feelings are hurt when they don’t get to be in the playoffs. In the Star-Ledger story on the proposal, NJSIAA associate director Jack Dubois said that many coaches are “not thrilled” to play in consolation games. Here’s a novel concept: WIN MORE GAMES AND MAKE THE PLAYOFFS. Then you won’t have to play in a consolation game. This is a reason why I think the proposal will pass because athletic directors can go back to their schools and tell them they will have a better chance for their teams to make the postseason or win something, even if it what they are winning is cheapened. The main job of most ADs is to get the complainers off their back, and this would help in that instance, so they are going to vote for it.

2) Another money grab by the NJSIAA. Ever since this whole Burzichelli business hit the fan over ticket prices, the NJSIAA claims that it is struggling to make money. With more teams in the playoffs, that means more entry fees and more sites to sell programs, T-shirts and other assorted swag. The more teams in the postseason, the more money that comes in.

If it does get passed, one effect will be that winning a state sectional title won’t be all that much to write home about any more. (Some of them don’t mean a whole lot now). Most of these proposed sections will have about 15-16 teams in them. Most divisions in a given conference have 6-8 teams in them. That means a state section has barely double the amount of teams that a division has, so it’s not like you’re beating a large region of teams to win a state title. From a purely selfish perspective, it also won’t be any easier trying to find a way to give media coverage to a whole other set of games in Group V every year, either. Some games might just get blown off. See you in the finals.

I wonder if the Shore Conference can just break off from all this. Just have a Shore Conference football tournament instead. It will be one packed house after another, and winning it would really mean something as opposed to breezing through some mediocre sectional bracket.

If the proposal does happen, here is a look at the brackets from a purely football perspective and who might be the winners and losers in the new realignments.

Central Jersey

Group V – This is pretty similar to the current CJ Group IV, so there wouldn’t be any major change.

Group IV – This is similar to the current CJ III, just with Middletown North and Colts Neck thrown in. One addition is Pennsauken, which won the South Jersey Group IV title last year and would certainly be a threat to the usual suspects like Middletown South, Neptune, Freehold, and Wall. Colts Neck would also be a new threat among these teams.

Group III – This is like the current CJ II except for two major differences – no Rumson-Fair Haven, which would be in Group II, and the addition of Ocean. Allentown and the Hamilton schools would also avoid the likes of Neptune, Middletown South, etc. Ocean would also not have to tangle with those teams, but still would have to deal with usual tough teams like Manasquan, Matawan, Long Branch and Raritan. This would be a very tough bracket. Winning it might actually mean something.

Group II – If you’re a Rumson fan, you’re definitely not complaining about this new proposal. The Bulldogs would no longer have to deal with the Matawans, Manasquans and Long Branches of the world. They could dominate this bracket. The main threat would probably be bitter rival Shore, which would be moved up from playing Group I schools, putting the Blue Devils in a harder bracket than the CJ I section they are in now. Red Bank would also be a big factor with the team it has coming back this year, and Keyport is always dangerous but has not fared very well whenever it has been in a Group II bracket.

Group I – This would continue to be Asbury Park’s playground, although Point Beach will be a serious threat this fall.

South Jersey

Group V – Toms River North, Toms River East and Southern would still be stuck dealing with every South Jersey heavyweight in sight in this bracket, which is similar to the current SJ IV bracket, so no breaks for any of those teams.

Group IV – This is similar to the current SJ III, so Lacey would face the usual array of suspects like Hammonton, Shawnee and Timber Creek.

Group III – This is a good spot for teams like Manchester, Pinelands and Central because it will give them a better chance to make the playoffs every year. Delsea could have a field day in this bracket after usually being in the current SJ III. Point Boro would essentially move up a weight class, but that might not be the worst thing because it gets them away from West Deptford and Haddonfield in the current SJ II.

Group II – It would be status quo for Barnegat, which would still have to deal with West Deptford and Co.

Group I – No Shore teams in this bracket.

Shore Players/Coaches Honored in Top 100, College Commitments, SJV’s Ishmael Hyman Generating Interest

April 4, 2012

A group of Shore Conference seniors were honored among the New Jersey Football Coaches Association Top 100, featuring their picks for the top 100 players in the state, in a banquet on Sunday.

Red Bank Catholic linebacker/fullback Chris Donald, Matawan running back/safety Larry Alston III, Howell quarterback Ryan Davies and offensive lineman Tim Donahue, Neptune linebacker Jazzmar Clax and quarterback/defensive back Jaheem Woods, Southern running back T.J. Bellissimo, Long Branch offensive lineman Ryan Brodie, Wall quarterback Steve Cluley and Barnegat tight end Ryan Morris were all honored as being part of the top 100. Also, Neptune’s Mark Ciccotelli was honored as the Central Jersey Coach of the Year and former Matawan head coach Joe Martucci was awarded the New Jersey Coach of the Year accolade after leading the Huskies to an upset of Rumson-Fair Haven to win the Central Jersey Group II title.

In college commitment news, Southern tight end/defensive lineman DJ Pandolpho will continue his career at Montclair State, according to Rams athletic director Chuck Donohue Jr., the son of the head coach. Red Bank Catholic offensive lineman/linebacker Anthony Dorsi will continue his career at Delaware Valley College, where his older brother Mike is currently playing, according to RBC coach Jim Portela.

Also, Colts Neck lineman Mike Wagner will continue his career at the University of Rhode Island, according to coach Greg LaCava. Barnegat linebacker Matt Schofield, the school’s all-time leading tackler, a second-team All-Shore selection and the Class B South Co-Defensive Player of the Year, will continue his career at William Paterson, according to Bengals coach Rob Davis.

As for returning players, St. John Vianney junior wide receiver/kick returner Ishmael Hyman has been generating plenty of interest. The speedy wideout, who had 29 catches for 951 yards and 10 touchdowns this fall to lead the Shore Conference at 32 yards per catch, has offers from Bowling Green and Old Dominion and strong interest from Rutgers, Boston College, Penn State and Georgia Tech, according to Lancers coach Andy Carlstrom.

Finally, in the “what might have been” category, a senior quarterback from Florida named Faton Bauta, who has been called “the next Tim Tebow” and has committed to the University of Georgia, grew up in Colts Neck. Bauta played on the same youth AAU basketball team with Colts Neck’s Hunter Wysocki and Sean O’Reilly, Jackson Memorial’s Brian Kenny and Howell’s Tim Donahue. He moved shortly before high school and became a star in Florida. A Cougars coach Greg LaCava joked, “I know, I know. I’ve blocked it out.” Here is some more stuff on Bauta