TEAM PREVIEW: Manalapan
2013 In Review: The Braves were 11-1, losing to Hunterdon Central in the Central Group 5 finals, after beating Sayreville and Brick Memorial. They scored 429 points for a 35.75 average, while allowing 108 points for a 9.00 average, including three shutouts. Wins included Middletown South, Colts Neck, and Jackson Memorial.
Departures: WR Saeed Blacknall - Penn State, TE/NG RJ Krause - Towson, RB Tyler Leonetti - Towson, FB Nelson Rivera - Albright, LB Chris Noesges - Assumption
Offense: Manalapan runs a multiple I and returns three starters. Returning at quarterback is senior Dan Anerella (6-foot-0, 185). There will be a three man committee of backs at both tailback and fullback. The tailbacks will be seniors Imamu Mayfield (5-foot-9, 190), Dan Debner (6-foot-0, 190), and John Cheung (5-foot-8, 175). At fullback, it will be seniors Nick Surhoff (5-foot-11, 215), Carlos Texeira (6-foot-1, 220), and Ben Sieczkowski (6-foot-1, 220).
The wide receivers will be seniors Tyson Plummer (6-foot-2, 180) and Gerard Hodge-Rocourt (5-foot-11, 180). Tight end will be senior Kyle Mullen (6-foot-4-1/2, 245) and senior Brian Conforth (6-foot-1, 205) will play when they have two tight ends are used.
Two starters return to the line in junior right guard Joe Sellmeyer (6-foot-3, 293) and senior left guard Pete Williams (6-foot-0, 276). The center will be junior Anthony Tardogno (6-foot-1, 250), while junior Reily Radosevich (6-foot-4, 235) is the right tackle. Left tackle is between juniors Jake Levine (6-foot-4, 280) and Mitchell Trabb (6-foot-2, 225).
Defense: The Braves run a 3-4 and return five starters. Mullen and Sieczkowski are back as the ends and junior Alec Mahon (6-foot-3, 265) is the nose guard. Joining him in a rotation are senior Mike DeAngelis (5-foot-10, 280) and Noah Groninger (6-foot-0, 250).
The two returning starting linebackers are Texeira on the inside and senior Joe Mendez (6-foot-2, 220) on the outside. Junior Lee Maksimik (5-foot-11, 195) will play next to Texeira, while Mayfield and senior Simon Bublis (6-foot-0, 205) will compete for the outside spot opposite Mendez.
Returning to the secondary is Debner at the corner with junior Anthony Bassani (5-foot-10, 180) will play opposite, with a push from Plummer. The safeties will be seniors Marc Goldstein (5-foot-10, 185) and Charles Lambana (5-foot-11, 195).
Special Teams: Senior Mike Caggiano returns as kicker and punter, while Debner and Cheung are back as return men.
Saturday, 9/13, at Marlboro, 1PM
Friday, 9/19, Freehold Township at home, 7PM
Saturday, 9/27, Sayreville at home, 6PM
Thursday, 10/2, Middletown North at home, 7PM
Saturday, 10/11, at Lacey, 3PM
Friday, 10/17, Middletown South at home, 7PM
Friday, 10/24, at Red Bank Catholic, 7PM
Saturday, 11/1, at Freehold Boro, 1PM
Friday, 11/7, at Howell, 6:30PM
Concerns: They will be young up front, but once they come along, it will begin to jell.
Recruits: Mullen is Ivy/Patriot material. Teixeira, Mendez, Debner, and Mayfield are 1-AA candidates. Caggiano has been hearing from Rutgers, Boston College, and UConn as a kicker. Plummer is 1-AA/1-A. Anerella is D2/D3, Williams and Cheung are D3. The sleeper is Sieczkowski, a late bloomer.
In the junior class, Radosevich and Levine have a 4.0 GPA and have been hearing from Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, and Penn. Mahon is 1-A/1-AA. Sellmeyer is another with a 4.0 GPA and will likely go Ivy/Patriot. Tardogno and Trabb can play somewhere.
Coach's Comments: "We're excited, even though we lost a lot of good players. We have the foundation to have a good year. We also pride ourselves on special team with the top kicker in the northeast and having 7-8 touchdowns on returns and we feel great about special teams. We had great field position last year and we hope to continue. The quarterback returns and the offensive line has two starters back. On defense, we have an All-Shore player returning on each level of defense." - Head Coach Eddie Gurrieri