DeRose's field goal lifts Central to win

DeRose's field goal lifts Central to win

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DeRose's field goal lifts Central to win

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TOMS RIVER

Opening night at Toms River South’s Detwiler Stadium was an emotional slugfest. Central Regional won, but Toms River South has no reason to hang its head.

On the game’s second play, Indian sophomore Khaleel Green took a toss on the left side and dashed untouched 77 yards for a touchdown. On the second-half kickoff, Central’s Manny Bowen sprinted 85 yards into the end zone.

With eight seconds remaining in the game and the score even at 26, Central’s Austin DeRose set himself for a game-winning 27-yard field goal. The snap from center was high and holder Tony Clark got up running and then threw a half-hearted pass.

The South sideline was thinking they had reached overtime. But Clark’s alert play counted as an incomplete pass and the Eagles had a second chance since it was still only third down.

The second snap was true and so was DeRose’s 27-yard kick. As time expired Central survived a spirited Toms River South team, 29-26.

“Tony Clark is a smart football player,” Central coach Vin Casale said. “We practice that situation. He executed it perfectly.

“South is a great football team. We could not have won this game if not for our work all last winter, spring and summer.”

This felt like a great boxing match with both teams leaving their best effort out on the field.

With former Golden Eagle star Kalyph Hardy and his 2,050 yards rushing lost to graduation, Central did not have much proven offense returning. What it did have was was Kalyph’s cousin, junior Javon Hardy.

Javon reached the end zone twice — first on a 20-yard run which put Central in front 13-6 in the second quarter, and later on a 6-yard run early in the fourth quarter.

After Green put the Indians on the board first, Central ran off 20 consecutive points and led 20-6 after Bowen’s kick return.

South didn’t quit, as it responded with three second-half touchdowns. Senior quarterback Trevor Signorino capped an eight-play, 80-yard drive by finding Robert Halley for a 47-yard touchdown pass. Signorino seemed to audible to the same play which had just missed on the previous snap.

Later in the third period, South pulled to within 20-18 with Green running over right tackle for the 14-yard score.

Central answered right back with Hardy’s run pushing the lead to 26-18 with 9:43 left to play. Two plays later, South pulled to within 26-24 when sophomore quarterback Tymer Berry, subbing for a cramping Signorino, threw a 57-yard touchdown strike to Tommy Venler.

This time, South made the 2-point conversion on a Darrius Hart run to pull even at 26.

Good non-conference win for Central. Tough loss for South, which suffered two shanked punts to help set up Central scores.

Vinny Davis pulled in a 13-yard pass from quarterback Marquis Drumright for Central’s first score.

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