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Jersey Shore’s success means a lot to coach Tom Gravish

MARK NANCE/For The Express Jersey Shore’s Cam Allison (7) celebrates his touchdown with a teammate after his touchdown in the third quarter of the District 4 Class AAAA championship game.

When the time expired at the conclusion of Jersey Shore’s 39-35 victory over Lampeter-Strasburg on Friday night, it was nothing but smiles and joy coming from the Jersey Shore sideline.

The Bulldogs, a team that had four wins from 2009-2012, had just punched their ticket to the PIAA Class AAAA finals in Hershey.

Players jumped with excitement, coaches hugged their family members. It was a special moment all around for the Jersey Shore community despite being more than two hours away from home.

Coach Tom Gravish, who has led Jersey Shore to its fifth District 4 title since 2013 and the school’s first ever PIAA state title appearance, said this season is one to remember despite all the obstacles the Bulldogs have had to overcome.

Gravish said the team’s ability to find success this season goes along way in the Jersey Shore community. It means much more than wins. It’s family according to Gravish.

“It means a lot I think. That’s what our team and community is at Jersey Shore. It’s family,” Gravish said. “The support that we get form our administration, teachers, parents, booster club, just regular people, our cheerleaders our bad, it’s all about family.”

The family motto Gravish referred to was on display after Friday’s semifinal victory on the road at Lampeter-Strasburg. The bleachers were packed with friends, family and other members of the Bulldogs community as Jersey Shore prevailed.

Gravish was asked about whether or not the victory was his biggest since taking over.

“I think it probably is,” Gravish said. “The chance to compete in the state championship? That’s probably right there for sure. It’s been a lot of fun but we still got one more checkbox to get. It won’t be easy.”

When Gravish began his coaching reign at Jersey Shore back in 2012, the Bulldogs finished the season without a win, going 0-12.

Since then? It has been nothing but hard work, sacrifice and success for the Bulldogs and Gravish. After that winless season, Gravish has led the Bulldogs to an impressive 70-28 record, which includes this season’s perfect 10-0 record. In that same time, the Bulldogs also won five district championships and have five state playoff appearances.

Every year has been a quest to avenge the previous season’s final loss, according to Gravish. Despite not being able to have a rematch with Dallas, who knocked out the Bulldogs last season in the PIAA Class AAAA semifinals, Jersey Shore remains unbothered of its opponents.

Saturday’s state final game against Thomas Jefferson is no exception.

“In 2018 when we walked off the field and lost to Pottsgrove, the players said ‘we’re beating Pottsgrove next year.’ And we made it back to the spot, but Pottsgrove wasn’t there,” Gravish said. “This year’s group wanted to play Dallas, Dallas wasn’t there but Lampeter-Strasburg was, and Crestwood was before that. These guys have been in big games before and Thomas Jefferson has too,”

The Bulldogs are set to battle with the Jaguars for a state championship at 3:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon in Hersheypark Stadium.

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