Shore pulls away from Bellefonte
JERSEY SHORE — Sometimes the final score on the scoreboard doesn’t indicate how the football game unfolded. That was pretty much the case Friday night at Thompson Street Stadium for Jersey Shore and Bellefonte.
Although the board had the final at Shore 31, Bellefonte 7, the game was much closer than that for much of the 48 minutes.
“That was certainly not a 31-7 ball game,” said Bellefonte coach Shanon Manning. “When we walked into the fourth quarter it was 7-9 and quite honestly I thought we could have been winning the game at that point. When you lose a game it is on the head coach so I take full responsibility for some situations we weren’t prepared for and that is a hundred percent on me. I can assure you of one thing and that is we will be prepared for next week. They (Shore) are a returning district champion team and if they are one of the best Triple-A teams in the state, I think we’ll be OK.”
The Bulldogs scored on their first possession of the 2014 season when they engineered a 65-yard, 8-play drive, culminated by a one-yard plunge to pay dirt by Shore tailback Levi Lorson. Caleb Koch’s PAT made it 7-0 Bulldogs with 9:09 remaining in the opening period.
Holding the 7-0 lead, the Bulldogs extended their margin to 9-0 when Austin Jackson was tackled in the end zone by Zach Miller for a safety following a punt to the Raider 1-yard line.
Trailing 9-0, the Raiders had a couple of opportunities during the final 7:24 of the first half when they recovered a Shore fumble and picked off a Logan English pass, but in both cases, the Shore defense stiffened to preserve the 9-0 Shore lead at the break.
“We have an inexperienced team and for that (not able to score) to happen, it was rough,” said Manning. “When you get those breaks, you need to convert those mistakes into points, but truth be told, we are a very young and inexperienced team. There is nothing about their effort that I am not proud about.”
Coming out of the locker room following the intermission, the Raiders showed a lot of fight as they battled to cut their deficit to a pair when they marched 76 yards on ten plays, Dillon Kephart ripping off a 9-yard run to pay dirt. Matt Feldman made it Shore 9, Bellefonte 7 with his PAT midway through the third period.
“I am really proud of the way the kids played after halftime when they went right down the field and scored,” Manning said. “We had some problems getting some continuity going again and part of that is with the staff just getting together. This is our first year for this staff to be together and we have to get things ironed out and get to know each other better. But again, I don’t question the kids effort, their integrity or their will to play the game. If you don’t question those three things I think we have a huge upside.
Following an exchange of punts, that is when Shore’s experience and depth began to show as the Bulldogs tallied three touchdowns in four-and-a-half minutes and they never looked back.
Derek Leese figured in two of the Shore scores with a 6-yard TD reception from quarterback Logan English before he return an interception for a “pick 6”. Bryce Charles completed the trifecta when he bulled into the end zone from three yards out.
“We came out offensively and took some risks and threw a pick, but everybody in the park knew we were going to throw the football,” said Manning. “We wanted to take a shot to get back in the ball game and that is what it is all about. We didn’t come down here to lose or play close. We came down here to win the football game, we are going to take shots at the end and that is how we are going to play all year.”
The Raiders had one last ditch opportunity to get on the scoreboard with their second score, but following an acrobatic catch-and-run by Nick Jabco of a Mark Armstrong pass covering 52 yards to the Shore 17 with time running out, the swarming Shore defense kept the Raiders out of the end zone for the 31-7 final.
For Shore, the 31-7 win over the Red Raiders marks the first time since the 2000 season the Bulldogs won their season opener. In that game, Shore blanked BEA 28-0. While the win marked a positive note for Shore, the loss extended the losing skid for the Raiders to 18 games in a row spanning parts of the past three seasons.
With the win, Shore (1-0) will next head to Sunbury to battle the Shikellamy Braves Friday night, while the Red Raiders (0-1) will remain on the road when they visit Huntingdon for a contest against the Bearcats.
“I think Huntingdon will be surprised at what they saw with the score 31-7,” said Manning. “We are a very competitive football team and again, if that is one of the best teams in triple-A, I think we are on the right track.”
Bellefonte 0 0 7 0 — 7
Jersey Shore 7 2 0 22 — 31
JS — Levi Lorson 1 run. (Colby Koch kick). 9:09, (7-0)
JS — Austin Jackson tackled in end zone by Zach Miller for a safety. (9-0), 7:24
B — Dillon Kephart 9 run. (Matt Feldman kick). 9-7, 8:02.
JS — Derek Leese 6 pass from Logan English. (Koch kick). 16-7, 9:26
JS — Bryce Charles 3 run. (English to Cole Eiswerth pass). 24-7, 6:05.
JS — Leese 21 interception return. (Koch kick). (31-7), 4:59.
Team Statistics B JS
First Downs 8 20
Rushes-Yards 37-54 52-198
Passing Yards 64 90
Passing 2-10-2 9-11-1
Fumbles-Lost 4-1 3-2
Penalties-Yards 6-40 9-75
Bel: Nick Jabco 13-38, Storm Smith 6-37, Dillon Kephart 3-22, 1 TD; Tyler Kreger 1-5, Austin Jackson 5-minus 3, Mark Armstrong 9-minus 45.
JS: Levi Lorson 28-126, 1 TD; Bryce Charles 5-26, 1 TD; Travis Bradley 3-18, Logan English 6-17, Zach Miller 2-12, Boone Costa 3-10, Chris Bashaw 3-4, Team 2-minus 15.
Bel: Mark Armstrong 2-10, 64 yards, 2 interceptions.
JS: Logan English 7-9, 72 yards, 1 TD, 1 interception; Travis Bradley 2-18.
Bel: Nick Jabco 1-52, Austin Jackson 1-12.
JS: Dominic Loffredo 2-46, Derek Leese 4-24, 1 TD; Brody Smith 3-20.
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