JERSEY SHORE - For the first fifteen minutes of Friday night's football match-up between Shamokin and Jersey Shore, the two teams took turns trading turnovers and touchdowns.
Midway through the second period, the deadlock remained at 14-all.
However, from that point on the Bulldogs were unable to penetrate the goal line, while the Indians took advantage of the Bulldogs' missed opportunities and mistakes to score 28 unanswered points for a 42-14 win at Thompson Street Stadium
"Jersey Shore came to play tonight," Shamokin head coach Dan Foor said. "They got up on us 7-0, we threw an interception and they had some momentum going, but Erik Taylor made a big momentum play for us on defense and we were able to go in and score. I was pleased with our execution in the first half, but in the second half, we got sloppy. I know we had over a hundred yards in penalties so we need to clean that up because down the road, that is going to come back and haunt us."
As for the early part of the game, Shore head coach Tom Gravish was pleased with the way his troops stood up to the Indians on both sides of the ball.
"I thought we played hard for pretty much the whole game," Gravish said. "We need to be more consistent. A couple of times we dropped a nice pass when we were open and when it looked like we had them stopped for a loss, we missed some tackles. We are not going to give up on these guys and we are going to keep working hard with them to get better."
Although disappointed with the loss, Gravish saw something that made him feel good about his team.
"We saw something from them tonight that we have been waiting to see from them," he said. "They were disappointed that we didn't get the extra play right before the half and with that, I saw our team grow a little bit. I know it might be hard to say that in a loss like this one, but I saw some growth in this team tonight and I saw a little bit of backbone in them. We are young and we know that. But we aren't about to give up on them because it is a good group of young football players."
Although Foor felt his offense played a good game, he was quick to point out that there is room for improvement in that area as well.
"We got our running game going some, but it still isn't to the point where I think we are capable of performing," Foor said. "We still have some room to do in that area as we move along."
As for what Foor and his assistant coaches emphasized in practice after only scoring six points against Pottsville in a 14-6 loss, the answer was a simple one.
"Our emphasis was to put more points on the board," Foor said. "We just have too many playmakers, too many veterans that we feel are capable of coming up with some big plays at any given time. We did that, but we didn't just line up and pound the ball at Jersey Shore. Those kids came ready to play and coach Gravish and his staff had them ready to go. But we caught a couple of breaks that sort of swayed things our way and I am happy with the win and I don't want to sound negative, but we still have along way to go."
Part of the growing up process for the Bulldogs will take part today when they make their way to Philadelphia to witness the game between Temple and Maryland.
"We are going to watch Temple and Maryland play tomorrow," Gravish said. "We are going to spend the whole day together, watching some film on the way down and watching film on Montoursville on the way back. I think watching a little football and talking a little football will help us grow a little more as a football family."
One week ago, it was turnovers that hurt Shamokin in the loss to Pottsville. Last night, the shoe was on the other foot as the Bulldogs coughed up the football a half dozen times, twice on interceptions and four lost fumbles.
"If we don't have those turnovers, I definitely feel that we can play with a team like Shamokin," Gravish said. "We are going to get better because we are going to work awfully hard to make ourselves better football players and grow as a football team."
Any coach will tell you that the biggest growth in a football team is between the first and second game and Gravish feels that he and his staff saw that in the young Bulldogs.
"I know the score was a little different this week than last week, but then the (level) of competition was different as well," he said. "What I saw tonight was in their eyes. Although we didn't play a very good second half, the look in their eyes told me they were ready to come out and play hard."