Football – New-Look Lancers Shine as SJV Wins Monmouth 7-on-7
MATAWAN - Not many of the players who helped St. John Vianney run up a 38-game winning streak against Shore Conference teams will be back this fall to try to extend that streak, but there is a new crop of Lancers primed to start something of their own.
That much was clear on Monday at Matawan High School, where the Lancers won the Monmouth County 7-on-7 Tournament by beating Middletown North, 20-14, on the final play of the championship game of the 14-team tournament, presented by Sportz Farm in partnership with the Football Coaches Foundation.
Incoming junior quarterback C.J. Duell hit classmate Kavon Chambers for the winning touchdown on the last play of the 25-minute, running clock final leading his team to the two yard-line to set up the last play.
"Everyone feels good in July," said new St. John Vianney coach Joe Martucci, the longtime coach at Matawan High School who now takes over the Shore's most dominant program of the last four years. "We have a very young team that is still learning."
Both Duell and Chambers are transfers - Duell from St. Joseph's Prep in Philadelphia and Chambers from Central Regional. Chambers finished fifth in the Shore Conference in rushing as a junior with 1,438 yards and 12 total touchdowns.
Duell, meanwhile, is a pro-style quarterback who moved to Toms River, according to Martucci. During his team's 5-0 run through Monday's tournament, Duell showed off his strong arm and accuracy while getting St. John Vianney's vast array of weapons involved.
One of those weapons was freshman Jayden Bellamy, the son of former NFL safety Jay Bellamy who played a Matawan High School and Rutgers University. The elder Bellamy played for Martucci at Matawan, coached under his former coach toward the end of his Matawan tenure and will coach the defense at St. John Vianney this coming year.
Jayden Bellamy has yet to experience his first day of school at St. John Vianney, but he already provided a glimpse of his bright future Monday by hauling in two touchdown receptions in the championship game.
The skill players showed promise on Monday, but the offense line will be where the Lancers have the most work to do in replacing 2017 talent. C.J. Hanson is the lone returnee on the offensive line.
St. John Vianney will play a rising Donovan Catholic program in the Shore 7-on-7 championship game on Thursday prior to the All-Shore Gridiron Classic at Brick Memorial. Donovan Catholic defeated Central, 19-13, in the Ocean County championship game on Monday.
Middletown North hung tough with the Lancers, jumping out to a 7-0 lead and scoring the tying touchdown on a pass from returning quarterback Sean Glenn to Matt Spencer along the right sideline in the end zone. The touchdown left St. John Vianney with a little under two minutes to score the winning touchdown.
The Lions reached the championship game against St. John Vianney by beating Marlboro in overtime. Sophomore Quentin Soler intercepted a pass in the end zone to win it, with interceptions counting as two points in 7-on-7 rules. Marlboro stopped Middletown North on the first overtime possession before Soler came up with the game-deciding play.
St. John Vianney defeated defending champion Long Branch in the other semifinal game. All four semifinalists - St. John Vianney, Long Branch, Middletown North and Marlboro - went 3-0 during pool play, which earned the quartet the four spots in the semifinals.