Jersey Shore runs away with win over Shikellamy
JERSEY SHORE – Back in Week 5, Shikellamy made the long trip to Jersey Shore and came away with a 39-8 loss, which dropped the Braves to 0-5 on the year at that point.
Since then, however, the Braves won four of five and three straight to finish out the regular season, which gave them the fourth and final spot in the District 4 Class 4A playoffs. Given how Shikellamy had turned things around, that understandably gave Jersey Shore head coach Tom Gravish some concerns heading into Friday’s district semifinal.
Those concerns were put to rest rather quickly, however, as Jersey Shore scored touchdowns on its first three possessions and also added a safety in the first quarter to race out to a 23-0 lead, and that was all before Shikellamy turned the ball over five times. The early hole and inability to hold onto the ball would prove to be insurmountable for Shikellamy as the Bulldogs ran away with a 72-25 win over the Braves to advance to the district championship game for the second straight year, where they will look to defend their district title from a year ago against a familiar foe.
The Bulldogs will once again face Selinsgrove, who they defeated at home in the championship game last year in overtime. This will mark the mark the teams’ 14th meeting in the last seven seasons, as the two teams have met in the regular season and in the District 4 playoffs each year since 2013.
“We had a great week of practice and we had hard practices, tried to put our guys in hard situations and had to work really hard in the rain (on Thursday), so I’m really proud of our guys,” said Gravish. “Shikellamy has some talented players, and they really had it clicking these last several weeks and caused some problems for people. They would never quite go away and their effort was there right until the last play.”
The Bulldogs dominated the Braves on both sides of the ball. Jersey Shore racked up an astounding 35 first downs, including 26 in the first half alone en route to 405 rushing yards. Jersey Shore ran 75 offensive plays, an unusually high number, compared to just 41 for the Braves.
Defensively, Jersey Shore held held Shikellamy to just 112 yards on the ground, 77 of which came on a single play. For the game, Shikellamy managed just 165 yards and its five turnovers resulted in 21 additional points for Jersey Shore.
Josh Malicky led the way with 215 yards on 20 carries and a pair of touchdowns for the Bulldogs, while Dawson Sechrist had 106 yards on 11 carries and found the end zone three times. Quarterback Tanner Lorson threw for just 70 yards as Jersey Shore only threw the ball once in the second half, but was responsible for four touchdowns, throwing for two and running for another pair as he ran for 63 on 15 carries.
“We’ve been working really hard in practice to get more of a run game going,” said Gravish. “We need to keep improving it but I thought our this was the most complete game of the year for our offensive line. We told them we expected them to play their best game here in Week 11 and I think they did that.”
Jersey Shore took a 30-0 lead before Shikellamy was able to score. Lorson found the end zone twice in the first quarter, while Sechrist found it once from one yard out after Malicky was tackled just shy and finished with a 78-yard run on the Bulldogs’ second possession. Jersey Shore also added a safety when Shikellamy fumbled a snap in the end zone and recovered but were unable to get out of the end zone. Sechrist made it 30-0 with his second one-yard run early in the second quarter, which came after the Braves’ first turnover.
“I thought we were ready to play, we had a good week of practice but they came out very physical and it got out of hand so fast and it took us out of it,” said Shikellamy coach Todd Tilford. “We didn’t tackle well enough to to compete tonight and we’re down 21 very quickly and they’re a good football team.”
Joel Derr broke loose for a 77-yard touchdown run on Shikellamy’s ensuing possession to put the Braves on the board. But that was answered immediately by Jersey Shore as Lorson found Cayden Hess in the corner of the end zone for six-yard touchdown pass to make it 37-6.
Shikellamy answered back with its longest drive of the game, a 10-play, 72-yard drive that was aided by four Jersey Shore penalties and was capped by an eight-yard run by Drew Balestini.
The Bulldogs would score two more touchdowns in the second half, however, as Lorson found Hess again on a near-identical play to go up 44-12, and then Malicky found the end zone for the first of two times to put Jersey Shore up 51-12 with under a minute to play.
The mercy rule being implemented was briefly delayed when Zahki Nettles returned the ensuing kickoff 84 yards to cut the deficit to 51-19 heading into halftime. But, in a microcosm of how the night went for Shikellamy, the Braves fumbled the second half kickoff, giving Jersey Shore the ball at the Brave 32, and four plays later, Malicky found the end zone again to put the game into the mercy rule.
Shikellamy went three-and-out on its next possession and Jersey Shore left its starters in for one more possession, which lasted just four plays as Sechrist ran it on all of them, including a 36-harder and later a two-yard plunge for his third score of the game to put the Bulldogs up 65-19 midway through the third quarter.
