Mike Creamer’s Clutch Field Goal Leads Matawan Over Wall
By Art Gordon – Shore Sports Network Contributor
WALL – With the home crowd at Wall roaring as Matawan senior placekicker Mike Creamer trotted on the field with 47 seconds remaining in Friday night’s game, his experience in pressure situations served him well.
After having already kicked a pair of field goals, Creamer booted a 26-yard kick through the uprights to give the Huskies a 9-7 win on the road over the Crimson Knights (3-3, 2-2) that gave a big boost to their state playoff hopes. It marked Creamer’s second straight game of multiple field goals in what has been a brilliant senior season, as he nailed kicks of 33 and 23 yards to give Matawan a 6-0 lead before Wall went ahead in the fourth quarter. Creamer, who was a Shore Sports Network first-team All-Shore selection as a junior, leads the Shore Conference with eight field goals in five games this season.
“The first two were easy, and the last one was a little more pressure,’’ Creamer said. “I wasn’t nervous, I had been there before. It just puts a little more pressure on you.”
The last six minutes of the game saw Wall take a 7-6 lead on a 23-yard fade pass from senior quarterback Jack Gifford to senior tight end Geoff Horwitz. Matawan junior quarterback James Pierce then led the Huskies (3-2, 2-2) on a game-winning 2-minute drill that ended with Creamer’s kick.
“We had to drive the ball down to get our kicker in position,’’ Pierce said. “We practice the 2-minute drill all the time, and this time it worked.”
Up until Wall’s touchdown gave the Crimson Knights a short-lived lead, there had been only one first down in the second half, and that came on the Huskies’ opening drive of the third quarter.
Gifford was under constant pressure from the Huskies’ defense, which seemed to be coming from all directions.
“Coach (Jay) Bellamy comes up with all these things,’’ said senior defensive tackle Doug Weber. “We put pressure on them from our base and from the numerous blitzes.”
“Coach Bellamy draws up some great blitz and pressures and attacks from all over,” added Matawan head coach John Kaye.
The game looked like it was going to be decided on Creamer’s first two field goals when Wall went three-and-out for the fifth time of the second half late in the fourth quarter. However, a Wall punt glanced off a Matawan defender and Wall senior defensive back Anthony Palmiere pounced on it at midfield.
The Crimson Knights were facing second-and-goal from the 23-yard line when Gifford hit Horwitz, a senior tight end, on a 23-yard fade pass for a touchdown. The extra point by Phil Shields gave Wall a 7-6 lead with 5:06 left to play.
Matawan took over at its own 31-yard line, and it looked like Wall would hold for the win until Pierce found sophomore wide receiver Khalil Haskins on a hitch pattern for a 7-yard gain on fourth-and-6 to keep the drive alive.
On the next play the rewards of scouting and film work really showed up. Pierce ran what initially looked like a counter/waggle, a play Matawan had run multiple times in the game, but it turned out to be a “waggle wheel.”
“We noticed that they really roll the coverage to a roll or waggle action so we put it in this week,” Kaye said. “We ran a lot of counter and waggle to set it up, and we just let it go. Jimmy threw a strike and it worked.”
Pierce faked a counter and rolled to his right but pulled up and hit streaking junior running back Devon Spann down the left sideline for a 37-yard gain down to the Wall 21-yard line.
“Jimmy is a tough kid and not afraid of the spotlight,’’ Kaye said. “He threw a couple in the dirt and then came back and hit that big fourth-down play, and then threw a strike to Devon.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Matawan took advantage of an interception by sophomore DeJohn Rogers at the Wall 34-yard line that set up a 33-yard field goal by Creamer for a 3-0 second-quarter lead.
The Huskies extended the lead to 6-0 on their second possession of the third quarter. Creamer’s punt pinned the Crimson Knights at their 10-yard line, and a fumble on a bad exchange on the handoff was recovered by junior defensive lineman Jake Weber at the Wall 3-yard line. Wall held and forced a 23-yard field goal by Creamer.
Besides Creamer’s success on field goals, he also continually pinned Wall deep in its own territory with his booming punts and made two great catches on snaps that could have led to disaster.
“This was a great win,’’ Kaye said. “We lost two offensive lineman during the game and had to go with another sophomore and a junior who usually only plays defense. That’s why we preach ‘next man up.’”
Matawan 9, Wall 7
TEAMS 1 2 3 4 FINAL
MATAWAN 0 3 3 3 9
WALLL 0 0 0 7 7
MAT: MIKE CREAMER 33 YARD FIELD GOAL MAT: MIKE CREAMER 23 YARD FIELD GOAL WALL: GEOFF HORWITZ 23 YARD PASS FROM JACK GIFFORD (SHIELDS KICK0
MAT: MIKE CREAMER 26 YARD FIELD GOAL
. MATAWAN WALL
FIRST DOWNS 10 9
RUSHING 32-73 24-24
PASSING 8-17-11 6-22-2-91
PENALTIES 13-115 2-10
PUNTS 4-43 7-32
FUMBLES 3-1 5-1
RUSHING: MAT: DEVON SPANN 16-40, MIKAYA CAESAR 6-11, JUSTIN LESTER 3-6, KHALIL HASKINS 2-(8), JAMES PIERCE 4-24, CALVIN BEATY 1-0. WALL: JACK GIFFORD 14-12, PETE MICELI 9-4, CADELL KENNEDY 1-8.
PASSING: JAMES PIERCE 8-17-111, DEVON SPANN 0-1, WALL: JACK GIFFORD 6-22-2-91
RECEIVING: MAT: DEVON SPANN 2-51, JUSTIN FERRARA 2-24, KHALIL HASKINS 3-22 NICK TOMKINS 1-14. WALL: GEOFF HORWITZ 1-23, CADELL KENNEDY 3-34, CHRIS QUINLAN 2-34
INTERCEPTIONS: MAT: KHALIL HASKINS, DEJOHN ROGERS