First off, just a note that there will be live chat on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., so make sure to come back here to the blog, hop in and get your questions in as we get ready for Week Three’s action. Also, make sure to check out the High School Football Show from 6-8 p.m. Thursday night on WOBM 1160 a.m. and Fox Sports 1310 a.m. or streamed over your computer at http://www.shoresportsnetwork.com.
As for some notes heading into the weekend, here are some extras –
–Manasquan running back Lorenzo Venable, who missed a season-opening 13-10 win over Point Boro after suffering a shoulder injury in the preseason, will not be playing on Saturday against Holmdel, according to Warriors coach Pete Cahill.
–When I was talking about some defensive standouts from Neptune’s 26-20 win over Freehold, there was another player who I forgot to mention, senior linebacker Matt Gannon. He had 9 tackles, a forced fumble and had a fumble recovery in the win for the Scarlet Fliers, so he’s another guy you should keep an eye on going forward.
–Also, my apologies to Jackson Liberty running back Matt Filosa, who I absent-mindedly called Mike during the Pigskin Podcast. That’s showing my age because there was a Mike Filosa who was a District 24 wrestling champion at heavyweight for Jackson Memorial in the late 1990s who I’m assuming is related to Matt, so I got it mixed up. Matt, by the way, is coming off a 198-yard, four-touchdown game against Lakewood in the opener and will now face perhaps the fiercest defense the Lions will see all season when Middletown South comes to town on Friday night.
Now for some quick-hit stuff
–Shore Regional heads to Metuchen after losing 12-10 to Metuchen in an upset loss in the first round of last year’s Central Jersey Group I playoffs.
–Jackson Memorial has held Howell to an average of 10 points in their last five meetings, winning four of them.
—Senior QB Jimmy Ryan is averaging 256 yards passing and three touchdowns per game for the Rebels.
–After watching the film of Raritan’s 42-14 win over St. John Vianney last week, Notre Dame-bound senior wideout Bennett Jackson is ridiculous and running back Jesse Raymond has kept his pad level much lower this year, which allows him to shed tacklers and always fall forward for an extra 2-3 yards. Great work in the offseason by him, and he is off to as good a start as any back in the Shore. Jackson, meanwhile, could have made a highlight film out of that one game. He had a 90-yard kickoff return to set up an easy touchdown, a screen play in which he leaped entirely over a defender on his way out of bounds, a leaping 3-yard touchdown in which he sailed over several defenders, a one-handed catch in which he tipped the ball to himself, and another catch deep down the field on a ball that was tipped and he made a great play on it in mid-air. I also like Joe Pensebene’s arm strength on some throws downfield to Jackson. Matawan’s defense has its hands full this week, although the Huskies are packing some offensive firepower of their own.
–Out of the teams that have played two games this season, Matawan is first in the Shore with an average of 46 points per game and Raritan is second with an average of 41.5 points per game. (Jackson Liberty scored 55 in its opener after having a bye in Week One).
–Senior Nico Steriti is averaging 166.5 yards rushing per game for Toms River East. Toms River South is giving up an average of 239 yards rushing in its first two games as it battles a rash of injuries to its starting linebacking corps.
–Middletown North is looking for its second consecutive 3-0 start with a win over Brick in the Constitution Division. Senior running back Sean McKee is quietly averaging 131.5 yards rushing per game in the Lions’ 2-0 start.
–The Shore leads the GMC 13-9 through two weeks of action. The two crossover games this weekend are Wall at South Plainfield on Friday and Shore at Metuchen on Saturday.
–Manchester is shooting for its first 2-0 start since it began the 2003 season at 3-0, and it will take an upset of No. 8 Ocean on the road to reach that mark.
–St. John Vianney will try again to get a win for new head coach Skip Edwards as it hosts Point Boro after losing 42-14 to Raritan in the opener.
–Last year’s 7-6 win in overtime marked Pinelands’ first victory over Barnegat, which leads the young series, 2-1, in its three years as a varsity program.
–In his preseason information e-mail, Keansburg head coach Brian Kmak listed Rumson head man Shane Fallon on his coaching staff as an assistant in charge of “kicking tees” to mess with his good friend. The last time Keansburg visited Borden Stadium, in 2007, the Titans left with a thrilling 21-14 overtime victory behind twins Justin and Joe Laguna and quarterback Anthony Valle.
–When Marlboro travels to Colts Neck for a Constitution Division game, the Mustangs will be looking for their first win over a divisional opponent since beating Toms River North in their opener on Sept. 10, 2005.
–The last time Holmdel visited Vic Kubu Warrior Field, it beat the Warriors 10-7 in its season opener in 2007 to kick off a school-record 10-win season.
–Red Bank Catholic has averaged 49.8 points per game in beating rival Red Bank four straight times. The Bucs are seeking their first win over the Caseys since a 22-21 victory in 2004, when they blocked a potentially game-winning field goal in the final seconds during the senior year of former RBC star and current Indianapolis Colts running back Donald Brown.