Middletown South mercy Spartans after five inning

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By Walter O’Neill Jr- It was not exactly the opening day that Ocean Township High School softball coach Ryan Pringle was planning on. The Spartans hosted the Eagles of Middletown South, who won 16-0 and the game was stopped after … Continue reading

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Rodriguez brings the heat for Long Branch baseball

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr.
April 24, 2021
Saturday morning was a beautiful day for baseball and the Green Wave of Long Branch hosted their first home game in over a year. Their opponents were the Red Raiders of Keyport. The Wave were wearing their new dark grey uniforms for the 2021 season which were trimmed in white and green.

It was the second game for the Red Raiders, who recorded an 11-1 win over Lakewood to start their season. Long Branch, who had two road losses, 9-6 at Shore Regional and then 13-3 to the Titans of Keansburg were happy to finally get a home baseball game.

Taking the mound for Long Branch was Christian Rodriguez. “I just like throwing the heat,” said Rodriguez. He is also the starting quarterback for the Green Wave football team. “The stance I use in football is much more natural for me. I’m not as comfortable throwing out of a side stance.”

During the first inning Rodriguez had two outs with Keyport runners on first and third. He then zeroed in on Andrew Conklin, his man behind the plate, who keeps his pitchers focused. Rodriguez settled into his zone and unleasehd his four seam fastball to retire the sides. “I don’t get nervous when runners get on base. I trust my arm and my teammates,” said Rodriguez.

The bottom of the first inning is where Long Branch scored five of the game-high eight runs. They were hitting and running the bases exactly how head coach Ben Woolley was planning. “I have a lot of younger players out here and they are learning quickly,” said Woolley.

Keyport came back in the top of the second inning scoring five runs. They were led by Anthony Longo, who smacked a double in the first inning and a triple in the second. He was responsible for three runs, half of the Red Raiders game total.

Long Branch held Keyport scoreless in the top of the third inning. Rodriguez had thrown a total of 76 pitches in three innings. In the bottom of that inning the Wave added their final three runs.

Woolley changed pitchers in the fourth inning with Jason LaViola taking the mound. He threw 73 total pitches only allowing one run to plate in the top of the seventh. LaViola and Rodriguez both had six strikeouts with the win going to LaViola.

Top hitters for the Wave were Tyler Abbot going 2-for-4 with a double and single, driving in two runs. Robert Baez went 1-for-2 with an RBI, both Shawn Rodriguez and Josh Welsh went 1-for-3 with an RBI and Christian Rodriguez was 1-for-1 at the plate.

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Colts Neck LAX edges Spartans 7-4

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr
April 23, 2021
Athletes, coaches, parents and spectators are excited that the spring athletic season is underway after being canceled last year as a result of COVID-19. The pandemic is not over, but schools have taken strict precautions and the NJSIAA has issued regulations and guidelines that all schools must follow to ensure safety for all involved.

However, onve in a while you will get someone who denies the pandemic or refuses to comply with regulations. Mike Pembleton, head of security at Ocean Township High School, was greeting spectators into the Albert F. Carelli stadium on Friday night before the start of the boys’ lacrosse game. Pembleton was reminding fans to wear a mask when one spectator from the visiting team started giving him a hard time. The spectator said there is no law requiring a mask to be worn, no signs posted at the field and he has the right not to wear one. Pembleton, who, showed great restraint, stated that were in a national pandemic and he would gladly give the gentleman a mask. He asked the spectator to wait while he went to get one. When Pembleton walked away, the spectator used some colorful commentary and walked to the visitors seating.

The action on the turf was much more amicable, and between the Cougars of Colts Neck and the Spartans of Ocean Township. At the close of the first quarter Colts Neck had a slight 2-1 lead over Ocean. Both teams added a goal in the second and Colts Neck was up 3-2 at halftime.

It was an offensive explosion in the third quarter with both teams scoring two goals. However, the final 12 minutes of action belonged to Colts Neck, who added two more goals taking a 7-4 victory. The Cougars improved to 1-1 on the season while Ocean slipped to 1-2.

