By Scott Stump – Senior Editor
*Scroll down for a list of the Academic All-Shore recipients.*
TINTON FALLS - On Saturday morning at Gibbs Hall in Fort Monmouth, a group of Shore Conference football players was honored for getting it done in the classroom as well as on the field.
The Academic All-Shore team, featuring seniors from 38 teams in the Shore Conference, was announced and recognized in front of a large crowd of family members, coaches and teammates at the annual breakfast conducted by the Shore Football Coaches Association.
The breakfast serves as one of the main events held by the SFCA along with the Gridiron Classic, the annual summer all-star game pitting Monmouth County against Ocean County. Monsignor Donovan coach Dan Duddy, the president of the SFCA, served as the master of ceremonies, and the guest speakers included Rutgers assistant and recruiting coordinator Joe Susan, Monmouth University head coach Kevin Callahan, Fairleigh Dickinson head coach Rich Mosca, and Toms River Superintendent of Schools Michael Ritacco.
“These guys are the leaders,” Duddy said about the recipients of the Academic All-Shore plaques, who maintained a 3.0 grade-point average and were nominated by their respective coaches.
“They’re the guys we depend on to get our message out to the rest of the team. They take care of their own business, so consequently, they’re natural leaders.”
“We’ve really enjoyed doing it,” said Brick’s Warren Wolf, the winningest coach in New Jersey history. “Every year, you see all these young men here to be honored in front of their families and coaches, and they’re all going on to college.”
The coaches association was formed in 1996 and has held the breakfast every year to remind players that working hard on the field is only part of the equation.
“Kids that are playing sports should shoot for a goal like this,” said Lacey senior quarterback Warren Smith, who is headed to Iona after leading the Lions to consecutive South Jersey Group III finals. “The way college is these days, if you don’t work hard in the classroom, it’s so competitive that if you don’t have the grades, you’re not going anywhere.”
It also shows a different side of a group of players involved in an intense and violent game.
“This kind of recognition sort of shatters the ‘**** jock’ stereotype,” said Southern quarterback Todd Kaiser.
Also, the fact that it is a large priority of the Shore coaches’ association only highlights the emphasis on being complete student-athletes.
“There’s so much integrity here today that in our quest to send kids onward after graduation, we feel very good after a morning like this,” Duddy said. “It’s a great opportunity to recognize families, players and our coaches.”
Deserving special mention are some players who not only were honored for their academic achievements but also were the best of the best on the field. The following players were named to the first team of the DigitalSports Legends of the Fall All-Star team while also earning academic All-Shore honors: Long Branch safety Shawn Brown, Howell wide receiver Chance Carrick, Toms River East linebacker Ryan Dolan, Toms River South kicker Jake Del Vento, Toms River North defensive lineman/tight end Austin Kugler, Lacey offensive lineman Justin Rand, Holmdel defensive lineman Kevin DeMaio, Howell offensive lineman Nick Libonati, Long Branch lineman Tajh Miller, Point Boro defensive back Bobby Alameda, Toms River North offensive lineman Jon Power and the 2007 DigitalSports Offensive Player of the Year, Howell quarterback Tim Lamirande.
The coaches also recognized their own, as the respective coaches of the year for each division were also honored. The recipients included Toms River North coach Chip LaBarca Jr. (American Division), whose Mariners went 12-0 and won the South Jersey Group IV title; Howell coach Cory Davies (Constitution Division), whose Rebels won their first state sectional title in school history, the Central Jersey Group IV championship; Freehold’s Mark Ciccotelli (Federal Division), whose Colonials won the Federal Division title; Long Branch’s Dan George (Liberty Division), whose Green Wave won a share of the division title and reached the Central Jersey Group III final despite playing all of their games on the road for the fourth straight year; Holmdel’s Andy Carlstrom (National Division), whose Hornets won the division title and set a school record for wins (10) while reaching the Central Jersey Group II semifinals; and Asbury Park’s Don Sofilkanich (Patriot Division), who took the Blue Bishops from a 1-9 record to an 11-1 season and the Central Jersey Group I title in his first year as head coach.
There were also several coaches involved with the scholar committee in charge of organizing the breakfast, and they are the following: Freehold Township’s Dom Lepore (who is also a membership officer and board liaison), Shore’s Mark Costantino, Monmouth’s Sal Spampanato, Ocean’s Don Klein, Southern’s Chuck Donohue Jr., Middletown North’s Joe Trezza, Neptune’s John Fiore, Manchester’s Gerard O’Donnell, Barnegat’s Rob Davis and Keansburg’s Brian Kmak.
Also involved was the executive committee of the coaches’ association, including Duddy (president); Raritan coach Bob Generelli (vice president); and Toms River East coach Charlie Diskin (recording secretary). Also helping was the association’s Board of Trustees, which includes Wolf, St. John Vianney coach John Amabile, Southern coach Chuck Donohue, Lacey coach Lou Vircillo and Matawan coach Joe Martucci.
The recipients of the Academic All-Shore awards for each team are listed below:
Barnegat: Erik Smithman, Steve Cascio, Andrew Terranova, Ryan McLaughlin, Chris Stanton, Andrew Villiez, James Randol, Matt Lowe, Alex Tynan.
Brick Memorial: Robert Brown, Tom Murray, Dan Burke, Keith Bruno, John Lamb, Mark Pagnozzi, Matt Kampf, Greg Penta, Chris Kears, Ahmed Bahlol.
Brick: Brandon Batzel, Ken Brancaccio, Matt Cuccinello, Ray Johnson, Jeff Decker, Christopher DiGangi, Chad Faulkner, William Gardner, George Krauszer.
