Week 3 Jersey Mike’s Shore Conference Football Team of the Week: Donovan Catholic
Every week this fall, Jersey Mike’s and Shore Sports Network will team up to select a Shore Conference Football Team of the Week based on its performance over the past weekend.
The Jersey Mike’s Team of the Week for Week 3 is Donovan Catholic, which knocked off previously top-ranked Toms River North, 21-7, behind an excellent defensive performance that snapped the Mariners' 17-game winning streak and sent the Griffins to the top of the charts. Shore Sports Network stopped by practice on Tuesday to present the Griffins and head coach Dan Curcione with a special game ball and a $500 Jersey Mike's gift card.
On Friday, Sept. 15, Donovan Catholic hosted Toms River North in one of the biggest games in program history. The Griffins entered ranked No. 4 in the Shore Sports Network Shore 16 with the visiting Mariners occupying the No. 1 spot following an undefeated 2022 season that culminated with the NJSIAA Group 5 title. The Mariners were off to a fast start again this fall with victories over Group 4 champion Millville and Group 2 finalist Rumson-Fair Haven in the first three weeks.
The challenge for Donovan Catholic was to slow down a Toms River North offense led by the reigning New Jersey Player of the Year, senior quarterback Micah Ford. The Stanford University commit had been unstoppable during the course of North's winning streak dating back to the start of the 2022 season.
The Griffins, however, did even better than simply slowing down Ford and the Mariners' high-octane offense. Senior defensive lineman Zaeir Day was a dominant force from start to finish, finishing with one sack, one forced fumble, and six total tackles as Donovan held Toms River North to just 163 yards of offense and one touchdown. Senior linebacker Roman Moyers had a sack and an interception and senior cornerback Najee Morgan also intercepted a pass while junior defensive lineman Louis DiBiase recovered a fumble.
Donovan Catholic's offense stayed patient on the ground and sophomore running back Najee Calhoun delivered late in the game with a go-ahead 3-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter and a game-clinching 59-yard touchdown run with 1:19 to play. Calhoun finished with 158 yards rushing. Senior quarterback Todd Lambertson had an efficient evening, finishing 6 of 11 for 93 yards and a 49-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wideout Emanuel Gerena.
The victory vaulted the Griffins all the way to No. 1 in the latest Shore Sports Network Shore 16 and gave them a leg up in the powerful American Division. Donovan returns to action this week with a road game at No. 16 Wall.