September 12, 2018
Toms River North matched last year’s win total last Friday night, scoring on a 90-yard kick return with 47 seconds left and successfully converting the two-point attempt to beat perennial contender Manalapan, 15-14. Manalapan had just scored the go-ahead touchdown, making for an exciting last few minutes ……….It is interesting to note that last year’s Group 5 finalists have a combined record of 6-8 at this point. South Brunswick and Union City are 2-0 each; subtract that and it is 2-8………Last year, not many of us would have predicted the 43-6 butt-whipping St. John Vianney received from Rumson-Fair Haven. They have other problems with the Charlie Rogers departure and other things I am hearing……….Hats off to Lyndhurst’s Benny Franchino for kicking a 50-yard field goal……….One example of a tough schedule is Delsea in South Jersey. Go by last year and their opponents had a record of 60-25, a winning percentage of 70%. The weakest record was 5-5……….Westwood’s Tyler Giordano has returned a kickoff for a touchdown in each of the first two games. I do not know if he is the only one in the state to do so, but it is impressive, nonetheless……….Uniform front – The Good: Bergen Catholic with a Virginia Tech style jersey with block numbers that are easy to read, not the narrow compressed ones. In addition, there are red numbers on white jerseys, very easy to identify. Also, Brick’s green jersey looks better in person than in pictures or video, a classic look. The Bad: Lodi’s gray jerseys with blue numbers and orange trim – very hard to read and Lodi colors are blue and orange, not gray. In addition, Demarest has silver numbers on their white jersey – again, very hard to read………..For what it’s worth, the worst jersey in the state last year may have been the white Paramus Catholic jersey with yellow numbers. Many complained about the inability to read the numbers and I experienced it myself………I always enjoy attending a football game between Shore Conference teams. There is good football, atmosphere, and crowd support. Being near the beach doesn’t hurt, either……….Instant replay is here in occasional games and I think it is a big mistake, creating more questions than answers. The NFL can’t even get it right, what makes somebody think high school will?……….Pet Peeves – I wish I could get to a high school football game and they have the rosters ready. There are so many times when they are not there and when I ask if one is available, they look at my as if I was speaking Bulgarian. The athletic directors used to take care of it and still do, but much of the responsibility has been handled by the individual booster clubs. Whoever is responsible, I wish rosters would be ready one hour before kickoff, not 10 minutes……….If there are two injuries I could eliminate in football, they are concussions and ACL tears. No injuries are good, but those seem to be the worst and most frequent. I will have to speak to a few trainers and get their feedback……….I’ll be back with more bull next week!