What would a new season of high school football be without a preseason top 10 to start the conversation?
The Shore Sports Network / Jeep Store Top 10 is back and with the start of the 2021 season, it’s time to present our initial Shore Conference rankings. These are, of course, projections largely based on the return of starters and recent history. Rankings are earned on the field and in the weeks and months to come, everything will (hopefully) work out between the lines.
Last season, five teams that were not ranked in the preseason finished the season in the SSN Top 10. And it only took our # 2 team a week to get off. Maybe it is better not to be classified now? Hey, at least we got the better of Team # 1.
The Shore Conference has some real behemoths this season, then a handful of teams that could be ranked as second tier and several more that could take turns in and out of the standings throughout the season.
Here’s our look at the Shore’s best teams in the SSN Preseason Top 10.
1. Wall (7-0). Final ranking 2020: 1
The Crimson Knights finished No.1 in 2019, became the No.1 end-to-end team last season, and start 2021 as a team to beat in the Shore. The throne is theirs until someone takes it. Wall sacked 17 starters, including reigning SSN Defensive Player of the Year Charlie Sasso, senior linebacker Colin Riley, senior tight end / defensive end Blake Rezk, senior two-way linemen Brian Byrne and Max Oakley, wide receiver / senior defensive back Matt Dollive, senior linebacker Lou Pilla, senior quarterback / safety Jake Davis, junior runner / secondary Mike Fumarola and several other stars. The Knights will be tested early and often, including a brutal two-game, five-day streak against Rumson-Fair Haven and Red Bank Catholic to open the season.
2. Catholic Red Bank (4-2). Final ranking 2020: 3
The Caseys were already bringing back several high-octane players before adding three transfers from Mater Dei following the school’s withdrawal to its varsity squad. They have state championship potential with players like senior tight end / defensive end Alex Bauman, wide receiver Najih Rahman, running backs / secondaries Sabino Portella and Rajahn Cooper, linemen Vince Carpenter, Michael Conneely. , Lorenzo Portella, Tyler Burnham and Ashton Mejias, edge rusher Ryan McPherson and cornerback Joe Diorio. It shouldn’t shock anyone if it’s the Casey’s holding the belt very soon.
3. Catholic Donovan (7-1). Final ranking 2020: 2
The Griffins continue to climb the Shore Conference ranks and were inches from dethroning Wall in the Shore Conference Championship game last season. Several All-Shore players have graduated, but the Griffins are certainly not lacking in talent. Jalin Butler and Nunes Bukula take on the starting quarterback and running back roles in DC’s power distribution offensive, respectively, and will work behind an offensive road leveling line that includes Caron McNair, Aaron Crooms, Rob Madison, Nico. Ippolito and EJ Smith. Senior wide receiver Kyree Drake arrives as a transfer from Mater Dei Prep and Levi Wilkins returns as a four-year-old starter at the close end. Defensively, Wilkins, Ippolito, linebackers Connor Farrell and Nat Ianello and safety Myson Rush-Esdaile lead a unit that gave up just 8.4 points per game last season.
4. Rumson-Fair Haven (6-2). Final classification 2020: 5th
First-team All-Shore linebacker and University of Pennsylvania entry John Lista are leading a cast of eight returning starters who will look to lead Rumson to the seventh section title on the program. Lista anchors the defense alongside fellow senior linebacker Ryan McKay and All-Shore defensive end Aiden Moriarty. The Bulldogs’ offensive line is expected to be a force with four returning starters: seniors Charlie Pearson, Patrick Malpass, George Clough and Christian Smith. Senior Geoff Schroeder takes over as the starting running back after sharing the backfield for the past two seasons and Colin Kennedy steps in as the starting quarterback.
5. Colts neck (7-1). Final classification 2020: n Â° 6
The Cougars have just had an exceptional season under the direction of head coach Matt Ahearn and have the talent and experience to turn the clock back. Senior Tommy Fallon, a four-year-old starting quarterback, spearheads the offense behind a wall of humanity that includes massive tackles Dan Volpe and Ryan Whalen and guard Matt Jannucci. Senior John Manos appears to be the gateway to their powerful attack while John Runfolo and Cade Chrebet lead a strong receiving group. All-Shore linebacker Anthony Bonanno anchors the defense with junior linebacker Will Surdez as well as Jannucci, Volpe, Manos and Runfolo. The Cougars will face major tests each week as they compete in the U.S. Division with Wall, Donovan Catholic, Rumson and Toms River North.
6. South (5-4). Final classification 2020: not classified
The Rams finished just outside the final top 10 last season but start this season in 6th place thanks to a running game that should be great. Senior Jaiden Brown, the program’s all-time top rusher and a first-team All-Shore selection, is set for a big year behind versatile fullback Nate Committee and an offensive line that averages 6-foot-2 and 250 pounds. Committee and Brown also stand out on defense with linemen Donovan Drew, David Casas, Logan Doherty and Sean Rowland.
7. Middletown South (2-4). Final classification 2020: not classified
A veteran team led by Steve Antonucci and his longtime assistants is a very good bet to make it into the top 10. In total, 14 starters return from a 2-4 season which had more to do with timing and circumstances. than a lack of talent. Senior quarterback / safety Tom Schork, senior running back Dan Primiano, senior receiver / defensive back Matt Grab, senior tight end / defensive end Jack Latore, senior linemen Jake Williamson and Dante Miranda, linebacker senior Jack Willi and junior receiver / defensive back Logan Colleran include a solid core who will be looking to bring the Eagles back into the championship race.
8. Freehold (6-2). Final classification 2020: n Â° 7
With Kamore Gill and Yahsin Calhoun in the lead, the Colonials should once again have an explosive attack. Quarterback Sha’Kim Shuler totaled over 2,300 yards and 20 touchdowns last season and Gil will now move on to quarterback after registering more than 800 yards and five touchdowns last season between the running back and the wide receiver. Calhoun has had an incredible season on both sides of the ball as an All-Shore defensive back, leading the conference in tackles (113) and interceptions (6) while combining over 900 yards and nine scrum touchdowns. Senior Tyler Ochojski moves from defensive end to inside linebacker after registering 10 sacks last season and also starts on the tight end. If Freehold can play solid defense, it will be a threat all season.
9. Raritan (6-1). Final classification 2020: n Â° 10
The Rockets lost their first game of the season before snatching six straight wins to end the season 6-1 and win the 10e and last place in the SSN Top 10. Versatile All-Shore talent Luke O’Hea has graduated and will be missed, but Raritan has several important pieces back, including junior running back Kieran Falzon, senior linebacker Alex Dekis and senior quarterback Ben Hutchins.
10. Manasquan (5-3). Final classification 2020: not classified
The Warriors have enormous potential and thus get the green light for last place in our initial ranking. After a 5-3 record last season with losses to Jackson Memorial, Wall and Holmdel, Manasquan returns 16 starters and is led by a great senior class. Cole Kozlowski is the team’s jack of all trades and leads the way with running back / defensive back Pat Woodford, wide receiver / defensive back Robert Pendergist, linemen Joe Franklin, Bob Marks and JJ Cavanagh, l defensive end Jack Burns and linebackers Ryan Burns and Dylan LeBlanc. A pair of notable juniors, quarterback Brett Patten and running back Jhamier Howard, give the team a host of weapons in attack.
Keep an eye on: