Monmouth QBs to put offense on display

Brick Township hosting game tomorrow night

BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer

Staff Writer

One of the first players that Monmouth Regional quarterback Tom D’Ambrisi sought out when the Monmouth County all-stars began practice for Friday’s Shore 44 All-Star Football game, was his fellow signal caller, Sean O’Reilly of Howell.

“I want to sit down and talk with him,” said D’Ambrisi. “It’s going to be cool to learn a few things from him. We have two different styles (of quarterbacking) and we can pick up things from each other.”

O’Reilly and D’Ambrisi will quarterback the Monmouth County all-star team that will go up against Ocean County’s best at Brick Township High School Friday. Kick-off for the 30th annual gridiron game that pits the best graduated seniors from the two counties against each other is 6 p.m.

D’Ambrisi led the Golden Falcons to their first-ever state playoff win in the fall and a school record eight victories overall. O’Reilly sparked the Howell Rebels to their first-ever trip to the Central Jersey state sectional championship game.

O’Reilly, is also looking forward to talking about quarterbacking with D’Ambrisi.

“It’s going to be fun,” he said. “I want to know how he looks at different (defensive) coverages. It always great to get a different perspective.”

Both quarterbacks, the best in the Shore Conference last year, have admired each other’s work. D’Ambrisi points to O’Reilly’s ability to be patient with the ball and make plays downfield, while O’Reilly likes the way that D’Ambrisi can beat teams with his arm and his feet.

This is the one time for these outstanding players to be on the same side because they will see plenty of each other as foes over the next four years. O’Reilly is headed to Wagner College and D’Ambrisi to Monmouth University. Both schools play in the Northeast Conference and go head-to-head each year.

For many of the scholastic all-stars participating in the Shore Classic, Friday night’s game gives them a head start on their first college training camp. For some, the game could be the last time they put on a helmet and shoulder pads.

One thing each all-star has in common is pride, which makes winning imperative.

Monmouth goes into the contest holding a 16-12-1 edge in the series.

Every player on the field Friday night may have had an exceptional scholastic career, but it doesn’t make them any less thrilled to be playing in this showcase.

“I’m so excited to be playing in this game,” said D’Ambrisi. “I’ve never been this excited for a football game. I used to go and watch this game and now I’m playing in it. It’s pretty big. I can’t wait to play.”

A quick glance over the rosters of the Monmouth County and Ocean County tells you that these are two teams with opposing strengths. Monmouth has the quarterbacks and Ocean County, the conference’s best running backs led by Brick Memorial’s Vinnie Falkiewicz and Jackson’s Mark Schiavone.

Both O’Reilly and D’Ambrisi are looking forward to throwing the ball to some of the Shore’s best wideouts, and there are plenty of them led by Chris Lewnes, St. John Vianny, Alan Frost, Freehold Township, Louis Haynes, Monmouth Regional and Terry Paul, Long Branch.

O’Reilly, who has already had the pads on having quarterbacked the South team at the annual North-South game played at Rutgers University last month, said playing with the talent that is on the Monmouth squad, takes a lot of the pressure off the quarterbacks.

“You feel that you don’t have to do everything,” he pointed out.

In addition to the stellar receiving corp, the Monmouth teams have solid runners in Joey Falco, Ocean Township, Don Porzio, Red Bank Catholic and Carmen Dente, Raritan.

Among the key offensive linemen are Jim Sullivan of the Shore’s top-ranked team, Manasquan, Greg Sullivan, of Middletown South, Joe Locascio, Howell, Jim Freudenberg, Shore Regional and Garrett Culloo, Ocean Township.

Raritan’s Carmen Falco, who has had experience converting game winning field goals, gives the Monmouth stars an edge in the kicking game.

Monmouth’s quarterbacks plan on taking full advantage of the rules put in for this game that include a standard 4-3 line-up, no blitzing and the defensive lineman have to rush the quarterback, they can’t drop back into coverage. Monmouth’s quarterbacks will know what defense they will see on every play to generate some offensive excitement.

For O’Reilly, there is something extra special about Friday’s game. The Monmouth head coach is Howell’s Cory Davies.

“I’m going to be right at home,” he said. “We’re going to run our (Howell’s offense) offense. I’m happy to be with coach Davies again.”

Davies, who has been an assistant coach three times in this game in the past, credits what his Rebels did last year with getting him the top spot this time around.

“It’s a nice honor to be recognized,” he said. “It’s a tribute to our staff and the players for doing well.”

Davies knows that this game brings out the best in the players.

“They take pride in being from Monmouth County and want to show their the best,” he said. “It’s a rivalry.”

Despite the defensive restriction, defense will still be an important part of the game and the Monmouth defense has some imposing players, led by Manalapan’s Bill Dokouslis, who spent more time in the opposition’s backfield than its quarterbacks, Manasquan’s Chris Iachetta and Raritan’s Brian England, on the defensive line.

The linebackers are led by Raritan’s Chris Mooney, Colts Neck’s Darren Barnett, Monmouth’s Ty Coleman and Rumson-Fair Haven’s Jordan Farber.

Ocean’s Mike Goodwin and Manasquan’s Ed Kirschenbarum head up the secondary.

Lou Vircillo, who led Lacey to its third state sectional title last fall, is the head coach of the Ocean County 11. They will no doubt be looking to play keepaway from the Monmouth offense with its grinding running game. They do have a two-way quarterback threat in Arin West to go with Falkiewicz and Schiavone. Lakewood’s Darnell Norman gives the Ocean stars a downfield threat when they throw the ball.

Jackson linebacker Dan Hopkins heads a defensive unit that will have to shut down two very mobile quarterbacks. Brick’s Vin Marra, Jackson’s Ahmad Stokes and Lakewood’s Shakeem Durden are among the other top defensive players for Vircillo.

Monmouth will be practicing at Matawan High School from 5-8 p.m. through Thursday. Ocean County is practicing at Lakewood High School at the same hours through Thursday.