By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr.
On Friday, September 8, the Spartans of Ocean Township hosted the Blue Bishops of Asbury Park in a Shore Conference Constitution football game. The game started off very well for Asbury Parkas they took an early 7-0 lead, but eventually they would fall 29-12 to the Spartans.
Asbury Park is a team that has endured several hardships over the past few years. Marquan Mutazz is their third head coach in three years. They are also suffering from low numbers within the program, having 26 players on the rosters but only 22 were on the sidelines Friday night in Ocean.
“They might have low numbers, but several of those players are outstanding athletes,” said Don Klein, head coach at Ocean. “You always have to be prepared for Asbury Park, as they have speed and you can never underestimate them.”
Asbury Park scored on their first offensive series, but they missed the extra point and were up 6-0. That was the scoring for the opening quarter.
Asbury Park showed their speed on their next offensive series, running 73 yards for the touchdown. But they again missed the extra point. That was the last time they would see the end zone on offense.
With 4:27 left in the first half, Ocean connected on a 29-yard pass play for a touchdown and extra point was good. That gave them a slight 13-12 lead. Then the lights went out. Well, half the lights on the visitors side of the field, causing a delay. It took about 20 minutes for the lights to fire up, and the game was back on.
Asbury had the ball on their own seven-yard line, when the center snapped it over the quarterback’s head and out of the end zone to give the Spartans a two-point safety. The first half ended with Ocean up 15-13.
Asbury Park started the third quarter and was moving the ball chewing up the clock. They worked all the way to the Ocean Township 10-yard line, where they faced a fourth down and three, but the Spartans defense held and took over on downs.
Ocean had a huge 50-yard run, going all the way to the Asbury Park five-yard line. The third quarter ended with Ocean at the Blue Bishops ten, and they started the fourth quarter with a touchdown pass and were up 22-12.
The last touchdown occurred with 2:17 to play that was a seven-yard run. That gave Ocean the 29-12 win moving them to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in the division. They beat Lacey 29-12 to start the season. Asbury Park drops to 0-2, they lost 50-0 to Weequahic in their opener.
“We started a little slow and needed to clean up a lot of things,” said Klein. Ocean’s coaching staff were able to make the necessary adjustments which secured the players victory.
Bobby Paglia, senior quarterback, completed 6 of 12 passes for 64 yards and two touchdowns. Senior running back, Nick Iacouzzi, had 24 carries for 142 yards, averaging 5.9 yards per-touch. Junior James Sobieski had six carries for 24 yards and one touchdown. Boomer Volek, junior, had three touches for 49 yards and Michael Poniros ran the ball three times for 14 yards and one touchdown.
Receiving, Sobieski had three catches for 41 yards and one touchdown. Stephen Falco had two catches for 12 yards, and Willie Canavan had one for 11 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball Ben Girard and Canavan each had 10 tackles, four of those for losses. Volek had eight tackles, two for a loss, Falco and Michael Beale each had six tackles. Ocean gave up a total of 206 yards to the Blue Bishops.
Ocean will travel to Shore Regional on Thursday night, September 14, for a 7:00 p.m. game against the Blue Devils in a Constitution divisional match-up.
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