By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr.
September 29, at 7:00 p.m. the Blue Devils of Shore Regional held their senior recognition night and football game against the Hawks of Manchester High School. The ceremony and game were pushed back 24 hours as a result of the sever rain and flooding on Friday night.
Shore Regional won the game 35-14, but it didn’t start well for the Blue Devils. They started the game with booming kick that went out of the end zone, that resulted in Manchester starting at their own 20-yard line. Well, the Hawks chewed up half the clock and drove 80 yards and scored the first touchdown of the game with 5:47 left in the first quarter.
The Blue Devils didn’t have a good offensive start as the were forced to punt after three downs. Manchester blocked the punt and recovered on the Shore Regional six-yard line. Two plays later, the Hawks run in from one yard out and were up 14-0 with three minutes left in the first quarter.
Mark Costantino, hall of fame head coach of the Blue Devils, took his squad and had them focus and play Shore football. That is power of running and hard-hitting defense. With just 56 seconds left in the first quarter, Lucas White ran in from one yard out. The extra point by John Mazzacco was good and the Devils were right back into the game.
In fact, after those opening eight minutes, Shore Regional dominated all aspects of the game. Five different Devils scored touchdowns and Mazzacco was good on all five extra points. In the second quarter, the only touchdown was a 12-yard run by Alex George.
With 7.5 seconds left in the first half, Shore Regional was called for a personal foul. That gave Manchester a first and goal at the Blue Devils five-yard line. Devils defense stepped up and made a huge stop, and both teams went into halftime tied at 14.
In the third quarter with 9:09 to play, Brendan O’Brien, powered his way 33 yards into the Manchester end zone and now the Blue Devils were up 21-14.
Fourth quarter had two additional touchdowns for Shore. The first was a 33-yard pass from Josh Moeller to CJ Sears. The extra point was good and Shore was now up 28-14. The last touchdown was a one-yard quarterback dive by Moeller.
The number of plays run by both schools were close, Shore had a 51-50 advantage over Manchester. Shore had a total of 368 offensive yards, 291 on the ground and 77 in the air. Manchester had 221 total yards with 144 in the air. The only negative from the game for Shore were the number of penalties, they had six for 35-yards. Manchester only had two.
George was the big ground gainer for the Blue Devils with 14 touches going 135 yards. O’Brien had 94 yards on nine carries. White also had nine carries and finished with 33 yards. Moeller ran the ball seven times for 29 yards.
Shore had four different receivers catching balls. Sears had one for 33 yards, Jackson Whitacre had one for 17 yards, White had one for 14 yards and George had one for 13 yards.
Defensively, the Blue Devils were led by Parker Fegan who had four tackles and assisted on another. O’Brien and Whitacre each had three tackles with O’Brien assisting on three and Whitacre on five. Four other Devils had two tackles each; Moeller, Sears, Tommy Schroeder and Atticus Taboada.
The defense also had interceptions. Fegan and Enzo Cagliostro each picked off a Hawks pass. With the win, Shore improved to 4-1 on the season, Manchester fell to 4-2.
In the Constitution division of the Shore Conference, the Blue Devils are currently in second place. Holmdel is on top, Manasquan in third, Ocean Township in fourth, St. John Vianney in fifth and Asbury Park is 0-4 at the bottom.
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