Rogers, Ferrara Help Matawan Win Second Straight by Topping Monmouth
By Art Gordon - Shore Sports Network contributor
Scroll down for video highlights by Scott Stump
After starting the season 0-2 by losing to a pair of Shore Sports Network Top 10 teams, Matawan has gotten itself back on track with two straight wins after going on the road and knocking off Monmouth Regional 28-7 in a Class A Central game on Friday afternoon.
Senior wide receiver Justin Ferrara led the way with seven catches for a career-high 169 yards and two touchdowns while also picking off a pass on defense. Junior Dejohn Rogers caught a touchdown pass of his own while coming up with two takeaways in the secondary. The defense stifled Monmouth, including holding the Falcons to minus-13 yards rushing.
Matawan was able to get back to the .500 mark after consecutive 31-10 losses to Class A Central front-runners Rumson-Fair Haven and St. John Vianney to start the season.
"This was like a playoff game for both of us,'' Rogers said about Matawan and Monmouth. "We came out and fought and accepted the challenge."
The Huskies (2-2, 2-2) picked up the win despite committing 13 first-half penalties for 120 yards and struggling with mistakes in a game that was tied 7-7 at the half. Matawan grabbed an immediate lead when it took the opening kickoff and marched 62 yards in eight plays to take a 7-0 lead with 7:36 left in the first quarter. The big play was a 36-yard fade from freshman quarterback L.C. Pearson to Ferrara down the sideline that brought the ball to the 4-yard line, where senior running back Devon Spann took it in from two yards out three plays later to get the Huskies on the board.
Matawan's defense then forced the Falcons (1-3, 1-3) into one of their five first-half punts and took over at their own 24-yard line. On the first play, the Huskies fumbled and Monmouth was in position to tie the game after recovering it at the 31-yard line. The Falcons wasted no time, scoring when senior quarterback Jimmy Green hit senior wideout Isaiah Searight on a 11-yard slant pattern to tie it up with 9:44 left in the second quarter. Searight, a Fordham University recruit, had a big game in defeat with 11 catches for 129 yards.
The game remained 7-7 until it turned on a special teams play that was discussed at halftime by special teams coach Jay Bellamy.
“We saw that they handled our motion when we were punting in a certain way and thought we could do something with it,'' said head coach John Kaye.
"That was a huge turning point,'' Rogers said. "That got the whole team fired up."
Senior punter Jimmy Pierce, who is also one of Matawan's two quarterbacks, executed a fake punt and found Ferrara for a 45-yard touchdown and a 13-7 advantage with 5:20 left in the third quarter for a lead the Huskies would not relinquish.
After the defense forced a Monmouth punt on the second play of the fourth quarter, Pearson found Ferrara on a short out pattern and he took it 54 yards for a touchdown. After a 2-point conversion pass from Pierce to Matt Liebowitz, the Huskies extended the lead to 21-7 with 10:54 left in the game.
The Huskies defense was relentless all day, sacking Green seven times and constantly pressuring him on every throw while coming up with three turnovers.
“We are always in an attack mode,'' Kaye said. "That’s how we play. We don’t adjust to what other teams' offenses will do, but they better adjust to what our defense will do. We take chances, but let it be known we are coming."
Rogers added a 10-yard touchdown catch from Pearson with 5:12 left in the game for the final margin as the Huskies got back to the .500 mark.
Check out some of the highlights:
This great Justin Ferrara catch got things started for Matawan on its opening drive, leading to a 2-yard touchdown run by Devon Spann.
Fordham recruit Isaiah Searight of Monmouth then helped tie the game with these two big catches.
The score remained 7-7 at the half thanks to some great defensive plays like this Dejohn Rogers interception in the end zone for Matawan.
The game stayed tied until senior punter Jimmy Pierce made the biggest play of the game when he executed a fake punt and found Ferrara for a touchdown with 5:20 left in the third quarter for a 13-7 lead.
The Huskies then made it 21-7 when Ferrara took a short pass from freshman quarterback L.C. Pearson and did the rest.
The Huskies then tacked on one more score in the fourth quarter on a 10-yard touchdown catch by Rogers.
Ferrara spoke about the win afterward:
Matawan 28 Monmouth Regional 7
Matawan (2-2, 2-2) 7 0 6 15 - 28
Mon. Reg. (1-3, 1-3) 0 7 0 0 - 7
Mat: Devon Spann 1-yard run. (Elliot kick)
MR: Isaiah Searight 11-yard pass from Jimmy Green (Montefinese kick)
Mat: Justin Ferrara 45-yard pass from Jimmy Pierce (kick failed).
Mat: Ferrara 54-yard pass from George Pearson. (Matt Liebowitz pass from Pierce)
Mat: Dejohn Rogers 10-yard pass from Pearson (Elliot kick)
. Ma MR
First Downs 8 12
Rushes-yards 29-83 21-(13)
Passing 11-24- 219 15-22-2-221
Fumbles-lost 6-2 2-2
Penalties 17-150 6-60
Rushing: M- Spann 15-75, Pierce 1-0, Shaw 1-3, Wiley 6-15, Ramcheran 2-7, Pearson 3-(17) MR- Green 14-(22), Velez 7-9
Passing: M-Pearson 11-24-219. MR- Green 15-22-2 221
Receiving: M - Ferrara 7-169, Wiley 1-8, Rogers 3-42. MR: Searight 11-129, McCue 1-8, Gamble 1-44, Boujaoude 2-40
Interceptions: M - Rogers 1-0; Ferrara 1-20.