Scanning The Scene Week 5: On The Road
With games spread over the long weekend, it gave me a chance to see a few games after our Thursday night radio game. I was able to see two on Friday and another on Saturday. Both of Friday's games came down to 2 point conversions, one worked, one didn't. The 2 point conversion is an exciting part of the game and in both cases, a kick would have tied the game and sent it into overtime. Going for 2 and the win is a gutsy call that the head coach must make in a matter of seconds. In the case of these two, I totally agreed with the decisions that Lacey's Lou Vircillo and Brick Memorial's Walt Currie made in their respective games. When an ex-coach watches a football game he always puts himself on the sidelines and second guesses the head man in some of his decisions. That's what I did in these two games, and my thoughts were in line with these two very successful head coaches. Both had momentum on their backs and the decision to go for two was easy. Let's take a closer look at the two games.
Lacey at Jackson Liberty-This game was being played at 3:30 in the afternoon because of the holy day of Yon Kippur which began at sundown on Friday night.
First of all, to play a game at this time is tough to do. You never play a game at that time of a weekday with students just getting out of school and parents still working and trying to figure out how to get off to watch their kids play. Lacey came in at 2-1, while Jackson Liberty was 0-3. The Lions of Liberty had dominated the game for three quarters and jumped out to a 14-0 lead. Led by QB Evan Catron's 2 TD passes and the all-around play on both sides of the ball by Gannon Wyche( 2 TD catches) Liberty seemed in complete control of the game as we entered the 4th quarter. That's when Lacey decided to wake up and began to throw the football. They scored and kicked the point and began a drive that would have tied it, but a Liberty interception and good run back halted the drive. With three time outs in their pocket, Lacey held and got the ball back with 1 minute left. They proceeded to march it down and scored with 3 seconds left. and here's where Coach Vircillo made his decision. The call was a sprint out run-pass option for 2 and the win. Jimmy Celentano broke up the attempt and Liberty had their first win. Good game, exciting ending. Congrats to HC Jim Sharples and the Lions(1-3) for their first victory of the year. Lacey is at 2-2.
After that exciting finish, it was in the car to head north to Sayreville HS and its game with Brick Memorial. There may not be any better place to play a high school game. Crowded streets and parking lots, a packed house, two good football teams(3-0 Sayreville) and 2-1 Brick Memorial, the smell of the BBQ pits creating an aroma that made you hit the concession stand. Enough about my dinner, let's get to the game. These two have a big history with the regular season and playoff games and this one was no different. Sayreville jumped to a 14-0 start in first 6 minutes but after that, the Mustang defense figured it out and basically shut down the Bombers the rest of the game. Memorial dominated on both sides of the ball until we hit overtime. Running their flexbone offense down the throat of Sayreville, the Stangs scored one in the second period and trailed 14-7 at halftime. The second half was all Memorial as they kicked off and held three and out and then proceeded to drive about 85 yards to a 4th and goal from the 1/2 yard line. Kick a field goal or go. They decided to go and Sayreville defense held and the score remained 14-7. A lesser team would have quit right there but the Stangs held on defense and forced Sayreville to punt. The Mustangs put together another drive, scored and kicked the extra point to send the game into overtime. In first OT Sayreville (their choice to go offense) did nothing and a penalty took them out of field goal range. Brick Memorial got the ball at the 25, any score and they win. They drove it to 12 and a field goal attempt was blocked to send the game to a 2nd OT. Sayreville ball first( Memorial chose defense), and the Bombers scored on a 4th down muddle huddle play as they lined up for a field goal. A muddle huddle is when there are players spread all over the field. In this case, the center hiked the ball sideways to an up back and then they kicked the point. Sayreville up 21-14. On Brick Memorial's first down Tony Thorpe ran it down to the 5 and a few plays later he took it in from the 2-yard line. Out of timeouts, Memorial's decision was to go for 2 and win it. A pitch to Blane Netterman and bedlam reigned down on the field, as Netterman easily ran it in for the 22-21 victory. A great game by 2 great teams. Thorpe ran possessed all night(37 carries for 177 yards and 2 TDs). Netterman had 48 yards and a TD and the big 2 point conversion. Tyler Sindel ran the option flawlessly and the long bus ride home was a whole lot better if not for the 2 pointer. One of the more exciting games I have seen in the last few years.
Saturday afternoon I took a ride to Manasquan to see unbeaten Barnegat and the Big Blue Warriors. It was all Squan as they rolled to an impressive 27-0 shutout of the Bengals. It was a punishing ground game led by Connor Morgan and the excellent play of QB Tommy Antonucci that evens Squan's record at 2-2. Barnegat is at 3-1. Manasquan has played twice at home and has yet to give up a point. Next up is Ocean on the road. Barnegat gets Jackson Liberty also on the road.
Power teams continue to win, as #1 Manalapan(4-0) had an easy time of it vs. Freehold 55-21 as they held Ashante Worthy to "only" 369 total yards. Naim Mayfield rushed for 274 and 4 TDs in the Brave win. 2 weeks until the big one with Howell(4-0) who won 30-7 over TR North(0-4). Howell's QB Eddie Morales has a big-time target in Naseim Brantley(2 TDs) and RB Nick Chambers(180 rushing and 2 TDs) is a nice compliment to Morales and Brantley. St John Vianney(4-0) continues to put big numbers up. This week it was Brick(3-1) who was the victim-42-0. That's 33 straight wins against the Shore as they get ready for the big one against RBC who cruised past Colonia 49-12. SJV leader is Johnny Buchanan, but multiple players provide much offense. RB Josiah Walker seems to be the go-to back for the Lancers. SJV has a couple of big ones coming up. In 2 weeks they play Rumson(3-0) and then RBC(4-0) the following week. Each could be undefeated when they play. Mater Dei(3-0) had a tough one in Canada Prep, squeaking out a 13-12 win. Yep, Canada Prep- don't ask me, I've got no clue.
Next up on our Jersey Mike’s Game of the Week is Central (3-1) at Brick Memorial (3-1) in a key A-South matchup. Kickoff at 7 p.m. can be heard on 92.7FM and 1160/1310AM and also streamed on shoresportsnetwork.com. Also, join us Wednesday night from Martell's Waters Edge in Bayville for the Gateway Toyota Coaches Corner on 105.7 The Hawk as we are joined by Barnegat coach Rob Davis and a couple of his key players.