Manasquan beats Colts Neck to clinch Liberty Division title
MANASQUAN – There are three to four main goals Manasquan’s football team aspires to attain every year, and on Saturday afternoon the Warriors were able to cross the first one off their list.
Senior running back Canyon Birch ran for 144 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries and senior defensive end Dylan D’Anton recorded 2.5 sacks and two tackles for a loss to lead Manasquan, ranked No. 6 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10, to a 41-6 victory over Colts Neck to clinch the Shore Conference Liberty Division championship.
Senior fullback Rashid ‘Scooby’ Tuddles added 93 yards rushing and a touchdown on just seven carries, senior quarterback Ryan O’Leary threw a touchdown pass to Riley Callahan and junior Matt McCann added a late touchdown run as the Warriors remained undefeated and secured their first division title since 2010.
“Ever since I was a player here it’s the same four goals every year: get better every day, win the division, win on Thanksgiving and win states,” said Manasquan head coach Jay Price. “Those four things have been pounded into us since we were little kids. We took care of the second goal today.”
Birch ripped off a 74-yard touchdown run on the Warriors’ second play from scrimmage, and from there they were off and, well, running. Manasquan averaged nearly 10 yards per carry in rushing for 290 yards on 30 attempts. Birch’s big run early helped him average 9.6 yards per rush and Tuddles continued to provide big plays from his fullback position by averaging over 13 yards per carry.
Quarterback Ryan O’Leary added a perfect complement to Manasquan’s power rushing attack by completing six of eight passes for 89 yards and a touchdown. He made all the throws asked of him, including tossing a 23-yard touchdown pass to Riley Callahan.
“It’s all on the line,” O’Leary said. “They set it up for the running backs and when they run the ball (effectively) it opens it up for the passing game.
“I’m usually the first person in here in the morning and I probably come way to early, and (O’Leary) beats me to the door every Saturday,” Price said. “He’s got his bagel and his drink sitting in front of him and he’s going through the game mentally in his head. He prepares very well and it shows.”
Manasquan’s defense held Colts Neck to 123 yards of offense and sacked freshman quarterback Tom Fallon four times. The final rushing total, thanks to the sacks, was just 26 yards on 30 attempts. In addition to D’Anton’s 2.5 sacks and two tackles for loss, Birch had 1.5 sacks and one TFL, Matt Lyons had an interception and Garrett Terlizzi and Art Foreman each had hits behind the line of scrimmage.
Following Birch’s long touchdown run, Manasquan extended its lead to 14-0 on O’Leary’s 23-yard touchdown pass to Callahan. A play-action faked drew Colts Neck’s linebackers up enough for O’Leary to roll out and connect with Callahan dragging across the field.
Colts Neck answered with a score as a 43-yard catch by senior wideout Brendan Wei set up Barsky for a 1-yard touchdown run. Manasquan answered on the ensuing drive when two catches by senior James Pendergist moved the ball into Colts Neck territory and Tuddles muscled through tacklers for a 29-yard touchdown run.
Manasquan’s best defensive series came late in the first half after Fallon hit Wei for 35 yards down to the 8-yard line. The Warriors dug in and not only kept Colts Neck out of the end zone, they also pushed them back 23 yards. D’Anton sacked Fallon for an 8-yard loss on first down and, after an incompletion, Foreman tackled Barsky for a loss of two yards. On fourth down, Birch sacked Fallon for a 10-yard loss to close the half and keep Manasquan in front, 21-6.
“That was a huge stop just seeing our defense could hold our ground and even push them back,” D’Anton said.
Manasquan opened the third quarter with a six-play, 54-yard scoring drive to take a 27-6 lead. Pendergist had a 21-yard catch before Birch broke tackles on his way to a 15-yard touchdown run.
On the final play of the third quarter, Tuddles broke free for a 34-yard gain down to the 1-yard line, and on the first play of the fourth quarter, Birch scored his third touchdown of the game to make it 34-6.
Manasquan’s backups entered after the fifth touchdown and junior running back Matt McCann was able to make the most of his opportunity by carrying six times for 45 yards and scoring on a 1-yard run to make it 41-14.
With the division title now locked up, Manasquan will turn its attention to a marquee nondivisional game. The Warriors will travel to Middletown next Saturday to take on No. 2 Mater Dei Prep. The Seraphs are coming off a 43-0 win over Barnegat to clinch the Patriot Division title and have won 16 straight games against Shore Conference teams.
“I’m super excited,” D’Anton said. “We’re undefeated, they’re undefeated. It’s going to be a clash and we’re going to have to work hard to beat them.”
“We’ve played Red Bank Catholic for the last 10-12 years and you can’t look at this game any differently,” Price said. “If you want to see how good you can be this is a good opportunity to do that.”
No. 6 Manasquan 41, Colts Neck 6
Colts Neck (1-4, 1-4) 0 6 0 0 – 6
Manasquan (5-0, 5-0) 7 14 6 14 – 41
M – Canyon Birch 74-yard run (Tyler Callahan kick)
M – Riley Callahan 23-yard pass from Ryan O’Leary (Tyler Callahan kick)
CN – Joe Barsky 1-yard run (kick failed)
M – Scooby Tuddles 29-yard run (Tyler Callahan kick)
M – Canyon Birch 15-yard run (kick blocked)
M – Canyon Birch 1-yard run (Tyler Callahan kick)
M – Matt McCann 1-yard run (kick)
RUSHING – CN: Joe Barsky 22-56, Gabriel Lugo 1-3, Michael Boliver 1-1, Tom Fallon 6-(-34); M: Canyon Birch 15-144, Scooby Tuddles 7-93, Matt McCann 6-45, Tyler Callahan 2-8.
PASSING – CN: Tom Fallon 6-12-1 97; M: Ryan O’Leary 6-8-0 89.
RECEIVING – CN: Brendan Wei 2-78, Michael Boliver 2-16, Joe Barsky 2-3; M: James Pendergist 3-51, Riley Callahan 1-30, John Foreman 1-11, Scooby Tuddles 1-4.
INTERCEPTION – M: Matt Lyons 1-5.
Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.