Marlboro’s Ryan Mendes is the Week 9 Shore Conference Football Player of the Week
Every week this season, Shore Conference football fans will have their chance to vote for the Ocean County Sports Medicine Shore Conference Football Player of the Week on our website. The winner of the poll each week will receive a $25 gift card to Burger 25 in Toms River.
The winner of the Week 9 Player of the Week award is Marlboro senior wide receiver/linebacker Ryan Mendes, whose two-way impact helped lead the Mustangs to a historic 21-17 comeback win over Washington Township in the first round of the NJSIAA South Jersey Gropu 5 playoffs.
Marlboro won its final two games of the season to qualify for the state playoffs for the first time since 1999, and in being seeded fourth in the South Group 5 bracket, the Mustangs hosted their first playoff game since 1994 this past Saturday. Mendes caught three passes for 60 yards and a touchdown, totaled 11 tackles with two tackles for loss, and blocked a field goal to help Marlboro rally from a 17-7 halftime deficit and win their first playoff game in 28 years.
The Mustangs grabbed a quick 7-0 lead with an impressive game-opening drive, but later in the first quarter lost starting running back Matt Cassidy to an injury. With the offense struggling to manufacture yards, the defense stepped to the forefront to play an incredible game. Marlboro came away with five interceptions and delivered multiple key defensive stops to allow the offense to find the end zone twice to rally for the lead. In the fourth quarter, Mendes hauled in the go-ahead 52-yard touchdown pass on a trick play double pass from wide receiver Alex Frank.
Marlboro is now 6-3 on the season and ranked No. 9 in the latest SSN Top 10. The Mustangs will travel to face No. 2 Toms River North on Friday night in the South Jersey Group 5 semifinals.
For the season, Mendes has caught 27 passes for 336 yards and two touchdowns and recorded 46 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 2 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles, 3 pass breakups, and a blocked field goal. He won this week's poll with nearly 25% of all votes cast. Pinelands' Mike Frawley was second and Long Branch's Akeel Gaines was third.