Jersey Shore’s David Tomb wreaks havoc on defensive line

JERSEY SHORE — The more film Montoursville watched, the more Jersey Shore nose tackle David Tomb stood out. Montoursville coach J.C. Keefer enjoyed watching Tomb routinely make big plays and spark his teammates.

Coaching against him last Friday, however, was not an enjoyable experience. Tomb delivered another outstanding performance, made a huge impact on both sides of the football, and helped will Jersey Shore to a 30-20 win. Tomb earned all-state honors last season and has delivered strong performances throughout his high school career. As much as any game, Friday’s showed why exactly Tomb is so good.

The 6-foot, 205-pounder might not look like the ideal nose tackle, but he plays like a 300-pounder and constantly wreaks havoc. He makes Jersey Shore’s 5-2 defense go and it was his drive as much as his talent that helped Jersey Shore rally from a four-point halftime deficit to record its first win and hand Montoursville its first loss.

“David Tomb inside is what makes that defense happen. He is all over the place and he is just electric,” Keefer said. “If they have an MVP for this game I think it’s No. 52. He’s an absolute stud and he played his tail off.”

He always does.

The only thing greater than Tomb’s performances is his competitiveness. This is a player who is never satisfied. He is always pushing, always working and always trying to get better. Football is the ultimate team game and no one player can win or lose a game. But it sure helps having someone like Tomb.

That was evident against Montoursville when Tomb recorded two sacks and three tackles for loss. He also had three quarterback hurries and blew up a fourth-down play late in the game which set up Jersey Shore’s Cameron Griffin for the game-clinching 28-yard field goal.

“He tears it up,” Jersey Shore wide receiver Koby Peacock said. “He plays like an animal out there.”

Tomb averaged 8.7 tackles per game last season — the most by any area defensive lineman — and made 17 tackles for loss. The three-year starter added five sacks and recorded a career-high 22 tackles against District 4 Class AAAA champion Selinsgrove. Tomb’s performance earned him the ultimate individual honor and helped Jersey Shore go 7-4. Tomb celebrated his tremendous season the only way he knows how.

He went back to work. Tomb never stops. That is who he is and that is what makes he and his teammates better. That is what helps produce nights like last Friday when Jersey Shore overcame a second-half deficit for a second straight year to beat Montoursville.

Until 2014, Montoursville had won 27 straight in this series. Tomb will graduate having won his last two games against the Warriors, and that is not a coincidence.

“A lot of people when they get all state they might get complacent but I want to get better than that. I want to get better every day. It’s not stopping here,” Tomb said. “I’ve always had the will to win. Even if it’s a game of cards, I don’t care. I try to win at everything. I hate to lose and I push myself as hard as I can at practice.”

It is there that Tomb helps make as big an impact as he does each Friday night. Tomb leads by words as much as he does actions. He does all he can to help each athlete on the team whether that person plays a lot or not at all. He makes sure everyone knows he is a big part of this team and helps pull out the best effort he can from each player.

Watch an all-state player compete so hard when nobody else is watching and Tomb’s teammates cannot help but work hard. Watch Tomb try to involve everyone along this journey and teammates cannot help but rally around each other.

“He only knows one speed and that’s all-go. He’s one of our No. 1 guys in every conditioning drill and because he works so hard the kids really look up to him and he really cares about everybody on the team,” Jersey Shore coach Tom Gravish said. “He’s been a great part to our success. He pushes people in a very positive direction.”

Also an outstanding guard along the offensive line, Tomb helped push Jersey Shore toward a big win Friday. He was part of an offensive line that grew stronger throughout the game and that helped Jersey Shore score on its last two fourth-quarter possessions. Tomb then helped blow up two Montoursville fourth-quarter series and was a big reason Jersey Shore held the Warriors to just two field goals over the final three quarters despite being inside the 10-yard line three times.

This was the quintessential Tomb performance and it could be a season-changer. Jersey Shore is a young team that has faced early-season adversity and that seemed like it might be reeling following an 0-2 start. Everything looks different now.

The regular-season’s final weeks likely will be difficult and the schedule gets no easier with Jersey Shore playing Mount Carmel Friday. But a constant will remain Tomb’s performance.

This all-stater will keep doing all he can to make this a fantastic Jersey Shore season. And he will remain fun to watch for everyone except opponents who take on the Bulldogs.