Seven different Colts Neck players scored during the game. Nate Rowhit, Mike Deissler, Tim Frost, Chris Defillippo, Matt Scully, Sean Perkinson and Anastagio Muscara all had a goal in the win over Ocean. Rowohit and Defillippo each had two assists.

Ocean, which seemed just a step behind all night had Joshua Thurman, Hyatt Lowe and Michael Terry scoring. Rusty Todd had two assists and Hunter Lowe had one in the 7-4 loss to Colts Neck.

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Spartan wrestlers remain undefeated 8-0

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr. April 6, 2021
The last day of March and the first day of April 2021 has solidified the Spartans of Ocean Township as one of the best wrestling programs in the Shore Conference this season. They defeated the Hornets of Holmdel 60-18 and then crushed New Brunswick 61-9 improving to 8-0.

Within the Shore Conference the Spartans are 7-0, and within the A Central Division they are 4-0 and on top. The NJSIAA, governing body for scholastic sports and the Shore Conference, have made several changes to their tournament schedule during the pandemic.

A mini-team tournament has been established within the Shore Conference Tournament. Pods have been created with a total of 32 teams to compete. Ocean Township, ranked fifth overall in the Shore Conference, along with top seed Southern, third seed CBA, and fourth seed Howell, have decided not to participate. Instead, they will focus on the NJSIAA individual region tournament which starts on April 17.

One of the biggest changes this season is no district championships. Since 1970, Ocean has produced 114 district champions and won 18 team titles in Districts 22, 23 and 24. Last season four Spartans won District 24 titles; Demetri Poniros, Alex Poniros (both won their third overall titles), Joseph Teresi (his second) and first-time champion Jack Nies.

In the past the regions were held at the RWJBarnabas Health Arena, formerly known as the Ritacco Center in Toms River. This year, the NJSIAA Super Regions will have four locations, with wrestlers from the Shore Conference competing at Hunterdon Central High School. The other three sites are Cherry Hill East High School, Union High School and Mt. Olive High School.

The championships will not be contested in Atlantic City this year. Instead the NJSIAA has selected Phillipsburg High School for the two-day finals starting on April 24. The top four place winners in each of the 14 contested weight divisions at the regions will advance to the finals.

Results from the March 31 match against Holmdel

138 pounds, Michael Poniros (OT) 5-3 decision over Alexander Todisco (Holmdel)
145 pounds, Nicholas Benner (OT) pin over Matteo Pinnero (Holmdel) at 1:28
152 pounds, Kevin Cartagena-Walsh (OT) forfeit win
160 pounds, Shane Cartagena-Walsh (OT) forfeit win
170 pounds, Tah-Jay Phillips (OT) win over Thomas Cleary (Holmdel) injury could not finish
182 pounds, Luke DuPont (Holmdel) pin over Jared Tracey (OT) at 1:15
195 pounds, John Steele (Holmdel) pin over Mateo Chavarriaga,  (OT) at 1:23
220 pounds.  Hazem Zaky (Holmdel) pin over Iqbal Ahmadi (OT) at 1:14
285 pounds,  Joseph Teresi (OT) pin over Jake Leroux (Holmdel) at 1:34
106 pounds,  James Farina (OT) forfeit win
113 pounds,  Blake Tarnowski (OT) 3-1 decision over Anthony Paulino (Holmdel)
120 pounds,  Demetri Poniros (OT) forfeit win
126 pounds,  Gio Poniros (OT) pin over Zach Rabkin (Holmdel) at 2:41
132 pounds,  AJ Benner (OT) pin over Try Turlenko (Holmdel) at 1:18

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Zayier Dean focused on his basketball career

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr., March 30, 2021
Ever since he could pick up a basketball Zayier Dean of Ocean Township has had one goal. “My future plans are simple, get to the league, it’s always been I dream of mine and I work very hard to accomplish it,” said Dean.

