There was no shortage of motivation for the Asbury Park football team on Saturday afternoon against Mater Dei Prep.
First, the Blue Bishops were looking to bounce back from a 54-20 loss to divisional rival Point Beach last week. Secondly, the Blue Bishops were hoping to get a win for offensive coordinator Tron Goldfarb, who was recently hospitalized.
Not surprisingly, Asbury Park came out firing. The Blue Bishops racked up 405 yards and seven touchdowns in the first half and cruised on to a 52-6 home victory over the Seraphs.
“I think every time this team walks on the field there’s motivation,” said head coach Matt Ardizzone. “(Goldfarb) is actually in the hospital right now. The players are real close with him. I think a big thing today was that they wanted to play for him.”
Junior Daquane Bland-Bennett led the way with a pair of touchdowns for Asbury Park. On the Blue Bishops’ second possession of the game, Bland-Bennett took a handoff to the right sideline, cut past three Mater Dei tacklers and into the end zone for an 81-yard score. In the second quarter, he punched in an 11-yard touchdown carry to send the Blue Bishops into half time up 46-6.
“(Coach Goldfarb) is a big part of this team,” Bland-Bennett said. “He’s the offensive coordinator for us. He helps us a lot. It means a lot to him to know we came out today and put our faith in each other.
“Right now, we’re just getting back into rhythm after last week,” he continued said. “We’re taking it one game at a time for now and getting ready for the playoffs, because we know we’re going to get in. It’s just a matter of how. We’ve got to gel.”
Quarterback Robert Barksdale also turned in a strong effort for the Blue Bishops. The junior completed 6 of 7 passes for 110 yards and a pair of touchdowns. In the second quarter, Barksdale hit senior wide out Ian Eisdale on a crossing route for a 49-yard touchdown. On the following possession, Barksdale connected with senior Kedar Johnson for a 33-yard score.
A team of Asbury Park running backs chipped in early on.
On the third play of the game, junior Malcolm Saunders broke free out of a group of Mater Dei tacklers and sprinted 33 yards into the end zone to put the Blue Bishops on the scoreboard. Four minutes later, senior Shaheim Tillman took a handoff 11 yards up the middle and into the end zone. Later, Jaquele Goodman went 61 yards down the right sideline to put Asbury Park up 26-0 before the end of the first quarter.
“We didn’t block the way we were supposed to, but our running backs ran through some tackles today,” said Ardizzone.
In the third quarter, sophomore Tyquis Davis extended the lead with a 55-yard run for a score.
The Seraphs broke through in the second quarter when Christian Palmer picked up an Asbury Park fumble and returned it 31 yards to the end zone.