AND WE ARE BACK

High school sports as it was is not coming back soon, but the 2020 version 2.0 is here and it feels good to capture sports again. With limited schedules for the fall season all sports other than football started on October 1st, football starts on October 2nd. With a full slate of football, soccer, boys and girls, field hockey, girls tennis and cross country on there respected opening days the athletes, coaches, and fans have something to cheer about since a few months ago it did not look promising for any sports to be played this fall. The two indoor fall sports, girls volleyball and gymnastics have been pushed out until after the new year. As a sports photographer, getting behind the camera and following play through the little window of a view finder never felt better than today. It really does feel good to have something to follow live, in person, capturing what athletes love to do…….compete.

Jackson Jags second baseman Christian Pellone gets the force out of Chris Marzo during the Jackson Jags vs Monmouth Monarchs game in the Last Dance BB Tournament at First Energy Stadium, Lakewood, NJ. 7/16/20. Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com

We left the 2019-2020 HS sports season last March where everything was shut down before basketball could finish its tournament and hockey and indoor track were able to just squeak by to their championships. Spring sports season was a no show due to the pandemic and doubt was cast on this school season up until late August. Baseball was able to show up with the Last Dance Tournament, which had over 200 teams of high school athletes competing for trophies and bragging rights. Cranford won it all in late July against Jackson. It didn’t replace the spring season, but it gave last years seniors some closure from the lost of their final high school baseball season.

Freehold Township’s Ryann Leohner, here moving the ball up field, scored the only goal in the match during the Middletown North vs Freehold Township Shore Conference Girls Soccer Match at Middletown North HS, Middletown, NJ. 10/1/20. Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com

The fall sports season is six weeks long with a shortened playoff format. Athough football traditionally plays one game a week, the other sports did not have restrictions on the amount of games played in a week until this year. There is a limit of 14 games for soccer, with each team playing two games a week for the most part. There is an exception to play 3 games in two different weeks, but there is no more than 14 games with a limited state tournament at the end. The state tournament will have six regions that will be seeded by a committee, with the higher seed having home field advantage with no neutral site games. No group championships, and no TOC for the fall season in any sport.

RBC’s Daniel Brewton takes the ball early in the first quarter during the Red Bank Catholic vs Mater Dei Prep Shore Conference Football Game at Count Basie Field, Red Bank, NJ. 10/2/20. Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com

Football started with the most restrictions due to the state guidelines for attendance, the limit of 500 fans that can attend. It also had the most cancelled games in week one for any of the fall sports, mostly precautionary due to third party contact notices in the reports that I have read. The season will encompass 6 games and then a two game extension that will be played by teams that opt in. The extra games, it will not be a playoff, will be based more on geography than school size and there will be enough 4 team pods to satisfy all schools with intent cards submitted and will play both weeks. As is with all other sports, there will be no titles at the end of the 8 game season.

Recent Photos

Middletown North’s goalie Ellie Kacen makes the save here, she was the goalie with the most work during the Middletown North vs Freehold Township Shore Conference Girls Soccer Match at Middletown North HS, Middletown, NJ. 10/1/20. Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com
St Joe’s Jordan Kinsler makes a one handed grab as he defends a 2 pt conversion during the St. Joes (Met) vs Elizabeth Big Central Conference Football Game at Brenner Family Field, Metuchen, NJ. 10/3/20. Tom Smith | for NJ Sports Media
Nick Beetel was on the mound and got the win to help the Jackson team advance during the Jackson Jags vs Monmouth Monarchs game in the Last Dance BB Tournament at First Energy Stadium, Lakewood, NJ. 7/16/20. Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com
MDP’s Ra’Jahn Cooper finds one of the few openings for a big run during the Red Bank Catholic vs Mater Dei Prep Shore Conference Football Game at Count Basie Field, Red Bank, NJ. 10/2/20. Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com
Middletown North’s Tiffany Brickle and Freehold Township’s Kayla Wong both work at midfield to control the ball during the Middletown North vs Freehold Township Shore Conference Girls Soccer Match at Middletown North HS, Middletown, NJ. 10/1/20. Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com
Elizabeth’s Yasir Pierce catches the teams first TD pass of the year during the St. Joes (Met) vs Elizabeth Big Central Conference Football Game at Brenner Family Field, Metuchen, NJ. 10/3/20. Tom Smith | for NJ Sports Media
RBC’s QB Anthony Boriello looking for options from the endzone during the Red Bank Catholic vs Mater Dei Prep Shore Conference Football Game at Count Basie Field, Red Bank, NJ. 10/2/20. Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com
St Joe’s Rocco Bellamy makes the solo tackle in the end zone for the Falcon’s second safety during the St. Joes (Met) vs Elizabeth Big Central Conference Football Game at Brenner Family Field, Metuchen, NJ. 10/3/20. Tom Smith | for NJ Sports Media
Freehold Township’s Alyssa Napo pushes the ball up field along the sideline during the Middletown North vs Freehold Township Shore Conference Girls Soccer Match at Middletown North HS, Middletown, NJ. 10/1/20. Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com
Elizabeth’s Cadet Wendell stretches out to grab the pass during the St. Joes (Met) vs Elizabeth Big Central Conference Football Game at Brenner Family Field, Metuchen, NJ. 10/3/20. Tom Smith | for NJ Sports Media
St Joe’s Omari Jones avoiding defenders as he scampers for plus yardage during the St. Joes (Met) vs Elizabeth Big Central Conference Football Game at Brenner Family Field, Metuchen, NJ. 10/3/20. Tom Smith | for NJ Sports Media

Galleries located at tspsportsimages.com

Link to the St Joe’s Metuchen gallery is at NJ Sports Media

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