Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey Football Players of the Week: Manasquan’s Offensive Line
Every week during the 2016 season, Shore Conference football fans had their chance to vote for the Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey/Shore Sports Network Football Player of the Week on our website, with over 120,000 votes cast during the season.
The final Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey Player of the Week award actually goes to a group of players for their performance in delivering Manasquan the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II championship.
The Warriors blasted Bernards, 42-6 at Kean University’s Alumni Field, to win their Shore Conference record 12th sectional title, and it was the offensive line of senior left tackle Dylan Pacetti, junior left guard Evan Hilla, senior center Nick Pierro, senior right guard Matt Hanlon, senior right tackle Ben Barry and senior tight end Adam Schreck that paved the way for 300 yards rushing on 52 carries.
Manasquan jumped out to a 14-0 halftime lead with junior running back Connor Morgan running for 132 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. Morgan was forced to miss the second half with an injury, however, but the Warriors’ ground game didn’t miss a beat. Senior Tommy Meyer and sophomore Canyon Birch combined for over 150 yards and three touchdowns behind the big guys up front to help Manasquan complete a turnaround from consecutive 3-7 seasons with another state championship and a 10-2 final record.
Manasquan’s offensive line was solid all year as Morgan was among the Shore’s leading rushers with 1,481 yards and 16 touchdowns and the Warriors finished with 2,592 yards rushing as a team for an average of 216 yards per game. In addition to the starters, senior fullback Tommy Meyer was a big contributor plus senior lineman Dan Fiske and sophomore lineman Alec Wells rotated in every game. Offensive line coach Billy Bertscha helped mold the unit, and Bertshca himself was a member of a Manasquan state championship team in 2005.
The Manasquan offensive line was the runaway winner in a group of five that included Wall running back Sean Larkin, Asbury Park running back Namir Argilagos, Mater Dei Prep quarterback George Pearson and Rumson-Fair Haven running back Matt Vecchiarelli, each of which helped their teams win state championships. The Warriors’ ‘Trench Mob’ came away with 68.98 percent of the votes.