WEST LONG BRANCH – The ball laid untouched on the turf for what seemed like a full minute, all the while Ocean’s coaching staff was pleading that someone, anyone, pick up the ball and make a play.

Junior lineman Joe Teresi was the one to heed the call, and 89 yards later the big guy was in the end zone for a touchdown that sent the Spartans to another impressive victory.

Teresi’s 89-yard touchdown return of a blocked field goal on the game’s opening possession ignited a Spartans team that dominated the rest of the way to secure a 40-0 Shore Conference Patriot Division victory over host Shore Regional on Friday night. Ocean would add two more touchdowns in the first half and 20 points in the third quarter to win going away and improve to 4-0 for the first time since 2013.

“We were screaming to pick it up and run with it,” said Ocean head coach Donny Klein. “We’ve blocked a couple extra points (which are not returnable) this season and I think that may have triggered that in their minds, but ultimately Joe was aware enough to pick it up. We had a couple nice blocks and Joe’s a great athlete. He can really run well and that’s a long run for a big guy. I’m sure he’s going to be talking my ear off about getting the football now.”

“That was huge, if we let that first drive end in a touchdown the whole game would have been different, I think,” said senior Trebor Pena. “That was a big play for us.”

Pena, who is verbally committed to Temple University, led the offensive charge for the Spartans (4-0, 3-0) by rushing for 125 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries. His 60-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter gave Ocean a 26-0 lead before Tyler Douglas knocked the extra point through the uprights.

“I just saw the hole and the blockers did a great job opening it up for me,” Pena said. “From there I just ran as fast as I could.”

“He’s an absolute weapon,” Klein said. “I’m happy for him because he’s starting to get the credit and notoriety he deserves. He’s a wonderful talent and a wonderful kid. We have a lot of playmakers on both sides of the ball but when you have Trebor Pena on the field he’s going to be a dominant player.”

Senior running back Nasir Thompson added 48 yards rushing and two touchdowns and Ocean’s defensive put forth a collective effort to limit Shore to 160 yards of offense. The shutout was Ocean’s second of the season and the Spartans have now outscored their opponents 147-12 this season, including 87-0 in the past two weeks.

“We’ve been working hard and preparing every day in practice, watching a ton of film,” Pena said. “We’re just trying to be the best we can every single day and that showed tonight.”

Shore looked like it would get into the end zone on the first series of the game when junior running back Shane McLaughlin ripped off a 56-yard run from his own 22-yard line down to Ocean’s 22. The Blue Devils’ drive stalled out at the 17-yard line, however. After a penalty moved the ball up to the 12-yard line on fourth down, Cade Torres came out for a 29-yard field goal attempt but the kick was blocked and then returned for a touchdown by Teresi.

Worse news for Shore came shortly after. McLaughlin was slow to get up following his long run but got a few more carries after briefly exiting the game. A 1-yard run midway through the first quarter was the final carry the standout junior would get on the night as he was removed from the game with an unspecified injury but had his arm in the sling on the sideline. McLaughlin entered Friday’s game as Shore’s leading rushing and receiver with 532 yards rushing and nine touchdowns and 197 yards receiving and four touchdowns.

Without their best offensive player, Shore couldn’t keep pace with Ocean, and before long the Spartans were out to a three-score lead. A 4-yard touchdown run by Pena capped a 7-play, 47-yard drive that put Ocean up 13-0. After forcing a three-and-out on defense, the Spartans marched 61 yards in seven plays to take a 20-0 lead on Thompson’s 7-yard touchdown run.

Shore put together a 14-play drive that spanned the final 6:23 of the first half but was stopped fourth-and-2 from the 14-yard line when senior Tyrell Wigfall dropped freshman running back Torin Harmon for a 1-yard loss.

Ocean started the third quarter at its own 40-yard line after Shore’s kicker slipped on the kickoff. On the first play, Pena burst free up the middle for a 60-yard touchdown and a 27-0 advantage.

Shore fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Ocean recovered at the Blue Devils’ 42-yard line. Six plays later, the Spartans were in the end zone on an 8-yard touchdown run by Pena. The extra point was blocked, but Ocean was in complete command leading 33-0.

After forcing another three-and-out on defense, Ocean went 39 yards in seven plays and took a 40-0 lead when Thompson scored on a 3-yard run and Douglas converted the extra point.

“Credit to our coaching staff and our players,” Klein said. “We have a tremendous staff that prepares our kids to play at a high level and our kids have bought in. A lot of hard work has gone into this point, a lot of sacrifices and some ups and downs, but we’re playing pretty well right now.”


Box Score

No. 8 Ocean 40, Shore 0 

First downs129
Passing yards745

Ocean (4-0, 3-0)61420040
Shore (2-3, 1-2)00000


Scoring summary

Joe Teresi 90-yard blocked field goal return (run failed)

Trebor Pena 4-yard run (Tyler Douglas kick)

Nasir Thompson 7-yard run (Tyler Douglas kick)

Trebor Pena 60-yard run (Tyler Douglas kick)

Trebor Pena 8-yard run (kick blocked)

Nasir Thompson 3-yard run (Tyler Douglas kick)


Individual statistics

RUSHING – S: Shane McLaughlin 6-60, Torin Harmon 16-56, Jamie Mazzacco 6-27, Dylan Drahos 6-20, Danny Kelly 4-13, Mike McGhee 3-(-21); O: Trebor Pena 14-125, Nasir Thompson 7-48, Robbie Nungesser 1-11, Shane Garrett 1-0.

PASSING – S: Mike McGhee 2-3-0, 4; O: Robbie Nungesser 5-7-0, 74.

RECEIVING – S: Terry Carlstrom 1-5, Dylan Drahos 1-(-1); O: Tye Brookins 2-47, Mike Gavakis 1-14, Chris Carasia 1-13.


Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at bob.badders@townsquaremedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.


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