2022 All-Shore Gridiron Classic – Meet the Coaches: Jarrett Pidgeon
Central Regional's Jarrett Pidgeon has established himself as an up-and-coming coaching standout in just two seasons as a head coach, and now he'll get the prestigious opportunity to lead his county in the All-Shore Gridiron Classic.
After completing his second season as the head coach and leading the Golden Eagles to a division title, Pidgeon was selected to lead the Ocean County all-stars for the 43rd annual All-Shore Gridiron Classic. After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Gridiron Classic returns this year on Wednesday, July 13, at Brick Township High School's Keller Memorial Field.
Pidgeon took over as Central's head coach during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic when programs experienced challenges like never before. He coached the Golden Eagles to a 3-4 record in 2020 but the team was able to set the foundation for what would be a championship-winning 2021 season. Central raced out to a 6-0 start to lock up the Shore Conference Liberty Division in dominant fashion, out-scoring division opponents 146-6 with three shutouts. The division championship was Central's first since sharing the Class A South title in 2017 and the program's first outright division title since 1994.
A breakout season by Central junior running back Chase Gumbecht was a major reason why the Golden Eagles won a division title. He led the Shore Conference with 1,825 yards rushing and scored 25 touchdowns on an average of eight yards per carry. He finished second in the Shore with 156 total points and was selected as the Liberty Division Offensive Player of the Year. Gumbrecht was a Shore Sports Network Second Team All-Shore selection.
Senior linebacker Anthony Musso was selected as the Liberty Division Defensive Player of the Year for a season in which he had 108 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles. Musso was a Third Team All-Shore selection. Another Third Team All-Shore standout for the Eagles was senior offensive lineman Todd Dudley, who helped pave the way for Central to rush for a total of 2,623 yards (325 yards per game). Additionally, senior Sean Hurley was the Frist Team All-Shore kicker/punter for connecting on all 36 of his extra-point attempts, converting field goals of 38 and 31 yards, booming 18 touchbacks, and averaging 46.7 yards per punt.
Central finished the season with the No. 7 scoring offense in the Shore (26.4 ppg) and the No. 5 scoring defense in the Shore at 12.8 points per game. The Eagles recorded four total shutouts and had a plus-136 point differential.
Joining Pidgeon as assistant coaches for the Gridiron Classic will be multiple members of his Golden Eagles' staff: Frank Papalia (OC), James Papalia (asst. head coach), Jeff Schmidt (DC), Bill Wilde (QBs), Kyle Watson (WR), Frank Backle (asst. OL), Will Wowkanyn (DL), Dennis Pidgeon (DL), and James Plummer (LB). Brick Memorial assistant Rob Brown will serve as special teams coordinator and Jackson Memorial assistant Keith Anderson will coach the running backs.
Ocean County has lost three straight Gridiron Classics and this year will try to snap the skid and prevent Monmouth County from setting a record with four straight wins.
Pidgeon had been an assistant coach at Central for six seasons, including as the Golden Eagles' defensive coordinator in 2016, before being hired as head coach. He is a 2009 graduate of Southern Regional High School where he was a standout linebacker, helping the Rams go 10-2 and reach the program's first sectional championship game in 2008. Pidgeon then attended Bloomsburg University where he was a captain and a three-year starter for the Huskies.