BRICK TOWNSHIP – Freehold quarterback Ashante Worthy entered Thursday with the goal of getting all of his offensive teammates involved in the 41st Annual Shore Sports Network All-Shore Gridiron Classic and his approach wound up earning him the hardware.

Worthy accounted for a game-high 155 total yards and two touchdowns to earn MVP honors as Monmouth County topped Ocean County, 28-14, in the Shore Sports Network All-Shore Gridiron Classic on Thursday night at Brick Memorial High School.

"Ashante’s a special talent and I just think he’s a super special kid and with that attitude, he spread it around," Long Branch and Monmouth head coach Dan George said. "He knew our goal was to get every single receiver a touch. He threw a few up there just trying to get guys the ball. That’s just the kind of kid he is."

Worthy ran for a team-high 94 yards on 10 carries, including a 16-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and also threw for 61 yards and a touchdown, connecting with Red Bank Catholic’s Brandon Lombana on a 15-yard screen pass to give his team a 21-0 lead in the final minute of the second quarter and it appeared at halftime that the rout was on.

"I believe this was one of the best game’s in history," Worthy said, comparing his team's performance to past Gridiron Classics. "I still think we probably have the best Monmouth County team ever."

Freehold Boro's Ashante Worthy was named Offensive MVP in Monmouth County's Gridiron Classic win. (Photo by Ray Richardson)

 

Red Bank Catholic running back Zack Bair added 51 yards rushing and a touchdown and Marlboro wide receiver Justin Marcus caught three passes for 26 yards and a touchdown.

Marcus's third and final catch was the tail end of a pass from Worthy and the two Shore Conference Class A North rivals for the past three seasons and teammates for the last week were complimentary of one another.

"He is very tall, so I just give him the ball when he continues to work," Worthy said of Marcus, a Monmouth University signee. "He was catching everything. I don’t think he dropped one ball in practice. One-hand, in traffic – he was just catching everything."

"He’s definitely the most talented kid I’ve ever played with, all-around," Marcus said of Worthy. "What goes on top of his talent is his leadership. When we’re in the huddle, we’re all listening to him. I can ask him questions if I don’t know something specifically about the rout. I just have a lot of respect for him."

Worthy opened up as Monmouth's starting quarterback and immediately made his presence felt with three carries for 38 yards on the opening drive, which covered 65 yards in five plays and was aided by a 15-yard facemask penalty against Ocean.

Long Branch quarterback Juwan Wilkins took over for Worthy on the second Monmouth drive and led his team down the field for a 77-yard drive on nine plays. Wilkins went 4-for-4 with 52 yards on the drive, which he capped by hitting Marcus for a five-yard touchdown. He also found Howell wide receiver Nasiem Brantley for a 31-yard bubble-screen-pass - the longest play of the game for the Monmouth squad.

Wilkins suffered a knee injury on the play and did not return.

Long Branch defensive back Kevin Porch was selected as Monmouth County’s defensive MVP with a key pass deflection in the first quarter and a timely squib kick recovery in the second half following an Ocean County touchdown.

"That was awesome," George said of his player winning the Defensive MVP. "He has been such a great player for us. It’s hard, defensively, when you’re with a bunch of all-stars. Kevin has always found a way to make super plays, whether it’s on the kickoff or it’s a pass break-up or great tackles."

After Ocean County scored its first touchdown to make the score 28-7 early in the fourth quarter, Monmouth had to kick the ball back to Ocean as part of a rule that stipulates a team that is trailing by 20 points of more after a score gets the ball right back in order to prevent the score from getting too lopsided.

Manalapan kicker David Gelb popped up a short kick to the left side of the field and Porch ran it down before any Ocean player could cover it.

Manchester running back Jalen Glenn was selected as Ocean County’s offensive MVP after rushing for 79 yards and a touchdown and adding three receptions for 19 yards. Point Boro quarterback James Fara ran for a game-high 100 yards on 14 carries and Lacey running back Jason Giresi scored on a four-yard touchdown run.

Glenn's 41-yard run to set up Giresi's touchdown was the longest play of the game for Ocean and it helped inject some life into a team trailing 28-0 at the time.

Jackson Liberty defensive end Nick Johnson was selected as Ocean County’s defensive MVP with two tackles for loss.

Bair and Brick Memorial’s Willie Garner were selected as the Sam Mills Award winners.

Long Branch head coach Dan George was inducted in the Shore Football Coaches Foundation Hall of Fame at halftime along with former Central Regional head coach Joseph Boyd Jr. and longtime Shore Conference referee Hugh J. Boyd, who were both inducted posthumously.

"I really want to thank the players for being patient," George said. "They are used to touching the ball 20-to-25 times in a game in an all-star game it might only be three or four. It’s not easy and they have been so unselfish and willing to sacrifice for the team.

"I’m thankful to the Shore Sports Network for sponsoring it and keeping this game alive because we need nights like this."

 

Box Score

Monmouth County 28, Ocean County 14

  Monmouth County Ocean County
First downs 19 13
Rushes-yards 29-181 37-226
Passing 12-17-1 4-9-0
Passing yards 131 34
Fumbles-lost 2-0 2-2
Penalties-yards 1-5 1-15

 

Scoring summary

M – Ashante Worthy 16-yard run (David Gelb kick)

M –Justin Marcus 5-yard pass from Juwan Wilkins (David Gelb kick)

M – Brandon Lombana 15-yard pass from Ashante Worthy (David Gelb kick)

M – Zack Bair 1-yard run (David Gelb kick)

O – Jason Giresi 6-yard run (Shane Black kick)

O – Jalen Glenn 3-yard run (Shane Black kick

 

Individual statistics

RUSHING – M: Ashante Worthy 10-94, Zack Bair 9-52, Davonte Spann 4-32, Connor Morgan 3-5, Juwan Wilkins 2-(-1), Danny Vital 1-(-1); O: James Fara 14-100, Jalen Glenn 11-79, Jason Giresi 3-19, Lino Delgiudice 6-19, Tony Thorpe 3-9.

PASSING – M: Ashante Worthy 6-9-1 61, Juwan Wilkins 4-4-0 52, Danny Vital 2-4-0 18; O: James Fara 2-5-0 22, Coleton Klaus 2-4-0 12.

RECEIVING – M: Ryan Mazik 2-35, Naseim Brantley 2-29, Justin Marcus 3-26, Brandon Lombana 1-15, T.J. Fosque 1-8, Kyle Devaney 1-7, Pasa Fields 1-6, Shawn Scully 1-5; O: Jalen Glenn 3-19, Blake Horgan 1-15.

INTERCEPTIONS – M: Blaine Netterman 1-10.

 

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