Bulldogs Blank Shikellamy For Second Time
EasternPAFootball Senior Writer
JERSEY SHORE — Blame it on global warming, a sloppy field, an unexpected layoff due to a cancelled game, or maybe just playing a team for the second time in the same season. But whatever the reason was, it was definitely a factor in Jersey Shore’s 16-0 victory over Shikellamy Friday night at Thompson Street Stadium.
Usually a well-oiled grid machine from the start of the season, the Bulldogs made more mistakes in the first half of the game than they did in the first four games. Add to those mistakes a number of missed opportunities to put more points on the board, and therein somewhere lies the answer to the difference between the first game (a 53-0 win by Shore) and the one Friday night.
But regardless of the lackluster performance by Shore, credit has to go the Braves (1-5, 1-5) for playing inspired football despite being out-manned.
Leading the Braves attempt to pull out the upset was a “gutty” effort by senior quarterback Drew Balestrini, but in the end it was the fact that the Bulldogs had plenty of depth to counteract Balestrini’s supporting cast.
The Bulldogs allowed Shik just 90 yards, recording their second straight shutout and captured a third straight PHAC-I championship.
Jersey Shore (5-0, 5-0) led just 7-0 early in the fourth quarter and was tested for the first time this season. However the Bulldog defense, although bending a little, never cracked as the Bulldogs put the game away in the final period.
How good was the Bulldog defense? The Bulldogs surrendered less than two yards per play and 30 of Shikellamy’s 90-yards came on a second-quarter Balestrini run.
As it turned out, the Bulldogs scored all the points they were going to need for the win when quarterback Brandon Wheary and Owen Anderson hooked up for 37 yards and the first of two Shore touchdowns. For the game, Wheary threw for 152 yards and one score, while Cam Allison led the Shore ground game with 80 yards. Anderson was Wheary’s primary target with 57 yards receiving, the Wheary-to-Anderson TD connection coming with slightly more than four minutes left in the opening period.
The Shore defense forced a three-and-out for the Braves early in the fourth period and when the punt snap went high, punter John Peifer had nowhere to go and landed outside the end zone for a safety that gave the Bulldogs a 9-0 lead and a little breathing room.
Shikellamy managed a first down after Anderson’s next punt but an intentional grounding call had Peifer punting from the end zone again. That set up Jersey Shore at the Braves 27-yard line and Hayden Packer capped a short drive with a 1-yard touchdown run that clinched the win and another PHAC championship for Shore.
With the win, Jersey Shore clinched the top seed for the District 4 Class AAAA playoffs, giving the two-time defending champions home field advantage once again.
Jersey Shore 7 0 0 9 — 16
JS — Owen Anderson 37 pass from Branden Wheary (Cam Allison kick), 4:09
JS — Safety (punt snap out of end zone) 9:49
JS — Hayden Packer 1 run (Allison kick), 1:18
First Downs 6 13
Rushes-yards 31-55 41-136
Passing yards 35 152
Total Offense 90 288
Passing 5-18-0 12-21-0
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties-yards 3-17 8-60
RUSHING: Shikellamy, Drew Balestrini 16-43; Coltyn Sempko 7-19; Gage Wolfe 4-5; Duncan Weir 3-(-3); Team 1-(-9). Jersey Shore, Cam Allison 18-80; Owen Anderson 8-39; Dalton Dugan 1-6; Hayden Packer 4-5, TD; Kooper Peacock 1-3; Brady Jordan 1-2; Branden Wheary 7-1.
PASSING: Shikellamy, Balestrini 5-18-0, 35 yards. Jersey Shore, Wheary 12-20-0, 152 yards, TD; Hess 0-1-0.
RECEIVING: Shikellamy, Davis Marshall 2-24; John Peifer 2-14; Sempko 1-(-3). Jersey Shore, Dugan 5-34; Anderson 3-57, TD; Hess 3-49; Kooper Peacock 1-12.
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