2022 Middletown North Football Season Preview


Lion's Roar Staff

The Middletown North Football Program is heading into the 2022 high school football season looking to build off of the success of last year’s campaign.  The Lions, led by head coach Steve Bush, are looking to repeat as defending Shore Conference Division Champions. During the 2021 season the Lions were Independence Division Champions.  This year, they will compete in the Colonial Division with Central Regional, Lacey, Long Branch, Southern Regional and Toms River North.

The 2021 season saw the Lions jump out to a 5-1 record but injuries and some tough defeats, including a loss to Sayreville in the NJSIAA Playoffs, ended their season abruptly.  However, the Lions are looking to grow from that experience and will try to continue to build on the success that they achieved.  

The Lions lost key graduating players at the end of last season including the following: quarterback Tommy Giannone, running back/safety Brian Haddow, wide receivers Levi Wilson and Lucas Cerbo, tight end Zac Searight, linebacker Colin Devine and linemen Adam Conklin and Connor Clark. Although those players contributed greatly to last year’s campaign, the Lions return five starters including two-way senior star Jack Lopez.

Jack Lopez is one of the Shore Conference’s most dominant players at Defensive End and Left Tackle.

Lopez has been a force within the Shore Conference since his freshman year, providing strength, grit and determination.  The 6’5”, 275 pound senior has been recognized as one of the best linemen on both sides of the ball in the state of New Jersey. His presence in the starting lineup earned him a scholarship to Harvard University in the fall of 2023.  As a force on the defensive line, Lopez accumulated 63 total tackles with 21 tackles for loss last season,  while also contributing three sacks, two forced fumbles and 20 quarterback hurries. Lopez also serves as the returning starter at left tackle, protecting quarterback Luke Sheehan’s blind side.

The Lions will look to lean on their defense this year to help them through their competitive schedule.  Senior defensive end Peter Dempsey, as well as defensive tackles Lucas Ainbinder and Christian Cueto will look to compliment Lopez up front. Junior Justin Soto returns at inside linebacker after registering 73 tackles during the 2021 campaign. Senior Michael Subik, junior James Barnao and junior Brian Dunleavy will also assist at outside linebacker.  The secondary will consist of returning starters Derek Soto and Jack LaBruno at the safety positions. The defensive backs are seniors Mykal Callender and Ryan Kane, as well as juniors Dylan Briggs and Richie Welton. The rover position will be manned by senior Richie Grabowski.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Lions will depend on strong play from the offensive line to help them generate yards.  Besides Lopez at the left tackle position, the Lions will have Lucas Ainbinder at right guard, Giovanni Antonucci at left guard, Andrew Klimovich at center and Thomas Randolph and Ryan Koenig competing for the starting spot at right tackle.

Photo via Shore Sports Network: Seniors Peter Dempsey, Lucas Ainbinder, Derek Soto and Jack Lopez lead the 2022 Lions.

The Lions will see new junior quarterback Luke Sheehan take over Coach Steve Bush’s pass-heavy offense after Tommy Giannone graduated in June.  Sheehan will look for receivers Derek Soto, Dylan Briggs, Brian Dunleavy, Jack LaBruno, Ka’ley Spearman and Frank Zaino to play major roles in the pass offense. Peter Dempsey will play both ways for the Lions serving as the team’s tight end.  The Lions ground game will lean on James Barnao, Ka’ley Spearman and Neno Morgan-Acker to keep the chains moving.  The Lions will also return junior kicker Ian Poole-Morgan, who converted 20 extra points and three field goals last season.

Good luck this season and continue to be the “Roar of the Shore”!


Season Schedule

Sept. 2 – vs. Manalapan, 6 p.m.

Sept. 9 – @Central, 7 p.m.

Sept. 16 – @Lacey, 6:30 p.m.

Sept. 23 – vs. Southern, 7 p.m.

Oct. 7 – vs. Long Branch, 7 p.m.

Oct. 14 – @Ocean, 7 p.m.

Oct. 21 – vs. Toms River North, 7 p.m.

Nov. 24 – @Middletown South, 10:30 a.m.

