JACKSON – While the Monmouth Country all-stars may have the duo of Charlie Volker and Dahmiere Willis to propel their already stacked offense, the defense of Ocean County has confidence that they can stop the twosome in their tracks.
The boys of Ocean County took to the field at the Jackson Justice Complex on Wednesday afternoon, in what would be their final practice, to prepare for Thursday’s 38th Annual U.S Army All-Shore Gridiron Classic at Bresset Stadium in Long Branch.
Linebacker Zach Tetro of Jackson Memorial is one of the core leaders of the Ocean County group. He feels that the defense has enough size and strength to shut down Monmouth’s star-studded backfield.
“We’ll stop them easily,” a confident Tetro said. “We have a huge line, a well put together group of backs, and a dominant secondary.”
“I think we’re a good team together,” safety Joe Hans of Brick Memorial said. “We’re playing well, and I think if we show that tomorrow, we’ll be fine.”
The confidence oozing out of the Ocean County team is not unwarranted. In last year’s Gridiron Classic, the Ocean County Team was able to defeat Monmouth 17-14, after a late fourth quarter field goal from Brick’s Anthony Starego. While Ocean did win last year, Monmouth still leads the all-time series with a 20-16-1 record.
Walt Krystopik of Jackson Memorial will be the head coach going into Thursday’s game. As coach of Jackson Memorial, Krystopik led the Jaguars to an 11-1 record, and helped the team secure the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV championship.
“Things have been going pretty well so far,” Krystopik said. “We had a couple of kids dinged up coming in from the All-state game, but for the most part things have gone well. This is a great group of kids we got. It’s nice to see some of the guys you’ve been competing against for four years, and finally getting the chance to interact with them.”
A total of six players from Jackson Memorial will be suiting up come game time on Thursday, including Brad Greenway, Ryan Frasier, Cole Collins, Zach Tetro, Joe DeMaio, and Matt Castronuova.
“It’s a nice sendoff for these kids before they go away to college,” Krystopik said.
While Ocean does expect to walk off the field tomorrow with their hands raised, the most important thing to them is to have fun in the final game of their high school career.
“It means a lot to play in this game,” Ja’Quez Johnson of Brick High School said. “This will be the last time I get to play with some of my closest friends, and I’ll get the chance to play alongside some kids that we hated all throughout high school. They (Monmouth) better be ready, we have a lot of kids that can tackle anybody. We like to bring it.”
Ryan Norton: email@example.com