As an eighth grader Dean is very focused on that hoop dream. There is hardly a minute you will not see him with a basketball in his hands or working on improving his skill sets. Amateur Athletic Union, also known as AAU, is a program designed for elite athletes and Dean is a member of the New Jersey AAU Reborn Team which travels around the country playing in exclusive tournaments.

Zayier Dean who is an eighth grade student at Saint Mary School in Middletown has dreams of playing in the NBA. But before he gets into the league he will attend Pioneer Academy in Wayne.

Just last month Dean and his Reborn teammates played two of the toughest teams from New England and Rhode Island. “I think we could’ve have done better, we made some little mistakes on the court which affected us but my teammates and I still have a lot of confidence in ourselves going into the championship weekend,” Dean said. Team Reborn won the Marquee Hoops Circuit Tournament and Dean was named the most valuable player.

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Dean is a famous name in this area for basketball. Zayier’s cousin Taquan Dean, who formally changed his name to Taqwa Pinero, was an all-star at Neptune High School and nearly a 2,000-point scorer for the University of Louisville. After he graduated in 2006, Pinero played professional ball oversees for teams in Italy, Russia, Spain, Turkey, Iran, Lebanon, and his last team was in France.

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“Zayier has been on this path since he was a baby. I can remember coming home from the summers when I was in college and he would look me in the eyes and tell me he would be better than me,” said Pinero. Big ambition for a little baller. “I would tell him that he would have to earn that Dean name on the back of his jersey. From that day on I knew I had to stay in the shadows and allow him to earn his keep and not open certain doors for him.”

Zayier Dean was named the 2021 Marquee Hoops Circut MVP.

Pinero added that Zayier is a student of the game, that he knows every trait that made the greats so great and he puts that into his own game. “His father gave me the ball when I was a kid and now he’s passed that onto his own son. Zayier knows that it’s the unseen hours that’s going to get him to where he wants to go and he’s in that gym day and night. I’m proud of him because he’s going to take it farther than where I took it and that will lead the next generation of our family to take it even further,” said Pinero.

When Zayier hits the gym for his workouts he says something to himself before he hits the hardwood. “When you work out if you’re not messing up you’re not going hard enough,” said Dean. His dad also gave him and Pinero great advice. “He told me that it’s a marathon not a sprint and that’s something I live off and on the court.”

“So young King, you get my stamp of approval. You’re getting your first of many articles and I wanted to let you know I’m proud of everything you’re doing. Run your race knowing it’s a marathon,” said Pinero.

One of the biggest questions young Dean had to make was where he would be playing his high school basketball. Looking to improve upon his academic and hoop skills, he has decided to attend Pioneer Academy in Wayne, New Jersey.

Timothy Mark Thomas is a 6’10” who was ranked number two in the nation as a high school player behind Kobe Bryant in 1996. Thomas, who graduated from Paterson Catholic High School attended Villanova. He then went on to play in the NBA for 13 years with the Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Clippers and the Dallas Mavericks. He is the Director of Athletics and the head basketball coach at Pioneer Academy.

“I had narrowed down the options of high school to Pioneer, Ranney and Mater Dei Prep. It was a tough decision for me to make, but knowing that Tim Thomas is the head coach at Pioneer Academy helped me in my selection,” said Dean.

Long Branch wrestling with winless season

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr.
The Long Branch High School wrestling program has been one of the best in the state. They have won an impressive 22 divisional titles, 14 district championships, six NJSIAA sectional titles, three consecutive Shore Conference Tournament and NJSIAA Group 2 titles from 2008-to-2010.

In 2020, the Green Wave finished 18-7 overall and were 7-3 against Shore Conference opponents and went 5-2 in the A North division. They won the District 23 title, placed second in the A North, and were NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 4 sectional semifinalists.

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However, this season has been very uncharacteristic for the Green Wave. In their first six matches they have been outscored 319-100 and are winless. Howell defeated Long Branch 60-9 to start the 2021 season. Middletown South then beat them 57-13, Marlboro won 52-21, CBA took a 60-14 win and Freehold Township pulled out a very close 39-31 win, and Colts Neck defeated the Wave 48-12.

