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RED BANK: GROWING TOURNEY RAISES $15K

RED BANK, NJ, rivalry series, touch football, flag footballA Fair Haven ball carrier looks for an opening against Rumson, and cheerleaders go airborne, below. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

RED BANK, NJ, rivalry series, touch football, flag footballA flag-football tournament that grew out of a pickup game in Little Silver marked its 17th anniversary last Friday with gridiron contests for kids, women and men from eight towns.

Along the way, the event, now held in Red Bank, raised $15,000 for Lunch Break, the social services organization based just a block away.

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RED BANK: FIELD OF GIANT DREAMS

EFFU players practicing for tourney action at Eastside Park last week. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Once banished from a humble neighborhood park, the hardy men of Red Bank’s Eastside Flag Football Union are about to take it Big Time.

As in MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford. Home of the National Football League Giants and Jets. Host gridiron to next year’s Super Bowl.

Ok, so maybe some of those 82,500 seats will be empty. But for these pigskin enthusiasts, the chance to participate in the Giants-sponsored Flag Football Snow Bowl, a charity event that directs all proceeds to the New Jersey Special Olympics, it’s a dream come true.

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FOOTBALL GUIDES KIDS’ COMMUNITY VALUES

Donald “Yusef” Rogers holds the coin toss at Eastside Park to begin Game 1 of F.L.A.G. Football last Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Chris Melvin; photo below by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Red Bank Police Detective Joey Fields, local high school athletic talent scout Christopher Melvin, and McDonald’s employee Donald “Yusef” Rogers have been a band of brothers since their days growing up together in the borough. Now, the three have put their heads together to create a way to keep the noses of Red Bank’s youth clean during the summer stretch.

A couple weeks ago, Rogers suggested a friendly Father’s Day pick-up football game, an idea that Fields gave a creative spin to and turned into a community-wide event to promote wholesome fun and involvement.

“He came to me with it for fun, and I threw a twist into it,” said Fields, seen at left. “I said, ‘We could use the football as a tool to say, hey, if you want to be involved in this game, you have to be willing to stick around afterward to do something for the community.’ ” Read More »

BACK IN THE GAME

interceptionGeorge Heidelberger heads crossfield on an interception return during Sunday’s flag football game at Red Bank’s Eastside Park. The weekly pickup game returned a week after town officials shut it down over insurance and other issues. (Click to enlarge)

EJECTED FOOTBALLERS FLAG PARKS & REC

eastside-parkOfficials say Red Bank’s parks & rec commission will revisit the field-use ordinance after a group of residents was abruptly kicked out of Eastside Park Sunday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Two months ago Red Bank’s recreation commission started talking about revising its ordinance regulating the use of borough parks. It didn’t get far.

But when a public works employee punted a group of residents who were playing a pickup flag football in Eastside Park last Sunday, the incident raised questions about the borough’s field-use regulations and public works’ maintenance practices. And the backlash may have moved the previous talks to the top of a to-do list.

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RUMSON WON’T AXE FAIR HAVEN FROM SPORTS

hot-topic rightBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The breakup of Rumson and Fair Haven’s recreation alliance may turn out to have been brief.

After a few sit-downs, the neighbors have come to an agreement to keep two of its three sports partnerships intact, and are potentially on track to work out a sports trifecta, Mayor John Ekdahl said.

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