By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr.
Saturday night the Spartans of Ocean Township held their last home football game of the season. It was also a night to honor seniors and the homecoming court. The game was originally scheduled for Friday night, but heavy rain and widespread flooding forced the cancellation.
Ocean hosted the Rockets of Raritan in a nondivisional Shore Conference game. Raritan, which plays in the Colonial Division, entered the game with a 2-2 record. Host, Ocean Township also had a 2-2 record and they play in the Constitution Division.
Spartans beat the Rockets 14-7, and got back onto the winning track. They started the season red hot, beating Lacey 28-14 and then Asbury Park 29-12. They suffered their first shutout in over a year when they traveled to West Long Branch, and the Blue Devils beat them 17-0. Last week, the Lancers of St. John Vianney, who were winless, came into Ocean and kicked their butt winning 34-0.
Don Klein, who is in his 17th season as head coach of the Spartans and now holds the school record for the winningest football coach, made some big changes for the Raritan game. “We shifted some guys around and it worked out well. I’m very pleased with how the team responded. We needed to do something,” said Klein.
Junior James Sobieski had starting duty as quarterback this week. During the first four games of the season he was either a running back or wide receiver. Sobieski used his legs a lot on Saturday night, as he had eight carries for 50 yards, making him the leading rusher.
Getting seven touches was Boomer Volek, junior, who had 46-rushing yards. Freshman Alex Staten was handed the ball six times and he had 45 yards. Also getting six touches was Michael Poniros, senior, with 32 yards.
On the opposite side of the ball, Ocean played hard and made some big stops. One of the player changes was moving Ben Girard around, and instead of his number 56, he wore number 8. He had 10 tackles and three sacks. Five of those tackles were for a loss in yardage for Raritan.
Willie Canavan, senior, had 13 tackles and an interception for the Spartans. Malcolm Beale had 12 tackles and caused one fumble. Falco finished with 10 tackles and a half a sack. The other half of that sack went to Danny Farina, who also had five tackles. “Really happy with our effort. We had a champions mindset all week heading into the game and went out and executed at a fairly high level on both side,” said Klein.
Ocean has three regular season games left. They travel to Holmdel this weekend where they face the Hornets, who are in first place in their division. On Friday, October 13, the Spartans travel to Freehold Township and end the season on October 21, in Manasquan.
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