Mark Ciccotelli has been one of the Shore Conference’s most successful head coaches the last four seasons. His teams have won three NJSIAA Central Group III championships and gone 38-8. That includes last season when Neptune, in Ciccotelli’s first season, won its first sectional championship since 1998 and went 11-1. However, several standout players from that team graduated. But, still Neptune begins the season ranked No. 2 in the Asbury Park Press Top 10 and as the favorite in Class B North.
Q: Talk about what senior Ajee Patterson brings to the quarterback position in place of the graduated Jaheem Woods, the Asbury Park Press’ Offensive Player of the Year last season.?
A: He’s not Jaheem. He brings some other things to the table. He throws the ball decent. He runs decent. If he works hard and if he’s coachable, he can do some good things. I don’t know if you can compare him to Jaheem. Jaheem’s a special player who did special things. I think I’ll let you guys do that.
Q: What does Geoff Fairbanks (a senior wide receiver who had 39 receptions for 691 yards and seven TDs last season) bring to your offense?
A: He’ll have the same role. He can catch the football and we’re going to try and get the football to him. He’s a fast, athletic kid. Our offense is going to do the same things we’ve done in the past.
Q: How do you look at Class B North with Matawan, Wall and Red Bank Regional moving into the division and Red Bank Catholic, Colts Neck and Monnmouth moving out of the division?
A: Anytime, you don’t have to play RBC, it’s a good thing. They’re a big, physical football team. But, then we pick up two other teams (Matawan and Wall), who when you talk about the history of Shore Conference football, they have a lot of tradition. We’re going to have to be ready to go each and every weekend.