Goldsmith, Shutdown Defense Help Shore Regional Repeat as Division Champs
WEST LONG BRANCH - The minute the 2014 schedule was released, the Shore Regional players had the date circled for when they would have their shot to salve an 11-month-old wound.
In their first game against Point Beach since being stunned by the Garnet Gulls in last year's NJSIAA Central Jersey Group I final, Shore dominated from start to finish with a 17-0 victory at Robert E. Feeney Field that clinched at least a tie for the Blue Devils' (6-1, 4-0) second straight Class B Central title. Shore, which beat Point Beach 31-0 in the regular season last year to win the division title, got great performances on offense, defense and special teams as it continued its push to earn the No. 1 seed in Central Jersey Group I for the second straight year.
"We were saying that we've been waiting nearly 11 months for this game,'' Shore senior linebacker James Bedell said. "As soon as the schedule came out, it's been in the back of our heads the entire season. It's a great feeling to beat Beach and get a title at the same time."
Shore can lock up the outright division title with a win over Asbury Park (1-5) next week. There is also a good chance the Blue Devils could see Point Beach again in the first round of the playoffs if Shore secures the No. 1 seed and the Garnet Gulls end up at No. 8.
Junior fullback Doug Goldsmith led the offense with 145 yards rushing and a touchdown on 22 carries, while the defense stifled Point Beach to the tune of 133 total yards, including only 54 yards rushing on 33 attempts, to register its second straight shutout.
"We wanted to just come out and ground and pound it, and our offensive line just moved guys all night even though they had nine guys in the box,'' Goldsmith said.
Junior punter George Notte also had a good night, pinning Point Beach inside its own 20-yard line three times, including one 49-yard punt to the 2-yard line.
"I think he's punting for over a 45-yard average,'' Shore coach Mark Costantino said. "(Standout kicker) Jake (Monteiro) has been his kicking coach, and George is just doing a great job."
The Blue Devils set the tone from the outset against the Garnet Gulls (5-3, 3-1), who were without their leading rusher, senior Mike Frauenheim, who suffered a season-ending broken collarbone last week, as well as injured starting lineman Matt Zuhowski. Shore forced a punt on the opening possession of the game and then drove 32 yards in 10 plays, eight of them runs by Goldsmith, to take a 3-0 lead on Monteiro's 37-yard field goal with 3:39 left in the first quarter.
Point Beach responded by driving 52 yards to Shore's 20-yard line, but the Blue Devils came up with a stop on downs by forcing two straight incompletions. The score would remain 3-0 at the break as Shore limited Point Beach to 63 yards in the first half, including only 23 on the ground.
"There's not two many secrets between us with us both running the Wing-T,'' said Bedell, who had two tackles for loss in the win. "They know what we're going to do, and we know what they're going to do, so it's just hard-nosed football. Tonight we were making the plays and limiting them on offense."
They held Point Beach senior fullback Joe Wegrzyniak, a 1,500-yard rusher last year, to 15 yards on 12 carries in Wegrzyniak's first game back after missing two games with a high ankle sprain.
"I heard in pregame that (Frauenheim) was out and I was like, 'Wow, that helps,''' said Goldsmith, who also plays linebacker. "That helped us key on 32 (Wegrzyniak), who had a hurt ankle, and then we just keyed on 9 (Jake Fioretti) for the QB keeps."
Notte then helped Shore build on its lead in the third quarter when he pinned Point Beach at its 16-yard line after the Blue Devils went three-and-out to start the second half. A holding penalty and tackles for a loss by junior Jeremy Redaelli and senior Ryan Campi helped back Point Beach up to its one-yard line. Shore then took over at Point Beach's 20-yard line after the Garnet Gulls had to punt from their own end zone.
On the first play after the punt, Goldsmith barreled his way 18 yards to the 2-yard line to set up his own touchdown run on the next play for a 10-0 lead with 6:51 left in the third quarter.
"We felt up front that we could control the game, which we did,'' Costantino said.
An illegal block on the ensuing kickoff again put Point Beach in a hole at its own 12-yard line, and a tackle for a loss by senior defensive tackle Dom Liana and a combined sack by Bedell and Mitchell Candido forced a three-and-out. That put Shore in business again with great field position at Point Beach's 37-yard line.
After Goldsmith broke off a 14-yard run, junior Tyreek McCain finished the drive when he motored around the right side for a 15-yard touchdown run and a 17-0 lead with 5:11 left in the third quarter. That was more than enough for the Shore defense, which posted its third shutout of the season. The Blue Devils have allowed a Shore Conference-low 36 total points on the year.
While the victory was satisfying, Shore knows what can happen the second time around, as evidenced by its 12-7 loss to Point Beach in last year's state final only a week after beating the Garnet Gulls by 31 points. This year's team is intent on finishing the job in the state playoffs after losing in the championship game the past two seasons.
"We absolutely have to stay focused,'' Bedell said. "We played a great game, but that doesn't mean they can't come back and smack us just like last year, so that's going to be our motivation."
Shore 17, Point Beach 0
. S P
First downs 10 7
Rushes-yards 33-207 33-54
Passing 0-5-0 2-8-0
Passing yards 0 79
Penalties 9-65 4-27
Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0
Pt. Beach (5-3, 3-1) 0 0 0 0 - 0
Shore (6-1, 4-0) 3 0 14 0 - 17
Monteiro 37-yard field goal.
Goldsmith 2-yard run (Monteiro kick).
McCain 15-yard run (Monteiro kick).
Rushing - S: Goldsmith 22-145, Moore 3-25, Masica 3-13, McCain 5-24. P: Wegrzyniak 12-15, Fioretti 12-40, Schaller 8-(-1), Webber 1-0.
Passing - S: Campi 0-5-0 0. P: Fioretti 1-4-0 40, Nista 1-4-0 39.
Receiving - P: Schaller 1-40, Kells 1-39.