Jackson Dominates the Trenches in Win Over Lacey
LACEY — Whether it was on the offensive side, where a constant surge helped Jackson Memorial average over seven yards per carry, or defensively, where Lacey quarterback Conor Davies seemed to be running for his life the moment the ball reached his hands, the Jaguars' group of linemen had a dominant Saturday afternoon.
Junior running back Vinny Lee ran for a game-high 141 yards and two touchdowns as part of a 231-yard team effort, and Jackson Memorial’s defense limited Lacey to just 67 total yards in a 27-0 Shore Conference Class A South victory. Sophomore running back Mike Gawlik added 76 rushing yards and a touchdown, senior quarterback Joe DeMaio threw for 133 yards and a touchdown and senior wide receiver Aaron Curet caught four passes for 80 yards and a score.
Defensively, the Jaguars manhandled the Lions in the trenches. Lacey was held to just 32 yards rushing at 1.5 yards per play, and Davies had no time to look downfield in the passing game. Eight of his nine completions traveled less than 10 yards in the air, and most were quick screens and dump offs. The Jaguars also had 20 first downs to just five for Lacey, a clear indicator their power running attack behind seniors Brad Greenway, Glenn Kipila, Tyler Rauch, Ryan Frasier and tight end Brody Graham, and junior Dylan Smith, was operating at full tilt.
“Up front offensively, coach (Jeff) Brown does a great job with them,” said Jaguars head coach Walt Krystopik. “They really pushed (Lacey) around and that was the difference in the game.”
“It was a big goal for me and Mikey to show we could run the ball too, and the offensive line has helped tremendously,” Lee said. “They work hard every day and make our job easier.”
Senior linebacker Zach Tetro and Curet each had two tackles for a loss, and junior defensive end Tyler Towns had a tackle for a loss and a sack. Gawlik blocked a 32-yard field goal attempt by Pat Davis late in the third quarter to keep Lacey off the board.
Less than four minutes into the game, Jackson began a drive at its own 29-yard line. Nine plays later Gawlik walked in from three yards out to put the Jaguars up 7-0. Gawlik carried four times for 38 yards on the drive and DeMaio hit Lee for a 20 yards on a screen pass. It was a preview of things to come for Jackson’s offense, which was stopped only by a turnover, the end of the first half and the end of the game on its remaining possessions.
After forcing a Lacey three-and-out, which Jackson did on four of the Lions’ seven possessions, the Jaguars took over just inside Lacey territory at the 49. It took just six plays for the Jags to find the end zone with the running game again leading the way. Lee carried on five of the six plays for 40 yards, and finished off the drive with a six-yard touchdown run with 9:50 left in the half.
Jackson got the ball back quickly, taking over with 7:06 left in the half. Starting from the Lacey 43, the Jags found the end zone in three plays with DeMaio dropping in a perfect pass over the shoulder of Curet, who hauled in the the 26-yard touchdown pass to make it 20-0. The Jaguars reached the Lacey 8-yard line late in the first half but couldn’t stop the clock to set up for a last-second field goal attempt.
The score would stay 20-0 through the third quarter. Lacey’s best drive saw it reach the Jackson 16-yard line midway through the third, but Gawlik blocked Pat Davis’ 32-yard field goal attempt to keep the shutout intact.
The Jaguars scored on the ensuring drive by going 76 yards over nine plays. DeMaio had a 17-yard pass to Cole Collins and a 24-yarder to Curet to set up Lee’s second touchdown run, a five-yard scoring play with 9:28 left in the game.
The final two possessions of the game put the stamp on an emphatic early-season win for the defending A South champions. The Jaguars defense stopped three Lacey plays for a loss or no gain to get the ball back with 5:10 left in the game. From there, Lee carried five straight times behind his dominant offensive line, picking up two first downs and taking the clock down to the final buzzer.
“With our line we want to pound the rock, and those guys (Lee and Gawlik) have stepped up,” Graham said. “We haven’t lost a step since last year.”
“The defensive line had a great pass rush and our secondary played amazing. (Lacey) has very talented receivers and we shut them down.”
Jackson Memorial 27, Lacey 0
Jackson Memorial (2-0, 1-0) 7 13 0 7 0 – 27
Lacey (0-2, 0-2) 0 0 0 0 0 – 0
Mike Gawlik 3-yard run (A.J. Tamalovich kick)
Vinny Lee 6-yard run (kick block)
Joe DeMaio 26-yard pass to Aaron Curet (A.J. Tamalovich kick)
Vinny Lee 5-yard run (A.J. Tamalovich kick)
Rushing – JM: Vinny Lee 22-141, Mike Gawlik 7-76, Kyle Johnson 2-9, Joe DeMaio 1-5; L: George Sayre 8-33, Aaron Boos 1-2, Conor Davies 11-1, Isaiah Brown 1-(-1), Chase Stephensen 1-(-3).
Passing – JM: Joe DeMaio 8-16-0 133; L: Conor Davies 9-13-0 35.
Receiving – JM: Aaron Curet 4-81, Vinny Lee 1-20, Cole Collins 1-17, Kyle Lona 1-9, Brody Graham 1-6; L: George Sayre 3-28, Sean Cahalane 1-7, Mike Bocchini 2-4, Chase Stephensen 2-0, Aaron Boos 1-(-4).