The Shore Conference’s two 2,000-yard rushers from the 2011 season will each try to lead their squads to victory tonight in the 35th annual U.S. Army All-Shore Gridiron Classic, which kicks off at 7 p.m. at Holmdel High School.
Manalapan’s 6-2, 200-pound running back John Sieczkowski rushed for a school-record 2,189 yards and helped the Braves go 10-2 and reach the Central Jersey Group IV final against Sayreville. Sieczkowski along with Red Bank Catholic’s John DiStefano, Colts Neck’s Victor Scalici and Middletown North’s Joe Racioppi will form the Monmouth County backfield.
Meanwhile, Central Regional’s 5-10, 180-pound running back Kalyph Hardy rushed for 2,050 yards and helped the Golden Eagles reach the playoffs for the first time since 2001. Hardy will be joined by Jackson Liberty’s Justin Billups, Southern’s T.J. Bellissimo and Barnegat’s David Smithman in the Ocean County backfield.
Under center for the Monmouth County squad, will be Howell quarterback Ryan Davies, who threw for 3,060 yards and 32 touchdowns, and St. John Vianney quarterback Anthony Carlucci, who threw for 2,059 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Ocean County’s quarterbacks will be Toms River North’s Scott Buxbaum, who threw for 1,102 yards and 10 touchdowns, Brick’s Brandon Kieslor, who threw for 1,117 yards and eight touchdowns and Point Boro’s John Dunbar.
Lining up at wide receiver for the Monmouth County squad will be Keansburg’s Matt Smith, Red Bank’s Tyheem Crawford, Howell’s Brandon Yaegel, and St. John Vianney’s Anthony Pante. For the Ocean County squad, it will be Jackson Liberty’s Ahmed Shalabi, Monsignor Donovan’s Chris Carbone and R.J. D’Anton and Southern’s Alec Morris, Point Beach’s Mark Jurkowski, Jackson Memorial’s Johntel Thomas and Brick Memorial’s Ray Contrucci.
Last year, Ocean County won a 6-3 defensive thriller over Monmouth County when Lacey’s Jared Molzon made a game-winning 22-yard field goal with 8:04 left in the fourth quarter. Howell’s Ryan Handy gave Monmouth County the early lead with a 39-yard field goal in the first quarter and then Brick Memorial’s Jordan Loiodice tied the game with his 24-yard field goal with 1:52 left in the second quarter.
Despite Ocean County’s victory last year, Monmouth County still leads the all-time series 18-15-1. Admission will be $10.