Mota FG lifts Wave

Mota FG lifts Wave


Mota FG lifts Wave



Almost as one, the Long Branch football team, hands clasped together, knelt on one knee along the sidelines.

On the field sophomore Vincente “The Boot” Mota lined up to attempt a 35-yard field goal attempt with just seconds remaining in Friday night’s Shore Conference Class B North game with Matawan.

Matawan coach John Kaye called two time outs in a row as the crowd at Bressett Stadium came to its feet.

When the ball was finally snapped Mota, who had earlier missed an extra-point try, sent a fluttering kick that carried inside the right upright with 4.9 seconds showing to give Long Branch a dramatic 24-21 victory.

“I was nervous,” said the baby-faced Mota after the Green Wave (7-1, 4-1) remained in line to clinch at least a share of the division title and enhanced its bid for a high seed in the NJSIAA playoffs.

“I just kept in in my mind that I’d make it,” Mota said.

But when he kicked it he wasn’t so sure.

“I thought I missed it because I got too under it, I thought it was going to be short,” said Mota who said he is now 2-for-3 in field goal tries this season.

“The first time in my coaching career we’ve won on a field goal,” said Long Branch coach Dan George. “We’d go years without making one.”

“It wouldn’t be any different, Matawan-Long Branch, right?” said Matawan coach John Kaye after the Huskies fell to 5-2, 4-2.

Junior quarterback KaShaun Barnes threw for two scores and ran for one for Matawan.

“It seems like it goes down to that every time,” said Kaye who after the game wrapped a consoling arm around senior running back linebacker Glenn Cross (18 carries, 84 yards).

No one was more relieved by the outcome than Long Branch junior running back Deon Williams.

Williams scored twice including an electrifying 82-yard pass play in the second quarter, on which he caught the ball at midfield and stiff-armed a defender at the Matawan 35.

But on a fourth-and-8 from his own 12-yard line with 2:34 left in the first half, Williams tried to run and was stuffed for a 2-yard loss.

Two plays later, Matawan senior Dan Incle took a shovel pass from Barnes and bolted 8 yards to tie the game at 14 at the half.

“It was my fault on the punt,” Williams said. “I did it on my own, tried to make a play for the team.”

“In all fairness to Deon, through his career, his seen a lot of kids make that play for us,” George said. “Not exactly at that point on the field. But the team rallied around him.”

Williams’ second TD of the game on an 8-yard run sent Long Branch back in front, 21-14, with 8:58 left in the third quarter.

Matawan answered with 61-yard, 16-play drive. It was capped by sophomore Chris Solomon’s 12-yard TD reception from Barnes that made it 21-21 early in the fourth.| George said running back Dwight Clark, a returning 1,600 yard rusher who has yet to play due to a pre-season ankle injury, has been cleared to play and will return to practice next week.


More USA TODAY High School Sports