One of the major reasons for this year’s downswing in Long Branch is the pandemic. Many parents and athletes just didn’t want to risk the chance competing in a shortened season.

Christian Brothers Academy is renowned for its swimming and basketball teams. However, the Colts are now adding wrestling to the repertoire. They have three non-public NJSIAA state sectional titles, four district titles, one Shore Conference and one divisional title.

Here are the results of the March 23 match.

106 pounds, Tyler Venet of CBA had a pin over Tyler Munson of LB at 3:45
113 pounds, Anthony Dimitri of CBA had a pin over Domenic Demarzo of LB at 3:51
120 pounds, Vincent Principe of CBA had a forfeit victory
126 pounds, Garrett Totten of CB had a technical fall 21-6 win over Ignacio Guzman of LB
132 pounds, Nicholas Geissier of CBA had a major 12-0 decision over Logan Smith of LB
138 pounds, Sebastiano Nini of CBA had a pin over Aeshawn Carney of LB at 1:49
145 pounds, Nick Stump of CBA had a 3-1 decision over Angel Bonnano of LB
152 pounds, Tyler Barrett of CBA had a forfeit victory
160 pounds, Zander Silva of CBA had a forfeit victory
170 pounds, Mason Garber of CBA had a forfeit victory
182 pounds, Jack Friedman of LB had an 8-3 decision over Peter Grippo of CBA
195 pounds, Deiondre McCulers of LB had a forfeit victory
220 pounds, Andrew Conklin of LB had a major decision of 11-3 over Taig Sheehy of CBA
285 pounds, Robert Canterino of CBA had a pin over Kai Coleman of LB at 5:32

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Devils make history with outdoor match

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr.
March 27, 2021
For the first time in the history of Shore Regional High School an outdoor wrestling match was held. The matts were placed on the artificial turf of the football stadium and the Spartans of Ocean Township were the team to help set this achievement.

COVID-19 forced the NJSIAA, state governing body for scholastic sports to adjust several seasons. Wrestling, which usually starts in January didn’t get going until March and ends on April 15. So the season is much shorter, no tournaments, no district championships for 2021. Many schools are only allowing two spectators per athlete to attend indoor events. With an outdoor event, more spectators would be able to attend, so the coaches and administration at Shore decided to hold the wrestling on the turf with Ocean.

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The Spartans of Ocean Township are one of the better programs this year. With the 52-24 win over the Blue Devils on Saturday morning Ocean is now undefeated at 6-0. They have outscored their opponents 308-123. With the win over the Devils the Spartans are 3-0 in the A Central division.

Shore Regional had a winning record going into the Ocean match. With the loss to the Spartans they are now 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the B Central division. Shore has scored 223 points and have given up 201 points so far this season.

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Match results for March 27

106 pounds, Chaunci Jones of OT forfeit win.
113 pounds, Blake Tarnowski of OT forfeit win.
120 pounds, Demetri Poniros of OT scored a pin over Brendan Nichols of SR at 2:12
126 pounds, Gio Poniros of OT scored a pin over Daniel Bonner of SR at .57
132 pounds, Jack Maida of SR scored an 11-5 win over AJ Benner of OT
145 pounds, Nicholas Benner of OT scored a pin over Jacob Herschenfeld of SR at 1:07
152 pounds, Kevin Cartagena-Walsh of OT scored a pin over Tyler Husar of SR at 1:10
160 pounds, Michael McGhee of SR scored a pin over Shane Cartagena-Walsh of OT at 8:29
170 pounds, Jared Tracey of OT scored a pin over Liam Rosa of SR at .43
182 pounds, Tah-Jay Phillips of OT scored a major 8-0 decision over Dylan Drahos of SR.
195 pounds, Jamie Mazzacco of SR scored a pin over Iqbal Ammadi of OT at .57
220 pounds, Layne Raposo of SR scored a pin over Giancarlo Palazzolo of OT at 1:07
285 pounds,  Joseph “Jo-Jo” Teresi of Ocean scored a pin over Cade Torres of LB at 2:42

Shore will have two road matches this upcoming week. On March 29, they will be at St. Rose and on March 31, they will be at Asbury Park High School. April 3, Shore will host Central Regional for another outdoor match.

