Jersey Shore’s Branden Wheary was efficient as usual in semifinal

TIM WEIGHT/For The Express Jersey Shore’s Branden Wheary attempts a pass earlier this fall against Central Mountain. Wheary has accounted for 23 touchdowns and has been a huge part of Jersey Shore’s success this postseason.

After securing the team’s 11th win of the season and punching a ticket to Hersey for the PIAA AAAA championship, Jersey Shore quarterback Branden Wheary struggled to find words to explain the way he felt.

The senior quarterback had just posted another solid performance for the Bulldogs in Jersey Shore’s 39-35 victory over Lampeter-Strasburg. He finished 19 of 36 for 252 yards and three touchdowns.

The three-touchdown game against Lampeter-Strasburg on the road this past Friday night was Wheary’s fifth outing this season with at least three passing touchdowns. Wheary has been nothing but efficient for the Bulldogs this fall.

“I am just trying to find the words,” Wheary said with his hands on his hips after Jersey Shore’s victory Friday night discussing what it means to be the leader of a 10-0 team. “I just know I’m going in leading a team that has amazing players all around me.”

Wheary’s stat line this fall has been among the best in the area. The senior tossed 23 touchdowns and had just two interceptions to go with more than 1,800 yards passing.

“Wheary at quarterback for a first-year starter, is doing pretty well,” Jersey Shore coach Tom Gravish said earlier this fall about Wheary’s solid play.

It has been remarkable play for any quarterback, especially a first-year starter.

Wheary is a major reason the Bulldogs find themselves in the state championship. The pro-style quarterback has been the leader of Jersey Shore’s explosive offense that has averaged nearly 39 points per game. His best game this season came earlier this fall against Central Mountain at home, Wheary completed 15 of 21 passes for 183 yards and four touchdowns.

Wheary credits a lot of his confidence to Jersey Shore’s defense, and its ability to lock down teams.

“When we have the offense on the field we have confidence, we know what we have to do, the yardage we have to get so when we see our defense make a stop, we capitalize on that,” Wheary said. “We live and build on what our defense does.”

Friday’s victory over Lampeter-Strasburg was the perfect example of Jersey Shore’s offense supplementing its defense. In return, the stout defensive play by Jersey Shore gave Wheary the level of confidence he discussed.

“We’re just thinking we are getting this first down,” Wheary said as the Bulldogs faced a decisive third-and-7 on the game’s final drive, “If this is what we have to do, then we’re getting it.”

The senior quarterback has a solid shot at eclipsing 2,000 yards passing Saturday in the PIAA class AAAA championship game against Thomas Jefferson.


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