Five champions on the Shore
The high school football season ended on Saturday with mixed results for the ten Shore Conference teams that began the day in search of state sectional championships.
I and many other expected a record-setting day for shore teams but that did not pan out with Wall, Manasquan, Rumson-Fair Haven, Asbury Park and Mater Dei Prep winning titles which is certainly not a bad showing.
The big disappointments of the day were Toms River North and Manalapan who went into the weekend looking to complete undefeated seasons. The explosive Mariners, who were looking to finish as the top-ranked public school in the state were upset by Millville 22-16 while Manalapan was dominated 34-13 by a Piscataway team they had beaten just five weeks earlier.
Finishing with five of the 23 state champions is still quite an accomplishment for teams from our area.
Check out shoresportsnetwork.com for more on Saturday’s game and coming soon will be our All-Shore teams as well as players and coach of the year.
I know many of my fellow Penn State football fans are upset over just missing out on the four-team College Football Playoffs but heading to the Rose Bowl to face USC is a very nice consolation prize. The Nittany Lions stunning comeback win over Wisconsin in Saturday night’s Big Ten Championship Game was fueled in large part by alumni who played their high school football in Ocean and Monmouth County.
Manalapan’s Saeed Blacknall had the best game of his college career with two long touchdown catches and also hauling in a scoring pass was Southern’s Mike Gesicki, who is having a record-breaking season for the Nittany Lions. Defensive end Garrett Sickels of Red Bank and sophomore linebacker Manny Bowen of Barnegat were part of a defense that kept the Badgers out of the end zone in the second half and Chris Gulla of Toms River North was the holder on special teams.
Gulla who is a finance major will be graduating in less than two weeks.