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Bulldogs win first state playoff game

Written by: on Friday, November 15th, 2019. Follow Cody Smith on Twitter.


SELINSGROVE – Jersey Shore jumped out to an early lead Friday night against Bishop Shanahan and never looked back as the team went on to earn the first state playoff victory in school history.

Jersey Shore – The District 4 Class 4A champions – snapped an 0-3 record in state playoffs with the win over District 1 Class 4A champion Bishop Shanahan.

Bishop Shanahan also accomplished a feat of its own Friday night, as the game was the first state football game in school history for the Eagles.

The win moves Jersey Shore (10-3) into the PIAA Class 4A State quarterfinals where the team will play the winner of Pottsville and Allentown Central Catholic. That game is scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. Saturday.

“” said Jersey Shore coach Tom Gravish. “

Jersey Shore jumped out early, scoring in just the second play of the game. The Bulldogs opened with the ball on their own 26-yard line where quarterback Tanner Lorson opened the game with a 12-yard run. On the next snap, Lorson tossed the ball to halfback Josh Malicky who rushed to the left side and scurried down the sideline for a 62-yard touchdown.

The Bulldogs made the lead stand up for a while, though Bishop Shanahan ended up getting a game-tying score late in the opening quarter. After long punt return gave the Eagles great field position at the Jersey Shore 27-yard line, the team from Downingtown scored on a short 5-play drive that ended in a four-yard rush from Brandon Choi.

The scored knotted things up at the end of the opening frame.

Jersey Shore regained control of the game in the second quarter, outscoring Bishop Shanahan 13-0 in the frame.

The Bulldogs scored on their opening possession of the quarter on a long drive that was extended on a Bishop Shanahan pass interference call on a fourth-and-one late in the drive. Two plays after the penalty, Lorson escaped pressure and scrambled 25 yards into the endzone for the go ahead score. His first of three rushing touchdowns on the night.

Bishop Shanahan attempted to cut into the 14-7 Bulldog lead on its ensuing drive, but a 35-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left and gave the ball back to the Bulldogs.

The Eagles’ next drive was a short one. On the first play after forcing a Jersey Shore three-and-out, the Bulldogs earned a sack and forced a fumble that the District 4 squad recovered at the Bishop Shanahan 48-yard line.

Once again, it took the Bulldogs just two plays to score. On first-and-ten, Lorson dropped back and launched a long pass down the left sideline to Stanton Westlin. Westlin hauled in the pass and was tackled at the two-yard line to set up a first-and-goal where Lorson ran in for another score to increase the Bulldog lead to 20-7.

The final drive of the opening half ended up producing what very well could have been the turning point of the game. With Bishop Shanahan down a pair of scores, the team was in the midst of a 13-play drive and were set to receive the opening kickoff of the second half.

The Eagles drove the field behind a few long completions by quarterback Cooper Jordan and some nice runs by Simmi Whitehill. On first-and-goal at the six-yard line, Jordan ran the ball but was stopped at the two-yard line. Bishop Shanahan used a timeout with just 30 seconds remaining in the half, but on the following play, the Eagles lost a fumble that ended up being recovered by Jersey Shore to end the scoring threat.

“The defense has been huge all year for us,” said Gravish “That play really sparked us again. We had a couple plays like that tonight.”

Would the Eagles have scored there; the team would have been down one score and receiving the second-half kickoff. Instead the Eagles received the second half kickoff down two scores and promptly marched down the field for the team’s second score of the game.

The drive was 14 plays long and lasted half of the quarter. Jordan ended up throwing an 18-yard touchdown pass to Connor Roth. The catch was just his second of the season.

Once again, the turnover at the end of the half loomed large, as the Eagles could have been in control of the game had they scored before the halftime whistle.

The two teams swapped a few solid defensive stands before Jersey Shore eventually wore down the Bishop Shanahan defense, scoring a pair of late touchdowns in a 33-14 victory.

“We came of the field at the end of last season against Pottsgrove and our guys all talked after the game in the locker room and on the way home and said we want to try to get in the position to play Pottsgrove again.” Said Gravish. “We figured they might be back. Our guys earned our way back and I’m proud of everything they’ve done to get back here.”

Jersey Shore’s touchdowns all came on the ground with Tanner Lorson scoring three times and Josh Malicky scoring twice.

In the game, that duo became the first duo to each rush for 1,000 yards in a season in school history for the Bulldogs. The team had never had two players accomplish the 1,000-yard feat in the same season before.

The Bishop Shanahan season ends with a 7-5 overall record after coming through District 1 at the No.3 seed in the four-team bracket.

“It hurts,” said Bishop Shanahan coach Paul Meyers. “Hopefully it really hurts the young guys. We want this to eat them up for the next 11 and a half months. Unfortunately for our seniors, they won’t get another chance, but we’ve got some juniors and a lot of sophomores returning. We’ll get another shot at it hopefully.”

Jersey Shore 33, Bishop Shanahan 14


Bishop Shanahan 7  0  7  0 — 14

Jersey Shore 7  13  0  13 — 33

First Quarter

JS—Josh Malicky 62-yard run (PAT Good), 11:34.

BS—Brandon Choi 4-yard run (PAT Good), 1:29

Second Quarter

JS—Tanner Lorson 25-yard run (PAT Good), 10:01.

JS—Lorson 2-yard run (PAT No Good), 6:15.

Third Quarter

BS—Conner Roth 18-yard reception from Cooper Jordan (PAT Good), 6:03.

Fourth Quarter

JS—Lorson 4-yard run (2pt. Conversion No Good), 11:26

JS—Malicky 1-yard run (PAT Good), 3:42


First downs 16 16

Total yards 281 344

Rushes-yards 43-117 46-220

Yards passing 164 124

Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 13-22-1 10-21-0

Fumbles-lost 3-2 1-1

Penalties-yards 6-60 10-66



RUSHING—Jersey Shore: Malicky 18-126 2TD, Lorson 26-91 3TD, Dawson Sechrist 2-3. Bishop Shanahan: Jordan 16-66, Simmi Whitehill 4-33, Choi 8-26 TD, Jon Loftus 3-6, Garrett Glendenning 7-(-2), Gus Ross 4-(-5) TEAM 1-(-7).

PASSING—Jersey Shore: Lorson 10-21 124 yds. Bishop Shanahan: Jordan 13-22 164 yds, TD, INT.

RECEIVING—Jersey Shore: Cayden Hess 5-62, Stanton Westlin 1-46, Owen Anderson 2-13, Malicky 1-3, Anthony Shaffer 1-0. Bishop Shanahan: Ross 5-58, Ryan Smyth 4-50, Whitehill 1-27, Loftus 1-21, Connor Roth 1-18 TD, Glendenning 1-0.

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