The Shore Conference scholastic sports community is showing signs of regaining its footing after the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy.
“We’re just trying to regain our regular routine,” said Monsignor Donovan football coach Dan Duddy, whose team returned to practice on Monday morning “The kids are responding. The parent are happy to see the kids get out of the house and they want to see football come back because it brings back normalcy.”
Duddy said not all of his players were at practice on Monday, but that everyone is OK.
“We’ve got kids on the waterfront, who are still involved in cleanup,” Duddy said.
Monsignor Donovan can clinch the outright Shore Conference Class B South championship on Saturday night when it hosts Jackson Liberty.
Central Regional football coach/athletic director Vince Casale said his boys and girls soccer and field hockey teams all practiced on Monday and will host NJSIAA Tournament games today at 2 p.m. Casale said he conducted a football practice on Monday and about two-thirds of his players showed.
Some of Central students live in Seaside Heights and Seaside Park, which were both devastated by the storm. Casale said those players he has from the barrier islands relocated to other parts of the state and even out of state.
“I think everybody is OK. We’re texting and making phone calls to make sure everybody is safe,” Casale said.
Central’s football team will host Manchester Friday at 7 p.m.
Rumson-Fair Haven football coach Shane Fallon said he had players whose families lost their homes and relocated to Maryland, Pennsylvania and Vermont. He said some players have told him they will not be available until Wednesday or Thursday. Rumson did have a practice session Monday afternoon.
“This is uncharted territory,” Fallon said. “It’s something I’ve never had to deal with as a coach. I’m not sure many of us had to deal with this type of situation. It certainly presents a challenge. Now is the time to be with family and helping out families.”
Rumson will be at Manasquan on Saturday in a game Rumson needs to win stay tied with Red Bank Catholic for first place in Class A Central and Manasquan needs to win to qualify for the NJSIAA Central Group III playoffs.
“Saturday’s game is about more than just football,” Fallon said. “It’s a chance for communities to come together and do things for a good cause. I don’t know what they will be doing down in Manasquan as far as collections go, but whatever they need, ‘Bulldog Nation’ will show up with it.”
Among the other football teams who have returned to the practice field, according to athletic directors and coaches were Toms River East, Toms River North and Toms River South, Brick Memorial and Brick Memorial, Southern Regional, Matawan Regional Barnegat and Red Bank Catholic.
Matawan coach John Kaye said about half his players were missing from practice and have relocated to other areas.
Raritan coach Anthony Petruzzi said his team was scheduled to begin practicing for its home game Friday night against St. John Vianney today.
Colts Neck, Manalapan, Howell, Marlboro, Freehold Township and Freehold were awaiting word from the Freehold Regional Schools administration as to when they can hold practice sessions.
Red Bank Catholic athletic director Joe Montano said the visiting stands, which were placed on to the turf at Count Basie Field in Red Bank by the storm, are still on the field, as are the gashes in the turf caused by the storm. He said he hopes those situations can be remedied today.