Winning the battles in the trenches could lift the Shore Regional High School football team to another winning season and a trip to the state sectional playoffs.
Shore Regional, under veteran coach coach Mark Costantino, who enters his 27th season, posted a 7-4 record and advanced to the semifinal round in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Central Jersey, Group 1 playoffs last season.
Costantino, who was previously an assistant coach during his 31 years with Shore Regional, has a 172-89-1 career record as the head coach and believes he has the interior linemen to win at a high level.
“Our lines are the strength of the team,” Costantino said. “Both our offensive and defensive lines need to dominate in order for us to win. Normally these guys get the job done.”
Costantino will need his lines to hold up because he has a lot of inexperience at his skill positions. The Blue Devils will have a new starting quarterback and starting running backs.
“We’re a young team that needs experience,” Costantino said. “There’s a chance for a lot of guys to prove themselves this year.”
Constantino will depend on both youth and veterans to help his team this year.
Some of his veteran leaders include seniors Mike Rosati and Jason Van Brunt at guard and defensive end and Bailey Crochet at wide receiver and defensive back; juniors Vinnie Dimaio at defensive tackle and offensive tackle, Sam Aromando at defensive tackle and offensive tackle, Gil Goldsmith at running back, defensive back and quarterback, and Jack McCrae at running back and outside linebacker.
Some of the key newcomers on the team include Matt Altomare on the offensive line and at middle linebacker, Matt O’Donnell at tight end and defensive end, AJ Shirley at running back and outside linebacker, Ryan Morris at quarterback and defensive back, John Salerno at running back and middle linebacker, Jake Altomare at center and middle linebacker, Frank Illiano on the offensive and defensive lines, Joe Aria on the offensive and defensive lines, Kevin Pennell at running back and outside linebacker, Gunnar Schueltzky at guard and middle linebacker, Brett Young at wide receiver and defensive back, Tom Bocco at quarterback and defensive back, and Terry Carlstrom at running back and defensive back.
The Blue Devils open their season at home in West Long Branch against Asbury Park High School in a rematch of last season’s Central Jersey, Group 1 semifinals on Sept. 8 at 7 p.m.
Asbury Park defeated Shore, 39-19, en route to winning the Central Jersey, Group 1 state title last fall.