The Wait is Over: TR South Wins 1st Playoff Game in 10 Years
By Art Gordon – Shore Sports Network contributor
In picking up its first state playoff win in 10 years on Saturday, Toms River South relied on a tried-and-true formula.
“Run the ball and stop the run,’’ Toms River South head coach Ron Signorino Jr. said.
The second-seeded Indians knocked off seventh-seeded Moorestown 35-21 at Detwiler Stadium behind a brilliant game by junior quarterback Tymere Berry and an overall dominating run game. The Indians (7-2) will now host sixth-seeded Shawnee (6-3) in the South Jersey Group IV semifinals in a bid to reach their first sectional final since 1998.
“Week in and week out our gameplan is to run the football and that’s what we do best,’’ Signorino said. “We don’t change up too much, we just want to run it at you.”
The Indians used a punishing defense and an explosive ground game to help erase a decade-long drought of success in the playoffs. They rushed for 371 yards on 50 attempts, with Berry leading the way with a career-high 213 yards on 22 carries and senior running back Otis Kearney Jr. chipping in with 110 yards on 18 carries.
The defense took control of the game in the second half, keeping the Quakers off the scoreboard until 41 seconds remained in the game as the Indians pulled away after being tied at 14 at halftime.
“Our gameplan coming in was to stop the run because they were a lot like us,” said senior captain Billy Kosh. “We knew coming in that we were not going to ‘out-athlete’ them like we have done a few times this year. We knew we had to out-execute them.”
Koss was all over the field, playing every snap of the game. On offense he lined up at slot back, defensively he set up at outside linebacker, and also was the holder on extra points as well as a kick returner and punt returner.
“I’m a team guy,’’ he said. “I just want to contribute whatever way I can.”
Kosh’s 11-yard punt return to Moorestown’s 22-yard line set up Toms River South’s first score, as the Indians took a 7-0 lead three plays later on a 2-yard touchdown run by junior running back Khaleel Greene.
Moorestown tied it up with less than a minute left in the first quarter on a 74-yard Mike DeMarino touchdown pass to Dallas Clark. The Quakers (4-6) then took the lead on their next possession after an unsuccessful fake field goal play by Toms River South.
Junior running back Anthony Williamson capped a three-play, 72-yard drive, taking a counter play 54 yards for a touchdown for a 14-7 lead three minutes into the second quarter.
With four minutes left until halftime, Berry decided to put on a clinic. Up to that point, he only had 25 yards on five carries, but drove the Indians 67 yards in eight plays in their read option offensive scheme. He carried five times for 50 yards, tying the score on 9-yard run with just under two minutes left in the half.
“Eighty percent of our offense is reads by Tymere,’’ Signorino said. “We want the ball in his hands. He’s the guy out there.”
“We want everything to look like a read,’’ Berry said. “I have checks at the line on every play.”
Midway through the third quarter, Toms River South took the lead for good on a drive set up by a 16-yard punt return by Kosh. The Indians needed only three plays to navigate 54 yards, with Berry taking it in the last 38 yards halfway through the third quarter for a 21-14 advantage.
They extended the lead with just under five minutes left in the game when they took advantage of an interception by senior Joe Berlinski off a tip by Darrius Hart. The Indians drove 30 yards, with Kearney scoring from 11 yards out for a 28-14 lead.
Hart then put the exclamation point on the win when he returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown and a 35-14 lead. The Quakers closed to 35-21 when DeMarino hit Austin Haynes from five yards out, but Kosh recovered the ensuing onside kick to kick off a celebration 10 years in the making.
“We’re just happy to be playing meaningful games right now,’’ Signorino said.
Toms River South 35, Moorestown 21
TEAMS 1 2 3 4 FINAL
MOORESTOWN 7 7 0 7 21
T.R.SOUTH 7 7 7 14 35
TRS: KHALEEL GREENE 2 YARD RUN. RUSSELL MESSLER KICK.
M: MIKE DIMARINO 74 YARD PASS TO DALLAS CLARK. WESTIN BOBADILLA KICK.
M: ANTHONY WILLIAMSON 54 YARD RUN. BOBADILLA KICK.
TRS: TYMERE BERRY 9 YARD RUN. SOSA KICK.
TRS: TYMERE BERRY 38 YARD RUN. MESSLER KICK.
TRS: OTIS KEARNEY JR. 11 YARD RUN. MESSLER KICK.
TRS: DARRIUS HART 30 YARD INTERCEPTION RETURN. MESSLER KICK.
M: MIKE DIMARINO 5 YARD PASS TO AUSTIN HAYNES. BOBADILLA KICK.
MOORESTOWN T.R. SOUTH
FIRST DOWNS 13 19
RUSHING 33-104 50-371
PASSING 11-23-2-152 2-9-1-26
PENALTIES 4-30 2-33
FUMBLES 1-0 3-2
RUSHING: M: TYREEK ROBINSON 11-37, ANTHONY WILLIAMSON 12-80,
MIKE DIMARINO 4-(13), JAKE FRANTZ 6-0. TRS: TYMERE BERRY 22-213,
KHALEEL GREENE 8-20, OTIS KEARNEY JR. 18-110, BILLY KOSH 2-28
PASSING: M: MIKE DIMARINO 10-22-3-152. TRS: TYMERE BERRY 2-8-1-26
RECEIVING: M: TYREEK ROBINSON 3-8, JAKE FRANTZ 3-37, DALLAS CLARK 1-74, SHAYNE LAWLESS 2-28, BRANDON HAMMONS 1-5. TRS: BILLY KOSH 1-14, RUSSELL MESSLER 1-12
INTERCEPTIONS: M: MATT WARRINGTON TRS: DARRIUS HART, JOE BERLINSKI