It has been a glorious run for Asbury Park. The Blue Bishops e been the dominant team in NJSIAA Central Group I over the past five seasons. They have won four sectional championships during that span. Although Asbury Park suffered heavy graduation losses from last year’s championship team, head coach Matt Ardizzone’s team figures to again be in the hunt because they have speed and athleticism.
Q: What role does junior quarterback Robert Barksdale figure to play for the Blue Bishops?
A: We expect him to take big strides. We lost some weapons and some key players to graduation from last year’s team and we need him to step up and be the leader of the team. He has improved a lot since last season. He worked a lot on his speed, on his footwork and on his strength. He does a lot of things pretty well. What he now does best is communicate with his teammates.
Q: Why do you expect senior offensive lineman Domingo Perez to be a key player?
A: He is one of our best blockers and probably one of the hardest working linemen on the team. His strength is that he leads by example each day. He is the first one to get on the kids and the first one to get on himself. Marist is looking at him. He has gotten a lot stronger than he was last year. He has dedicated himself to working hard in the weight room. He has made his whole body stronger. He has been on the varsity for three seasons, including two as a starter.
Q: How will the offense fare after suffering graduation losses?
A: After losing so many weapons, we are not sure what style we are going to have. We have a chance to be decent up front. Only time will tell. We are still trying to figure out what formations we are going to use because we lost so many skill position players.
Q: How will the defense compensate for graduation losses?
A: The defense is in the same situation as the offense. We lost two real good outside linebackers to graduation. Replacing them is going to be very difficult. Last year’s defense was very special because it was an attacking defense. We hope this year’s defense plays up to that level. If it does, we have a chance to win some games.