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Ocean wrestling downs Rockets 49-18

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr
March 17, 2021
St. Patrick’s Day is normally celebrated with the wearing of green. However, this past Wednesday night, it was all red in Ocean Township. The Spartans hosted the Rockets of Raritan in the opening match of the 2021 wrestling season in a A-Central contest.

Cippy Apicelli returns for his tenth season as head coach of the Spartans. This year as a result of the pandemic, the season kicked off nearly three months later than normal. One of the rules is that matches must alternate between mats and be sanitized after each bout. Wrestlers are given two tickets for spectators who must register with the school and pass a screening before entering the gym. Social distancing and mask wearing for all but the two wrestlers competing is required.

Ocean, which had a good year before the COVID-19 shutdown of 2020, has a slew of talented wrestlers on its roster this season. Of the 14 contested weight classes, Ocean won 10 in the victory over Raritan.

The Spartans won four straights matches from 285 pounds to 120. Raritan took the 126-pound match and then Ocean won six consecutive matches from 132 to 170 pounds. Raritan took 182, 195 and 220 pound bouts.

Senior Kevin Cartagena-Walsh was the first Spartan to compete in 2021. He scored a 4-0 decision over Jordan Rafalko of Rartian at 152 pounds.

The 160 pound match was won by Shane Cartagena-Walsh, a junior at Ocean. He scored a pin at 1:23 over the Rockets Robert Mulligan.

Ocean scored a major decision at 170 pounds when Jared Tracey beat Cole Bailey 10-2.

Raritan then scored three straight wins. The first was Kieran Falzon with a pin at 0:45 of the 182-pound match with Tah-Jay Phillips. That was followed by another Raritan pin at 195 pounds. Sean Lane put Mateo Chavarriaga on his back at 2:11. Nicholas Burns of Raritan then took a 6-5 decision at 220 pounds over Alejandro Villarraga. That bout went to overtime.

Spartans then went on a four match win streak. The first was Joseph “JoJo” Teresi at 285 pounds. He scored the fastest pin of the night at 23 seconds over Aswan Clark. That was followed by a pin by James Farina, the lightest Ocean wrestler. He put Matt Erven of Raritan on his back at 3:32 of the 106-pound match.

Blake Tarnowski took a 3-2 decision for Ocean over Ryan Mansueto at 113 pounds. Demetri Poniros also had a fast pin for the Spartans when he put Braden Kmak of Raritan on his back at 32 seconds of the 120-pound match.

One of the hardest and toughest matches occurred at 126 pounds. It was back and forth for two periods, but late in the third Zach Reilley of Raritan pulled out a 13-9 decision over Gio Poniros, a junior at Ocean.

The last three matches of the night went to Ocean. The 132 pound bout had AJ Benner getting a pin on Raritan’s Alex Auletta at 2:56.

Michael Poniros took a 9-2 decision for Ocean over Connor Newell at 138 pounds. The last contested match had Nicholas Benner getting a pin victory for the Spartans over Quinn Peters at 1:45.

The following night, March 18, the Spartans traveled to Wall Township where they defeated the Crimson Knights 51-18 in a non-divisional match. Following are the results of the Wall Township match.

106 pounds James Farina of Ocean getting a pin over Colin Roarty at 1:21

113 pounds Blake Tarnowski of Ocean getting a forfeit win.

120 pounds Demetri Poniros of Ocean had a major decision 13-0 over Jack Kinsella.

