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Jersey Shore Stays Unbeaten with Win Over Lewisburg

Written by: on Saturday, November 6th, 2021. Follow Matt Beltz on Twitter.


JERSEY SHORE – Back in Week 4, Jersey Shore ran an astounding 97 offensive plays in a 47-8 win over Lewisburg. That loss sent the Green Dragons to an 0-3 start to their season.

While the Bulldogs finished their regular season unbeaten for the second straight year at a perfect 10-0, Lewisburg rebounded from that dismal start to finish their season 5-1, with a win over rival Mifflinburg last week clinching the final playoff berth in District 4 Class 4A by the slimmest of margins.

But despite that remarkable finish, Lewisburg’s improvement from the beginning to end of the year wasn’t nearly enough to pull off the upset in Friday’s 4A semifinal. In fact, the final score was nearly a carbon copy of the mid-September game. This time, Jersey Shore (only) ran 80 plays in a 48-7 win.

“We lost 18 starters from last year’s (state runner-up) team and a lot of people doubted us and said we wouldn’t be able to do much this season, so our guys have been trying to prove people wrong all year,” said Jersey Shore coach Tom Gravish.

The win moves the Bulldogs into their eighth district final in the last nine years, where they’ll meet Selinsgrove, a 49-13 winner over Shamokin on Friday, in the district final for the seventh time in those last nine seasons. Jersey Shore and Selinsgrove will now have met in the playoffs in eight of the last nine years, with one of those meetings coming in the semifinals. The Bulldogs hold a 4-3 edge in the playoff series dating back to 2013, and have won the last three district titles.

For the Green Dragons, they joined Jersey Shore’s other nine opponents this year in being unable to figure out how to slow down the Bulldogs’ hurry up offense enough to come out on top on the scoreboard.

“We couldn’t slow them down at all. They’re a good team and they did a lot of good things for them to us, and field position makes a major difference,” said Lewisburg coach Eric Wicks. “I’m proud of my team for taking on the challenges that they had to this year with a new offense, new defense, new special teams, new head coach, new coaching staff. It took a lot for them to even get to be here tonight. Jersey Shore is a tough team and we made a lot of mistakes and against a team like this, you can’t make those kinds of mistakes.”

Lewisburg was held to just 85 yards of offense, with most of those coming in the fourth quarter, and -7 yards rushing. The Bulldogs, racked up 456 yards on their 80 offensive plays, including 317 on the ground.

The Green Dragons did manage to forced a pair of Jersey Shore turnovers in the first half as they forced a lost fumble by the Bulldogs in both the first and second quarters, including one that gave Lewisburg the ball at the Bulldog 38-yard line in the second quarter. But they managed a total of -1 yard on those ensuing drives as Jersey Shore’s defense was stifling.

Jersey Shore picked off Lewisburg quarterback Zander Walter five times, two on tipped passes near the line of scrimmage in the second half. Walter got the start as first-string quarterback Wade Young was injured.

The first of those five picks was a pick six as Cayden Hess jumped a slant route and ran it back 25 yards for a touchdown at the 7:46 mark of the first quarter, which gave the Bulldogs a 14-0 lead after Hadyn Packer had earlier capped an 11-play, 75-yard opening drive for Jersey Shore with a 3-yard touchdown run. That was the first of two picks on the night for Hess, an all-state receiver who also caught six passes for 113 yards, including three receptions on third down plays that extended two different drives that both resulted in scores for the Bulldogs.

Packer later extended Jersey Shore’s lead to 20-0 as he punched in a five-yard touchdown to cap a short drive on the first play of the second quarter. That followed an interception by Connor Davis that gave the Bulldogs the ball at the Lewisburg 31. Packer led the way for Jersey Shore’s potent running, finishing with 109 yards on 20 carries and his two touchdowns.

Elijah Jordan, who also ran the ball 20 times and finished with 65 yards, found the end zone on Jersey Shore’s next drive, extending the Bulldogs’ lead to 26-0.

Lewisburg’s only score came on a thrilling 91-yard kickoff return by the speedy freshman Jeremiah Davis at the 8:15 mark of the second quarter following Jordan’s touchdown. Davis had 189 kickoff return yards and figures to be a key part of the Green Dragons’ offense for the next three years.

