Jersey Mike’s Football Team of the Week: Freehold Township
Every week this fall, Jersey Mike’s and Shore Sports Network will be selecting a Team of the Week based on its performance over the past weekend.
The Jersey Mike’s Team of the Week for Week 4 is Freehold Township, which stunned previously-undefeated and then-No. 5 Toms River North, 16-14, on a 22-yard field goal by senior Colin Taptich with three seconds left in regulation. Shore Sports Network was at practice Tuesday to present the Patriots and head coach Cory Davies with a special game ball and a $500 Jersey Mike’s gift card.
Toms River North took a 7-0 lead on an 18-yard touchdown run by Jarrod Pruitt midway through the first quarter before Taptich’s 24-yard field goal with 4:35 left in the second quarter made it 7-3 at halftime.
Freehold Township took a 10-7 lead with 4:48 left in the third quarter when sophomore quarterback Lorenzo Chirichella stepped in for senior Nick Reardon and threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver John Manfre. Taptich then split the uprights on a career-long 38-yard field goal on the final play of the third quarter to give the Patriots a 13-7 lead.
Good field position helped Toms River North take the lead with 2:55 left in the game. The Mariners drove 43 yards across nine plays and pulled ahead, 14-13, on a 2-yard touchdown run by senior Dashawn Wilder. However, Freehold Township was able to put together one final scoring drive to complete the upset and secure one of the biggest victories in program history.
Taptich had 10 points with field goals of 24, 38 and 22 yards while also converting his only extra point attempt. Chirichella finished 9 of 11 for 121 yards and a touchdown and Manfre caught seven passes for 125 yards and a score to pace Freehold Township’s offense.
Freehold Township’s defense did a tremendous job holding Toms River North to just 14 points after the Mariners entered the game averaging 35 points per game. Senior linebacker Sean Fiolek had 14 tackles (10 solo), linebacker Mike Ruegger made 13 stops and senior defensive back Michael Woods had an interception to lead the way.
The victory evened Freehold Township’s record at 2-2 midway through the regular season. Now the Patriots will try to keep the momentum going when they host district rival Howell (1-3) on Friday night.