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Line ’em Up

September 6, 2012

New front five at Wall looking to make a name for itself in the Shore Conference

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WALL TOWNSHIP — What is in a name, really?

Well, a lot, actually, when it comes to the group that will start on the offensive line for the Wall football team this fall.

The offensive line for the 2012 Wall football team includes sophomore right tackle Jimmy Onulak [from left], senior right guard Kevin Waters, senior center Steve Graves, junior left guard Brendan Brady and senior left tackle Evan Sweeney. All are starting on varsity for the first time this fall. Photo by Sam Costantino, The Coast Star

The five players — which include senior center Steve Graves, senior right guard Kevin Waters, senior left tackle Evan Sweeney, junior left guard Brendan Brady and sophomore right tackle Jimmy Onulak — will be looking to make a name for themselves as a unit in the Shore Conference this season.

All five linemen will start for the first time on varsity in 2012 after waiting behind the talented group of Matt Ford, Matt Pisarcik, Matt McDonough, Matt Vialonga and Mike Tomasuolo last year, all of whom were lost to graduation.

First-year head coach Nick Gregorio stressed to the five entering camp that the goal this season was not to try to be exactly like last year’s line, but rather form their own identity in the trenches.

“We don’t tell them they have to be as good as last year’s offensive line, we tell them that they have to be themselves,” Gregorio said on Tuesday. “They just have to keep working hard to get better every week.”

The faces new to the varsity line, specifically the seniors, are excited for their opportunity to make a mark on the Crimson Knight football program.

“We are all really excited that we are getting our chance,” said the line’s most imposing player, Sweeney, who stands at 6-foot-5, 270 pounds. “We are all pumped up. We have been real intense at practice and in the locker room. We are ready.”

The group will have to defend against some quality pass rushes this fall, as Wall moves into the B North Division with the likes of Neptune, Long Branch, Matawan and Red Bank Regional.

Gregorio has been pleased watching the five players take steps forward each and every day during camp and the preseason.

“The offensive line has made great progress,” the head coach said. “They know they have big shoes to fill.”

Gregorio added praise for Wall’s veteran offensive line coach Mike Galos, who he feels has done a tremendous job with the inexperienced group thus far.

“I think we have one of the best offensive line coaches in the Shore Conference and maybe in the state,” Gregorio said. “I think the kids have bought into his coaching style, my coaching style, and are putting things together.”

Galos noted his first task with the five players was to help them learn the new terminology, which comes standard with the transition of head coaches. Before even learning their blocking assignments and line calls, Galos had the group studying words and phrases.

“This year, with a new head coach, we have all new terminology,” said Galos. “In order to learn the offense, they had to learn the terminology for all the plays. That was the first step.”

Like Gregorio, Galos has been impressed with the play of his new group during the preseason.

“They are inexperienced, but we have some guys that had the ability to play [varsity] last year,” Galos said. “We just had such a good senior line, so they weren’t able to break through. They have improved every day at practice.”

All the hard work and studying done by the five will be put to its first test tomorrow night, when Wall travels to Jackson Liberty for week one of the regular season.

“It is just a matter of executing well on Friday night,” Galos said.

Sweeney feels he and the other linemen are ready for when the bright lights shine on the battle at 7 p.m.

“We have been training years for this — this is our time,” the senior said. “It is time to step up and show what we’ve got.”


Senior Kevin Waters entered camp as a tight end, but when the Crimson Knights were in need of interior line help, moved inside to his current guard position. Showing veteran leadership, Waters sacrificed running routes and catching passes for the overall good of the Wall football team.

It was an impressive move from the senior, according to the praise of his coaches.

“Kevin Waters moved from tight end to guard — he sacrificed for the team,” Galos said. “He should do a good job there.”

“[He is] a team player,” Gregorio added. “He sacrificed for us.”

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