How does a football team gain its first winning season?
By responding to adversity. By showing some resolve.
Two weeks ago, Jackson Liberty was shut out and it responded to that 19-point loss to Lakewood by scoring 101 points the past two games.
On Friday night, Liberty outscored Point Boro by 24 points during the second and third quarters. But, two late Point Boro touchdowns, the last with 14 seconds remaining, forced overtime.
In the first overtime, the Lions had a touchdown called back by a holding penalty. In the second overtime, Lions quarterback Matt Castronouva hooked up with Nate Matos on a 20-yard touchdown strike that was the decisive score in Jackson Liberty’s 38-31 Shore Conrference Class B South victory.
Before the play, Liberty coach Tim Osborne shouted out his critical fourth-down play call “rifle.” Matos sprinted onto the field and gave the Lions the shot in the arm then needed.
“Give Point Boro credit,” Osborne said. “they made some adjustments and came back at us. But, we got it done. In overtime we had an interception and then stopped them on downs.”
Jackson Liberty (5-2, 4-2) needs one more win for its first winning season.
Point Boro (5-3, 4-2) and its senior quarterback Chris Oliphant use the option for most of their offensive output, but Liberty shut down the running game. A 54-yard halfback option pass from Panther Ryan Connelly to a wide-open Kyle McGarry helped Point Boro to an early 10-0 lead.
Jackson scored on both of its second-quarter possessions, and although the Lions trailed 17-14 at the half, they marched off the field satisfied. They looked like they were winning because they were winning the trenches.
The Lions ran for 152 first-half yards and dominated the line of scrimmage.
In the third quarter, the Lions roared. A 13-yard drive resulted in a field goal. Then Castronouva intercepted an Oliphant pass and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown. On the second play of the fourth quarter, Castronouva ran for a 58-yard score and put the Lions in front 31-17.