By CHRIS CHRISTOPHER
Tim Fosque promised fans a team that will be fun to watch.
“We will be an aggressive, go get ’em kind of football team,” the Asbury Park High School Blue Bishops’ first-year coach said. “They will get after it. We will swarm to the ball on defense. On offense, we will look to be very aggressive in terms of running and creating contact.”
The Blue Bishops come off a 2-8 season. One of their assistant coaches was Fosque, who was an Asbury Park aide for 15 years. The team’s defensive coordinator for two years, he also coached its offensive and defensive lines.
Fosque, a 1990 Asbury Park graduate and a former player at the school and the University of Maryland, has put a lot of time into instilling quality character in his players. He has them involved with several community projects in Asbury Park.
“This is a pivotal year for the Asbury Park High School football program,” he said. “We have programs in place off the field for our players. We are creating an infrastructure and a safety net for them across the board. We want to give our players every opportunity to succeed in our program on and off the field.
“Our administration is in line with our program. That is why it is real exciting. I want to be known as a coach who creates an atmosphere producing positive and productive young men.”
Senior Davon Thompson figures to offer excitement at quarterback where he started in several games last season. He brings a 5-foot-11, 165-pound frame to the field.
“He’s very athletic,” Fosque said. “He is a run and pass threat. He has good explosiveness and very deceiving speed. He is elusive.”
Thompson started last year against several teams, including Dunellen, Shore Regional, Keansburg and Neptune.
“He has games under his belt against good teams,” Fosque said. “He was very good in the poise department. He read the defenses and did a good job of passing the ball.”
Asbury Park will utilize a spread offense balanced between the run and the pass.
“Davon has matured in terms of understanding the offense,” Fosque said. “He is quick in his reads in terms of knowing where he needs to go. He knows how to line people up. He knows what the defense makes available to him. He knows what his options are.”
Fosque said Thompson is strong in the intangibles department.
“He has shown good leadership skills,” Fosque said. “He is very hard on himself. At times, he gets frustrated with himself. He’s driven for perfection. Sometimes, he gets frustrated when things don’t play out that way.”
Senior Charles Sanders, a three-year starter, heads the running backs. He’s a 5-foot-11, 185-pounder who will also play inside linebacker.
“He has good size and is a powerful runner, a very powerful runner,” Fosque said. “He gives us the power and speed that we need. He brings us the power aspect of running. He has a strong, fullback-type running style.”
Sanders is a more agile running back than he was last season.
“He has become more mobile,” Fosque said. “Last year, he was all power. He worked a lot on his mobility during the offseason, doing a lot of plyometrics work.”
Joining Sanders is senior Tyquere Davis (5-1, 170). Davis is a two-year starter who will also play inside linebacker.
“He’s fast and explosive,” Fosque said. “He gives us a change of pace. He has gotten much stronger than he was last year in his upper and lower body.”
Some of that strength was gained last season when he broke his right leg while being tackled against Metuchen and missed the rest of the year.
“He did his rehab and became much stronger and faster,” Fosque said. “He worked on all aspects of his fitness.”
Fosque expects big things from Jaedon Stephens (6-0, 205). The four-year starter will be a slot receiver, strong safety, running back and the backup quarterback. His name is o the lips of Rutgers, Delaware and Temple.
“He’s our top returning player,” Fosque said. “He has high football IQ and is very strong. His confidence has improved and he is faster than he was last season.”
Junior Calvin Simmons-Carter, a three-year starter, is a solid two-way lineman at offensive guard and defensive tackle. He gives the Blue Bishops a 5-foot-10, 235-pounder.
“He has all the tools it takes,” Fosque said. “He has quickness, strength and power. He is very, very highly motivated and aggressive, strong and powerful. He impressed a lot of coaches at different camps around the nation during the offseason.”
Simmons-Carter’s cousin, Cichune Simmons, is a large junior inside linebacker in the 6-2 defense at 6-foot-2, 235-pounds. Simmons, who started last season at inside linebacker and as a flex tight end, will also be a sure tight end this year.
“He’s very quick and he finds the ball on defense,” Fosque said. “He’s a ball hawk and a play maker. He had a great offseason in terms of working hard and getting stronger.”
Another player to watch is sophomore Donte Ingrams (5-1, 155). Ingrams, who played safety and slot receiver last year, will see action at cornerback and wideout this season.
“He’s a breakout player,” Fosque said. “He will probably be one of our top playmakers. He is a gamer, a playmaker. When you need a play to be made, this is the guy you want to have the ball. He’s very athletic, strong and shifty.”
Junior cornerback Daquan Young will handle the punting, extra point and field goal chores.
“He can hit a field goal from 35 yards,” Fosque said. “He’s very accurate. He can punt 35-40 yards per kick and put a nice, high loft on it.”
Fosque said the team has improved defensively over last season.
“We have improved our pass coverage,” he said. “We are able to run more zones. We understand the zone concepts that will help us in certain situations. We will be a more physical football team.”
Fosque has basic goals for the team.
“We have to be a team that is going to compete for four quarters,” he said. “We have to get off the ball on the offensive line. We want to be a very disciplined football team that will execute on offense and create havoc on the defensive side of the ball.”
Assistant coaches: Matt Ardizzone (co-offensive coordinator), Tron Goldfarb (co-offensive coordinator, volunteer), Robert Ward (defensive coordinator), Nick Chimbrone (defensive backs, wide receivers), Syron Davis (running backs, cornerbacks, volunteer), Lamar Davenport (cornerbacks, wide receivers), Barry Baity (running backs, middle school offensive coordinator), Leroy Hayes (offense, middle school defensive coordinator), Paul Zarella (defensive line, middle school offensive and defensive line, volunteer), Keith Killea (offensive line, linebackers), Denise Williams (cheerleaders), Nancy Saphow (trainer)
Regular-season schedule: Sept. 11, at Point Pleasant Beach, time to be announced; Sept. 19, at Metuchen, 1 p.m.; Sept. 25, Mater Dei, time to be announced; Oct. 2, Middlesex, time to be announced; Oct. 16, Keyport, 6 p.m.; Oct. 23, at Dunellen, 7 p.m.; Oct. 30, Keansburg, time to be announced; Nov. 6, at Shore Regional, time to be announced; Nov. 26, Neptune, 10 a.m.
Roster: Namir Argilagos, junior, 5-11, 170, wide receiver-linebacker; Tyrone Bailey, junior, 5-7, 150, running back-defensive back; Christian Bragg, junior, 6-0, 200, offensive line-linebacker; Jeremiah Calhoun, senior, 5-8, 170, wide receiver-linebacker; Tyquere Davis, senior, 5-10, 175, running back-defensive back; Jason Deltus, senior, 6-2, 225, offensive line-defensive line; Paul Reed, junior, 5-6, 150, running back-defensive back; Najir Ridout, junior, 5-7, 145, wide receicver-defensive back; Charles Sanders, senior, 5-11, 200, running back-defensive back; Trevor Sanders, senior, 5-7, 165, running back-defensive back; Calvin Simmons-Carter, junior, 5-10, 270, offensive line-defensive line; Cishium Simmons, 6-3, 215, junior, tight end-linebacker; Jaedon Stephens, 6-0, 205, senior, wide receiver-linebacker; Josmere Taylor, 6-0, 160, junior, quarterback-linebacker; Davon Thompson, senior, 6-0, 170, quarterback-linebacker; Keith White, senior, 5-11, 180, offensive line-linebacker; Dyquan Young, junior, 5-8, 175, wide receiver-defensive back; Prince Young, senior, 5-10, 170, wide receiver-linebacker