Off the chain: Bulldogs slip past Wildcats 14-10 in close finish
By SHAREIK FLOWERS
MILL HALL– It was Central Mountain’s seniors who were honored in a pre-game ceremony, but it was Jersey Shore’s underclassmen who lifted its team to a victory.
In a seasonably chilly night, the Bulldogs pounced and defeated the Wildcats 14-10 in a classic District 6 rivalry game to end the regular season. Jersey Shore’s record increases to 7-3, while Central Mountain finished the year with a 3-7 record
“It was a hard fought game,” Central Mountain head coach James Renninger said after his team’s loss. “Our kids fought their guts out and they played hard. It was a back-yard rival football game and it was a great game.”
The first quarter was contested evenly until Jersey Shore’s play began to elevate that of Central Mountain’s. In the winding minutes of the quarter, Elijah Shemory pump faked and connected with Hunter Frantz down the sideline for a 70-yard gain after Frantz was able to sneak past the Wildcat’s secondary. Two plays later, Kevin Titus scored from 8-yards in after receiving the hand off and stretching the ball past the pylon for the score.
Titus’ touchdown occurred with 38 seconds remaining in the first quarter and gave Jersey Shore a 7-0 lead.
Heading into halftime, the Bulldogs controlled the momentum most of the game and managed a 7-0 lead, so Wildcats’ Renninger figured it was necessary to open the playbook to swing the odds back in his team’s favor. Despite a failed onside kick to begin the game, Renninger still remained faithful in team’s ability to complete a trick play.
After Austyn Carson fielded the opening second half kickoff, he threw a backwards lateral pass to teammate Justin Neff who raced down the sideline, zig zagged down the field and scored on an 80-yard kick return to tie the game.
Renninger afterwards expressed how openings in Jersey Shore’s kickoff team led to the surprise score.
“We knew that they cheated their kick return over to the hash mark, and we knew that they probably wouldn’t kick the ball to Justin,” said Renninger after the game. “We were hoping they would kick it to Austin and he could throw it out wide to Justin and he would have some space to try and make a play, and that what he did.”
Neff’s touchdown swung the momentum and gave life to the crowd who were bundled in blankets on the bleachers.
Central Mountain regained control of the game after Justin Neff intercepted Elijah Shemory’s pass and returned it 32-yards. This return set up a 47-yard field goal by Austyn Carson, giving the Wildcats a 10-7 lead with 6:36 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Down 10-7 late in the game, Jersey Shore turned to the bread-and-butter of its offense the run game.
During the game winning drive, Kyle Tomb ran for 40-yards on a third-down to put the Bulldogs in the red zone. Two plays Elijah Shemory would run a play-action fake and connect with Tyler Smith in the end zone for the game-winning 11-yard score with 5-minutes reamaning in the game.
“What an awesome and classic rival game it was,” said Jersey Shore head coach Tom Gravish after his team’s victory. “It was what the local community would want to see in a rivalry game.”
Jersey Shore 14, Central Mountain 10
JS 7 0 0 7- 14
CM 0 0 7 3-10
JS Kevin Titus 8-yard run (kick good) :38
CM Justin Neff 80-yard kick return (kick good) 14:45
CM Austyn Carson 47-yard field goal 6:36
JS Elijah Shemory to Tyler Smith 11 yards (kick good) 5:01
First Downs 13 10
Rushes-Yards 39-219 31-168
Passing Yards 153 73
Total Plays-Yards 58-372 46-241
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 0
Turnovers 2 1
Penalties-Yards 8-60 5-40
Rushing: Jersey Shore- Kyle Tomb 29-122. Central Mountain- Justin Neff 22-96 yards.
Passing: Jersey Shore- Elijah Shemory 11-19 153 yards, 1 int.. Central Mountain- Justin Neff11-15 73 yards.
Receiving: Jersey Shore-Hunter Frantz 4- 87 yards-. Central Mountain-Issiah Mccann 2-31 yards.