126 pounds Gio Poniros of Ocean scored a pin over Nicholas Vetrano at 1:45

132 pounds Mike Bruno of Wall beat AJ Benner 5-2

138 pounds Michael Poniros of Ocean beat Dominick Interrante 5-3

145 pounds Donovan DiStefano of Wall beat Nicholas Benner 73

152 pounds Kevin Cartagena-Walsh of Ocean beat Daniel Hyde 6-0

160 pounds Shane Cartagena-Walsh of Ocean scored a pin over Nick Zamaloff at 3:04

170 pounds Tah-Jay Phillips of Ocean won by forfeit

182 pounds Jared Tracey of Ocean had a technical fall, 16-0 over Kelan Giaimo

195 Pounds Jaquari Medler of Wall scored a pin over Mateo Chavarriaga at 1:21

220 pounds Kei’sun Sanders of Wall won by disqualification over Alejandro Villarraga

285 pounds Joseph Teresi of Ocean won by forfeit

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Devils beat Bucs 48-21 in wrestling

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr
March 20, 2021
On the first day of Spring 2021 the Blue Devils of Shore Regional hosted the Bucs of Red Bank Regional in a nondivisional Shore Conference wrestling match. It was scheduled to take place outside on the artificial turf of the football field. It might have been just a bit chilly at 48 degrees, so the match was brought indoors.

Shore had a season in 2020 finishing with an overall 16-9 records, were 12-6 in Shore Conference matches and 4-1 in the B-Central division. They also were an NJSIAA Central Jersey Group-1 state sectional semifinalists, took third in District 20, tenth in the Shore Conference Tournament and second in their division.

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They also had the Shore Conference Wrestler of the Year in 2020 with Al DeSantis, who wrestled at 138 pounds and finished with a 43-4 record last season. He was the District 20 champion, fifth in the regionals and took seventh in the state. However, DeSantis and eight other starters from last year have all graduated.

Shore Regional is not at a loss of talented wrestlers this year as two of the all-time win leaders in Blue Devil history are still competing. Jack Maida and Mike McGhee, both seniors with over 100 wins, are the veteran leaders. Returning this season after sitting out last year with an injury is Jamie Mazzacco, sho is in his junior year. As a freshman he had 30 wins and placed second in the District Championships.

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Red Bank Regional is coming off a 14-13 overall record in 2020. They were 9-10 in Shore Conference matches and 1-5 in the B-North division. Graduation hit also the Bucs hard as with seven of their starters from 2020 not in the lineup this season.

The opening weight was 285 pounds on Saturday morning. The big man for the Devils is Cade Torres, who placed third in 2020 District Championships. He didn’t even break a sweat as it took him 28 seconds to pin Joshua Nesheiwat of RBR.

Dom Sena of Red Bank Regional took a forfeit win at 106 pounds. The next weight, 113 pounds, was a double forfeit, as neither school sent out a wrestler.

Shore scored another pin at 120 pounds. It took Brendan Nichols only 1:41 second to get the fall victory over Michael Meehan.

Red Bank Regional had Daniel Bonner take a 16-11 decision over Jonathan Matthews at 126 pounds. This match took twice as long as Bonner had several nose bleeds and Matthews was having stomach issues.

Maida was up next for the Devils at 132 pounds. He faced junior Phil Stolfa, who, during his first two seasons at Red Bank Regional has earned a medal at the District Championships. He also has over 60 career wins and is one of the Bucs leaders. It was a great match-up with Maida, who after three periods, took a 3-1 decision.

The fastest match of the morning occurred at 138 pounds. It took Shore’s Antonio Scalise 17 seconds to get the pin on Ansel Bryan of RBR.

Gabe Scalise of Shore was up next at 145 pounds. It took him 3:32 to get a fall victory over Jonathan Balanzar Tepox.
One of the most exciting matches of the morning occurred at 152 pounds. Red Bank Regional had Luis Santamaria on the mat while the Devils sent out Jacob Herschenfeld. It was back and forth all three periods, but Herchenfeld pulled out the 6-5 win.

