Jersey Mike’s Week 8 Shore Conference Football Team of the Week: Marlboro
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 8 is Marlboro, which earned a 14-0 shutout victory over then-No. 7 Colts Neck to clinch the program's first playoff berth in 23 years. Shore Sports Network stopped by practice on Tuesday to present the Mustangs and head coach Jason Dagato with a special game ball and a $500 Jersey Mike's gift card.
Marlboro was in solid playoff positioning entering Week 8 but needed a victory to ensure a postseason spot when it took on district rival Colts Neck on Saturday afternoon. The Cougars entered the game on a six-game winning streak and ranked No. 7 in the SSN Top 10, but it was Marlboro that emerged victorious thanks to a fantastic defensive performance.
Junior running back Matt Cassidy ran for 191 yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries and made seven tackles with four tackles for loss and one sack on defense as the Mustangs blanked Colts Neck, 14-0, for a huge Constitution Division victory. Marlboro held Colts Neck running back Chris Scully to 30 yards rushing on 11 carries and limited the Cougars to 98 yards of offense. Scully entered the game with over 1,100 yards rushing.
Senior defensive lineman Lucas McEvoy had a sack and two tackles for loss, senior defensive back Jake Houston had six tackles, an interception, and a fumble recovery, senior linebacker Alex Frank had a sack, a tackle for loss, a forced fumble, and a pass breakup, and senior Ryan Mendes had a sack, a tackle for loss, and a forced fumble.
Junior quarterback Brayden Klein completed 8 of 10 passes for 82 yards and Mendes caught four passes for 55 yards.
With the victory, Marlboro also moved back into the latest SSN Jeep Store Football Top 10.
In qualifying for the NJSIAA state playoffs for the first time since 1999, Marlboro has shown great resilience under 10th-year head coach Jason Dagato. After starting the season 3-0, Marlboro ran into adversity when senior quarterback/defensive back AJ Schwartz was lost for the season with a leg injury sustained during a Week 4 loss to Howell. The Mustangs then dropped close games to No. 8 St. John Vianney (28-14) and No. 9 Jackson Memorial (28-20) to fall to 3-3. With their playoff hopes dwindling, the Mustangs responded to win games over two of their biggest rivals to end their postseason drought.
Last season, Marlboro lost its final regular-season game to Jackson and ended up missing the playoffs. This time, after a thrilling last-second 17-14 win over Manalapan in Week 7, its first over the Braves in 28 years, Marlboro seized the moment to shut down Colts Neck and lock up a playoff spot.
Not only will the Mustangs be in the playoffs, but they'll also be hosting their first home playoff game since 1994. Marlboro is the No. 4 seed in the South Jersey Group 5 playoffs and will take on fifth-seeded Washinton Township in the first round on Saturday at noon.