NJSIAA South Group 4 Bowl Game Preview: Long Branch vs. Shawnee
NJSIAA SOUTH GROUP 4 BOWL GAME
WHO: Long Branch (11-1) vs. Shawnee (6-6).
WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 1, 7 p.m.
WHERE: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford
LONG BRANCH’S ROAD TO THE BOWL GAME: (Central Jersey Group 4) defeated Middletown North, 42-0, in the quarterfinals; defeated Brick Memorial, 47-14, in the semifinals; defeated Brick, 21-14, in the sectional final.
SHAWNEE’S ROAD TO THE BOWL GAME: (South Jersey Group 4) defeated Mainland, 25-7, in the quarterfinals; defeated Millville, 28-26, in the semifinals; defeated Clearview, 17-14 in double overtime, in the sectional final.
LONG BRANCH’S BEST WIN: 21-14 over Brick in the Central Jersey Group 4 championship game.
SHAWNEE’S BEST WIN: 17-14 over Clearview in the South Jersey Group 4 championship game.
PLAYOFF HISTORY: Long Branch claimed back-to-back sectional championships for the first time in program history by defeating Brick in the sectional final…The Green Wave have four sectional titles in nine appearances all-time and own a 21-15 postseason record…Shawnee has an illustrious playoff resume with eight sectional titles and 12 championship-game appearances…The Renegades have made the playoffs 21 times and are 34-14 all-time.
LONG BRANCH STAT LEADERS
-Jermaine Corbett, Jr., RB: 211 carries for 1,936 yards and 24 TDs; 19 rec. for 220 yards and 4 TDs; 1 kickoff return TD.
-Marc Dennis, Sr., QB/DB: 84-for-122, 1,334 yards, 20 TDs, 2 INTs; 377 yards rushing and 3 TDs; 64 tackles, 3 INTs on defense.
-Matt Clarke, Sr., WR: 29 rec. for 515 yard and 6 TDs.
-Jayon Farrar, Jr., WR: 15 rec. for 258 yards and 3 TDs.
-Luke Arnold, Sr., LB: 136 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 INTs.
-Jayson Glassper, Jr., LB: 57 tackles, 6 sacks.
-Devin Blount, Sr., DB: 35 tackles, 6 INTs.
-Imir Durant, Sr., DL: 75 tackles, 3 sacks.
SHAWNEE STAT LEADERS
-Joe Dalsey, Sr., RB/QB/DE/K: 154 carries for 558 yards and 13 TDs; 65-for-115, 810 yards passing, 6 TDs, 3 INTs; 66 tackles, 2 INTs, 2 forced fumbles; 4 field goals.
-Matt Welsey, Fr., QB: 46-for-79, 548 yards, 6 TD, 2 INT; 53 carries for 106 yards and 2 TDs.
-Tom Rebstock, So., RB: 69 carries for 311 yards and 1 TD.
-Jon Searcy, Sr., WR/DB: 40 rec. for 524 yards and 4 TDs; 52 tackles, 6 INTs.
-Nate Summerville, So., WR: 23 rec. for 225 yards.
-Dom Frigola, Jr., WR: 15 rec. for 204 yards and 2 TDs.
-Pat O’Hanlon. Sr., DL: 85 tackles, 3 sacks.
-Matt Klamo, Sr., DL: 58 tackles, 3 sacks.
-Matt Papa, Jr., LB: 81 tackles, 1 INT.
-Dalton Short, Jr., LB: 81 tackles.
-Joey Moore, Sr., FS: 79 tackles, 1 sack.
Long Branch will try to finish off the best season in school history when it takes on a Shawnee team that put together a tremendous postseason run to add to its championship legacy.
Long Branch is coming off a 21-14 win over Brick to win its second straight Central Jersey Group 4 title. The Green Wave followed up that performance with a 33-14 win over rival Red Bank on Thanksgiving. Now Long Branch will try to become the first team in program history to win 12 games.
Shawnee is one of South Jersey’s best programs on a yearly basis and now own eight sectional titles after a 17-14 double-overtime win over Clearview in the South Jersey Group 4 final. The victory also gave Shawnee back-to-back sectional crowns. The Renegades then defeated rival Lenape on Thanksgiving to even their record at 6-6.
That’s not a typo. Despite playing on the final weekend of the season, Shawnee had to win on Thanksgiving just to get to .500. The Renegades entered the postseason with a 2-6 record but recorded wins over Mainland, Millville and Clearview to win another sectional title. Shawnee played a difficult schedule, and under the new postseason guidelines was able to make the playoffs despite winning just two games at the cutoff.
Shawnee’s season turned around when the team decided to insert freshman Matt Welsey at quarterback and slide senior Joe Dalsey to running back. Shawnee lost in Welsey’s debut, 27-21 to Rancocas Valley, but have since rattled off four straight wins.
Shawnee is a different team now so its record is a bit deceiving, but Long Branch still enters the game as the favorite. The Green Wave have been prolific on both sides of the ball this season and their only loss came at the hands of Red Bank Catholic, which finished the season undefeated and won the Non-Public Group 3 state title.
Junior running back Jermaine Corbett enters the game second in New Jersey in rushing yards (1,936), has scored a total of 29 touchdowns and is on the cusp of reaching the 2,000-yard mark. Senior quarterback Marc Dennis has been fantastic with 1,334 yards and 20 touchdowns against just two interceptions and has also rushed for 377 yards and three touchdowns. Matt Clarke is Long Branch’s leading receiver with 29 receptions for 515 yards and six touchdowns.
Long Branch’s defense has also been tremendous in allowing 9.8 points per game with five shutouts. Senior linebacker Luke Arnold leads the way with 136 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions. Junior linebacker Jayson Glasper leads the team with six sacks and senior defensive back Devyn Blount has been one of the top ballhawks in the Shore with six interceptions.
Shawnee will be a formidable opponent despite its record, but if Long Branch can play the way it has all season, especially defensively, it will cap off a special season with victory No. 12.
Prediction: Long Branch 28, Shawnee 10
Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.