2022 Middletown North Varsity Football Roster

# Name Pos. Gr. Ht. Wt.
1 Derek Soto ATH, FS Sr. 5’8″ 160
3 Ryan Kane CB, RB Sr. 5’7″ 145
4 Richie Grabowski QB, FS Sr. 5’11” 195
5 Jack Labruno SS, WR Sr. 5’10” 180
6 Colin Jacques WR, SS Jr. 5’7″ 165
7 Peter Dempsey DE, TE Sr. 6’2″ 224
8 Mykal Callender WR, DB Sr. 6’0 180
9 Brian Dunleavy WR, OLB Jr. 6’0″ 172
10 Ka’ley Spearman ATH, CB Jr. 5’5″ 0
11 Luke Sheehan QB Jr. 6’1″ 190
12 Chris Monath WR, CB Jr. 5’5″ 120
13 Joey Grasso WR, OLB So. 6’2″ 175
14 Frank Zaino WR, LB Jr. 5’10” 165
15 Derek Butler WR, CB Jr. 5’11” 130
16 Richie Welton WR, CB Jr. 5’9″ 140
17 Damien Shevlin LB So. 5’10 155
19 Brian O’donnell QB, OLB So. 5’10” 165
20 Shane Volante RB, SS So. 5’2″ 130
21 Shane Branin WR, CB Jr. 5’7″ 120
22 Billy Mongeau WR, SS Sr. 5’11” 164
23 Tj Rey WR, CB So. 5’9″ 140
24 Dylan Briggs WR, CB Jr. 5’8″ 170
25 Chris Healy WR, FS So. 5’9″ 146
26 Nick Scerbo SS, RB Jr. 5’6″ 167
27 Ian Poole-Morgan K, P Jr. 5’8″ 158
28 Neno Morgan-Acker RB Jr. 5’11 182
29 David Guilfoyle WR, FS So. 5’5″ 125
30 Jack LaRocca RB, MLB Jr. 5’8″ 213
32 James Barnao RB, OLB Jr. 5’9″ 193
33 Tim Kryda WR, SS So. 5’10” 150
35 Shawn Healy RB, MLB So. 5’7″ 150
42 Michael Ottinger WR, CB So. 5’10” 147
43 Jake Minson LB, TE Jr. 5’11” 178
44 Nick Giallanza LB, TE Jr. 5’10” 205
45 Justin Soto MLB, RB Jr. 5’10” 190
50 Jason Woods LS, C, DT Fr. 5’11” 220
52 Ryan Tucker DE, G Sr. 5’8″ 210
54 Ryan Koenig T, NG Sr. 6’1″ 240
55 Thomas Randolph DE, T Jr. 6’2″ 210
56 Jacinto Lopez DE, T Sr. 6’5″ 270
58 Michael Subik MLB, C Sr. 5’9″ 191
62 Ja’sere Carter T, DT So. 5’11” 0
64 Scott Egan LS, C, TE Jr. 6’0″ 225
66 Kieran Foley G, NG Jr. 5’9″ 263
68 Jake Patel G, NG Sr. 5’6″ 203
69 Giovanni Antonucci G, NG Jr. 5’10” 300
70 Chris Dzienisiewski T, DE So. 6’1″ 192
72 Kyle Scheurman G, NG Sr. 5’9″ 250
73 Sean LaRocca T, DE So. 5’6″ 205
74 Andrew Klimovich DT, C So. 6’0 230
74 Anthony Lubrano T, DE So. 6’2″ 231
75 Lucas Ainbinder G, DT Sr. 5’10” 216
76 Matthew Bumbalo DE, G So. 5’11” 246
78 Christian Cueto T, DE Sr. 5’7″ 172
80 Vandan Patel WR, CB So. 5’9″ 130
82 Gavin Halloran LB, TE, P Jr. 6’1″ 197
85 Alex Garcia TE, DE So. 5’10” 181
88 Brody Tooker TE, DE So. 6’0″ 190
99 Michael Dwyer T, DE So. 6’3″ 0
Logan Corvisiero WR, SS Jr. 0
Valentina Fanetti QB, WR Sr 0
Carter Braun CB, WR So. 0
Alex Cardenas G, NG Sr. 0