Donovan Catholic is the Week 9 Jersey Mike’s Football Team of the Week
Every week this fall, Jersey Mike’s and Shore Sports Network will be teaming up to select a Team of the Week based on its performance over the past weekend.
The Jersey Mike’s Team of the Week for Week 9 is Donovan Catholic, which went on the road and weathered a literal storm to take down Red Bank Catholic, 28-7, for a massive victory that thrust the Griffins into the No. 1 spot in the latest Shore Conference rankings. Shore Sports Network stopped by practice on Tuesday to present the Griffins and head coach Dan Curcione with a special game ball and a $250 Jersey Mike's gift card.
Last Friday, Donovan traveled to Count Basie Field to take on the top-ranked and undefeated Caseys with the backdrop to the game being a vicious nor'easter-type storm that had rain blowing sideways at times. The Griffins actually lost the turnover battle with three lost fumbles, but their defense bailed them out in those situations and the offense was able to take advantage of some weather-related special teams miscues by RBC.
Donovan scored early when a low snap resulted in the Griffins tackling the RBC punter at the 2-yard line. On the next play, senior quarterback Jalin Butler scored on a 2-yard touchdown run and followed with a two-point conversion run for an 8-0 lead. Later in the first half, another punt gone awry led to a short field that resulted in senior wide receiver Kyree Drake scoring on a 13-yard touchdown run to give Donovan a 14-0 halftime lead.
After a scoreless third quarter, Donovan took a 21-0 lead on a 7-yard touchdown run by senior running back Nunes Bukula IV. Red Bank Catholic broke the shutout with 3:15 left, but Donovan recovered the ensuing onside kick and on the next play Bukula busted a 52-yard touchdown run to clinch the victory.
Bukula had a great game in tough conditions with a game-high 156 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 21 carries to be selected as The Block GameDay Countdown MVP. Butler added 75 yards rushing and a touchdown, including a 51-yard run that set up Bukula's first touchdown.
The Donovan defense was outstanding against a high-powered RBC offense and held the Caseys to 204 yards of offense. The Griffins had timely stops, as well, with three fourth-down stops to turn RBC over on downs.
The Griffins are now No. 1 in The Jeep Store/Shore Sports Network Top 10 entering the NJSIAA playoffs. They are the No. 8 seed in the gauntlet that is the Non-Public A bracket and will host Notre Dame on Friday night. The winner gets a date with Bergen Catholic, which is the No. 1 team in New Jersey and ranked No. 6 nationally.