Focused Mariners roll to win


There was no letdown for Toms River High School North Friday night.

North used big plays to defeat Jackson Memorial, 42-10, in a Shore Conference Class A South game.

North head coach Chip LaBarca Jr. said his players remembered last season’s 42-10 loss to the Jaguars and that allowed it to stay focused leading up to the game.

“There was no letdown for us tonight, last year they really embarrassed us and that was a motivating factor for us,” said Toms River North head coach Chip LaBarca Jr. “We came out and played well tonight.”

In the first half, the Mariners’ big-play offense dominated the game. The Mariners had six plays of over 45 yards in the first half and three of their touchdowns came on plays of over 45 yards.

The big plays started on the opening kickoff when junior running back Joey Fields returned it 59 yards down to the Jackson 38. The drive was capped off by a 3-yard touchdown run by Fields.

“We always try to get them,” LaBarca said of big plays. “Joey (Fields) set the tone for us with his opening kickoff. It gave us a short field to work with and we took advantage of it.”

Fields said the offense thrives on “explosive plays.”

“Coach told us to set the tone for the game on the first play, I knew I was going to do something big,” Fields said. “If I have the ball I’m going to try to get the ball outside and I did that.”

North then increase their lead to 14-0 when sophomore quarterback Carmen Sclafani found Fields with a 69-yard touchdown pass midway through the first quarter.

“He is getting better every game, he is getting more comfortable with the offense and he is out there playing not thinking as much,” LaBarca said of his sophomore quarterback. “He has developed a lot of poise.”

Fields said Sclafani comes to practice everyday trying to get better.

“Carmen is a really hard worker,” Fields said. “He is a leader as a sophomore. He is a player that everyone looks up to.”

Sclafani finished the day with 238 yards of total offense and four touchdowns, two running and two passing.

“Its has been an up and down last couple of weeks,” Sclafani said. “Over the four games we have played every game, its becoming easier and easier to see things. The experience is starting to come.”

Sclafani said he enjoys throwing to big play targets like Fields and junior wide receiver Kyle Carrington.

“They are big-time playmakers,” Sclafani said. “I can get them the ball; they can go the distance every time. They make big plays.”

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