Jersey Mike’s Week 7 Shore Conference Football Team of the Week: Ocean Township
Every week this fall, Jersey Mike’s and Shore Sports Network will be teaming up to select the Shore Conference Football Team of the Week based on its performance over the past weekend.
The Jersey Mike’s Team of the Week for Week 7 is Ocean, which won a 34-28 overtime thriller over Middletown North in one of the most dramatic games of the season to remain undefeated. Shore Sports Network stopped by practice on Tuesday to present the Spartans and head coach Don Klein with a special game ball and a $500 Jersey Mike's gift card.
Ocean, which is ranked No. 6 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10, was tested by a resilient Middletown North team that jumped on top early. Lions junior running back Neno Morgan-Acker ran for game-high 179 yards and picked up 51 of them on the first play from scrimmage, leading to a quick Middletown North touchdown. Ocean responded on the next drive and tied the game on a touchdown run by junior Nick Iacouzzi, and from there the teams traded uppercuts.
Ocean took a 14-7 lead on a 38-yard touchdown run by senior running back Caleb Thompson. Middletown North answered on a 7-yard touchdown reception by senior wide receiver Derek Soto and the teams went into halftime tied at 14.
A surprise onside kick by Middletown North gave the Lions the ball to begin the third quarter and they capitalized on a 21-yard touchdown run by Morgan-Acker to take a 21-14 lead. On the first play of the next series for Ocean, senior quarterback Tyler Douglas broke an amazing run that was negated by a penalty, but on the very next play, Douglas connected with senior wideout Mateo Andrews for an 86-yard touchdown that knotted the score at 21.
Middletown North then put together a long scoring drive to take a 28-21 lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by James Barnao. Ocean's response was to march 54 yards in seven plays to tie the score on a 2-yard touchdown run by Thompson. The Lions had a chance to win the game on a last-second field goal attempt, but the kick missed wide and the game proceeded to overtime.
Middletown North had the ball first in overtime and on third down a deflected pass was intercepted by Ocean senior defensive lineman Shane Garrett. Ocean could now win the game with points of any kind. A penalty on first down lost five yards but after runs of 18 and 6 yards by Douglas, senior wide receiver CJ Flannigan took a handoff, broke a tackle, and sprinted across the goal line for a 6-yard touchdown run and a walk-off victory for the Spartans.
Thompson ran for 90 yards and two touchdowns, Andrews caught three passes for 137 yards and a touchdown, and Douglas totaled 207 yards of offense. The victory pushed Ocean's unblemished record to 7-0 heading into the final week of the regular season. The Spartans will take on Red Bank Regional (4-2) on Friday night where a victory will clinch the Freedom Division title. Ocean is also in the hunt for a high seed in the state tournament. They enter the weekend fourth overall in the South Group 3 United Power Rankings and are one of six undefeated teams in the section.