By Carey Neff
West Long Branch – On January 4 the 3rd annual FC5 memorial games between Monmouth Beach middle school and Frank Antonides middle school of West Long Branch took place at Shore Regional high school.
The game is held every year to honor Frankie S. Caltabilota, Jr., who died in the January 19, 2000 fire at Seton Hall University. The fire took the lives of three Seton Hall students, and another 58 were injured.
The name of the tournament, “FC5,” comes from Frankie’s initials and the number he wore as an athlete at Shore Regional high school.
The event, run by Frank Antonides’ coach Nick Cammarano, a former football coach at Shore Regional who coached Caltabilota, began three years ago. For years Cammarano had been trying to find a way to honor Caltabilota’s memory, and he thought that playing a game for him would be the best way to do so. So when Monmouth Beach coach Pete Vincelli, who played with Caltabilota in high school, agreed to make this a memorial game, Cammarano was thrilled.
“I’ve always wanted to do something to remember him,” Cammarano said. “His family appreciates that we do this every year, and it brings the community together to remember Frankie’s life.”
The event started with the girl’s teams playing a tough defensive struggle, with Frank Antonides ultimately beating Monmouth Beach 25-7. The boys followed with a more high scoring game that saw Frank Antonides win 33-20.
Sportsmanship awards were given out at half time in honor of Caltabilota to one player from each team. Taking home the honors for Monmouth Beach were Darby Campbell and Justin Costell. Shannon Bonner and Liam Garrigal won the awards for Frank Antonides.
“This was more than just another basketball game,” said Cammarano. “This was two teams coming together and playing basketball for Frankie.”