Shore Shuts Out Rumson to Win Their Inaugural Thanksgiving Rivalry Game
WEST LONG BRANCH - It turns out that the perfect storm for a Shore Regional victory is an actual storm.
Howling wind, driving rain, and a swamp of a grass surface at Robert E. Feeney Field on Wednesday night were tailor-made for a Blue Devils team that rarely throws the ball and has one of the best run defenses in the Shore Conference. Junior fullback Doug Goldsmith ran for 142 yards and two touchdowns on 34 carries and the defense posted its sixth shutout of the season as the No. 10 Blue Devils christened their new Thanksgiving rivalry with No. 9 Rumson-Fair Haven with a 13-0 nondivisional win in the "Devil-Dawg Bowl" between two teams playing for state championships next week.
Senior linebacker James Bedell had 15 tackles to lead the way for a defense that has allowed a Shore Conference-low 49 total points this season as Shore (10-1) beat the Bulldogs (8-3) for the first time since 2008.
"Once you're in and you start warming up, it's kind of fun, slipping around,'' Bedell said about the weather. "You make a play in those conditions, and you love it. This is huge. (We) lost to them two straight years and felt like we could've had both of those games. Coming out today, we were like, this is no state championship, but we still want to beat Rumson, our biggest rival, and it was great to get that 'W,' especially shutting them out."
Shore held Rumson to 66 total yards, including zero passing yards, preventing the Bulldogs' offensive line from getting any kind of surge and bottling up a potent running attack. Rumson senior Charlie Volker, an 1,100-yard rusher, was held to 18 yards on 11 carries and did not play after halftime as he has been dealing with a nagging ankle injury all year and will need to be in top form against Delaware Valley in the Central Jersey Group II final on Dec. 6 at Kean University. Rumson is trying to win back-to-back state titles for the first time in its history.
"That was a good move on their part because he was running kind of gingerly with that ankle, and with the footing the way it is,'' Shore coach Mark Costantino said. "Our defense is our backbone. I think we're still No. 1 in the state in points allowed. I'm really proud of them, and they really work hard."
Shore caught a break early on to set up the only touchdown it would need when a high snap sailed over the head of Rumson punter Ben Eisenstadt, who scooped it up but was tackled by Shore junior linebacker Devin McLaughlin at the Bulldogs' eight-yard line before he could get the punt off. Two plays later, Goldsmith plowed in from two yards out for a 7-0 lead with 4:22 left in the first quarter.
"We don't really pass the ball much - we just ground and pound,'' Goldsmith said. "Our line made perfect holes tonight."
That was the way the score would remain until late in the game, as Shore was able to sit on the lead by winning the field position battle and playing to its defense. Senior punter Jake Monteiro cleanly got off seven punts in the game without any miscues to make sure Rumson didn't get any short fields to work with.
"You've got to keep your hands warm,'' Monteiro joked. "This was my last game on this field. I had to perform."
Monteiro was able to get the punts off thanks to some great long-snapping by junior Erik Graham. Bedell, who is being recruited by several FBS programs as a long-snapper, is usually the starter, but he hurt his hand last week and could not handle the long-snapping, so Graham stepped in without a hitch in brutal conditions. The Blue Devils shortened the snaps to 10 yards, and Graham was perfect on every one.
"He killed it,'' Monteiro said. "Right to the chest every time. He was awesome."
Shore took a shot deep downfield late in the second quarter, but it was picked off by Rumson sophomore Mike Murdock, who was the only player on either side to catch a ball in the air all night as the teams were a combined 0-for-5 on passes. The Blue Devils' defense kept the lead at 7-0 going into the fourth quarter, ultimately forcing eight punts by Rumson in the game while also recovering one of six fumbles by the Bulldogs.
With time running out in the fourth quarter, Rumson elected to go for it on fourth-and-inches from its own 29-yard line, but a fumbled snap was recovered by Shore defensive lineman Steve Fiumefreddo to kill the drive. Three plays later, Goldsmith took a handoff to the left side and bounced out for a 24-yard touchdown to seal the win with three minutes left in the game.
"Nothing better than that,'' Costantino said. "I couldn't tell where he was, and Coach 'Whit' (assistant Mike Whitacre) says, 'I think he's gone.'''
"I thought one kid was going to catch me from behind with all this stuff wrapped around my right leg (due to an ankle injury), but then I was gone, and I was just so pumped,'' Goldsmith said.
Shore will now turn its attention to the Central Jersey Group I final, where it will face South Hunterdon at 10 a.m. on Dec. 6 at Kean University in search of its first state title since 2010 and its sixth in history. First the Blue Devils get to savor taking home the inaugural Devil-Dawg Trophy at the expense of their rival.
"We've been talking about it since the summer,'' Monteiro said. "It defines the season, a win like this, no matter what the conditions. To beat the No. 9 team in the Shore like that, there's nothing like it."
Shore 13, Rumson-FH 0
. R S
First downs 4 8
Rushes-yards 39-66 43-141
Passing 0-3-0 0-2-1
Passing yards 0 0
Penalties 0-0 1-5
Fumbles-lost 6-1 1-1
Rumson-FH (8-3) 0 0 0 0 - 0
Shore (10-1) 7 0 0 6 - 13
Goldsmith 2-yard run (Monteiro kick).
Goldsmith 24-yard run (kick blocked).
Rushing - S: Goldsmith 34-142, McCain 5-1, Moore 1-5, Campi 1-(-5), Masica 1-(-2). R: Volker 11-18, Vecchiarelli 7-22, Walsh 1-1, Seckler 9-43, Moore 3-9, O'Connor 7-(-4), B. Eisenstadt 1-(-23).
Passing - S: Campi 0-2-1 0. R: O'Connor 0-2-0 0, Seckler 0-1-0 0.
Interceptions - R: Murdock 1-10.