The Braves lost another fumble when the snap went over the head of the quarterback on their next drive, giving Jersey Shore great field position once again at the Shikellamy 26. Two plays later, Cameron Allison went in for a nine-yard touchdown run to cap the Bulldogs’ scoring with 3:14 remaining in the third quarter.
Shikellamy’s final score of the night came on the first play of the fourth quarter on a nice halfback pass as Nathan Minnier took the pitch and rather than hitting the line of scrimmage, uncorked a pass and found an open Mason Brubaker in the end zone for a 36-yard touchdown pass.
With the win and Selinsgrove’s 48-6 win over Midd-West in the other District 4 Class 4A semifinal, this will mark the sixth time in the last seven years that the Seals and Bulldogs have met in a district final for either Class 3A or 4A (after the expansion to six classes). While Selinsgrove holds an 8-5 advantage in the series since 2013, Jersey Shore has had the upper hand in district finals, with the Bulldogs winning three (2013, 2-16 and 2018) and Selinsgrove winning two (2014 and 2015). Selinsgrove also beat Jersey Shore in the 2017 playoffs, but that was in a semifinal.
“They’re a tough group and do a fantastic job. They have so much tradition,” said Gravish. “Playing now 14 times in seven years, it has developed into a rivalry game, but not out of locality. We respect their program an awful lot and everything they’ve been about for years. We’ve just wanted to build something where we can be competitive and be like them.”
Jersey Shore 72, Shikellamy 25
Shikellamy (4-7) 0 19 0 6 – 25
Jersey Shore (8-3) 23 28 21 0 – 72
8:36 – (JS) Tanner Lorson 9-yard run (Allison kick), 11-60, 3:24
5:29 – (JS) Dawson Sechrist 1-yard run (run failed), 3-80, :59
2:45 – (JS) Tanner Lorson 1-yard run (Lorson run), 5-60, :54
2:34 – (JS) TEAM Safety
11:11 – (JS) Dawson Sechrist 1-yard run (Allison kick), 5-34, :49
10:52 – (S) Joel Derr 77-yard run (kick failed), 1-77, :19
9:43 – (JS) Cayden Hess 6-yard pass from Tanner Lorson (Allison kick), 4-54, 1:09
5:33 – (S) Drew Balestrini 8-yard run (run failed), 10-72, 4:10
4:19 – (JS) Cayden Hess 5-yard pass from Tanner Lorson (Allison kick), 7-69, 1:14
:59 – (JS) Josh Malicky 8-yard run (Allison kick), 9-46, 2:07
:47 – (S) Zahki Nettles 84-yard kickoff return (Gittens kick)
11:10 – (JS) Josh Malicky 2-yard run (Allison kick), 4-32, :50
7:12 – (JS) Dawson Sechrist 2-yard run (Allison kick), 4-49, 1:21
3:14 – (JS) Cameron Allison 9-yard run (Allison kick), 2-26, :43
11:51 – (S) Mason Brubaker 36-yard pass from Nathan Minnier (kick failed), 5-63, 3:23
First downs 13 35
Rushes-net yards 28-112 60-405
Passing yardage 53 70
Passing 4-13-1-0 6-15-2-0
Fumbles-lost 7-5 2-0
Penalties-yards 9-60 9-99
RUSHING: Shikellamy: Drew Balestrini (11-10-1), Joel. Derr (5-91-1), Coltyn Sempko (4-22), Zahki Nettles (3-(-10), Nathan Minnier (2-1), Brayden Long (1-8), Gage Wolfe (1-2), TEAM (1-(-12)); Jersey Shore: Josh Malicky (20-215-2), Tanner Lorson (15-63-2), Dawson Sechrist (11-106-3), Donald Steinbacher (4-(-2)), Hayden Packer (3-6), Owen Anderson (2-18), Cameron Allison (2-8-1), Connor Davis (2-(-6)), Kooper Peacock (1-(-3))
PASSING: Shikellamy: Drew Balestrini (3-12-17-0-0), Nathan Minnier (1-1-36-1-0); Jersey Shore: Tanner Lorson (6-14-70-2-0), Connor D Avis (0-1-0-0-0)
RECEIVING: Shikellamy: Davis Marshall (2-15), Mason Brubaker (1-36-1), Zakhi Nettles (1-2); Jersey Shore: Cayden Hess (3-30-2), Owen Anderson (2-29), Anthony Shaffer (1-11)
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