TOP DOGS: Jersey Shore are District 4 Champions after defeating Selinsgrove, 31-15

Head Coach Tom Gravish (center bottom right) and his Jersey Shore High School Bulldogs celebrate winning the PIAA AAAA District 4 Championship. They defeated Selinsgrove 31-15 in the championship game.

Head Coach Tom Gravish (center bottom right) and his Jersey Shore High School Bulldogs celebrate winning the PIAA AAAA District 4 Championship. They defeated Selinsgrove 31-15 in the championship game.

JERSEY SHORE- The Seals may have won the battle in the regular season, but it was the Bulldogs who scored a victory when it mattered the most.

In front of a filled-to-capacity Thompson St Stadium, Jersey Shore defeated Selinsgrove 31-15 to to win the class AAAA district 4 championship. After the game Jersey Shore head coach Tom Gravish was all smiles when discussing his team’s victory.

“It was a great game and both teams battled it out,” Gravish said. “To beat Selinsgrove in the championship is a credit to where we’re going with our program. To win this championship here at home means a lot.”

The contest was evenly contested until Jersey Shore’s playmakers made their presence known on the field.  The Bulldogs scored first and took a 7-0 lead when Elijah Shemory connected with Hunter Frantz in the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown in the closing seconds of the first quarter.

Despite coming away with the victory, ball-security was an issue for the Bulldogs all night, as they ended the game with four turnovers. Gravish however was unconcerned with the turnovers.

“They got a couple of interceptions on us in the first half, but they didn’t phase us because they were basically jump balls.”

Both teams struggled with ball security, but it was the balanced play-calling by Jersey Shore that was a definitive factor in the outcome of the game. Fifty two of Selingrove’s 66 plays were passing attempts. Jersey Shore remained committed to its ground game and it worked, as Jarett Guthrie and Kyle Tomb routinely bruised their were through the Seals’ defensive line.

“Jarett Guthrie, Kyle Tomb and the offensive line all did an exceptional job with us being able to run the football,” Gravish said.  “We weren’t as one dimensional as the last time we played them.”

Kyle Tomb finished the game with 67 yards rushing and one touchdown, which gave the Bulldogs a 14-0 lead halfway through the third quarter.

Selinsgrove attempted to mount a comeback late in the game, but it was ball-security issues that doomed any chance at a comeback. With 4:15 remaining in the fourth quarter, Jersey Shore’s  Dominic Williams picked off a Logan Leiby pass and returned it 55-yards for a touchdown, making the game 31-7 in Jersey Shore’s favor. The Bulldogs held that lead and came out on top 31-15.

Follwing the game, head coach Tom Gravish was emotional when discussing his love for his team.

“I’m so proud of them,” he said.  “They just have that determination and grit. To come out as district 4 champions means a lot to our coaches, myself and the guys. I couldn’t be anymore proud of our seniors and each of our players because they truly believed.”

Believing was something Jersey Shore had in mind since its loss to Selinsgrove earlier in the season. The Bulldogs knew with better preparation and execution that they would be able to claim a district championship at the end of the season.

“In the meeting after we lost to Selinsgrove earlier in the year, we said we believe we could win the district championship and get a rematch with those guys if we followed our plan. Now we’re fortunate to be class AAAA district 4 champions,” Gravish said.

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