2018 NJSIAA Football Sectional Championships Scoreboard
FRIDAY, NOV. 16
NJSIAA SECTIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Central Jersey Group 4
Long Branch 21, Brick 14
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A 1-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Marc Dennis in the third quarter stood up as the game-winning touchdown as the Green Wave (10-1) outlasted the Dragons (8-3) in thrilling fashion to claim back-to-back sectional titles for the first time in program history.
Junior running back Jermaine Corbett gave Long Branch a quick 7-0 lead with a 77-yard touchdown run on the second play of the game, but Brick clawed back to tie the score late in the first half on a 24-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Anthony Prato to senior wide receiver Cole Groschel.
Long Branch went ahead early in the third quarter when senior defensive lineman Kevin Cerruti intercepted a screen pass that was tipped by Imir Durant and returned it three yards for a touchdown. Dennis' 1-yard score put Long Branch up, 21-7, but Brick recovered a fumble at the Green Wave 40-yard line and turned it into points on a 3-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Jimmy Leblo with 30 seconds left in the third quarter.
Long Branch's defense came up with two huge stops down the stretch, the first of which turned Brick over on downs with 2:37 left. Brick burned its remaining timeouts and got a stop on fourth-and-1 to get the ball back at its own 32 with 1:26 left. The Dragons drove into Long Branch territory, but the Green Wave forced another turnover on downs with five seconds left to clinch the championship.
Long Branch will play South Jersey Group 4 champion in an NJSIAA Bowl Game at MetLife Stadium the weekend of Nov. 30. Shawnee defeated Clearview, 17-14 in overtime, to also claim its second straight sectional title.
Donovan Catholic 42, Manchester 6
SATURDAY, NOV. 17
Central Jersey Group 2
1-Hillside 36, 2-Manasquan 10
A four-point game in the fourth quarter turned on Manasquan quickly as Hillside pulled away in the final five minutes to repeat as sectional champions and deny Manasquan a 13th championship.
Manasquan scored with six seconds left in the first half when Ryan O'Leary tossed a 1-yard touchdown pass to John Foreman, cutting Hillside's lead to 14-10 at halftime. Manasquan got the ball to start the second half and possessed the ball for all but six plays in the third quarter but was stopped twice on fourth downs.
Hillside took a 20-10 lead on a 7-yard touchdown run by Jahon Moore with 10:29 to play and tacked on two more scores on a 44-yard interception return by Shadon Willis with 4:53 left and a 79-yard touchdown run by Brian Ugwu with 2:15 remaining.
Manasquan got off to a great start when senior linebacker Jack Fabean recovered a fumble on the first play of the game. The Warriors (9-2) were stopped on third down and settled for a 32-yard field goal by senior James Pendergist.
Hillside used a short field to score its first touchdown when quarterback Gavin Melendez scored on a 1-yard sneak that was set up by a 22-yard catch and run by Boris Nicolas-Paul. Willis extended Hillside's lead to 14-3 with 1:53 left in the first half when he caught a pass in the flat, broke a tackle and ran the rest of the way for a 23-yard touchdown reception. Birch returned the ensuing kickoff to the 50-yard line to spark Manasquan's late-first half scoring drive.
SUNDAY, NOV. 18
Central Jersey Group 3
2-Rumson-Fair Haven 42, 1-Somerville 35
An epic offensive performance by senior running back Alex Maldjian and Rumson's offensive line delivered the Bulldogs their fifth sectional title in six years as they dethroned the undefeated Pioneers in an instant classic.
Maldjian was unstoppable with 49 carries for 271 yards and four touchdowns as Rumson's offensive line of Ryan McCann, Evan Davis, Tim Kelly, Ethan Ardolino and Spencer Short dominated the trenches. Senior tight end Ian O'Connor had touchdown receptions of 71 and 6 yards from junior quarterback Collin Coles as Rumson's offense churned out 405 yards of offense and 24 first downs.
Senior quarterback Jalahn Dabney nearly led Somerville to a comeback by throwing for 242 yards and four touchdowns, rushing for a touchdown and running for a pair of 2-point conversions.
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