Shore Conference Week 3 Football Player of the Week: Toms River North’s Ray Carlson
Every week this season, Shore Conference football fans will have their chance to vote for the Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey/Shore Sports Network Football Player of the Week on our website.
The Week 3 Player of the Week is Toms River North senior Ray Carlson, who played wide receiver for the first time in his career and turned in a sensational performance to help the Mariners to a thrilling 22-21 double-overtime victory over Rumson-Fair Haven.
A two-year starter in the defensive backfield for the Mariners, Carlson was called upon to join the receiving corps for Toms River North’s crucial Week 3 game at Rumson-Fair Haven. The Mariners have a deep group of pass-catchers, but head coach Dave Oizerowitz saw a mismatch opportunity in empty sets where they could get the speedy Carlson matched up against a linebacker. The plan worked to perfection as Carlson hauled in five passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns.
Carlson’s first big play came in the second quarter when he caught a 67-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Jake Kazanowsky to give Toms River North a 7-0 lead. Working out of the left slot and matched up with a linebacker in a five-receiver set, Carlson ran a fade and got behind the entire defense for the long score.
Rumson tied the game at 14 with four seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime. After Toms River North blocked a field goal that would have won the game in the first overtime, Rumson took a 21-14 lead with a touchdown on its possession of double overtime.
The Mariners responded with a touchdown of their own as on third-and-13, Carlson made a phenomenal one-handed catch for a 28-yard touchdown reception. This time lining up in the right slot, Carlson ran a straight go route, beat his defender and snared the pass with his outstretched right hand just as he crossed the goal line.
A third overtime period was an extra point away from reliable senior Justin Burkert, but Oizerowitz elected to go for the 2-point conversion and the win, and when senior Dominick Jacob caught a deflected pass for the winning points the Mariners emerged victorious in an instant classic.
It was a close race throughout the voting period with Carlson edging Yusuf Ahmed from district rival Toms River East with 21.06 percent of the votes. Marlboro’s Dom Palumbo was right behind in third and Donovan Catholic’s Nasir Calhoun was fourth.