Coach Kyle Sandberg provides his football players at Toms River East High School with a positive attitude.
Sandberg, who is in his third year at the helm of this football program, is guiding a young team. The 2017 squad graduated 25 seniors.
“A lot of these kids are new. A lot of sophomores, a lot of juniors and seniors have not played before. I told them in the locker room that they just have to calm down. It is not something we have not seen before. We made some adjustments on offense,” Sandberg said.
The coach shared his positive feelings after Toms River East fell to Ocean Township High School, 14-9, on Sept. 14 in Toms River.
There is one takeaway Sandberg said he wants for his team from the tough loss to Ocean Township.
“The experience. They were in a great fight today. I am telling you right now I do not care what the records are you play an in town rival it does not matter. We are going to South. That is one of the best atmospheres in the shore and probably the state. The team has to remember this moment because their backs are going to be up against the wall to turn it around,” Sandberg said.
Toms River East will bid for its first victory of the season when it clashes with rival Toms River High School South on Sept. 21. The local matchup will be played at Toms River South.
Toms River East’s junior quarterback, Mike Goodall, is ready to get back into action.
“I am so excited. It burns in my stomach that we lost. I want to come out this week working hard and get the win against South,” Goodall said.
This young Raiders started the 2018 season with two losses and a combined score of 55-15 in the first two games of the season.
Senior defensive end Liam Meakem said he wants the team to keep staying positive as the team moves forward.
“It was just a battle all the way through. We never gave up. Right down to the last play. One thing goes our way that is our game. That is what we take from this,” Meakem said.
The Raiders may be young but the team still has pieces to compete this season.
Goodall has the arm and legs to make mobile throws under pressure. Meakem anchors the defensive line with his 6-3, 185-pound frame.
Senior wide receiver Edward Richards finds openings in the offensive scheme to make plays. Junior fullback Frankie Giannetti is a tough player to take down running straight through the middle of the line.
The Raiders are rebuilding. froma season when they finished 2-8. Toms River East posted victories in 2017 against Southern Regional High School and Manchester Township High School.
Those victories gave coach Sandberg and his returning players something to build from.