Monmouth Regional Football Preview

By CHRIS CHRISTOPHER

First-year Monmouth Regional High School football coach Dan Wendel wants to see togetherness among his Falcons.

“Our motto is, ‘One Family…One Mission,’ ” the former Monmouth player said. “We want to continue to come together and build the foundation for this program.”

How together the Falcons will be in terms of wins and losses is to be determined by their play in the trenches.

“How quickly our offensive and defensive lines come together will determine our success,” Wendel said.

The quarterback candidates are senior Aidan Convery (6-foot, 180 pounds) and junior Brian Yadlon (6-foot, 185).

Junior Keontae Wiggins (5-11, 180) hopes to shred defenses at running back.

The wide receiver prospects are juniors Yassin Moore (6-1, 170) and Sheldon Lariviere (5-11 160) and seniors John DeMarzo (6-foot, 160) and Jack Huisman (6-foot, 160) The tight end hopefuls are junior Matt Fleschner (6-5, 230) and sophomore Loukas Plasteras (6-3, 195).

“We have experience at the skill positions,” Wendel said.

The Falcons’ top offensive linemen are junior left tackle Matt Burress (6-1 196), junior left guard Ryan Forstenhaulser (5-9, 190), sophomore center Eddie Hill (5-9, 260), junior right guard Will Diedrichsen (5-7, 170) and junior right tackle Ryan English (6-1, 205).

The kicker is senior Adam Varella (6-foot, 180).

Fleschner will see action at defensive end. Hill will play defensive tackle. Another defensive tackle is junior Tayshon Brazile (5-10, 255). Junior Wesley Gonzalez (5-11, 195) will play defensive end.

Diedrichsen hopes to stop offenses from inside linebacker. Senior Eric Pietz (5-8, 185) will play inside linebacker. Convery will play outside linebacker.

Wiggins and Lariviere will see action at cornerback. DeMarzo will play strong safety. Moore will see action at free safety.

Varella is the punter.

Wendel graduated from Monmouth in 2002. He played four years of football and won three varsity letters. He started in 29 of 30 games, playing on the offensive and defensive lines and earning Shore Conference All-Division honors. He played tight end for the Monmouth County All-Stars against the Ocean County All-Stars in the All-Shore Football Classic, a seniors-only event.

He was a member of the first football team in program history to win a division title. He competed in freshman and junior varsity baseball before becoming injured during his sophomore season.

Wendel graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree from William Paterson University. He earned his Masters Degree in Coaching and Athletic Administration from Concordia University. He coached as an assistant last season under Tarig Holman at Neptune, serving as the Scarlet Fliers’ offensive and special teams coordinator and nurturing their quarterbacks.

The Scarlet Fliers won their final three games of last season, downing host Toms River South (31-10), host Freehold Township (24-17) and visiting Asbury Park (7-6) en route to a 5-5 overall record. They tied Point Pleasant Boro for third place at 2-3 in the Shore Conference Liberty Division.

Wendel was an assistant coach in 2017 under Dan Curcione at Donovan Catholic, coordinating the Griffins’ special teams and guiding their quarterbacks. Wendel is the coordinator of Monmouth’s Heroes and Cool Kids Program.

A health and physical education teacher at Monmouth since 2007, Wendel has also served as its junior class moderator, hall of fame and historian coordinator, winter weight room supervisor and assistant girls lacrosse coach.

He was chosen as the Falcons’ head coach among some 15-16 applicants, according to Monmouth athletics director Tony De’Orio.

The Falcons will visit Lacey Township on Sept, 13 at 6:30 p.m. It will be the Lions’ first home game under permanent lights in school history. Lacey opened in the early 1980s.

Head coach: Dan Wendel, first season

Assistant coaches: Jason McQuay (defensive coordinator), Billy D. Williams (running backs, defensive backs), Jeff Sfraga (offensive and defensive lines, special teams coordinator), Tye Coleman (wide receivers, linebackers), Tom Darby (offensive and defensive lines), Anthony Guarino (freshmen), Domenic Miraglia (freshmen)

Athletic trainer: Leeann Pearce

Last season’s record: 4-5 overall, including 1-4 for tie with Colts Neck for sixth place in Shore Conference Liberty Division

Offensive formation: Spread

Defensive formation: 4-3

Returning starters on offense: 3

Returning starters on defense: 1

Regular season schedule: Sept. 13, at Lacey Township, 6:30 p.m.; Sept. 21, Ocean Township, 1 p.m.; Sept. 27, at Raritan, 7 p.m.; Oct. 5, Point Pleasant Boro, 2 p.m.; Oct. 11, at Shore Regional, 7 p.m.; Oct. 19, Barnegat, noon; Oct. 26, at Keansburg, 1 p.m.; Nov. 2, Red Bank Regional, 2 p.m.

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