The Point Pleasant Beach Garnet Gulls are in rare air.
They are off to their first 4-0 start since 1995. Their latest victim was Mater Dei Prep, 42-12, in Shore Conference Class B Central on Saturday.
“It’s incredible,” said senior running back Danny Tighe after rushing for 146 yards and two touchdowns on five carries. “I grew up watching my school play and it was a big struggle. We worked hard during the offseason. We knew what we were capable of doing. We’ve brought it to the field.”
The Garnet Gulls scored on their first four plays from scrimmage. They scored on their first five possessions of the game. They led 28-0 at the end of the first quarter and 35-0 at halftime.
Senior running back Kyle Samaritano sped for two touchdowns and rushed for 82 yards on three attempts. The Garnet Gulls shredded the Seraphs for 343 yards on 32 carries. They churned for 218 first-half yards on 15 carries.
“Our offensive line is outstanding,” Tighe said. “It opened up huge holes and things clicked. We hit the right holes.”
Winning coach John Wagner said he is impressed with his team’s start.
“We can attack the whole field,” the second-year coach said. “We are very good on defense. We are where we want to be. Our plan is to play well each week. We tell our guys each time they touch the ball, ‘Do something good. Play hard on every snap.’ “
Samaritano scored on the game’s initial play from scrimmage, speeding 50 yards over the left side 20 seconds into the first quarter. Senior Zack Yates kicked his first of six extra points for a 7-0 lead.
The Point Pleasant Beach defense set up the next score. Nick Fiore recovered a fumble at the Garnet Gulls’ 47. Tighe sped 53 yards up the left sideline on the next play, pushing the lead to 14-0 with 8:18 remaining in the first quarter.
The lead grew to 21-0 with 4:07 remaining in the first quarter on a 25-yard touchdown run by senior running back Andre Cochran. The Garnet Gulls took to the air for their fourth touchdown when quarterback Jake Fioretti tossed a 68-yard scoring pass to Bill Barry with 1:25 to go in the opening quarter.
The lead mushroomed to 35-0 on a Samaritano 15-yard run with 9:15 left in the first half. The Seraphs (0-4) got on the scoreboard with 10:26 to play in the third quarter on Sean Miles’ 68-yard dash.
Tighe capped the Garnet Gulls’ scoring with a 34-yard scamper with 8:19 to go in the third quarter. Mater Dei’s Christian Palmer scored the game’s final touchdown on a 26-yard run with 3:23 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Point Pleasant Beach will host Asbury Park in a key Class B Central game Friday night.
“We’re 4-0 and it’s a division game,” Wagner said. “Asbury Park is still Asbury Park. They have great athleticism. They are tough on defense. They spread the field out. We look forward to playing them. They play their game. We play our game.”