Colts Neck: Alex Leroy, Billy Gerdes, Alex Muka, Jeremy Dinkin.
Freehold: Kelver Arellano, Jimmy Flotteron, Peter Gerbehy, Jimmy Hua, Max Johnson, Areeb Naji, Brian Prisk, Luis Torres, Robert Weinstein.
Freehold Township: Ben Fontaine, Kevin Popek, Justin Shaw, Adrian Williams.
Holmdel: Ryan Haslett, Kevin DeMaio, Connor Nelson, Mike Lambert, Matt DiMaso, Dan Leng, Glenn Grainger, Brian Keenan, Matt Buckley.
Howell: Brian Battaglia, Kyle Marlborough, Chris Turiello, Adam Zanati, David Hayes, Tim Lamirande, Nick Libonati, Ian Harvey, Alex Killian, Joe Sabatello, Chance Carrick, Mike Fiorillo.
Jackson: Ian Biazzo, Stephen Allen, Thomas Tracy, Matt Benson, Eric Brown, Brian Sweitzer, Don Murphy, Chris Rae, John Cirri, Mark Bergery.
Keansburg: Michael Nelan.
Keyport: Mike Caracciolo, Stephen Crane, Chris Cummons, Matt Farkas, Ryan Flagg, Gilly Olini, Jeff Smith, Brandon Williams, Mike Windeknecht, Dan Zakutansky.
Lacey: Justin Rand, R.J. Roe, Fernando Silva, Warren Smith, Tyler Giglio, Mike Vaccaro.
Long Branch: Shawn Brown, Lyndon Johnson, Tajh Miller, Donnell Turpin, Pat Vaccaro.
Manalapan: Anthony Comuniello, Craig Peterson, David Presby, Dmitry Smolkin, Tom Sozzi, Bryan Tamalone, Charles Vaccaro, Yeugeniy Zilberman.
Manasquan: Tyler Fittin, Art Forst, Travis Fink, Steve Kircher, John Murtha, Angel Rojas.
Marlboro: Gerard Cicero, Joe Esav, Justin Hayden, Joe Deegan, Andrew Kugler, Stefan Appelman, Kevin Yao, Matt Bobrow, Eric Herburger, Steve Oberosler, Bryan Cole, Ryan Hilla.
Matawan: Theo Allison, Dan Cleary, James Dwyer, Justin Jackson, Kevin Knox, Mike McGuinness, Bruce Monro, Kyle Norwood, Mike Petrillo, Wayne Robinson, Fran Santimauro, Steve Turner, Tim Whitney, Alex Caliendo.
Mater Dei: William Grenger, Alex Horan, Justin Vega.
Middletown North: Steve Hoverson, John Woodward, Andrew Terranova, Shane Overgaard, John Diodato.
Middletown South: Steve Lang, Eric Dunn, Rob Cruz, Alex Romanski.
Monmouth: Joe Yglesias, Ryan Daly, Jeff Sfraga, Kenny Collins, Christian Salcedo, Edrick Alleyne.
Monsignor Donovan: Michael Whitley, Nick Scerbo, Tim Price, Tom Carter, Kyle Claxton, William Gulli, Zachary McAuley, Frank Gunteski, Chris Polhemus, Jayce Maxwell, Chris Shimrock.
Neptune: John Ace, Brandon Settles, Stephen Floyd, Justin Payne, Dyshon Dill, Melvin Durham.
Ocean: Steve Panduri, Rich Geiger, Chris Spirito, John McCarthy, Anthony Mango.
Pinelands: Richard Argenziano, Kyle Kleinow, Remy Walsh.
Point Beach: Adam Palisi, Patrick Neary.
Point Boro: Bill Heuer, Bob Stowe, Bobby Alameda, Chris Vroome, David Woodman, Frankie Kearns, Joe Bontempo, Mike Gynn, Mike Murphy, Mike Sperduti.
Raritan: Ryan Campbell, Joe Doerrer, John Gazerwitz, Brian Hinz, Nick Hoff, Brian Kalarjian, John Krajunus, Nick McMahon, Tim Nolan, Robert Palmer, Matt Rodriguez, Nathan Rucinski.
Red Bank Catholic: Pete Batesko, Thomas Beery, John Brahney, John Kinzel, Michael Wilbur.
Red Bank: Evan Card, Tim Johnson, Greg Lucking, Mike Pignataro.
Rumson-FH: Matt Feiring, Ryan Korn, Dan O’Connor, Colin Callahan, Matt Wassel, Eric DiReda, John Lembeck, Nick Fahmie, Brian Biga, Chris LaCosta, Ted Mimnaugh, Jack Sharkey.
St. John Vianney: Vladimir Joseph, Kyle Earley, Michael Grimaldi, Joseph Mason.
Shore: Parker Crawford, Michael Torchia, James Mahoney.
Southern: Tom Bonfonti, A.J. Castelli, Bob Freeman, Mike Hook, Todd Kaiser, Pete Lipowski, Jeff Seddon, Eric Sharkey, Brandon Snyder, Eric Williams.
Toms River East: Mark Caruso, Frank Cermatori, Mike Colucci, Christian Cornier, Ryan Dolan, Daniel Knox, Joe John Kuchta, Mike Murphy, Victor Ponaski, Ryan Szumel, Darren Tymczak.
Toms River North: James Cavanaugh, Jon Power, Adam Carey, William Eldridge, Austin Kugler, Ryan Klauser.
Toms River South: Kevin Bellavance, Dale Brceczkowski, Kyle Carlisle, Jake Del Vento, Daniel Finley, Mike Gerardo, Bobby Mack.
Wall: Brendan Gill.