Jersey Shore started its ensuing drive at their own 23-yard line but needed just six plays to answer right back on a 27-yard touchdown run by quarterback Brady Jordan to make it 32-7. The older brother of Elijah, Brady finished with 81 yards on 10 carries.

The Green Dragons managed just six first downs, including just one in the first half and were unable to get their skill players in any type of space on offense. An 11-yard reception by Cam Michaels early in the second quarter produced Lewisburg’s only first down of the opening half, and Ethan Dominick was bottled up, getting just four rushing yards on 10 first half carries, and for the game, finishing with just 11 yards on 14 rushes. Lewisburg had just 12 yards of offense in the first half.

“Our assistant coaches did a fantastic job on defense all week on all levels,” said Gravish. “Lewisburg has a lot of strengths, and we emphasized how each player could hurt us in different ways and we leveraged the ball down inside and didn’t let it bounce out. Our defense did a fabulous job to get pressure on the quarterback and got some interceptions. But hats off to Lewisburg. They had a great season. Coach Wicks is doing a great job.”

A bad snap that got into the end zone and was covered by the Green Dragons gave the Bulldogs a safety on Lewisburg’s first drive of the third quarter.

Following a missed field goal on the Bulldogs’ ensuing drive, Jersey Shore scored touchdowns on each of their next two possessions to put the game into the mercy rule toward the end of the third quarter. Brady Jordan capped a 10-play, 74-yard drive with his second rushing touchdown of the night, and also found Hess twice on third-and-long plays to extend the drive. He tossed a 10-yard reception to Hess on a third-and-8 from their own 28, and later found Hess for 11 yards on a third-and-9 from their own 39. Hess nearly had a touchdown later in the drive but was tackled a yard shy of the goal line and settled for a 43-yard reception, with Jordan finishing the drive with a one-yard run.

Later in the third, following Davis’ second pick of the night that set up the Bulldogs at midfield, Kooper Peacock capped the drive with an eight-yard touchdown run.

Jersey Shore 48, Lewisburg 7
Lewisburg (5-5)                 0     7     0     0   –  7
Jersey Shore (11-0)         14    18   16    0   – 48

First quarter
8:45 – (JS) Hadyn Packer 3-yard run (Miller kick), 11-75, 3:15
7:46 – (JS) Cayden Hess 25-yard interception return (Miller kick)

Second quarter
11:53 – (JS) Hadyn Packer 5-yard run (kick failed), 4-31, 1:05
8:30 – (JS) Elijah Jordan 3-yard run (pass failed), 6-64, 1:24
8:15 – (L) Jeremiah Davis 91-yard kickoff return
6:20 – (JS) Brady Jordan 27-yard run (pass failed), 6-77, 1:55

Third quarter
11:05 – (JS) Safety
5:44 – (JS) Brady Jordan 1-yard run (Miller kick), 10-74, 2:42
2:22 – (JS) Kooper Peacock 8-yard run (Miller kick), 6-50, 1:40

                                           L                       JS

First downs                         6                       29

Rushes-net yards           18-(-7)               67-317

Passing yardage                92                     139

Passing                        11-27-0-5           8-13-0-0

Fumbles-lost                     1-0                     3-2

Penalties-yards                6-75                   4-28

RUSHING — Lewisburg: Ethan Dominick (14-11), Zander Walter (2-(-8), Jeremiah Davis (1-3), TEAM (1-(-13)); Jersey Shore: Hadyn Packer (20-109-2), Elijah Jordan (20-65-1), Brady Jordan (10-81-2), Gabe Andrus (7-20), Kooper Peacock (4-24-1), Dathan Tyson (2-10), Tate Sechrist (2-7), Nicholas Williams (2-1)

PASSING — Lewisburg: Zander Walter (11-27-92-0-5); Jersey Shore: Brady Jordan (7-12-96-0-0), Kooper Peacock (1-1-43-0-0)

RECEIVING — Lewisburg: Cameron Michaels (4-40), Quentin Michaels (2-14), Ethan Dominick (2-9), Charles Landis (1-15), Jack Blough (1-9), Owen Ordonez (1-5); Jersey Shore: Cayden Hess (6-113), Connor Griffin (1-23), Kooper Peacock (1-3)

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