2019 Shore Sports Network Most Valuable Player: Ocean Township’s Trebor Pena
There are many ways to measure a football player’s value to his team and by any metric, Trebor Pena was an indispensable player for Ocean Township during his senior year.
Pena did it all for the Spartans, leading the Shore Conference in rushing with 1,550 yards on a ridiculous average 11.4 yards per carry and tying for the conference lead in scoring with 23 total touchdowns and 138 points. He was a phenomenal defensive player, as well, with six interceptions and 66 tackles as a safety and was an electric kick and punter returner with one punt return touchdown and several long kick returns.
Without Pena, Ocean doesn’t go 8-1 for its first winning season since 2015 and certainly doesn’t win the Patriot Division championship, the program’s first division title since 2013. It’s no coincidence Pena’s transformation from a good to great player matched up with Ocean breaking out of a three-year slump, and for that Pena was the unanimous choice to be selected as the 2019 Shore Sports Network’s Most Valuable Player.
“He’s an absolute weapon,” Ocean head coach Don Klein said of Pena during the season. “He’s a wonderful talent and a wonderful kid. When you have Trebor Pena on the field you know you have a dominant player.”
“It all started in the offseason,” Pena said. “I put in a lot of work and when the summer came I worked even harder.”
Pena, who is verbally committed to Syracuse University and plans to sign his National Letter of Intent during the early signing period, delivered his signature game during a pivotal victory over Raritan in Week 5. The undefeated Spartans found themselves in a three-touchdown hole against the Rockets, trailing 21-0 in the second quarter and 24-7 at halftime. Pena put Ocean on his back with a remarkable game that saw him total 263 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 22 carries, 76 receiving yards and two touchdowns, an interception and a fumble recovery as Ocean rallied for a 42-37 victory to put itself in the driver’s seat for the division crown.
“With his versatility, he impacts the game in so many different ways,” Klein said.
Pena averaged 172 yards rushing per game, going over 100 yards in all nine games with two 200-yard games. The Spartans suffered a disappointing 27-23 loss to Seneca in the first round of the NJSIAA South Jersey Group 3 playoffs, but Pena was outstanding in his final high school game with 189 yards rushing and three touchdowns, two interceptions, nine tackles, and a 75-yard kickoff return that set up one of his touchdown runs.
“I just try to play every game as hard as I can,” Pena said. “I want to do whatever I can to help the team win whether it’s on offense, defense or special teams.”
While the season ended earlier than Pena and his teammates expected, he will look back on his senior year knowing the program was able to get back to its winning ways.
“Two seasons ago we were 2-8 and then last year we didn’t have a winning record,” Pena said. “To be undefeated for eight games and to win the division, it felt great.”
Pena’s next game will come for the Orange and his new home will be the Carrier Dome. Pena projects to be a slot receiver at the college level but has many options because of his versatility. He was originally committed to Temple, but a late offer from Syracuse and an opportunity to play for a Power 5 school was too good to pass up.
“Not a lot of people have the opportunity to play in the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) so that was definitely a big part of (the decision),” Pena said.
Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.