By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr.
On Friday night, October 27, the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 1 football tournament kicked off. There were eight teams to start the night. Shore Regional High School was the fourth seed in the bracket and hosted fifth seed Clayton.
In the win over Clayton the Blue Devils only had the numerical advantage in total points. Clayton ran 60 offensive plays to the 38 of Shore Regional. Clayton also out-gained Shore Regional 211-167 in total yards. On the ground, Clayton had 166 rushing yards compared to the 119 of the Devils.
The first quarter was scoreless between Clayton and Shore. All 14 Blue Devil points were put up on the scoreboard in the second quarter. The first with 5:17 to play in the first half was a 24-yard pass from Josh Moeller to Jackson Whitacre. The extra point by John Mazzacco gave Shore a 7-0 lead and surge of confidence.
Two minutes and 15 seconds later the Devils found the end zone once again. This touchdown was a five-yard run by Brendan O’Brien, and the extra point by Mazzacco gave Shore the 14-0 lead, and that is how it would end.
Moeller, junior at Shore, completed five of 10 passes for 48 yards, one touchdown and one late interception. His longest pass of the night was for 24 yards. O’Brien led the ground attack for the Devils with 14 touches going 65 yards. Lucas White had nine touches for 41 yards and Moeller ran it three times for eight yards.
Receiving, Whitacre had two catches for 22 yards and one touchdown. He also injured an ankle late in the second quarter and was out of action for the rest of the game. Getting one catch each were Jack Madalone for 12 yards, O’Brien for nine, and Parker Fegan for five yards.
Tommy Schroeder and CJ Sears led the defense. Schroeder had seven tackles and assisted on seven. Sears had five tackles and assisted on four, and had tackles for loss in yards. Lucas White had three tackles, assisted on three, had one sack and one tackle for a loss. White and O’Brien each recovered Clayton fumbles.
Up next for the Devils are the Cougars of Schalick High School, which is located in Pittsgrove Township in Salem County. They are undefeated with a 10-0 record. They play in the WSFL Conference in the Horizon Division. They beat the eighth seed Audubon 35-0 on Friday night.
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