A Rough Day for Shore Conference Football

April 22, 2010

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

E-mail: stump@allshoremedia.com

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.


New Blog

December 15, 2009

For everything basketball-related, please visit our new blog, Bank Shots, by clicking here.

Football College Fair on Sunday

December 12, 2009

Prospective college players who are juniors or seniors should take the time on Sunday to make a trip down to Lacey High School from 1-2:30 p.m. as 40-45 Division II and Division III college coaches and recruiters will be in attendance at “The College Showcase of Football” presented by the Shore Coaches Football Foundation.

The event is free, and players can learn about creating highlight films, academic programs, standardized testing and off-season development while also potentially finding a future home to continue their careers.

Podcast Correction/Stumpy Awards Update

December 12, 2009

Well, it was inevitable that I would have had a screw-up or an oversight while writing the 8 million-word Stumpy Awards, and it came in the form of accidentally omitting Manalapan junior Josh Firkser as a running back to watch in 2010. We put him third-team All-Conference for this year and I picked him as my preseason American Division Offensive Player of the Year this season, so we know how good he is and I just had a brain meltdown on that one, but it has been rectified and he is in there now. Sorry about that.

Also, I would like to amend something Bob and I discussed on our season wrap-up podcast concerning Manalapan’s Kevin Cruz. I did not mean to insinuate that he was getting garbage yards late in blowout games, particularly against Marlboro, as he only really played the first half in that game and compiled all his stats during that time. It was a very hard decision to put him on second team because he had a stellar year, but unfortunately at this time of year, hard decisions have to be made. In no way did I want to make it sound like Manalapan was padding its stats in any area of its game. The Braves finished the season strong and are definitely a team to watch in 2010. If I gave that wrong impression when discussing Cruz, I apologize.

Now, on to basketball.

Final Thursday Football Show Tonight on Shore Sports Network

December 10, 2009

The final Shore Sports Network broadcast of the High School Football show will wrap up tonight from 6-8 p.m. at Boston’s in Toms River. You can listen live on WOBM 1160 a.m., Fox Sports 1310 a.m. and stream it on your computer at http://www.shoresportsnetwork.com.

The Shore Sports Network will unveil its All-County teams for 2009, and here is the schedule for the program.

After the opening segment with Kevin Williams, Ed Sarluca and Matt Harmon, Steve Falk of the Asbury Park Press will call in from 6:18-6:30 p.m., followed by a half hour segment with All Shore Media Monmouth County Offensive Player of the Year Jared Allison of Matawan up until 7 p.m. I will be part of the broadcast during the second hour from 7-8 p.m., and that will include a segment from 7:20-7:45 p.m. with All Shore Media Shore Conference Offensive Player of the Year Nico Steriti of Toms River East in person.

Monmouth University head coach Kevin Callahan will wrap up the Hawks season and talk a little bit about next year from 7:45-7:55 p.m. They are also hoping to get Matawan head coach Joe Martucci and Toms River East head coach Charlie Diskin on the phone at some point during the program.

Coming Thursday/Friday/Baseball, Basketball News

December 9, 2009

The All Shore Media All-Shore Conference teams as well as the ASM All-Monmouth County and All-Ocean County teams and the final Top 10 will be posted on the site on Thursday, followed by the Stumpy Awards on Friday to wrap up the 2009 football season.

Then it will be on to basketball season, where Matt Manley, who did a tremendous job with boys soccer coverage in the fall, will be our main basketball writer, with me helping out with game coverage, features, etc., so I am excited for the winter season. After helping me with football, Bob Badders will be providing our wrestling coverage as usual, so that’s something else to look forward to as we will have a special basketball/wrestling preview issue of the All Shore Media Sports Review coming out next week as well as online previews.

Also, some quick baseball news. First off, Jackson Memorial senior third baseman Bryan Soloman, a Carpenter Cup selection and a first-team All Shore Media selection in the spring, has signed a letter of intent for a scholarship at Eastern Kentucky, so congrats to Bryan. Another Carpenter Cup selection, Colts Neck senior pitcher/infielder Charlie Lasky, has signed a letter of intent for a scholarship at Rutgers.

Also, Shore Regional senior catcher/pitcher Matt Marsh and Marlboro senior catcher Chris Ayala will both continue their careers at Felician College, which is a Division II program that has featured many former Shore Conference stars over the years.

For those planning way ahead, the Shore Conference Baseball Tournament championship game is scheduled for June 2 at FirstEnergy Park with June 3 as the rain date. Also, the semifinals of the Monmouth County Tournament are scheduled for May 18 and the final is scheduled for May 29 at FirstEnergy Park.

Southern also has a new head coach, Tom Natoli, who was an assistant with the Rams and replaces Dennis Pidgeon, and it looks like former Central head coach Jerry Frulio, who was an assistant under Jim Agnello at St. Rose, has ascended to the head job at St. Rose after Agnello stepped down to spend more time on growing his baseball academy in Staten Island. St. Rose has not named a replacement for Agnello as athletic director yet. Other new coaches include Brett Hardie (Barnegat); Cip Apicelli (Ocean); Todd Smith (Freehold Twp.); Eric Johnson (Howell); Dennis Van Pelt (Manasquan); and a new/old coach, as T.J. O’Donnell has returned as Raritan’s head coach after a two-year hiatus.

Finally, Rumson-Fair Haven’s Kevin James will not be serving as the head coach of the Jersey Shore Carpenter Cup team after doing so for the last two years, and the Shore Baseball Coaches Association is currently looking for a replacement.

Thursday High School Football Show Tonight

December 3, 2009

Make sure to check out tonight’s High School Football Show on the radio from 6-8 p.m. at WOBM 1160 a.m. and Fox Sports 1310 a.m. and also streamed live at http://www.shoresportsnetwork.com. The show is broadcast live at Boston’s Restaurant and Sports Bar in Toms River, so feel free to stop by as well.

Obviously, the theme will be previewing this weekend’s state sectional championship games involving Shore Conference teams, and the usual guests, myself and Steve Falk of the Asbury Park Press, will appear as well as Manasquan defensive end Dan Sullivan (you probably don’t want to miss that from 7:15-7:25), Brick Memorial fullback Vinnie Sabba and head coach Walt Currie, Asbury Park head coach Don Sofilkanich, Matawan head coach Joe Martucci and Middletown South head coach Steve Antonucci.

Also, the Shore Sports Network will be doing live broadcasts of Friday night’s Central Jersey Group II final between Matawan and Manasquan and Saturday’s 3 p.m. game between Brick Memorial and East Brunswick in the Central Jersey Group IV final.