By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr.
Long Branch started the 2023 football season with three consecutive road trips. They opened four weeks ago with a 23-21 win over Piscataway, then a 41-13 loss to Donovan Catholic followed by a 33-6 loss to Manalapan. Friday night, September 15, was the first home game for the Green Wave as they hosted and beat the Rockets of Raritan 33-16 in a Shore Conference Colonial division game.
Long Branch completely outplayed Raritan on all sides of the ball from the opening kickoff. It took just over two minutes for Long Branch to score their first touchdown. They have speed, and it was demonstrated during the opening minutes has Raritan had no answer in stopping their running game. Long Branch capped off that starting drive with a six-yard run by Davon Craft. With the extra point the Wave were up 7-0 with 8:58 left in the first quarter.
On their second offensive series of the first quarter, Zaheem Brown, senior, scored on a 21-yard run. The extra point was good, and that was all the scoring for the first quarter.
Long Branch had to punt from deep in their end of the field to start the second quarter. Raritan fumbled that kick and the ball was recovered at midfield by Joseph “JoJo” Corley with 8:36 left in the first half. Long Branch moved the ball to the Raritan 20, when it was put back into the hands of Brown, who powered into the Rockets’ end zone from 20 yards out. The extra point kick failed, but LB was up 20-0.
With 40 seconds left in the first half, Long Branch had one defender intercept a Raritan pass near midfield. It took Long Branch only 25 seconds to score another touchdown. This was a 10-yard pass from Quinton Fisher, sophomore quarterback, to Nehemiah Lambert, junior. Fisher Quinton, sophomore, was good on this extra point and the Green Wave took a 27-0 lead into the halftime break.
The third quarter was scoreless. Raritan had two early scores to start the fourth quarter, both were running touchdowns. The last touchdown of the game was an eight-yard run by Craft, and the extra point kick failed. However, Long Branch didn’t need it as they completely manhandled the Rockets.
Long Branch is on the road again this week. They travel to Point Pleasant Boro to face the undefeated Panthers on September 22, in a divisional battle. Point Boro leads the Colonial division followed by Manalapan, Long Branch, Colts Neck, Raritan and Red Bank Regional.
Green Wave schedule
09-22-23 at Point Boro 7:00 p.m.
09-30-23 host St. John Vianney 1:00 p.m.
10-13-23 host Southern Regional 6:00 p.m.
10-21-23 at Colts Neck 12:00 p.m.
11-23-23 host Red Bank Regional, 100th Thanksgiving Day game celebration
More photos of this game and many others can be viewed at www.Facebook.com/TheLinkSports