Shore had another win by pin at 160 pounds. Michael McGhee scored the fall over Gavin Lisko at 4:14.

Red Bank Regional had Patrick Cody getting a forfeit win at 170 pounds.

The Bucs then forfeited the next two matches. Dylan Drahos then took the win for Shore at 182 pounds and Jamie Mazzacco at 195 pounds.

The last contested match was 220 pounds. Red Bank Regional scored their first pin of the morning with Anthony Gaeta getting the fall over Layne Raposo.

With the win the Devils are now 2-1 with wins over Red Bank Catholic and Red Bank Regional. They started the season off with a 42-36 loss to Point Beach.

Red Bank Regional is 1-1 on the season. They beat Neptune 58-14 to start 2021.

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Hornets take down Spartans 33-14

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr
October 11, 2020
It took one week longer than other schools, but the Spartans of Ocean Township started the 2020 football season on October 9, hosting the Hornets of Holmdel. It was not exactly the start to the season Head Coach Don Klein was hoping for as they lost 33-14.

The opening week game against Matawan was canceled as a result of a COVID positive case for the Huskies. During the 2020 pandemic football season, schools had their schedules adjusted and are only playing six games. “We are not getting that game rescheduled,” said Klein. Another adjustment to the schedules are opponents, as teams are cutting down on travel. As a result of that change, this was the first meeting between Holmdel and Ocean.

Ocean started the game red hot on a 50-yard pass play. Sophomore quarterback Tyler Douglas, who stands 6’1’ and tips the scales at 175 pounds, has tremendous arm strength. He hit Chris Carasia, senior wide receiver, for the score. Ocean was up 7-0 on the Hornets with 10 minutes left in the first quarter. Carasia had two catches in the game for a total of 90 yards.

Holmdel then came back on a 50-yard run and missed the extra point. Ocean was now leading 7-6 with 9:42 left in that first quarter. A few minutes later with 3:43 left in the first, the Hornets had a big 24-yard run and were stopped at the Spartans two. Next play they punched it in for the 13-7 lead.

Starting the second quarter Holmdel had a 43-yard touchdown run and now were up 26-7 with 11:07 left in the first half.

Ocean took the following kickoff 70 yards to the Hornets 10-yard line. However, they used all four downs and were unable to gain a single yard turning the ball over on downs.

On their next offensive series Ocean scored their last touchdown of the game. This time it was Christian LaRosa, junior running back, who ran 15 yards untouched. The first half ended with Holmdel holding a 20-14 lead.

Starting the third quarter, Holmdel scored on a 14-yard run and jumped out 27-14 on the Spartans. Their final touchdown came with 2:47 left to play and it was a one-yard run giving them the 33-14 victory and improving to 2-0 on the season.  Holmdel beat Raritan 26-14 to start the season.

“The game went about how I anticipated it to go. Some good and some not so good,” said Don Klein, who is in his fourteenth season as head coach at Ocean. All high school teams were only allowed one scrimmage before the season started, and Ocean had that game canceled as a result of COVID. “We knew coming in that there would be mistakes normally corrected in the preseason that would show up against Holmdel.”

Ocean has a good balance of experience players and some young talent that Klein and his staff are high on. “Typically when you rely on youth in key spots there will be some growing pains,” added Klein. Douglas is one of those young stars for the Spartans. Nick Caruso is a 6’2” freshman who weighs 250 pounds and is the center for Douglas. “I thought our effort was good and I anticipate this team growing and improving each week.”

Douglas finished completing 6 of his 15 passes for 116 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also rushed the ball nine times for 34 yards. LaRosa finished with 47 yards on eight touches. CJ Flannigan, is another young star. The sophomore finished with 54 rushing yards on nine carries. Leading the team in tackles was Anthony Pontecorvo with seven.

The Ocean Township High School television crew broadcast the game live on their YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3aVp-tvkPo&feature=emb_title

Week three has the Spartans traveling to Raritan on October 16, for a 7:00 p.m. game.