Friday night under the lights seemed like a fitting ending to the high school football careers of graduated seniors who were selected to play in the All-Shore Gridiron Classic.
On the football field of Bresett Stadium at Long Branch High School, some of the top 95 players who recently graduated assembled on July 12 to participate in the 42nd all-star game for the Shore Conference. The all-star teams were split into Monmouth County and Ocean County.
The game was originally scheduled for July 11, but it was postponed one day due to thunder storms in the state.
Monmouth County extended its winning streak in the series to three straight when it scored a 21-6 victory over Ocean County. Monmouth now holds a 23-18-1 lead in the All-Shore Gridiron Classic.
“We get five days to put a bunch of literally strangers together and the boys and coaches did a great job. Monmouth players are a little bit of a different breed,” said Monmouth County’s head coach, Jerry Schulte, who guided Rumson-Fair Haven High School to a state football playoff championship in December.
Players from Freehold High School, Freehold Township High School, Colts Neck High School, Manalapan High School and Marlboro High School were selected to play for Monmouth County in the all-star game.
“It is an honor to be out here to represent Monmouth County, my school and family. Getting up to this past 2018 season it was a lot of hard work,” said Matt Krauss, Freehold High School’s quarterback. “Two-a-days in the weight room, running after school, running after practice prepared me to have a big year.”
Krauss started in the all-star game for Monmouth County as a wide receiver. He said the competition has been great as iron sharpens iron.
“This is a bittersweet feeling to put on the pad for the last time as a high school football player. It is nice to be out here player with some of my teammates and some of the guys I played against,” Krauss said. “Being able to know I will be putting them back on again at the next level is awesome.”
He will be attending Rowan University in Glassboro for the fall, where he plans on continuing his love of football.
Krauss was joined in the all-star game by his Freehold teammates, defensive lineman Alex Verardi, kicker and wide receiver Jake Hurler and wide receiver and tight end Quincy Davis.
Freehold Township’s kicker Colin Taptich rounded out the representation of Freehold in the Gridiron Classic.
Lineman Da’Shon Taylor from Manalapan shined for Monmouth County in the victory. He earned the Defensive MVP of the game for Monmouth County.
“It is a big dream to be one of the top players in the Shore Conference. I just come out here and work to get better everyday,” Taylor said. “To put on these pads for the last time as a high school player is upsetting, but you have to move on in life and meet new goals. My next goal is college football.”
Taylor will be attending Wesley College in Delaware this fall and will play football.
“Football means the world to me. My mom works hard every single day and I just go out there and play for her,” he said.
Taylor was also joined in the all-star contest by fellow Manalapan teammates, punter Jack DeMatteo and defensive lineman Nick Holowach.
Colts Neck’s senior safety Colin Campbell enjoyed his experience in the game.
“It is awesome to get to play with the best guys in the Shore. Practicing against these guys I have never had one like it,” he said. “Everyone is getting you better and you are getting others better. High School football is the best there is nothing like it so I want to make the most of every second.”
Campbell is going to attend Endicott College in Massachusetts for the fall, where he will continue to play football.
Marlboro’s running back Dontrell Alston was also selected to participate for Monmouth County.