Long Branch shuts out Middletown South to Reach Central Jersey Group IV Semifinals
In a rematch of a regular season contest, Long Branch won 27-0 over Middletown South, the second time around is where it counted and the Green Wave were once again up to the challenge in a 20-0 defeat over the Eagles to advance to the Central Jersey Group IV semifinals where they'll host Jackson Memorial next weekend.
"I thought we did a nice job, we were very physical up front," Long Branch head coach Dan George said postgame (video above and on our YouTube channel). "They're (Middletown South) an extremely physical football team. We played great in the second half of the year. If we didn't play physical we we're going to be in trouble. We felt that the lines, offensively and defensively, were going to be the difference in the game."
The weather played a big factor in tonight's game given the whispering winds and temps ranging from 29-degrees at kickoff to 25-degrees upon the game's conclusion.
"It's cold weather in Jersey for the playoffs," George said. "It's the first time it's been below 40 degrees, let alone 30-degrees, so you can't prepare for it. Historically it's difficult to play, especially if you're a passing team to get through the playoffs."
The bitterly cold air forced both teams to stick with a steady diet of runs overshadowing a minuscule combined amount of passing attempts.
This is where as the game moved forward, the Green Wave had the edge just putting their trust in sophomore running-back Jermaine Corbett who once again showed the spotlight is never too bright for him.
"He just continues to get better every time," George said.
"It's our offensive line, they got the job done and made the holes," Corbett said. "We work really hard in practice and get a great look from our scout-defense."
Corbett ran the ball 32 times Friday night for 165 yards and included a 10-yard touchdown gallop that iced the game with 6:06 left in the 4th quarter.
The Eagles, on the other hand, had multiple players running the ball at one point or another, that featured senior quarterback Ben Kinsella, senior fullback Jake Krelin and junior running back Jamie Petrillo.
Stingy defense by Long Branch held Middletown South to a mere 79 total yards of offense (23 rushing and 56 passing yards) to go along with three sacks of Kinsella and a fumble which was jarred loose by senior defensive-back Elijah Sherin and picked up by sophomore linebacker Jah'kwan Gordon who scored from 60 yards out.
It was an effort that made their coach proud.
"It's awesome because historically they've (Middletown South) been the best program in the Shore Conference the last 10-years," George said. "They (MS) were playing great football, they scored a lot of points. Coach Steve Antonucci has done an awesome job resurrecting that team after they struggled the last time we played them."
On offense for the Green Wave senior Juwan Wilkins was under center most of the night going 2-6 for 23 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown toss to Marc Dennis to open up the scoring in the first quarter. Wilkins was sacked twice and threw one interception as well.
Junior quarterback Luke Arnold completed four passes for 36-yards.
The Green Wave hope for a bit warmer night next Friday, November 17 when they host Jackson Memorial in the semifinals. The Jags upset Brick Memorial in the first round Friday.
"It's going to be difficult," George said after hearing the news Jackson Memorial won. "They're a big, physical football team once again. We're just going to have to get healthy and be ready to play some great defense again."
"We've got to watch the film, prepare and let our coaches help set up schemes for us (in practice)," Corbett said.
Here are the game highlights and post-game interview with the player of the game:
Vin Ebenau is a Shore Sports Network Contributor. You can follow him on Twitter @VinEbenau and Instagram @VinEbenau. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.