By Vin Ebenau - Shore Sports Network Contributor

Photo gallery by Mark Brown

ASBURY PARK — Seventh-seeded Keyport scored 14 unanswered in the second half to upset second-seeded Asbury Park 21-18 in the first round of the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 1 playoffs on Friday night at Asbury Stadium.

The Raiders rallied in the second half with a key interception and quality clock management against a team that played an up-tempo offense all night.

What looked like a potential blowout for Asbury Park turned into a crushing defeat as the Bishops were only able to muster six points in the second half. The first half, however, began for them at their own 33-yard line, and on the second play of their first drive Donte Abrams put them on the board with a 30-yard touchdown run. The extra point was no good, and Asbury Park led 6-0 with 9:11 left in the first quarter.

After both teams punted on their next possessions, the Raiders got on the scoreboard when Chris Hoegrefe hit Cody Young in stride for a 36-yard touchdown reception at 2:46 left in the opening quarter. After they successfully kicked their PAT, Keyport led 7-6.

The Blue Bishops continued to run the ball well throughout the entire first half on the back of senior quarterback Davon Thompson, who on the third play of the next possession scored from three yards out to make the score 12-7 with 2:02 left in the first quarter after they failed to convert the 2-pt attempt.

With a quiet second quarter in terms of scoring, the Raiders and Blue Bishops headed to halftime with a 12-7 score on the board.

The Blue Bishops seemed to be making all the right moves going into the second half, and when Thompson scored his second touchdown of the game at 11:02 left in the third quarter, the lead grew to an 18-7 advantage. Asbury Park once again missed on the 2-pt conversion attempt, which ended up costing them in the end. Thompson finished the game with 17 carries for 149 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.

Meanwhile, Keyport found a way to play good enough defense to give itself at least a chance at coming back. But when Asbury Park still held an 18-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter, things looked dim.

The Raiders began a 14-play drive at the end of the third quarter, and headed into the fourth quarter knocking on the door of the end zone. Desmond Underwood, who had eight of his 19 carries on the drive for 72 of his 150 total rushing yards, busted up the gut for a touchdown from five yards out with 11:54 remaining in the game. Keyport now trailed 18-13 after failing to convert the 2-pt conversion attempt.

Still with a chance to make a final move and put a halt to the swinging momentum Keyport had created, Asbury Park was presented with several opportunities to score but couldn’t convert.

On the next drive Keyport officially came all the way back from an 18-7 deficit to take a 21-18 lead with 9:02 still remaining in the game when Jay Hansen punched the ball into the end zone for the go-ahead score from one yard out while the Raiders were successful on the 2-pt conversion attempt.

After consecutive three-and-outs, the Blue Bishops were presented with one final opportunity to drive down the field and win the game. After a holding penalty pushed them back they never recovered, as the Raiders’ pass rush was too strong to overcome. Asbury Park lost the ball on a turnover on downs.

The win for Keyport is its first postseason win since a 35-20 victory over Palmyra in 2010. The Red Raiders will face Palmyra again as the Blue Devils will host their sectional semifinal game on Friday Nov. 20.