By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr
A message was sent and delivered by the Seraphs of Mater Dei Prep on Saturday as they hosted the Blue Devils of Shore Regional in a Shore Conference Class B divisional football game.
With a clear and decisive 41-7 domination of the Blue Devils the tide has changed in the division with Mater Dei the new top dog.
For the past three years the Blue Devils have won the divisional title and were two-time NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 1 champions. Shore has beaten the Seraphs the past nine consecutive years with a point difference of 379-48.
In one afternoon the Seraphs scored nearly as many points against the Blue Devils as they had in nine total seasons. Mater Dei entered the game at 4-0, while Shore came in at 3-1, their only loss to Asbury Park on opening day.
This season Mater Dei has outscored their opponents 190-35 and have won all their game by a minimum of 22 points. The reason of the vastly improved program has been the addition of George Pearson, who transferred from Matawan, and one of the best quarterbacks in the Shore Conference. They also pulled in several key transfers from other schools that immediately made an impact.
Shore had the ball first in the game and were forced to punt after three downs. Mater Dei scored a 45-yard touchdown run on their very first offensive play, their next possession ended with a two-yard touchdown run. The extra point kick was blocked by Mark Russo, and was down 13-0 in the first quarter.
The second quarter was much better for the Devils as they held the highly dangerous Seraphs offense to only seven points. However, the offense for Shore started to connect during those 10 minutes to end the first half. Lukas Jackey ran 12 yards carrying Mater Dei defenders on his back as he crossed the goal line. Gil Goldsmith kicked the extra point and Shore was down 13-7. Mark Costantino told his players that they were right back in the game.
Mater Dei came right back and scored their third touchdown of the first half on a seven-yard pass play. Shore had a chance to get another touchdown on a trick play to end the first half. Shore quarterback Matt Pennell handed the ball to Goldsmith who faked as if he was running wide. However, he pulled up and fired a 30-yard pass that should have been caught at the one-yard line, but was dropped.
The start of the second half was all Mater Dei as they scored 21 unanswered third-quarter points. The first was a two-yard run, that was followed by a 39-yard run and the last touchdown of the game was a 42-yard pass play. All three extra-point kicks were good.
Mater Dei had 16 first downs to the six of Shore Regional. They had 246-rushing yards on 36
touches. In the air they completed 9 of 15 for 134 yards and had one picked off by Pennell.
Shore, which usually pounds the ball at their opponents on the ground, had only 89 yards on 35 carries. In the air, Pannell completed 1 of 7 passes for four yards and had two picked off. Josh Campi was the leading rusher for the Devils with 51 yards on seven carries.