Jersey Shore improves to 6-0 by blanking Shamokin
SHAMOKIN – Leading by just two touchdowns late in the second quarter after Shamokin had at least partially slowed down Jersey Shore’s no-huddle hurry-up offense, Shamokin appeared to have Hadyn Packer stopped short of the first down at Jersey Shore’s own 16-yard line.
But Packer managed to get away from the initial wall that he hit, and on a second effort, gained nine yards and a first down. On the next play, Brady Jordan hit his all-state receiver Cayden Hess, who hauled in a one-handed catch with Shamokin’s defender draped all over him, then turned around and dashed about 50 more yards for a 75-yard touchdown reception.
That ended up being Hess’ only catch of the game, and one of just three completed passes for the Bulldogs on the night – all of which were for touchdowns – and was arguably the turning point in what had been a close game up to then.
Combined with another standout performance by Jersey Shore’s defense, it was more than enough to improve the Bulldogs to 6-0 as they shut out the Indians, 38-0.
“Shamokin has some guys on defense that can cause some issues and we saw that on film so it wasn’t a surprise. But, we believed if we just kept playing 48 minutes, we’ll make our plays,” said Jersey Shore coach Tom Gravish.
While that persistence combined with a few big plays carried the Bulldogs offensively, it was their defense that shined, as Shamokin was unable to muster anything offensively. The Indians were held to a single first down in the first half, and that was all they had until the third-to-last play of the third quarter. They finished with just four first downs on the night and just 70 offensive yards as Jersey Shore sacked Shamokin quarterback Brett Nye six times and made four additional tackles for loss. Shamokin punted 10 times in the game.
“Our offense had their struggles tonight. The main thing we struggled with was picking up their blitzes and pass protection,” said Shamokin coach Henry Hynoski. “In order to maintain what we were doing defensively, we have to be able to get first downs and move the ball and we didn’t do that tonight.
The first half, minus three plays, it was a pretty good defensive effort. They just made three plays and other than that, we did a nice job containing them. We felt good even going into halftime, like we still had a shot at this game, but we need to be able to maintain consistent drives offensively and we have to find a way to get first downs and get our defense off the field.”
While the Indians couldn’t put much together with the ball, they were able to limit Jersey Shore’s high octane offense early on. They forced two punts and a missed field goal on the Bulldogs’ first three drives. But then, they were burned by Jersey Shore’s big plays.
A 55-yard touchdown pass from Jordan to Kooper Peacock got the Bulldogs on the scoreboard with 1:17 left in the first quarter.
Then, about a third of the way through the second quarter, Peacock gave the Bulldogs a 33-yard punt return to set them up at the Shamokin 26, and two plays later, Packer ran it in from 18 yards out to put the Bulldogs up 14-0. Packer led the way for the Bulldogs on the ground with 125 yards, while Peacock also added 125 punt return yards on five returns to set up Jersey Shore on a short field twice in addition to his first half touchdown catch.
After Hess’ momentum-seizing touchdown gave the Bulldogs a three-score lead at the half, Jersey Shore continued that momentum by forcing a three-and-out by Shamokin on the Indians’ first drive of the second half, getting another big punt return by Peacock – this one for 40 yards – and then finishing another short drive with a Brady Jordan 1-yard run to go up 28-0.
The Bulldogs then scored on each of their next two drives in the third quarter as well to put the game into the mercy rule, with Breck Miller kicking a 29-yard field goal and Jordan tossing his third touchdown of the night, this one 20 yards to Connor Griffin.
“We expect to make big plays,” said Gravish. “We’ve been relying much more on the run the last couple of weeks but all along we’ve thought we can throw. We wanted to make sure we got the running game going but we’ll probably continue to throw a little more the rest of the season.”
Jordan’s only three completions of the night went for touchdowns, as he completed just 3-of-14 passes, but for 150 yards.