Posted by Scott Stump - http://twitter.com/Scott_Stump
I am creating a football-only blog that I will be updating regularly and we are just getting the graphics done, so for now I will put this post here before I change everything over.
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.