By Matt Stypulkoski - Shore Sports Network contributor

HOLMDEL – Due in large part to freshman quarterback George Pearson’s hot start and senior Shawn Ramcheran’s game-changing speed, Matawan rolled over Class A Central rival Holmdel, 52-7, on Friday night.

The win bolstered the Huskies' (3-3, 3-2) chances of making the Central Jersey Group III playoffs after missing out on the postseason last year.

“At this point, we made our bed,” Matawan coach John Kaye said. “We were 2-3 coming in so we feel like every game is a playoff game for us now.”

Matawan freshman quarterback George Pearson (shown earlier this season) helped the Huskies stay in the playoff mix with a lop-sided win over Holmdel. (Photo by Scott Stump)
Matawan freshman quarterback George Pearson (shown earlier this season) helped the Huskies stay in the playoff mix with a lop-sided win over Holmdel. (Photo by Scott Stump)

That sense of urgency was on full display on the Huskies' first drive, when Pearson led a quick-hitting, three-play drive that covered 85 yards to open the scoring.

Running back Devon Spann scored on a three-yard run on Matawan’s second drive and senior Adam Elliott added a 24-yard field goal to give the Huskies a 17-0 lead at halftime.

“The game plan was basically, they blitz almost every play,” Pearson said. “So short routes, and then once they started keying on short routes, we went iso and backside, stuff like that. The play-calling was good today.”

The freshman quarterback completed seven of his first nine pass attempts, including a 43-yard touchdown pass to Ramcheran to direct the Matawan offense and help open up the early lead.

“The kid’s a gunslinger, man,” Kaye said. “He’s 14 years old. He’s a freshman. He’s going to be special. He can wing it, and we’ve got some dangerous weapons on the perimeter. When we get the ball in their hands it’s dangerous.”

By the time Pearson – who finished the night 11-for-21 for 168 yards – began to cool off, it was Ramcheran who was ready to shoulder the load for Matawan. He returned the opening kick of the second half 92 yards for a touchdown to extend the lead, then took another kickoff back 85 yards about three minutes later to answer a Holmdel touchdown.

Both returns featured Ramcheran streaking down the right side of the field, cutting through holes along the sideline before turning on the jets and breaking away virtually untouched.

“He’s so fast,” Kaye said. “When we can get the ball in positive field position or take some of the burden off our offense having to move the ball 80 yards or catch it on the fly and run for a 90-yard touchdown, that’s huge.”

Ramcheran added four catches for 92 yards and the opening touchdown on top of his special teams performance.

The Matawan defense also offered its fair share of help to the win. The Huskies limited Holmdel (1-4, 0-4) to just 147 yards on the night and forced three turnovers, setting up the offense with a short field repeatedly. Six of Matawan’s nine drives began either at midfield or on the Hornets’ side of it.

“We talked about playing a complete game,” Kaye said. “We hadn’t in a while. We needed to play strong on special teams, strong on offense, strong on defense. We felt like we finally put a complete game together.”

Late in the third quarter, Matawan tacked on a touchdown due to a little trickery. After Pearson flipped the ball out to Justin Ferrara in the flat, the wide receiver pulled up before the line of scrimmage and fired a 43-yard bomb to senior Jimmy Pierce in the endzone.

Pierce, also the backup quarterback, would later add a 42-yard touchdown run with about two minutes remaining. Kyle Midtlyng also scored on a 17-yard run in the fourth quarter.

The lone Hornets' score came on an 18-yard pass from Aneesh Agrawal to Steven Walier in the third quarter.

Agrawal was 6-for-13 for 86 yards, but also threw two interceptions on the night. Frank Condito led the Hornets with 50 yards rushing on 10 carries.

Box score

Matawan 52, Holmdel 7

.                                  M                H

First downs                 8                 8

Rushes-yards          17-84           37-61

Passing                   12-22-2        6-13-0

Passing yards           211                86

Fumbles-lost            0-0               5-1

Penalties                  5-77             4-40

Matawan (3-3, 3-2) 7  10  21 14 – 52

Holmdel (1-4, 0-4)  0  0  7  0 – 7

Scoring summary

M: Ramcheran 43-yard catch (Adam Elliott kick).

M: Spann 3-yard run (Elliot kick).

M: Elliott 24-yard FG.

M: Ramcheran 92-yard kickoff return (Elliott kick).

H: Walier 18-yard catch (Jack Cook kick).

M: Ramcheran 85-yard kickoff return (Elliott kick).

M: Pierce 43-yard catch (Elliott kick).

M: Midtlyng 17-yard run (Elliott kick).

M: Pierce 42-yard run (Elliott kick).

Individual statistics

Rushing – M: Spann 9-37, Midtlyng 3-24, Pierce 1-42, Wiley 2-0, Pearson 2-(-19). H: Agrawal 14-(-13), Condito 10-50, M. Nuzzi 6-8, C. Nuzzi 4-(-2), Bair 3-18.

Passing – M: Pearson 11-21-1 168, Ferrara 1-1-1 43. H: Agrawal 6-15-0 86.

Receiving – M: Ramcheran 4-92, Ferrara 3-21, Pierce 2-79, Rogers 2-19, Spann 1-0. H: Wailer 3-41, Saurides 3-45.

Interceptions – M: Ferrara 1-25, Spann 1-0.


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