By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr
Friday night the Green Wave football team of Long Branch High School traveled to Ocean Township High School where they faced the Spartans in a Shore Conference Freedom Division game. It was really no contest as Long Branch easily won 33-0.
Last season the Green Wave went 9-3 overall and 5-1 in the B North division, only divisional loss was to Red Bank Catholic. They went on to win the NJSIAA Group 4 title, first state championship in nearly two decades. For head coach Dan George, this season and this squad look just as strong, fast and on track to win back-to-back state titles.
The Wave entered the game undefeated, beating Hammonton 41-14, and Toms River East 41-6. While the Spartans lost to Lacey 14-12 to start the season, then Red Bank Catholic won 40-7, and the Spartans beat Toms River East 14-9 last week.
Both schools started the game a bit cold as they went three and out on their first offensive series. Then things started to unravel for Ocean
and the Wave picked up steam. The Spartans on their second possession fumbled the ball at their own 30-yard line. Jah’Kwan Gordon, junior at Long Branch, picked it up and ran it back 30-yards for the first LB touchdown. Luke Arnold made the extra point and the Wave were up 7-0.
With 36 seconds left in the first quarter Jermaine Corbett, junior running back, ran 15-yards untouched for the first of his game high four touchdowns. Corbett is the Sterns Trailer Athlete of the Week in our paper this issue. Arnold was wide right on the extra point, Long Branch had a 13-0 lead into the second quarter.
With 9:42 left in the first half, Corbett showed his blistering speed as he ran 46-yards for his second touchdown of the game. Long Branch now had a 20-0 advantage over Ocean.
Corbett had another touchdown run of 16-yards, but it was called back as one of the Wave players was flagged for holding. Next play, Matthew Clark of Long Branch ran the ball to the 11-yard line of Ocean with 5:12 left in the first half. Then Corbett took the ball in for the touchdown. The Wave attempted a conversion which failed but they were now up 26-0 at halftime.
During halftime a coach from another school who was scouting Long Branch said that Corbett is an amazing runner, but the key to the Wave offensive success was 6’5”, 285-pound offensive lineman Kevin Cerruti. “Someone should call DYFS (Division of Youth and Family Services) on Cerruti for beating up those boys on the Ocean squad.” The coach asked that we not print his name. “If I had Cerruti punching holes like that for me, I could run for 200-yards.”
During the third quarter the Spartans had a big defensive stand. Long Branch had a fourth and two on the Spartan 9-yard line and Ocean stopped them. However, a few plays later Jayson Glasper of Long Branch blasted through the Spartan offensive line and sacked Will Sacco, Ocean’s quarterback, for a 21-yard loss.
The final Long Branch touchdown came with 2:07 left in the third quarter. It was a big and fast 44-yard run by Corbett. The Green Wave now had a 33-0 lead on the Spartans.
One big positive for Ocean was in the fourth quarter. Scuba Hagerman, senior, had a huge punt under pressure that went 60-yards and pinned Long Branch back on their own 35-yard line.
Corbett finished with a total of 180 rushing yards and the four touchdowns. Qua’Zahum Dennis had 68 yards on the ground, and Marc Dennis, the quarterback, had 21 yards rushing and 40 passing.
Sacco completed 8 of 16 passes going 43 yards for the Spartans. On the ground Ocean was led by Trebor Pena with 32 yards.
Long Branch will host Toms River South (0-3) on September 28, at 7:00 p.m.
Ocean will be at Red Bank Regional that same night for a 7:00 p.m. game against the 2-1 Bucs.