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A Weekend of Champions and Snow

Route 37 in Toms River during Sunday's snow
Route 37 in Toms River during Sunday’s snow (Dianne DeOliveira, Townsquare Media NJ)

With apologies to Alan Kasper there is a reason why you can compare meteorologists with baseball players. I mean, where else can you fail 7 out of 10 times and still be successful?  

The guys who predict the weather struck out Sunday when a snow storm dumped about 8 inches in Toms River and caught everyone by surprise.  The snow did make for a pretty picture although as is often the case around here people seem to forget how to drive once the white stuff falls.

There were numerous auto accidents and while many might have been unavoidable you can be sure there were others due to people driving too fast in conditions that call for patience.

The high school football season ended this weekend with Brick and Point Beach claiming state sectional titles.  Our Shore Sports Network broadcast their victories on Saturday at The College of New Jersey and each had great story lines.

Brick won its seventh sectional championship by beating Colts Neck and it was the first since 1994 for one of the shore’s most storied and decorated programs, one that had taken a back seat to cross town rival Brick Memorial for most of the last decade.  The Green Dragons victory capped an incredible six month period which started with head coach Rob Dahl resigning and then changing his mind at the urging of players and supporters.

Brick captured its first state title since 1994 and the seventh in its history with a 26-15 win over Colts Neck in the Central Jersey Group IV championship.
Brick captured its first state title since 1994 and the seventh in its history with a 26-15 win over Colts Neck in the Central Jersey Group IV championship. (Photo by Bill Normile)

Later in the summer there was controversy when quarterback Carmen Sclafani transferred in from Toms River North along with his uncle and former Mariners head coach Chip LaBarca to run the Green Dragons offense.  Throw in the story involving autistic kicker Anthony Starego, who only became eligible at mid-season and a pre-game speech from 86-year old coaching legend Warren Wolf  and you had all the makings of a TV-movie.  It came with a happy ending before a sea of green-and-white clad fans, many of whom were in tears….tears of joy.

Earlier Point Beach won it’s first-ever football state title with a victory over a Shore Regional team that had beaten them 31-0 just eight days earlier.  It was a remarkable turnaround and came with its own interesting story.  In 1982 quarterback Paul Struncius led the pass-happy Garnett Gulls into their only other title game where they came up short against Middlesex.

He’s now a Beach assistant and his son Sean has been the anchor of both the offensive and defensive lines.  The two celebrated a father and son moment on the TCNJ turf that will last a lifetime.  By the way, the next time someone asks you about the importance of coaching then point to John Wagner, who after 25 successful years at Roselle Park has in just three built a winner The Beach…on and off the field.

Point Pleasant Beach celebrates their championship win
Point Pleasant Beach celebrates their championship win (Brad Burascano, Townsquare Media NJ)

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